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)

Band of Bastards, Delete. Repeat. (Redacted Records / SilverDoor Music 2021)

Texas-style hardcore/punk unit Band of Bastards throws down a big sound in a tight package.

Based in Austin, this new operation is peopled by stage-worn emissaries bearing ferocious tidings. The band is Jason Reece (vocals), Andrew Leeper (guitar), Sam Rich (drums), and Erick Sanger (bass).

Most of the dozen songs included on the album are less than two minutes long with a couple on the bubble and only a rare excursion past 180 seconds. High energy and high speed is what you can expect. “False Idols” is a little bit of a downshift in the tempo area while still being very clippy so there aren’t any breaks in the whole set. Full tilt all the way.

Every song is a clap on the back and I wouldn’t skip any of them, even the second time through or the third. This music gets under your skin and when it does you are glad to have it there. This is on the conversational edge of hardcore, the broad side. There is a lot of crossover potential here. Recommended.

Delete. Repeat. is out on Friday July 23rd. Get in line now.

Links.

Pre-save, https://backl.ink/147339121

SilverDoor Music, http://www.silverdoormusic.com/

Website, https://www.bandofbastardstx.com/

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG-tqDUjsvisj-xKFpEGXng

Band of Bastards, Delete. Repeat. (Redacted Records / SilverDoor Music 2021)

Beartooth, Below (Red Bull Records 2021)

The wild ride continues with the fourth album from Columbus punk/metal/hardcore facilitators Beartooth.

The recording journey started in 2014 with Disgusting, an album that surprised and energized the heavy music community. It was Aggressive (2016) next then Disease (2018) and now Below. Always straight to the point. After the recent departure of longtime guitarist Kamron Bradbury, the band is, by the most recent accounting, Caleb Shomo (vocals), Oshie Bichar (bass), Connor Denis (drums), Zach Huston (guitar), and Will Deely (guitar).

The music is a squish of many influences from metalcore to post-punk, often circling around soaring melodic choruses which definitely stand out in the unavoidable comparison to the screaming stanzas. The bursting energy you hear in the songs is something to behold in person. Beartooth is one of those bands I saw live having never heard any of their music before. They definitely make an impression.

“Devastation” and “The Past Is Dead” have gotten a few million plays on Spotify and they are great instances of Beartooth that will catch listeners and bring them in to the broader display of the entire Below album. I am not even going to pick a favorite. Every song is rocket ride, one way or another. You can’t listen to this album sitting down, easy in your chair – you have to get up and let it move through you. If you haven’t started your summer yet, this is the kickstart you need. Recommended.

Below is out now. Go to the band’s website (tap below) to catch the links to all the music and merch.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards, Heavy Montreal 2019.

Links.

Website, https://beartoothband.com/

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

Beartooth, Below (Red Bull Records 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)

There Were Wires, Somnambulists (Iodine Recordings 2021)

The long-remembered Somnambulists album gets a remaster and a re-release.

A somnambulist is a sleep walker. Not a label in common usage. Silent horror movie fans (are there any of those left besides me?) will recognize it from Robert Wiene’s classic German expressionist horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). Otherwise, it doesn’t come up much. Cool word, though.

The band There Were Wires goes back to 1999 in Boston. Releasing demos and a long-player on their own, they hooked up with Iodine Recordings in early aughts and the result was Somnambulists. The album came out and was well received but the label and the band fragmented just after. Now in a renewal phase, a remastered version of the notable incarnation is coming to life.

Let’s walk through the museum and make a couple of comments.

The music is a movement through a number of genres – metal, hardcore, punk – and it generally has a well-produced feel. I like the doom elements interspersed among the frantic cracks, and the thrumming percussion that appears and disappears in a way that sorts out your arrhythmia.

The opening track is “New Doom” and I spent the most time with it, appreciating its directions and miasms. Instrumental passages like “Walking” give way to songs like “Get Cryptic” where Primus seems to be channeled and then were on to short ruptures and enigmatic sidelines. “Gasp” is a meditation, ten minutes overall and filled with infections and inoculations alike – it is an event all its own. The closer here is “Tunic,” a cover of the Sonic Youth song.

The compositions contained in this set could easily have been created today. The music does not sound at all dated or out of place. If anything it is particularly resonant now. If you are coming back to it today or if you have never heard it before, now is a good time to listen in. Recommended.

Somnambulists is out on Friday, April 16th. Hit the label link below for the recording and merch.

Band photos by Erin McCown.

Links.

