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.


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)

Violent Life Violent Death, The Color of Bone review (Innerstrength Records 2020)

The new VLVD release roars with a creepy dankness and shakes the mystic tree of hoary lore with the reckless violence of a terminal necromancer.

Violent Life Violent Death have released four EPs (counting the new one) since 2016. Centered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the band is David Holquin (drums), Joe Benham (guitar), Scott Cowan (vocals), Joey Park (guitar), and Justin Campbell (bass). They play hardcore metal that lies on the metal side (to my ear) with deep set hooks and a penetrating progressiveness.

The new one has five songs, all in the three minute range. “Grave Walk” gets things going with a chunky clank and battering percussion. It’s companion piece, “Dead With Me,” is more explicitly dramatic, even theatrical. It has a breaking-down-the-fourth-wall fierceness as Cowan’s voice seems to reach out to the listener individually – “I wish you were dead with me.”

“Roseblade’ is the epitome of punch. The darkness you feel listening to it is a claustrophobic cloak that is a circular orchestra surrounding your head. The echoey second-line voices and the marching chop of the guitars in the second half is mesmerizing. “Linger” is discordant at the front, tipping you, dizzy, into the final piece, “The Color of Bone.” Here you are lead into a knowable space and shown a fundamental truth. Sometimes it is worth hearing what we already know stated aloud. And here it is.

You can get The Color Of Bone this Friday, October 30th from Innerstrength Records through Bandcamp and all the usual other places. You can hear “Roseblade” now, and Spotify has a couple of the band’s other EPs available, so listen up in anticipation. It is an great set. Recommended.

Band photo by Justin Driscoll.


VLVD Bandcamp, https://violentlifeviolentdeath.bandcamp.com

VLVD shop, https://violentlifeviolentdeath.bigcartel.com/

VLVD Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/violentlifeviolentdeath

Label website, https://www.innerstrengthmusic.com

Label Bandcamp, https://innerstrengthrecords.bandcamp.com

Label Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/innerstrengthrecords

Violent Life Violent Death, The Color of Bone review (Innerstrength Records 2020)

Plague Years, Circle of Darkness review (eOne Music 2020)

Speed and mayhem are alive and well in Circle of Darkness, the new full-length release from Michigan metallers Plague Years.

From the beginning notes of the band’s first EP, these four Detroit musicians threw down the gauntlet in a clear sign to the world they were here to create hard, fast, crunching metal. Labeled as a crossover band, you can definitely hear Hardcore, Thrash, and Death Metal elements throughout. The new album is a continuation of 2018’s Unholy Infestation, except even faster and darker. The band on Circle of Darkness is Tim Engelhardt (vocals), Eric Lauder (guitar), Rian Staber (bass), and Mike Jurysta (drums).

There isn’t a single band to compare them to because Plague Years combines so many styles and their music shifts and moves in and across the songs in the album. They show a lot of chopping steady guitar rhythms at a mid-tempo speed in narrative moments of songs, then click into phantom blasts and thrashing ramps to sink the spikes in deeper. From the new album, songs like “Eternal Fire” rest on a modulated pace overall but have mystical lead breaks and surprising percussion eruptions that are not externalities but instead are essential elements in the composition. Flat out raging numbers are there too like “Circle of Darkness” and “Play The Victim” – and in these pieces the tempo is set high but there are also echoing ethereal moments and fascinating transition bridges.

Plague Years will get a hook into any metal fan because the range of expression and the variety of their musical appeal allows them to fit in on practically any heavy title card. Recommended.

Circle of Darkness is out this Friday, September 18. You can hear a couple singles already, and preorder the download or a hardcopy in different forms now. Their previous EP Unholy Infestation is on Spotify right now so you can go listen to that to tide you over for a couple of days

Band photo by Rian Staber.






Plague Years, Circle of Darkness review (eOne Music 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.








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

Concrete, Free Us From Existence review (Black Voodoo Records 2020)

Concrete, the hardcore band from Albany, returns with devastating aggression on Free Us From Existence.

The first music I heard from Concrete was the 2014 split they did with Hammerfist. The song “Born Lost” made a big impression on me especially, but all four of them smoked. Deadlock was before the split and Everything Ends Now came after in 2017. Over the years the band has been accumulating an impressive catalogue and gaining attention and respect from fans and the heavy music community at large. Free Us From Existence casts a sharp eye on the dismal situation that exists now and condenses it into loud bursts of disapprobation and condemnation in the form of ravaging hardcore music.

The new album opens with “Executing Vengeance” which sounds like climbing a ladder that is airborne and swirling in a tornado. “Starving Serpent” starts with heavy thumps and reveals twisting urgency in the tempo, cadence, and voice: “Fed to snakes / In the abyss / Left to rot / Starving serpent, oceans black / Take my eyes, take my eyes.” The menace and threat in the guitar line that runs along beside the vocals in one of the choruses tightens in your throat when you hear. “Path of Fire” has big doom riffs at the front with rolling rapid percussion, then a shift to thrash-speed before going back to heavy thumps like a stomping sauropod.

The landscape is broad and differentiated with Black Metal, Death Metal, and hardcore throughout. It is notable how much ground the band covers in just under thirty minutes, all the while keeping their own brand of menace intact and the thematic focus narrow. This overarching dispatch is demonstrated perfectly by the back-to-back entries “Psychological Crucifixion” and “World Tomb.” Listen to it all the way through and then hit it again because you don’t want to miss anything.

Available now for download at Bandcamp, with physical versions on the way from Black Voodoo Records. This album is going to be on a lot of Best Of 2020 lists. Recommended.

Band photo by Chantel Roberts.







Concrete, Free Us From Existence review (Black Voodoo Records 2020)

Reserving Dirtnaps, Another Disaster review (War Records 2020)

Another Disaster is a short, hot clip to the ears from Reserving Dirtnaps.

The music from this Memphis band sounds like punk to me, but before I offend anybody, they are usually described as hardcore. I don’t think any of these guys will mind either way: Brandon Pearce (vocals), Paul Doherty (guitar), and Aaron Winter (bass). Judging by Spotify, Reserving Dirtnaps has two previous EPs, a self-titled one from 2014 and Part II in 2016. The new one, while being in basically the same lane, raises even more blisters than the first two.

There are four hard, fast songs that express the lives people are leading here in the middle of it all, 2020 – “Sleepless,” “Under Siege,” “Blood On The Walls,” and “The Floods.” Combine the song titles with the title of the set and there you have a fairly vivid idea of where the sound is coming from. There is a fierce energy in these songs, and they have a “live” feel to them. You can see it when you hear it. There is as much ferocity in this music as in Harms Way, say, but with the unique perspective and experience that makes Reserving Dirtnaps recognizable in the horde of hard music. The weight of the crumbling world bears down on and bursts out from the guitar and the voice and the drums and the base. This is what hardcore (and I’d say punk) is about. Recommended.

Out in a couple days, you can take a look at the EP at Bandcamp, and pre-order it. There were still a few copies of the vinyl left when last I looked, but just a few. Get going if you want one.

Band photo by Matt Wood.




Reserving Dirtnaps, Another Disaster review (War Records 2020)