Basilica, Basilica (Innerstrength Records 2021)

North Carolina emergent metal foursome attack their first long-player project with multifarious vivacity.

The band has only been together for a lustrum, and yet they have coalesced an approach to musical composition that is thorough while remaining eclectic. What they can do with the standard metal set up is impressive. The band is Brady Kennedy (drums), Cameron Price (guitar), Chandler Bell (bass), and Reilly Appert (vocals).

The press release reads in part: “Musically, genre inspiration is wide and varying; combining thrash and death metal elements with metalcore and deathcore breakdowns, the goal of this album is to be as diverse as possible.” As you go from track to track throughout the set you can really see this philosophy at work. It listen like a tour of heavy genres.

The first crack is “Grinding Teeth.” You have to love that title before the needle even drops. It is a blistering track with front-loaded aggression and crunchy riffs, decorated by metallic squeals and a “Flight Of The Bumble Bee” wind-up. “Exit Wound” is death metal vocals and off-color screeches. And then “The Fall of Phorcys,” an instrumental with a dark jazz, proggy vibe. Groundwork firmly laid.

I am not going through the full list because you should hear it for yourself. The album is fascinating. The execution of the increments is technically precise with both hard punches and delicate touches. The guitar solo on “Starve” is an extreme example. Segue to another instrumental, “Reflections of Galene,” that sounds like what you might hear playing from a café patio in the summer on an evening stroll – then straight into the thrash/thrumming piece, “Everything,” right after that. And still there are three songs left. It leaves you off balance and a little lightheaded in the best possible way. Recommended.

Friday February 5th is the day to get the full album. If you preorder the digital from the Innerstrength Bandcamp page you can hear “Grinding Teeth” right now.




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Basilica, Basilica (Innerstrength Records 2021)

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.


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