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

Label, https://iodinerecords.com/

There Were Wires, Somnambulists (Iodine Recordings 2021)

Machinist! ~ Dead Hand, Split (Nefarious Industries 2021)

Dead Hand and Machinist! join forces to produce a hammerfall split that will leave your ears ringing.

Machinist! is a high-test metal band with a gravely disposition and clobbering attitude. The band – Jeff Hill (vocals), Jeremy McGuire (drums), Matt Marshall (guitar), and Matt Zagorski (bass) – offer two songs on the split. The first one opens with the flick of a Zippo then proceeds to tear down the tin shack with fearsome aggression in “Bask In The White Light.” The song bends to doom in the second half and finishes with noise. “The Nail” has a slower beginning but has just as much shouting. Never fear, they do wail on you and the tempo becomes clompy with a punk sneer before the wrap.

Machinist!

Dead Hand is a doom operation peopled by Clifton Carr (guitar and vocals), Shannon Harris (synth and vocals), Stephen Williams (guitar and vocals), Carson Pace (drums), and Andrew Seth (bass). Their track is “Muirgeilt” and it flows over you for almost eight minutes like thick cement laced with sharp, rusty pieces of steel. You feel a filtered gothic atmosphere, an overriding sense of decadence and, especially in the middle, inevitable suffocation. It is a terrorizing piece that conjures calamity.

Dead Hand

These three songs taken together are a menace to your sanity. The styles are very different and the complement each other. Recommended.

Friday March 19th is the release day, and with a digital preorder you can hear two out of the three tracks now. Bandcamp is the easy hook-up.

Dead Hand photo by Dakota Williams.

Machinist! Photo by Matt Zagorsky.

Links.

Machinist! Bandcamp, https://machinistga.bandcamp.com/

Dead Hand Bandcamp, https://deadhandcollective.bandcamp.com/

Machinist! Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/machinistga

Dead Hand Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/deadhandcollective

Label, https://shop.nefariousindustries.com/collections/machinist-dead-hand-split

Machinist! ~ Dead Hand, Split (Nefarious Industries 2021)

Bleach Everything, Bound / Cured (Dark Operative 2021)

Tighten up your wig because this one is a quick, hard punch right to the mouth.

Bleach everything began in 2012 as a band with a central locus of Richmond, Virginia. Changes and evolution ensued, and a few years ago they also started a magazine – check out their website (link below) to see what some of that content looks like. The taproot is punk with hardcore capillaries, but they do sound different from the store brand. The band’s discography shows a good list of 7 inchers, splits, and the well-known RFTCC (2019). The band is Ryan Parrish (drums), Brent Eyestone (vocals), Kelly Posadas (bass), and Graham Scala (guitar).

“Bound” has a chorus that teeters on the melodic, existing like an idyllic island surrounded by rough waters. “Cured” does that, too, and so we have a theme carried out in two pieces over the course of less than three minutes. It is punk and maybe hardcore, but there is this modulating factor I am talking about that gives it a different ring.

The press releases reads, in part, thusly. “Thematically, ‘Bound’ explores the uncertainty of luck and life and never truly knowing how it can, will, and can still shake out. ‘Cured’ addresses the notion of figuring out how one must come to terms with the truth before death takes care of the task.” I can’t disagree with this assessment. What I got out of it went off in rather a different direction and came from just letting the sounds roil over me. You do it your way.

Pre-order the digital for two bucks or the x-ray flexi disc for three bucks via the Bandcamp link — they’ll be out this coming Friday. This one is for fans more than newbies, and the fans are going to like it.

Links.

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

Website, https://www.bleacheverything.com/

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

Dark Operative, https://darkops.site/

Bleach Everything, Bound / Cured (Dark Operative 2021)

Terror, Sink To The Hell (War Records 2020)

Four songs is all it takes to make this Terror EP a must-have for 2020.

Terror is a hardcore metal band from Los Angeles who enjoy well-deserved stature in that music scene. Fast, loud, and off center, their music always gets a rise out of fans. Sink To The Hell collects songs that have been released individually this year as singles so you can have them all in one place.

This music comes from excavating material that had been recorded in the past but never released to the public. Here are the details from the press release: “‘Sink To The Hell’ and ‘The New Beginning’ were resurrected from the Live By The Code sessions, ‘Don’t Need Your Time’ is from the Keepers Of The Faith demo sessions – with new vocals recorded in 2020 to complete the track and featuring Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns – and ‘You Lost All Respect’ is also from the Keepers Of The Faith demo sessions with updated drums, additional guitars, and vocals.” So it is not just a couple of songs scraped from the bottom of the can. These four were curated and finished to the same level as the rest of the band’s music.

