Artist: Morality Crisis
Morality Crisis // Boats
If there is one breed of music fan who is extremely concerned with the designations between genre tags, it’s probably the metal fans. Personally I don’t give a rip as long as the band can shred. But mislabel death metal or doom in certain circles and you’re likely to get your face kicked in. Which only makes bands like Minnesconsin (yeah, you read that right) bruisers Morality Crisis all the more thrilling. Upon listening to the band’s upcoming album Boats, the conversation shifts to the question, “What do we even call this?” Hardcore crust-punk-leaning sludge rock with death metal and prog rock tendencies? Nah, how about we just call it “amazing.” That fits.
The band, who happens to have a winking sense of humor, know how to come across as brutal as hell while having so much fun. The songs are jam-packed with some of the heaviest riffs around, the vocal growls and screams bring the edge, and yet the songs are snappy enough that you might want to just throw down with a giant grin on your face wherever it is you are listening from. Now following a modest and successful Kickstarter, the band is preparing to release this debut full-length on vinyl. Rad.
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Artist: death engine
Death Engine // Amen EP
French hardcore band Death Engine bill themselves as “violent and oscure noise” while their label Throatruiner Records draws comparisons between them and bands like Playing Enemy, Amenra, and even Swans. That’s a pretty tall order, and it’s one that nudged me to eagerly press play. What I found didn’t exactly meet my expectations, but that’s not a bad thing because Death Engine seared my ears off with their blistering metallic hardcore. Let’s just say that I wasn’t disappointed with what I found.
Less Swans transcendant noise worship and more Converge’s controlled hardcore chaos, Death Engine’s four-track EP is a tour-de-force containing some of the more brutal hardcore I’ve heard this year. The band sort of splits the EP between blistering hardcore punk speed and a more mid-tempo noise demolition. But no matter what speed they’re playing at the band finds a way to make the music sound downright apocalyptic. With massive guitar riffs, crashing drum hits, and primal vocal screams, Death Engine seek to bring the world down around them with this EP and they damn near succeed at doing it. This music crushes everything under its heavy foot and leaves nothing behind other than a cloud of dust and a ringing in your ears.
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Airs // Adore
Now that My Bloody Valentine has finally released m b v I’m sure that a lot of people don’t really feel the need to listen to any other shoegaze this year. And really, who could blame them? It’s a great album, no doubt, but instead of using it as an excuse to stop looking I see it as just another reason to be excited about the state of music in 2013. Case in point: Airs.
This San Francisco shoegaze duo play it loud and hard and curiously enough find their roots in the metal genre. There are traces of heavy music infuence all over the band’s latest album Adore. It was recorded by Comadre’s Jack Shirley, they incorporate some pained shouting here and there, there are a few moments with double bass pedals… heck the album even opens with some drop-tuned doom metal riffs. All that being said, this is not a metal album. It is packed full with a vibrant energy, walls of thick guitar distortion, and beautiful buried melodies. It’s an album that walks the tricky tightrope between darkness and light while never being fully overwhelmed by either. And even though there are only 8 tracks the band makes sure to keep you constantly on your toes.
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Congenital Death // From My Hands
Been waiting for this one for a minute. After their strong (albeit raw) demo tape last year, Philadelphia powerviolence powerhouse Congenital Death is finally ready to deliver on all the promise they evidenced on those early tracks. Right now you can pre-order the band’s upcoming EP From My Hands which is out soon on 7” vinyl through Ranch Records and Molars & Fangs and stream it in its entirety on the band’s Soundcloud page.
If you’re new to the band (which you shouldn’t be), just know that they like their hardcore gnarled, fast, and ferocious. True to form their tracks rarely break the 1-minute mark and yet they manage to pack in all of the energy and twisted metal of a five-car pileup into that short runtime leaving the listener with a ringing in their ears and grasping for breath. For the regular listener it will probably be too much digest, but for the metal-loving thrill seeker it’s all you can ask for.
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Artist: Morality Crisis
Morality Crisis // North
“Hard-riffing shitrock from the heartland. Resumed activity in 2011 and will not stop until the master plan - the political and cultural unification of Minnesconsin - is fully realized.” That’s how Twin Cities metal band Morality Crisis bill themselves. I think it’s possible for artists to not take themselves too seriously yet take what they do very seriously. Morality Crisis manages to kill both of those birds with one stone, and they do it with flair. This is some heavy, homespun hardcore metal right here.
Refusing to be classified, the band’s latest EP North is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of genres. From Southern rock-infused hardcore (ala Maylene & the Sons of Disaster) to deep grindcore growling to buzz saw sludge metal riffs, North has it all. And yet for all their color-changing chameleonry, Morality Crisis manages to keep things feeling singular. They are an experienced band who are now back together doing what they love and they are doing it well. The band recommends that you listen to this thing loud and I’m going to go ahead and confirm that that’s probably best. Just make sure that the stuff you care to lose is tied down first.
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Earthrise // Eras Lost
When ISIS broke up part of my world fell apart. Not many metal bands could command instant respect like they could. Part of what made them so great was that they tried to set themselves apart; so much so that people had a hard time classifying them. This resulted in an increasing usage of the tag “post-metal” or as ISIS liked to put it, “thinking man’s metal.” Looking back you can trace the inception of the sub-genre further back, but ISIS certainly gave it a kick in the pants.
