Pray U Prey, The Omega Kill (Selfmadegod Records 2021)

The Omega Kill is the sophomore album from British hardcore Death Metal band Pray U Prey.

Pray U Prey formed in 2014, producing an EP almost immediately and their debut long-player, Figure The 8, three years later. You could hang a lot of labels on their music – hardcore, punk, crust, grindcore, death metal – but what you need to know is it’s loud, fast, and outrageous. The band is Shrew (vocals), Simon G (guitar), Colin (drums), and Shrub (bass).

There are twelve songs on the new album, every one of them a hammer to the head. “Earth Roulette Wheel” opens with a sweet capture from an old movie about the generosity of man and the plenty of nature that is quickly trampled under the relentless battering of the band’s instruments and the craggy growling of Shrew. “Hidden in Plain Sight” is next and it skips the intro, choosing instead to drop 65 seconds calamitous thrubbing onto your personal space. There is no time to take a breath before “Life Without Reflection” – my favorite from the set – pushes your face in the dirt.

With the shortest pieces, it is a straight-through clacking sprint to the end. When the song goes on a little longer, there is a pace change and shift in riff structure, usually. On songs with slower movements like “Active Suppression” and “Living Library,” the music focuses on doomy ideas in between the flailing and thrashing. So there is a lot of different ideas bandied about on the album. Through it all, aggression and persistent presentations of adrenaline are the mainstays. This one definitely inflames. Recommended.

The Omega Kill is available on Friday, August 6th through Selfmadegod Records. You can snap it up on CD or digital at Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/PrayUPrey

Selfmadegod Records, https://selfmadegod.com/

Pray U Prey, The Omega Kill (Selfmadegod Records 2021)

Covered In Sores, Civilian Casualties (HPGD 2021)

Covered In Sores release a new compilation of their early demos, Civilian Casualties.

Covered In Sores is a Grindcore/Death Metal band from Philadelphia. Earlier this year, they released an EP, Putrescent Hind-Sight, after a steady stream of demos in the years leading up to it. Now you can look back to the beginning and see where all the rampaging started with Civilian Casualties.

The new compilation includes Militaristic Cannibalism (2018), Blown To Bits (2019), and Evil Experiments (2020). These demos had six tracks each, and they are all on Civilian Casualties. What kind of music are we dealing with here? The press release calls it “sadoballistic guerrilla Deathgrind.” That pretty much sums it up.

Most of the songs run right around a minute long, with only three crossing the ninety second mark. Listening to them, then, is like getting punched in the face by an invisible fist. The perfect example is the lead song, “Fatal Bacteria.” Landing at exactly one minute, it is a blistering compressed combination of screaming, percussion, and rapid-fire riffing.

The music changes up with alternating compositional arrangements – the occasional lead break and tempo shift, now and then a bridge. There is the periodic mid-tempo passage but mainly look for shrieks and breath-stealing pace.

You can hear a difference from one demo to the next. My favorite set of six is Blown To Bits, and I really like “Krokodil Tears,” “Funeral Ambush,” and “Sucking Chest Wound” from that demo. The third demo is the most aggressive and off-the-hook of the bunch, so you have that to look forward to. If you don’t already hold these demos in your collection, grabbing the compilation is a no-brainer. Recommended.

Civilian Casualties is out on Friday, July 30th from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. Bandcamp has the goods and/or you can check out HPGD’s site.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/civilian-casualties

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/horrorpaingoredeath/

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, https://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

Covered In Sores, Civilian Casualties (HPGD 2021)

Monnier, Monnier (HPGD 2021)

Grindcore duo Monnier sign with Horror Pain Gore Death and release a compilation to the wider world.

Jasper Swerts (instruments) and Makiko Suda (vocals) are Monnier. They have issued two EPs, Monnier (2018) and EP2 (2020), collected here for ease of acquisition. The music is hard cracking grindcore, and it gets under your skin.

The sixteen songs contained in Monnier rarely break the two minute rule. They are raging, savage attacks, all of them. Titles like “Writhe In Agony,” “Excruciation,” and “The Abyss” give you a pretty good idea of the themes. But then “grindcore” gives you a pretty good idea of what you are in for, too, doesn’t it.

The titles of the second set of eight tracks are in Japanese, and they are written in the usual combination of kanji and hiragana, which I can’t read. There is no preemptive expectation this way. You can definitely hear a difference between the first half and the second; between the two EPs. I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other, but there are different emphases, in the percussion especially.

What I like about this music particularly – and what makes it different from the usual tumult – is what happens in between the dissonance and the roar. The hooks and riffs, the musical progressions. These are the elements that make you want to listen to the music rather than just hear the sound. Monnier does these things in rare and compelling ways.

