Great American Ghost, Torture World (MNRK Heavy 2022)

In their tenth year, Great American Ghost offers up a bloody aperitif in the form of Torture World.

Boston hardcore band Great American Ghost has been doing their thing for a while now, and has documented their rage on a number of albums including Everyone Leaves (2015), Hatred Stems From The Seed (2017), and Power Through Terror (2019). The new four-track EP is just as expressive as anything they have done before, and it seems to me that it is meant to charge up their fans for the current tour they are on with Fit For An Autopsy and Enterprise Earth. Mission accomplished. The band is Ethan Harrison (vocals), Niko Gasparrini (guitar), Davier Perez (drums), and Grayson Stewart (guitar).

“Kingmaker” sounds excessively angry and also, inexplicably, holds a kind of groove. In contrast, “Torture World” begins quietly and sweetly for a couple of seconds. The liltyness recurs throughout the song, shining a bright light on the savagery.

“Womb” is unbelievably intense with its off center attack and recursions. It is a horror elemental, inspiring fear and trepidation. The final track is the clangy and gritty “Death Forgives No One” which, despite its title and theme, has a catchy chorus that could be a radio hit in different song.

This music makes me feel punchy, makes me want to crack some heads – makes me remember the taste of blood. I don’t know if Great American Ghost has this effect on everybody, but the adrenaline injection I received is exactly what I wanted, and I am not interested in coming down. Recommended.

MNRK Heavy releases Torture World on Friday, January 20th to the masses, whether they are ready or not. Get your heaping helping at the links below.

Band photo by Chris Klump.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://greatamericanghost.bandcamp.com/album/torture-world

Website, https://tortureworld.com/

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

MNRK Heavy, https://mnrkheavy.com/

Great American Ghost, Torture World (MNRK Heavy 2022)

Slowbleed, A Blazing Sun, A Fiery Dawn (Creator-Destructor 2022)

The debut long-player from the hardcore hadron collider Slowbleed menaces your senses.

According to documented sources, the band “formed with a goal of achieving unrelenting extremity, bridging brutality and technicality within their blend of hardcore aggression and death metal precision.” That gives you a good idea of what is happening on A Blazing Sun, A Fiery Dawn – a place to start, at least. The band is Jon Caytion (vocals), Logan Givan (guitar), John Laux (guitar), Ozzy Parilla (bass), and Tyler Castro (drums).

I heard this music in blocks – my brain just organized it that way. “No Shepherd (Of Wolves)” is a blasting, blistering rampage. It is a greasing grind, if that is possible. The raking vocals and mystical guitar flourishes hold their ground amid the earth-turning rhythm section. I wish that song didn’t have to end. Its immediate predecessor, “Hung At Dawn,” casts a long shadow of gloom at the outset then walks right into it with savage chops. To seal it all, “The Law (Atonement Through Blood)” throws in an 80s callback to spice the walloping trounce. These three are a jarring triplet and they clung together in my mind, unbreakable.

A similar coalescence happened with “Driven By Fire” and “Graves (Pours Of The Earth).” Tied together with the transitional element “Diliculum,” a small suite naturally emerges. To me, then, each song has its own identity, and the entire set has a more nuanced self as a whole. The little legions are in there too, fitting in while being their own thing. The rousing aggression of this songs and the clarity of composition pushes the music to a level well above the rabble. There is no pressure valve here, just the steady flow of heavy music presenting itself for the world to see. Recommended.

Digital and vinyl versions are out on Friday, January 14th through Creator-Destructor Records. Links below.

Links.

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

Creator-Destructor Records, http://creator-destructor.com/

Slowbleed, A Blazing Sun, A Fiery Dawn (Creator-Destructor 2022)

Descent, Order Of Chaos (Brilliant Emperor 2022)

The new album from Descent is step forward in their heavy music campaign.

Order Of Chaos is the second full-length album from Brisbane, Queensland death metal band Descent, following 2018’s Towers of Grandiosity and a demo three years before that. The music they play is a brutal mesh of death metal, black metal, and hardcore. According to the Metal Archives, the band is Jim Dandy (bass), Anthony Oliver (vocals), Kingsley Sugden (drums), Brendan Auld (guitar), and Josh Kane (guitar).

I wrote a book (pseudonymously ) a few years back titled The Sequence Of Random Events so I appreciate the concept of Order Of Chaos. You think about it for a while and there is always a pattern in there somewhere and meaning can be ascribed. Alternately, the chaos itself might be the order, eh – that’s a brain-pulsing notion on its own. Of course it could just be that there is never any order and searching for it is a waste of time so you might as well embrace the chaos. Or … we could just listen to the music.

