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)

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)

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)

Gatecreeper, An Unexpected Reality (Closed Casket Activities 2021)

Desert Death Metal force of nature Gatecreeper release and incredible set that shows you how to do it fast and how to do it slow.

Hailing from Arizona, Gatecreeper has been creating music since 2014. Their first EP was the self-title release in that early year, and it landed a tight four songs with harrowing bravado. The pounding rhythm and powerfully insistent vocals were a sign and a statement. It was mid-tempo Death Metal with great hooks, and there was no mistaking the possibilities. Two years later Sonoran Depravation came out and warped musical reality. Many splits and singles have come to pass in the intervening years, plus a live album and the amazing sophomore full-length, Deserted in 2019. They have been throwing down the metal day after day.

The new EP is titled aptly as it is a direction that was not predictable. Separated into a “fast side” and a “slow side,” this is a Janus faced masterpiece. There are seven short songs on the fast side, and by short I mean some of them are less than one minute long with one clocking in at 31 seconds. There is a very hardcore punk attitude in these pieces but at the same time the Gatecreeper sound and hook is in their too, unmistakably.

The slow side is one eleven-minute Doom infused bone crusher, “Emptiness.” The band has never done a song like this before, and we can say the same about the short songs – even though they have a lot hard hitting short pieces in their catalogue, they are nothing like the fast side songs here. The combination of these two completely different elements that are also new to the work of the band to this point is a bold move, and one that pays off astronomically. Highly recommended.

An Unexpected Reality is out now from Closed Casket Activities. Most of the vinyl has sold out at last look, including the second pressings. The CD is still available, and of course the digital. You can get these at Bandcamp, etc.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/album/an-unexpected-reality

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

Closed Casket Activities, https://closedcasketactivities.com/collections/cd/products/gatecreeper-an-unexpected-reality-1

Gatecreeper, An Unexpected Reality (Closed Casket Activities 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)

Dread Sovereign, Alchemical Warfare (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Dublin Doom trio Dread Sovereign sets a raging fire with their third album, Alchemical Warfare.

The driving force in the band is Nemtheanga, known otherwise as the vocalist for the band Primordial. He started Dread Sovereign some time back, releasing an EP in 2013 followed by two LPs, All Hell’s Martyrs (2014) and For Doom The Bell Tolls (2017). Joined by JK (Johnny King) on drums and Bones on guitar, there is an urgency to the music on the new album, unmistakably circling the chasm of Doom. The vocals are mostly clear, and the themes walk the Black Metal road. The band’s motto is “the world is doomed,” and the theme is a through-line explained this way: “The subject matter and aesthetic are particular to the three characters on the front cover of each release, the time travelling trio who appear on the debut flaying Saint Bartholemew, on the second album hanging Sarah Wildes Averill in Salem and now as lab assistants to Isaac Newton as he tries to discover the secret of Alchemy.” The songs are sinister odes from dark moments in history.

There are seven tracks (four of them over eight minutes long) with an intro piece and an intermission segue. That intro sounds a little like swirling bells and whispering dark witches casting spells. “She Wolves of the Savage Season” then picks up the doom and slams it back down. The frenzy gets really whipped up on “Nature Is The Devil’s Church” with its pressing riffs and pleading vocals. There are also extended guitar passages here, in this song and well distributed throughout where the narrative concepts are given musical form. “Her Master’s Tomb” is almost a Doom ballad while “Devil’s Bane” rips and roars and finishes with a raging shred. The album wraps on a single-length banger, “You Don’t Move Me (I Don’t Give A Fuck)” – they decided to go out swinging with a heavy punk punch. This is an great album, front to back. Highly recommended.

The full album drops on Friday, January 15th and preorders at Bandcamp will get you two tracks now while you wait for the week to end. Metal Blade Records has CDs and vinyl if you want to go that way.

Links.

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

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

Metal Blade Records, https://metalblade.com/dreadsovereign/

Dread Sovereign, Alchemical Warfare (Metal Blade Records 2021)