Just to give you a quick update on the blog. There may be lack of posts up until new year due to my busy plans and schedule but this does not mean it will fall flat. I will try my very best to include a lot more content for next year including more reviews, more interviews and any other quality hardcore content.
It may even take on a new look and feel too so please keep your eyes peeled! As always I just wanted to say a great thank you to everyone who keeps viewing and checking out the content and also a bigger thanks to everyone who has shared content from here, it means a lot!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and stay tuned for updates!!!
19 Dec 2014
29 Nov 2014
|Circle Back - 'Promise to Pay'|
16 Nov 2014
|Choke X Chain - 'Demo X 2014'|
Choke X Chain are a new Straight Edge hardcore band from Florida (USA) that are absolutely smashing it right now! They have just released their 2014 demo which takes a substantial influence from the youth crew mid-80’s sound but with a modern twist. This demo contains 5 tracks and is a fairly short listen but still manages to cover everything you need to hear in a debut release. There are a variety of instrumental styles going on with some incredible guitar riffs, fast paced rhythms and some mad heavy down tuned sections for all your moshing needs. Audrey’s vocals destroy it too which are harsh, aggressive and have a solid impact, not to mention that they tie in perfectly with this style of hardcore.
I was pleasantly surprised at how heavy some of the parts in the tracks are and is perfect moshing material. The record starts off with the track Hell is Other People which is a short heavy instrumental building up to the opening track Ouroboros which cuts to a frenzy of guitar riffs and shouty vocals. This track is very catchy and entertaining with no pissing around. Choke X Chain keep it real with their straight edge messages and coverage of real life topics and challenges. Some parts of the recording sound a tad rough, but that’s more than expected from a debut demo and to be fair, I really like this sort of sound with this style of hardcore. As well as the fast tempo in every track they also like to slow things down now and again especially in Innocence Defence and Parasite with some down tuned breakdowns and metalcore sounding chugs.
Brother’s Keeper is another decent track and displays the bands instrumental qualities with catchy bass lines and classic punk, hardcore style riffs that have a youth crew sound to it. This is soon quick to change halfway through to a 90’s metalcore sound with more harmonics and a much heavier tone. It’s a pretty smooth mix up and has a positive impact. This continues into Innocence Defense which is my favourite track of the release and the metallic breakdown towards the end is just class. The lyrics on this record are very influential and gives each track a lot of power behind it. If you’re looking for a new band to check out then check out Choke X Chain, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Check em' out on the links below.
31 Oct 2014
|King Me - 'Checkered Past'|
Midwest band King Me have recently released their debut 6 track EP Checkered Past on the record label Foxclaw Records. This record has a solid metallic edge to it and takes all kinds of influences from bands such as Cro-Mags, No Warning and a hell of a lot more. Every track on this release has a gritty, fast and heavy sound with old school sounding grooves and chugging guitar riffs with raw screaming vocals to go alongside this. King Me are a breath of fresh air in the Midwest hardcore scene and basically ‘cut the crap’ if so to speak. There is a lot of influence from other bands in their songs and their style is not clear cut which I enjoy but nonetheless keep the rawness flowing with raspy vocals, gritty lyrics and harsh sounding instrumentals.
The first track Restless Night starts with a flurry of fast, melodic instrumentals with strong lead guitar chords which adds a bit of variation for an introduction track. Closed Casket follows this and brings back the more traditional hardcore sound and style with some heavy guitar riffs and cutting bass parts. The vocals from Richie are rasp and as angry as they come. The themes present in all tracks are very bleak and include growing up, tragedies of death, regrets, the nonstop struggle of life and adulthood. The amount of passion, aggression and soul that comes out of these songs is just incredible. No Gods, No Handouts sounds very Blood for Blood style and the beauty of this EP is that every song has a different feel to it.
Alive in Death is another fantastic track and contains ferocious strumming and smashing drums and is a short but sweet 14 seconds long and soon drops into the next track Bloodsucker which seems a bit heavier. The vocals are shouted in a deeper tone on this track and it sounds a lot more aggressive than the other tracks. There is an exceptional catchy bassline towards the end that soon transitions back into a metallic hardcore sound. This EP is definitely worth investing in and it’s cool that each song has a different influence in it, this record contains a lot of sub-genres and various elements of hardcore. So if you like hardcore, metal or anything heavy then this is for you. Make sure you give it a listen!