So here we are in a post-ISIS world and post-metal lives on. One of the most surprisingly awesome submissions I’ve gotten in a while is from a new post-metal band called Earthrise. Now I’m not going to hail them as the second coming of ISIS (I would never put that much pressure on someone), but these guys are good… really good. Everything that they do on this album is intentional and thoughtfully planned out. From the gorgeous artwork, to the crystal clear production, to the beautiful instrumentals, to the way that the album is constructed; Earthrise stands out.
Now there is no denying it, this album gets pretty dark in spots; but overall it is such a beautiful release. This isn’t metal that is meant to be headbanged to (although you totally could if you want), no this is metal that is intended to be played, dissected, and admired. Their debut Era’s Lost is a robust chunk of music. Clocking in at around an hour the thing is a lot to digest in one sitting, and yet it plays through like a beast. Plus the guys know that no one can tolerate being obliterated for an hour straight. So throughout the album you’ll find little oases where you can catch your breath, get refocused, and prepare yourself for the next onslaught. It’s a move that has the listener in mind and it shows that Earthrise are aiming higher than the metal band that just wants to rock your face off.
I’m still surprised that this thing is a free download on their bandcamp page, but it is. It’d be a crime for you to pass this up. Even if you’re just curious or a casual metal listener Era’s Lost has enough up its sleeve for serious music fans to appreciate.
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Islands // ISLANDS
And here I already had my posting schedule set for the week. Whatever, I heard this album today and realized that it was way too powerful and beautiful a release not to share it. And so here we are at 9:30 pm and I’m sharing this gorgeous metal album. I hope you guys enjoy it.
Though the band is called Islands, I assure you that they have nothing to do with Nick Diamond or The Unicorns or anything like that. No, this name snafu is purely coincidental. Plus I’m pretty sure that what this Australian outfit is doing would pretty much scare away any average other-Islands fan. You see they play this pummeling metal which scorches the ground before shooting straight up into the blue sky. At their heaviest, the band is a doom-leaning monster with ridiculously heavy guitars, thunderous percussion, and primal vocal screams. And just when you think they are about to let the guillotine drop they pull and 180 and transition into some rather beautiful post-rock interludes. Now while I think that the post-rock ship has more or less sailed (feel free to disagree with me on this), these five guys pull the sound off in convincing fashion. It’s a great balance between the brutal and gentle and it makes for a dynamic listen. Highly recommended.
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Echo Beds // Arsonist Alibi
This band found their way to me courtesy of Doran from Strange Fires. Without knowing he had sent them my way, I took one listen and instantly thought of him. Funny how that worked out. Anyways, the band is called Echo Beds and they are three Denver guys who specialize in brutal industrial noise.
If you listen to the two parts of this EP, you’ll find that there is an element of controlled chaos that permeates the release and also parallels the band’s humble beginnings. After the sudden folding of a previous band, the guys had to perform a final tour gig with less than an hour to prepare. And thus Echo Beds was born. They took rubble and pressurized it into something new.
Since that night they’ve decided to pour more of themselves into the project and it has yielded some wonderful results. Arsonist Alibi is a desolate, post-apocalyptic wasteland, but there is also a sort of beauty to it. Bones crunch and snap, jagged shards of metallic noise cut their way through the atmosphere, and primal voices scream until vocal chords are left bruised and bloodied. And yet the band takes all of these harsh elements and grinds them down into parts with which they can build something new. Something worth sitting up and taking notice of.
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Unsacred // Where the Light Dims
Good hardcore on bandcamp has been a black hole for me lately. I keep getting sucked down farther and farther and downloading more and more. Needless to say my computer harddrive has taken a bit of hit. I’ve been playing this excellent new EP by Virginia band Unsacred a lot lately and I figured I’d share it here.
I don’t think I’ll be able to properly communicate how awesome I think this EP is. The band manages to camp out in between several genres. There are traces of old school hardcore in there, but they also throw in black and sludge metal and even some crust punk. It feels like such a grimy release, you can practically feel the vocalist’s spit peppering your ears as he screams and growls. There is a ferocious energy to the music and it is exactly the sort of thing that I’ve found myself drawn to lately.
I know that the band is preparing to release this thing on a 50 hand numbered cassettes, but I’ve yet to find where to buy them. It’s got me excited though. This stuff is loud and fast and gnarled and perfectly suited to the cassette tape format. For now just download it for free on their bandcamp site.
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Consent // Conception
I’m gonna go ahead and just hit you guys with this one. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say on record that this is my first powerviolence post on the blog. Featuring members of the unforgettable Bongripper, the newly formed Consent eschews the 10+ minute long doom metal tracks of Bongripper for something much shorter and much more extreme. Containing five tracks that are simply titled “1”, “2”, “3”, “4” and “5”, Conception is a singularly-minded exercise in brutality.