The compilation is out on Friday, April 23rd so get yourself together before then. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/monnier

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/monniergrindcore/

Label, http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

Monnier, Monnier (HPGD 2021)

Mortify, Grotesque Buzzsaw Defilement (HPGD 2021)

The new EP from Mortify will punch you into unconsciousness with Grindcore madness in less than 10 minutes.

Mortify is Ryohei Kikuchi (drums), Takuya Koreeda (guitar), and Adam Jennings (vocals). After demos in 2017 and 2019, they followed up with the full-length album Stench of Swedish Buzzsaw that holds twenty songs with a running time of ten minutes. They are on the same trajectory with the new one, Grotesque Buzzsaw Defilement, that has thirteen songs in under ten.

So what do we know? Mortify is a fairly new band that plays short, blazing Grindcore with a buzzsaw through-line. OK. Ready to go.

If we do the math here, these songs are going to be less than a minute for the most part. The shortest is twenty five seconds, pushing the envelope on the idea of a fully realized stand-alone concept. Mainly, they are getting in and getting out quick, with a blistering pace and destructive attitude.

My favorite tracks are “Flesh Creep,” which is a thirty-five second doom song that opens the set, and “100 Rats,” a beautiful horror story that shreds all surroundings and has a catchy riff. “Mangy Mutts” and “Deviant” also spoke to me because of the guitar riff in the former and the oppressive, weighty shots in the latter. I’d love to see the band perform this entire album live, straight through in a sweaty, claustrophobic club. That’d be great.

If you are not into commitment but you are a fan of fast, loud, and aggressive music, this one is for you. Recommended.

Grotesque Buzzsaw Defilement is out on Friday, April 2nd from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. Hit the Label Bandcamp link below for the download, CDs, and merch in the US.

Links.

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Mortify666/

Bandcamp, https://mortify666.bandcamp.com/album/grotesque-buzzsaw-defilement

Label Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/grotesque-buzzsaw-defilement

Label, http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

Mortify, Grotesque Buzzsaw Defilement (HPGD 2021)

Socioclast, Socioclast (Carbonized Records 2021)

The first album from California metal trio Socioclast is a ferocious declaration of intent to rattle the cages of the status quo.

The musicians that form Socioclast walk on from bands like Mortuous, Altars, and In Disgust, and they are Colin Tarvin (bass, vocals), Matt Gomes (guitar), Cris Rodriguez (drums). With a home base of San Jose and a musical ethic of grindcore, the band has an energetic pathology. It should be fairly obvious from the name they have chosen that they have a lot to say about society, mostly not complimentary. The music, then, is tuned to the outrage of their observations and constructed for maximal impact.

There are sixteen songs on the new self-titled album, all but one less than two minutes long and almost half clocking less than sixty seconds. Blast beats abound. As does the irrepressible voice of Tarvin which I had already come to admire from his previous work. Not a lot of slow songs here, but there is the occasional doom moment, as in the way “Terminal Regress” begins, for example. Mainly you can expect a blistering pace and bursts of chaos.

The whole album is great, and I do have a couple of favorites. “Eden’s Tongue,” in particular – I love the Black Metal sinews and the arching back in the middle. The co-curricular vocals in “Convention Of Ruin” gave me a similar rush. “Surrogate Will” wins the prize for making me dizziest. “Concrete and Steel” is the long track at the end, running 2:48. It has a melancholy opening refrain that stuck with me even after the churning heat of the rest of the song. It is a good capstone to the set. I am onboard. Recommended.

Socioclast is out tomorrow in many and varied forms from Carbonized Records.

Band photo by Anna Gomes.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/socioclast

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/carbonizedrecords/

Carbonized Records, https://carbonized-records.myshopify.com/

Socioclast, Socioclast (Carbonized Records 2021)

Gravesend, Methods Of Human Disposal (20 Buck Spin 2021)

Freshly minted grindcore trio Gravesend open a massive crack in the earth with their debut full-length album Methods Of Human Disposal.

Fashionably semi-anonymous, the musicians in Gravesend are telling stories of mayhem and decline set to the soundtrack of chaos. Stalking the streets of New York City with malfeasance on their minds, the music they create is super charged with the darkest episodes and artifacts of society most drear. The attitude calls punk to the front of my brain and the application is grinding at the speed of metal with the elemental tools of the trade.