19 Sep 2014
If you're about London or know about this show already then you don't want to be missing this! Knuckeldust are releasing their new record tonight at Birthdays (near Dalston). Everytime I have seen Knuckledust they put on an amazing performance and the atmosphere is always on point too! I'm sure tonight will be no exception, especially with Bun Dem Out and Dead Man's Chest supporting. Doors are at 7ish and tickets are only 8 quid. Don't sleep on this. Band details below:
Knuckledust: North London heavy Hardcore on the reputable Rucktion Records
Bun Dem Out: Beatdown style hardcore from London that features members of Knuckledust and TrenchHead and are also signed to Rucktion Records
Dead Man's Chest: Brutal and dark straight edge hardcore full of anger, hate and power. Just what you need on a Friday night!
22 Jun 2014
|Expire - 'Pretty Low'|
I’ve been waiting for this for a quite a while now and I have to admit it was more than worth the wait to listen to it! Yet again Expire have smashed it and created another fantastic, powerful record. Pretty Low features 11 brand new tracks which are a little longer on track lengths than their usual material which is a bonus. I’d love to end the review here and just state that you need to listen to this now, however that would be a little silly of me as I need to describe how great this record is. Easily one of the strongest releases of the year. Each track is equally as heavy as the next and Expire keep to their trend of dark, gloomy and bleak lyrics.
I can’t fault a single track and the vocals are equally as raw and shredding as their previous releases (possibly even more so), Josh has some serious throaty screams which complements the heaviness of the instrumentals. The introduction track Pretty Low sets the tone for the record, the down tuned guitars kick in with meaty riffs and the drums crashing alongside this. This is definitely a record to play loud, Just Don’t and Fiction keep the rapid tempo going throughout. One listen and I’m hooked. I particularly like the part in Just Don’t where it slows and you can hear the chunky bass line, so catchy!
Gravity is one of the most mosh-worthy songs on the record and has a heavy breakdown going on towards the end. Nobody starts soon after this and has a frenzy of smashing drum rhythms and more chugging riffs that kick you in the face. There’s some really entertaining and energetic 2 step style riffs towards the mid-end of this track and is also evident in Old Habits. From here onwards, through tracks like Forgetting, Rejection and Second Face they really show the true rawness and darkness of Expire. I think the second half of the record will capture the listeners more as it just seems to take all the anger from the first half and multiply it by a million. The vocals are fantastic and really show off the dark side of this band and makes you want to lose your mind.
Pretty Low is the birth of a monster and takes all the best bits of hardcore that people want to hear, combining it with metallic elements but not to the point of it becoming a metal record. Expire have progressed a hell of an amount since their demo released in 2009. I didn’t think they could get any angrier and heavier than Pendulum Swings but they have exceeded that expectation and have produced a record of full of viciousness, anger and rawness. Order it now because I think you’re gonna love it!
18 Jun 2014
|Don't We All - 'Demo'|
The debut demo/EP from France’s Don’t We All certainly does not disappoint. Featuring members of Upstart and First Try (who are also awesome) Don’t We All take on more of a melodic approach that is similar to bands like Capsize, Landscapes and MidnightSouls. If you enjoy melodic hardcore then you will most likely enjoy this 4 track release. The vocals are however a bit more variable than some of the more popular melodic bands that can be seen of today but seem to add a lot more emotion and become almost borderline traditional metalcore. To be honest it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I think it works really well.
There are some excellent melodies and technical guitar playing on this and you can see a big influence of earlier style metalcore/hardcore mixed with a recent Verse/Bane type sound. I don’t know how to describe it to be honest, it’s just a good quality sound!! As well as the instrumental qualities that this release holds, I do think the high pitched, screaming vocals fit perfectly within this sound and this really shows off the emotion and passion present throughout the demo.
To start with there is a sound clip used for the introduction track which sets the theme and tone for what to expect in the song writing, especially lyrically. This quickly cuts into the track Against the Tide and the fast paced drum beats kick in straight away with a melodic instrumental build up. Despite this being their first release the quality is quite crisp and they keep everything tied down. The gang style vocals on the slower parts are also effective that can be heard above the lead guitar and add some variation.