The EP comes in and goes out with dissonant, grating noise. The storm in the middle is what you need to worry about. The tracks are short bursts of raw energy that rarely exceed two minutes, yet they still manage to cram so much chaos into that short timespan. Frequent tempo changes keep you from nearing anything resembling a comfort zone and the music is so raw and visceral that you swear the apocalypse is coming in on its heels. It is a sick EP that I am looking forward to pummeling my senses with time and time again.
Download it for free on their bandcamp site.
HELLO WORLD! So I decided to throw this post together for a number of reasons. First of all, I love metal (and other harder-edged music) and I’ve been trying to sneak it into my post queue here or there in an attempt to brainwash my readers into liking it too (even though some have violently protested). And second, I figured that I would occasionally cull a bunch of releases into one mega post and ironically title it “I Hate Metal.” That way any of those who wish to remain untainted can know exactly what they are getting into when they see and can skip over it. Hopefully this will be a recurring feature. I don’t know how often it’ll pop up, but it could be cool so we’ll see. Let’s start things off with a bang, shall we?
PREGNANCY SCARES // 2011 Demo
I know, I know. If you’re listening to this then you are definitely think that this is hardcore not metal. Yeah, whatever it’s frickin brutal and I’m including it. I actually found Pregnancy Scares by reading up on Motivator (one of the best hardcore bands on the scene today). Bands like these are ruling the Ottowa skate punk scene and they absolutely shred. Pregnancy Scares show no restraint as they assault your senses like two giant metallic shards gnashing their way through your ears. The demo tape came out last year, but I just stumbled upon it this week and I’m totally in love with it. You can actually download the whole thing from the band’s Tumblr site and I highly recommend it.
CONGENITAL DEATH // Demo
Here is a band that will probably leave your ears bleeding if you don’t shut it off after the first few seconds. They are called Congenital Death and they hail from (wait for it) Philadelphia. Now I don’t even know how old the vocalist is, but judging from the primal, blood-curdling screams I don’t really care. Their demo tape sounds a bit messy and on-the-spot, but that’s where the charm lies. At eight tracks long and only around 10-12 minutes, this thing is like a gunshot to the head, it’s over before you know it. Oh and they also manage to squeeze a Dirty Rotten Imbeciles cover in there. You can still buy the tape for like $4 from Philadelphia’s own Ranch Records.
CEMETERY // Demo
Here is one that I am so stoked on. The band is called Cemetery and they play some of the gnarliest goth punk I’ve heard in a while. Hailing from Chicago, the band plays some tight and reverential death rock. People have been comparing them a lot to early Christian Death and I can totally see that. So if the fact that this kind of music is still being made makes you geek out then definitely look into Cemetery. I’m still scouring the internet looking for somewhere where I can buy this thing, so if anyone happens upon a way make sure you give me a shout. And word is that their working on an album so at least we’ve got that to look forward to.
OBOLUS // Lament
Ah, now we arrive at the straight up metal. This one actually just came out this month and is available for free for a short period of time via Flenser Records. The label is getting ready to release this thing on vinyl and will pull the free download so don’t hesitate to grab it. Obolus plays some pretty bipolar black metal. There are times when it seems like their intent is to peel the flesh from your bones with their blistering guitars, crushing drums, and primal screaming. But then there are other times when the band plays the most beautiful ambient instrumentals you’ll hear from a black metal crew. It’s an excellent release that you should snatch up while you have the chance.
ROYAL TALONS // Royal Talons
If you guys only knew how merciful I was by playing you those one-minute hardcore punk tracks. Now comes the doom metal. With each of their tracks clocking in at around 10 minutes, Royal Talons self-titled album can be a chore to swallow. However, if you devote the time to it you will see expansive worlds created before you. Vast kingdoms ruled by controlling dictators intent on showing you the most stunning beauty whether you want to behold it or not. I actually found this thing through Grindcore Karaoke, a digital label with a huge catalog that I don’t pillage nearly enough. So if you’ve got some time to kill I’d suggest poking around their releases. Some good stuff in there.
Title: Madness and Civilisation
Drear // We Will Use Your Blood for Fertilizer
I was pretty surprised when this UK metal band Drear sent me this EP. First of all it’s titled We Will Use Your Blood for Fertilizer so that right there grabbed my attention. And second, I really don’t receive many metal submissions (even though I love the genre).So I thanked the band for the submission and sat down to listen to what would turn out to be a really ferocious and refreshing 25 minutes of brain-melting doom metal. Now what’s really interesting is that the band takes these long sound clips of dialogue and uses them just about as much as they use their own vocals. So when the vocalist shreds his throat for the sake of music you are really getting the full spectrum of what the human vocal chords are capable of producing. Those primal screams bleed into the rest of the music and all streams lead to a mighty ocean of brutal and excellent musical energy.
Now I realize that I don’t post a ton of metal on here, but every now and then I get the chance (and I relish them when I do). So I am not ignorant of the fact that this may not be your cup of tea. But a few weeks ago my pals at Boy Atrractions decided to give the excellent new Liturgy album a whirl and their world was all the better for it. So maybe just maybe if you give it a chance you’ll find something to like here, because I certainly did. Download this thing for free while you still can. Let the ear-hemorrhaging commence.
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