“Fear City” is the first song, and it opens like a soundtrack to Dark Shadows or some such, with quiet, creepy keys. Slowly a violent argument starts the narrative off and it is the second piece where the music really begins to drop, “STH-10,” with the breath of doom. Building, angrier and angrier, into “Methods of Human Disposal” for the first taste of the savage vocals. The title track is dripping with callous disregard for propriety, establishing a purpose all its own.

The music is up-tempo but it is not breakneck for the most part, letting the drums push the urgency while the other instruments slam down the heavy. Some songs, like “Subterranean Solitude,” do set a blistering pace and combine it with a downshifted walking riff in the middle. And then there is “Eye For An Eye,” which is basically a mood piece that might be about the mass torture of seagulls. Entirely unpredictable.

The back-to-back pummeling of “The Grave’s End” and “Scum Breeds Scum” (my favorite track, the latter) near the end tees up the closer perfectly: “Concrete Feet” is a hi-test thrumming with twenty seconds of silence at the end to allow you to gather your thoughts. This album shook me up and Gravesend is on my radar from now on. Recommended.

The album is out on Friday February 19th from 20 Buck Spin Records. Hit the links below for cassettes, LPs, CDs, and/or the digital.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://warforgravesend.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/warforgravesend

20 Buck Spin, https://www.20buckspin.com/

Gravesend, Methods Of Human Disposal (20 Buck Spin 2021)

Scour, Black review (Housecore Records 2020)

The trilogy is now complete as Scour releases the final EP in the cycle, Black.

The band Scour is the stuff of dark dreams: Philip H. Anselmo (lead vocals), Derek Engemann (guitar, vocals), John Jarvis (bass, vocals), Mark Kloeppel (guitar, vocals), and Adam Jarvis (drums). These musicians came together in 2015 and started a musical project to be released in three parts. First was Grey (2016), and then Red (2017), and now the final installment has arrived, Black.

The music has a ravaging brutality about it, a dedication to Black Metal and Grindcore principles. “Doom” breaks the silence with sirens, fair warning and a sign that the onslaught is underway. The music is a massive, pulverizing force, directed along by the drums and liberated through vocals and a piercing, succinct lead break. “Nail,” “Propaganda,” and “Flames” pile drive new legendary pillars into the heavy landscape as Anselmo’s voice is joined in chorus, flanked by guitar and with underlay of bass and drum. “Microbes” is a beautiful instrumental track with melancholy violins and a disturbing, increasingly destabilizing piano. The menace builds with bigger strokes and added vocals, leading at the end to “Subprime” – the closer and the final hammer down on the shattering granite.

The band brought in guests Pat O’Brien, Erik Rutan, and, improbably, Jason Momoa for the recording of the last piece of the puzzle. Every element came together in synchrony and synergy. Black is the best end to the trilogy I could imagine. Recommended.

The music is available now at the links below in many forms. Listen to the earlier installments first, then dive into Black.

Band photo by Joseph P. Dorignak IV.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://scourhc.bandcamp.com/album/black-ep

Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/scourband

Label, http://www.thehousecorerecords.com

Label Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/housecorerecords

Scour, Black review (Housecore Records 2020)

Cell Press review (No Funeral Records 2020)

Montreal [*]core band Cell Press venture out with their first EP.

The band Cell Press is only about a year old, but the musicians it is comprised of have been plying their trade for some time. The band is Sean Arsenian, Joey Cormier, Mark McGee, and PQ. If I had to label the music on the self-titled EP, I would call it Punk, but the band does not embrace a particular label and writers are calling them everything from Grindcore to Metalcore to Sludge to Noise so I am going to go with [*]core. Fast, loud, guitar-driven music, sometimes discordant.

There are four songs and a longer track that is referred to as a “noise” piece in the press materials. “Piss Police” is up first and it begins tentatively with thrilling drumming and progressively coagulating guitar riffing, joined later by shouting. “Desert Breath” is like a person running down the street in a flaming halter top who seems to be more concerned about being late than being on fire. “Blacked Out in Verdun” – more great drumming and pensive guitar riffs to twist up the personal cataclysm. “Dead at OACI.” I assume this refers to the Metro Station (but it might not), and it goes from linear, certain riffs to pure mayhem, especially as the end nears. The long track is “My Son Will No the Truth,” clocking in at 11:40 and appearing at the end of the set. It is almost as long as the other for pieces combined. It is the sort of thing you have to just listen to and let happen. Describing it wouldn’t really get us anywhere.

Noisy and enjoyable, I give this Cell Press effort high marks. I am a Punk fan from the beginning, and I hear those roots here, certainly in the attitude, even if the category is technically off. The disenfranchisement is very appealing. Recommended.