The second half of the demo including tracks Misled Youth and Get Back in Touch also show quality musicianship and a huge amount of devotion and passion towards the hardcore scene. This has been a good year for French hardcore and a lot of bands seem to be popping up around this area. Don’t We All are a good example of this and you should be sure to check them out on the link provided below.
29 Apr 2014
|Mean Little Blanket - 'Blast Off!'|
Earlier this month my friends in Ashes Forever sent me a recommendation which is their friends band Mean Little Blanket who have just released their debut record titled Blast Off! Formed in 2009 by Corey Dozier and Jason Prushko based in New York, this 3 piece are re-inventing the sound of hard rock. This record contains 10 tracks of mathcore and jazz enfused hard rock that leaves you thinking, ‘what did I just listen to?’ Taking influence from bands like The Fall of Troy, Incubus and Between the Buried and Me , I think if you mixed all three of these bands plus others you would end up with a perfect description of Mean Little Blanket
The record starts off with Don’t be Scared It’s Only a Crescendo which in an instant, shows off these two people’s talents and sets the tone for the whole album. The time signatures are all over the place which I love. Everybody’s Good shows a perfect blend of guitar sequences with steady drums and some nice varied vocal patterns. No song on this record is alike and contain completely different styles of song making. I feel a lot of time, effort and passion have gone into creating this musical masterpiece and every song has been carefully pieced together like a jigsaw. This record is far from repetitive and leaves me wanting to listen to it more. It’s entertaining, interesting and pleasant to the ears.
I really like the track Bermuda which includes some blues sounding guitar rhythms mixed with some rocky riffs and also has some cool effects throughout. This record seems to have a bit of something for everyone and I am sure this will appeal to all sorts of music fans as they have incorporated so many genres into their sound. Your Monster, My Ancestor goes back into a more progressive rock sound and the clean vocals work really well throughout. Power Wash is another one of my favourites on this record especially with the instrumental attributes and technical skill present. This track is broken down into a hundred different parts and my ears don’t get too accustomed to one part as there is an impeccable mix of slow tempo beats with melodies and soft vocals but soon cuts back in with some jazzy, experimental parts.
Although the songs are all quite long (some ranging from 7-12 minutes) they are a perfect time for the listener to absorb all of the musicianship present. You really don’t want to miss out on this release. Mean Little Blanket provide a fresh sound, not just for people who like rock music but for almost everyone. I really do not see what there is not to like about Blast Off! I believe this band will go far in the future but I do wonder how they will manager to top this release. Do not miss out on this and check it out on the link below.
Official band website
29 Mar 2014
|Manners - 'Pale Blue Light'|
If you are unaware of Manners, they are a fairly recent melodic hardcore band from Connecticut US who seem a bit more favourable in this genre. With melodic hardcore I think you know what to expect but Manners take this style to a new level creating the most miserable, disheartening sound you can think of. Their lyrics are also incredibly sad and depressing and sets the tone for the whole record. I thought the previous EP Apparitions was very emotional and filled with despair but the latest release Pale Blue Light tops this by far.
I feel that is record is heavily influenced from 90’s style lyric-wise but they have taken away the metalcore sound and replaced it with melodies and structured guitar sequences. This album is heavier than their previous release which has only enhanced Manners sound. This material with the mixture of emotion and instrumental heaviness would be fantastic to see live and i'm sure will get a positive reaction from the audience. There is a perfect balance between the melodies of the talented guitar playing from Ian and Jay and emotional piercing screams from Chris. Some bands use the vocals to their advantage and others sometimes use instrumentals to theirs but Manners do an awesome job of using both to create a sound that is satisfying to the ears.
On the tracks Family Portrait, Binge and Equinox there are parts that are very post-hardcore sounding showing huge potential and variation. This band set out to go above and beyond with their differential song structures and the pure passion and raw emotion portrayed through the vocals. I can’t even put a finger on my favourite track as they are all as impressive and powerful as the next. Boiling point, Nothing to Fear and The Sun Won’t Rise are all fantastic tracks and show amazing musicianship with crisp guitar melodies and pummelling drum beats but I particularly enjoyed the harmonies in the final track Living Will.