The punishing begins at the jump with “Tempest” and carries through on all eight tracks. The gravely rawness of the vocals is hammered home by the relentless percussion and rhythm. The riffs carry both a violent menace and a patterning groove. The lead guitar is like close-up knife work that makes an art of the carving. Don’t drop the needle on this one if you are not ready for the rumble.

My favorite tracks are “Fester” and “Safe.” The former has a hook with a wicked barbed that attracted my gaze and then would not let go. The latter track is the shortest of the set and it is just a hard straight shot to the face. The album shook the ice out of my beard and got my blood up. Recommended.

Brilliant Emperor Records releases Order Of Chaos on Friday, January 14th. Redefining Darkness has the CD and Caligari Records offers up the cassette.

Links.

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

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

Brilliant Emperor Records, https://brilliantemperor.bigcartel.com/

Descent, Order Of Chaos (Brilliant Emperor 2022)

Fucked Up, Year of the Horse (Tankcrimes 2021)

The new album from storied Canadian hardcore/punk band Fucked Up is a massive treatise of all-encompassing heavy music effluence.

The musicians (from the band’s Bandcamp page) are Damian Abraham, Jonah Falco, Mike Haliechuk, Ben Cook, Sandy Miranda, and Josh Zucker. There is a lot going on here with this band. Twenty years and more than eighty (!) recordings in, they are still innovating and exploring. Let’s stick to the “Year Of” albums from Tankcrimes to maintain a little focus.

Year of the Dragon (2014) and Year of the Snake (2017) both feature an extended primary track along with one or two shorter ancillaries. As the titles indicate, these albums are part of an “ongoing series celebrating the Chinese Zodiac.” The story that rolls through the albums covers a lot of ground and that is perhaps the point. The music also travels quite a winding path. Given the length of these compositions, it is unsurprising that they present multiple musical expressions ranging from hardcore to classical, loud and raging to quiet and lilting.

Year of the Horse is a single track that runs over ninety minutes cut up in four pieces (Acts). The four segments function very much (in my ears) like movements in long pieces of classical music. It is not only that each one of them is different compared to the others, they also have individually different variations in each local environment. There are differences in the differences, you might say.

With such a lengthy musical expression, you have to figure you are going to miss something by sampling here and there because sampling means skipping. Resist the temptation. There are parts of each Act that I like especially but I am unlikely to skip to them when listening again because it would seem truncated to me if I did. Certainly the first time you listen you have to go from beginning to end without a pause. Heavy music fans, harken: set aside an hour and a half to discover where this album finds you. It is worth it. Recommended.

The digital version of Year of the Horse has been out for a while and you can pre-order the CD and vinyl versions now at the Tankcrimes store for anticipated September and December ship dates, respectively.

Band photo by Natalie Wood.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://fuckedup.bandcamp.com/album/year-of-the-horse

Fucked Up website, https://www.fuckedup.cc/

Tankcrimes Records, http://www.tankcrimes.com/

Fucked Up, Year of the Horse (Tankcrimes 2021)

Despise You, West Side Horizons (Tankcrimes 2021)

Tankcrimes issues West Side Horizons, a massive compilation from Inglewood power violence band Despise You.

Founded by Phil Vera and Chris Elder in 1994, Despise You had a major impact on the hard music scene. Lasting only a couple of years, the band released a slew of split 7s and compilations featuring their brand of aggression and anger operationalized in musical expression.

This collection is vast, including songs from splits with Crom, Supression, Scapegoat, and Stapled Shut, plus cuts from compilations and sixteen previously unreleased tracks. All of this music was recorded between 1994-1996 and bits and pieces are floating around out there in the ether. Having it all together in one tight package is boon to fans and collectors.

If you haven’t heard Despise You before then get ready for shrieking anger and spinning kicks. Only twelve of the sixty two tracks are over one minute long so listening to all of them in a row is a shock to the system. It is a shock worth taking.

I could do a track-by-track on this but it is better if you just listen to it – it is quicker to listen to some of them than to read a description of them. Hit up the first track, “Culpa Mia,” and see if it is for you. Then go from there. Brutal percussion and rhythm, screaming, shrieking, belligerence, and bad attitudes. That’s what you will find. My favorite song is “Puppet.” So there. Recommended.

The drop date for this big set is Friday, August 6th from Tankcrimes. There are CD and LP versions.

Photo by Anthony Mehlhaff.

Links.

CD, https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/tankcrimes-music/cd/despise-you-west-side-horizons-cd/

Vinyl, https://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/tankcrimes-music/vinyl/despise-you-west-side-horizons-vinyl-lp

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

Despise You shop, https://despiseyou.bigcartel.com/

Tankcrimes Records, http://www.tankcrimes.com/

Despise You, West Side Horizons (Tankcrimes 2021)

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)

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)