All the songs rip, but my favorite is “A New Beginning” – I just love the opening riff and the cunning vocals. Each piece is in the two minute range so they crack then get the fuck out. I can’t believe these almost didn’t see the light of day. If it hadn’t been for what’s been this year, these might have remained where they were. Something good came out of 2020 after all. Recommended.

Sink To The Hell is available right now at Bandcamp and all the regular places. Check out the War Records website for all sorts of variants, additional music, and merch.

Band photo by Becca Lader.

Links.

Terror, https://www.sticktight.la

Terror Bandcamp, https://terror.bandcamp.com/

Terror Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/terrorhardcore

War Records, http://www.war-rec.com

War Records Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/WARRECORDS.HC

Terror, Sink To The Hell (War Records 2020)

Kneel, Ailment review (Raging Planet 2020)

Kneel has released a new album after many years of reckoning and introspection. At least, that is what Ailment seems like.

Kneel is Pedro Mau, with vocals by Filipe Correia. Mau handles all the other instruments and composition. The earlier album from Kneel is 2013’s Interstice, and the new one follows a similar Hardcore / Mathcore tranche. The music is a settled, punishing groove that keeps jumping the tracks.

Each song has a single word for a title which encapsulates the idea or feeling or story. Even more precisely (and generally) than that, Pedro Mau comments on the album, in part, this way: “The accumulation of small problems in our lives can lead us, sooner or later, to situations that can get out of our control.” Some of the songs build this into their own microcosm, and you can also see it as an arc throughout the entire set. It is a long run arc in the sense that your anxiety mounts the longer you listen – the only door you can see rattles on it hinges but instead of flying open to allow for escape it is fusing shut a little more with each passing song.

The halfway point, “Raptorial,” is so harsh and upsetting you start wondering if this is the mental equivalent of a cardiac stress test. But that is the hump, and once over it you have become one of the inhabitants of the world. By the time you get to the closer, “Acuity,” you are unshaken by the rage of the tortuous waves. It is no longer a cacophony. It starts to seem merely like the truth. In a fascinating way, it is the exact opposite of the quotation above – instead of the music spinning out of control, it has become more understandable.

Available now from Raging Planet (Portugal) and Planet K Records (Italy), conveniently sourced through Bandcamp, Ailment will not make you feel better, but it might help you get on with it.

Links.

Kneel Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/seekinsideyourself

Kneel Bandcamp, https://kneel.bandcamp.com/

Raging Planet, http://www.ragingplanet.pt

Planet K Records, https://planetkrecords.bandcamp.com/

Kneel, Ailment review (Raging Planet 2020)

Isotope, Isotope Compilation review (Carbonized Records 2020)

Isotope brings it all together with a round-up of their four recent releases in one tight package of mind mashing aggression.

The compilation includes the 2019 self-titled full-length LP, 2017’s Wake Up Screaming EP, the Midnight Soldier seven-inch from 2015, and the debut demo Final Wind Of Mercy (2014). It will get you up to speed in one slam. The band credits are Chuck “Zone Tripper” Franco (vocals), Nick “Sikki Nikki” Cantu (guitar), Paul “Bazzy” Capito (bass), Clint “Clza” Baechle (drums), Kristen “K.P.” Payne (guitar on the recent two releases), and Scootch (guitar on the first two releases).

If you don’t know about Isotope yet, this collection is the way to find out. They are known as a hardcore punk band made up of musicians well oiled in the scene and looking for another outlet for their energy. From the very beginning they were mixing genres with big riffs and blistering leads you expect to hear in more straight-stream metal acts. The singing has the attitude and perspective of punk, and at the same time emanates expressions varying into other bandwidths.

The collection is arranged with the newest music first so I suggest you listen to it backwards to see how the band has changed in the six years it has been working together as Isotope. Final Wind Of Mercy is a demo in name only – everything is well in place in this debut. Midnight Soldier has a cleaner production sound while maintaining the raging chaos. Wake Up Screaming brings a brittleness and sharper slice to the compositions, and the newest, Isotope, is a ranging machine of punk and metal terrorizing the landscape. Highly recommended for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

This compilation is out now on a limited edition cassette of 100 copies. There is also a download-only version available at Bandcamp if you miss out on the physical.

Band photo by Carlos Garcia.

Links.

http://www.facebook.com/isotopehardcore

https://isotopehardcore.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/Carbonized-Records

https://carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/isotope-compilation

Isotope, Isotope Compilation review (Carbonized Records 2020)