Manners provide a refreshing sound and capture the perfect elements of this style to create this successful melodic hardcore record . The amount of passion, anger, rawness and grittiness of this band will go far, as this release is spot on and I really hope they keep doing what they do to develop even more in the future. Check it out on the below links.
15 Feb 2014
If you're about London or travelling down then this is a hardcore show not to be missed. Expire, Coldburn and Forsaken in Highbury and Islington area (Venue: Upstairs in the Relentless Garage. I saw Expire last time they played London and they put on an impressive performance so definitely looking forward to them gain. Forsaken are always fun to see live and this will be the first I have seen of Coldburn so should be interesting. Doors are open at 7(ish) I think, last tickets on the door are available from 6pm so don't miss out. The price is a nice round tenner, see below for band details:
Expire - Heavy hardcore from Milwaukee (US) currently on Bridge 9 Records
Coldburn - Hardcore from Germany currently on Cobra Records and BDHW Records
Forsaken - Crossover/Metallic Hardcore from UK currently on Neutral Words Records
12 Jan 2014
It’s been a while since I have been to The Grosvenor in Stockwell but for my first show of the year I was sure I was not going to be disappointed. From first entering the front of the pub it was evident nothing had changed here and probably never will. The venue has a dodgy damp smell coming from the carpet and walls and the toilets are a dingy small cell like room and as always if the show sells out you can’t see hardly anything as it is all on one level. Nonetheless it is still a venue that holds great atmosphere and is a perfect venue for hardcore shows.
The opening band Employed to Serve were greeted by a half full room but still there seemed to be a decent turnout near the front of the performance area as they took to the stage at around 19:50. This fairly new UK outfit do a huge number on providing crazy technical riffs and breakneck speed drums throughout their set. Generating quite an energetic response from the front members of the audience (including myself) I thought they played a fantastic set. As I had never seen these before (I’m not sure why) I was shocked on how awesome they sounded especially with no set time sequences and an attitude of pure misery and negativity. If you haven’t yet seen these then you need to get to their next show!
Let it Die were up next and I maintained my spot up in front of the stage area while everyone else seemed to go to the bar and drink. The performance they put on was pretty good and use this term as I thought they have played better performances in the past. Playing heavy down tuned hardcore mixed with thrash elements the front section of crowd were banging their heads frantically and overall I thought they deserved a better turn out.
Pariso were up next and caused a bit of a buzz for the first time of the night. A few kids at the front of the crowd were going crazy for them. Although their set was quite short they still maintained their heavy and fierce chaotic style throughout. Their crazy instrumental parts mixed with searing vocals really showed a decent performance but not one of their best I have to admit. A short but sweet set that leads on to the next bands who are on tour together.
That’s right Benchpress one of the night’s most obvious hardcore bands jumps on straight after Pariso and is the first time they have been to UK and what a freakin’ performance they put on. I knew they wouldn’t disappointment me. The delivery of each song they played was on point to the very detail and the aggression and confidence of the vocals added a fantastic edge to the performance. The intensity of the riffs and breakdown parts caused quite a ruckus in which there was plenty of movement and moshing towards the front and middle which I was participating in.
The final act for the night was after this and to be honest I think the whole night the audience was waiting for Wolf Down. From when I reviewed their first release I feel they have grown majorly as a band musically and lyrically. As their sound check was going on you could see the amount of people building up in the venue especially towards the front section of the venue. This band are hard as fuck and every song they played on this night went down as well as the last. Every single track played had everyone moshing away, moving side to side and jumping on one another. Their set created such an amazing atmosphere to the night and to me was going to be probably one of the best sets of the year already. Crazy heavy breakdowns were played 10 times heavier than what they sounded like off the records, the vocals contained so much emotion and there was so much passion from this band it was just amazing. Even after they had finished the crowd wanted one more song which they happily played. For such a fantastic and hardworking band it was so worth busting my hand jumping into the crowd, missing my last tube and buying more merch. If you were there I’m sure you already know how good this show was.
9 Jan 2014
If you live in London, or if you don't live in London you need to get down to this show tonight at The Grosvenor, in Stockwell area, London. There has been some awesome turnouts over their tour here with Benchpress so please everyone get down to this and support hardcore music and make it a show to remember. It's only 6 quid and doors open at 7pm so get down early to check out the first bands! See below for band details.