You can buy the digital at Bandcamp, No Funeral Records has a cassette and T-shirt, and Ancient Temple Recordings will also be carrying products. Links below. The official release date is this Friday, November 27.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://cellpress.bandcamp.com/releases

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/cellpressmtl

Ancient Temple Recordings, https://ancienttemplerecordings.bigcartel.com/

No Funeral Shop, https://store.nofuneral.ca/product/cell-press-t-shirt-t-shirt-cassette-bundle

Cell Press review (No Funeral Records 2020)

Anaal Nathrakh, Endarkenment review (Metal Blade Records 2020)

The rejection of “Enlightenment” would be, logically, Endarkenment – exactly what you get from the new Anaal Nathrakh album.

Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt are the Birmingham duo who together make Anaal Nathrakh, a Black Metal band that has been on the prowl for two decades now. Over the years the music has become increasingly harsh, landing the band a label of Industrial Black Metal and even Grindcore. They always sound like Black Metal to me, from The Codex Necro (2001) to Passion (2010) to A New Kind Of Horror (2018). Whatever we might call the music, know that loud fast savagery is what you are going to hear. In a written introduction meant to get listeners ready for hearing Endarkenment, the band alerted us that “A musical bath in sulphuric acid awaits.” Take heed.

The title track opens the set with blistering guitars riffs, blast beat drumming, and screaming. The vocals are thereafter variegated, with more screams, coarse, Death Metal-like croaking, and what can only be described as beautiful, melodic singing. “Thus, Always, To Tyrants” is next and it is an emblazoned rush of musical chaos. The lead guitar can barely be understood. The entire album is a ravaging affair.

Two tracks stand out for me, although I think it is best to listen to this album from front to back in its entirety. “Singularity” has a menacing, discordant opening then presents a fairly formal musical ordering and represents in many ways the clearest presentation of the recurring themes in the album. And then the closer, “Requiem,” with a melody that sounds like a twisted, evil carnival, is coming with me on road trips from now on. Combine the music with the direct lines of the Requiem Mass and the dark beauty is almost overwhelming. A sorrowful lead guitar tells a simple and profound story in the second half, and the lasting impact of the composition is set in stone. Highly recommended.

Metal Blade Records lets Endarkenment loose on the world Friday, October 2nd through the usual outlets. It is harsh and that is just what fans are looking for.

Links.

http://www.anaal-nathrakh.com

https://www.facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial

https://anaalnathrakh.bandcamp.com/

https://www.metalblade.com/anaalnathrakh/

Anaal Nathrakh, Endarkenment review (Metal Blade Records 2020)

Brain Corrosion / Ripped To Shreds, Exhumed From Eastern Tombs split review (Horror Pain Gore Death 2020)

A Grindcore / Death Metal split to raise your weekend from the dead: Exhumed from Eastern Tombs.

Brain Corrosion is a Grindcore band from Taiwan. There is not a lot of information about them besides their Facebook page which reveals they are a trio and they have released an EP, a demo, and two splits since 2009. On the new one, they contribute eight short brutal hammerings with loud brittle percussion, elaborate coarse vocals, and a few audio clips to fill out the episodes. Three of the songs are also on an EP available at Bandcamp called Legal Innocence from 2017 (I am not sure if these are new versions on Exhumed). They are ripping it up and cleaning out your pipes for about 13 minutes – it’s a treatment you need some time to recover from before taking again.

Ripped to Shreds is a San Jose Death Metal band that is the creation of mastermind Andrew Lee who has different bands for live performance in the US and in Taiwan. There are several Ripped To Shreds albums out, including the new full-length Luan that was released in April this year. For Exhumed, there is one new track, “Rotting Stenches Unknown,” and three short covers of well-known Hard/Grindcore songs. The new song is in the Death Metal vein, and it is right on the edge of Hardcore as is rears back and splits your cerebellum with intense ectoplasmic energy.

This is the first time I have listened to either band. Exhumed From Eastern Tombs is a worthy introduction and puts you on the right path to find out more about these bands if you like what you hear.

Out now, you can joined the excavation at Bandcamp. CDs, t-shirts, and bundles are there, too. If you go specifically to the Ripped To Shreds Bandcamp page for the split (second link below), there are also vinyl variants for sale that are scheduled to ship in October.

Links.

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/exhumed-from-eastern-tombs

https://rippedtoshredsdeathmetal.bandcamp.com/album/exhumed-from-eastern-tombs

https://www.facebook.com/braincorrosion

https://braincorrosion.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rippedtoshredsband

https://rippedtoshredsdeathmetal.bandcamp.com/

Brain Corrosion / Ripped To Shreds, Exhumed From Eastern Tombs split review (Horror Pain Gore Death 2020)