Wolf Down - Vegan straight edge hardcore from Germany currently on Start a Fire Records and Powertrip Records
Benchpress - Heavy and mosh worthy hardcore from the US currently on Stateless Society Records and Marked for Death Records
Pariso - Aggressive and experimental hardcore from UK currently on Tangled Talk Records
Let it Die - Dirty, thrash influenced hardcore from UK
Employed to Serve - Hardcore/Powerviolence from London UK.
7 Jan 2014
|Surveyor - 'No Life, No Future'|
I think beatdown hardcore seems to be developing a greater following in this current time and over the past few years has seen a massive increase in the number of beatdown, down-tempo style bands. The definition of 'heavy' though is changing throughout this scene and it feels that each band is trying to outdo another with heavier and heavier breakdowns (nothing like a bit of friendly competition I guess). In this instance Surveyor are new on the block from California US and oh boy, their first release No Life No Future left me feeling like I’ve had all of my teeth kicked out!
Although beatdown style hardcore isn’t the most technical or adventurous approach, it still packs one hell of a punch. From listening to this EP for the first time I felt the idea of Surveyor is to slam crowds with chugging down tempo riffs and ninja kick worthy breakdowns that make you wanna punch a hole through the wall. This is straight up gritty beatdown hardcore played with 500% pure negative attitude. The first track No Life kicks off with catchy double bass and a drawn out intro section which soon snaps to a slamming tough guy breakdown and throaty aggressive vocals. To me it sounds a little reminiscent of bands like Drowning and World of Pain and the heaviness should raise an eyebrow or two.
Surveyor havn’t set out to be groundbreaking and bring nothing new to the table but tracks like Vida Dura and Lost Sleep definitely show an onslaught of bulky guitar two step rhythms and lots of strung out build ups to yet more fat breakdowns. The deep throaty vocals fit perfectly for this style of hardcore with lyrics to match especially in the track No Future.
All in all this is a mosh fest of a record and I think it’s pretty clear they have achieved their main mission of releasing a heavy and angry record that all fans of this genre should enjoy. I have to say if you do like beatdown hardcore, this ain’t half bad, check it out and buy it below.
4 Jan 2014
|War Hound - 'Freedom'|
War Hound are back and are better than ever with a brand new EP release titled Freedom. With a new and improved line-up this is an EP not to be missed out on. If you are not too familiar with this band then here is a little background information for you. Based in Chicago (US) they started in 2009 and their first releases Call of the Hounds and Return of the Hardstyle gained them appreciation in the hardcore scene and last year they released a full length Colder Than Ever which was awesome and in the vein of bands like Biohazard and Fury of Five.
I have been looking forward to this EP for a while now and it is nowhere near disappointing. This smashed all my expectations and they have completely redefined their sound and have developed incredibly as a band. I can’t quite put a genre to it but imagine a mix up of Biohazard, Korn, hip-hop, intense screaming, dark metallic hardcore, beatdown style and BOOM you've got War Hound. The new song structures and lyrics are also a big step up from the last release.
Opening with the track Anger this is an instant favourite for me, this is a solid 3 minutes of pure aggression and heaviness. Constant chugging guitar riffs and crushing drum beats dominate this and towards the end part of the song there is an earth shaking breakdown which repeats a few times and really gets stuck in your head. Stress follows this and really shows off Ronnie Vinal’s vocal power of raw screams and pure anger. Towards the end of this track there is a very strange harmonic guitar melody that is very Korn-esque which I love.
This then continues into the second half of the EP on the track Jealousy but soon breaks out into some slow, down tuned guitar ring outs. The pace starts to slow down throughout this track and into Fear but it never gets boring. They throw in some technical guitar solos alongside the droning chugs and heavy hitting drums and yet again there is a frenzy of crazy raw screams and gang shout outs which shows a great contrast between the paces and pitches.
Freedom stands out to me as a fantastic release and shows some very strong beliefs and attitudes that the hardcore scene should have! War Hound have created a monster of a record so do not sleep on this! They are on a tour later this month in the US with Lionheart and Havenside which I am jealous I can’t attend as am based in the UK. Hopefully War Hound will try and play here again in the near future. I’d love to see how the new material goes down live!
Freedom is currently available for downloads at the below links: