Lower Than Atlantis
End of Level Boss
End of Level Boss have won many plaudits in the past for their first two records, which introduced the world to their formula of progressive stoner rock that sits somewhere between Kyuss and later-era Voivod. Despite this, they haven’t quite made the forward step in popularity one would have hoped for. Yet they stick to their guns on album number 3, and it’s a credit to them for doing so. Their sound is nothing short of pleasantly challenging.
Those Voivodian tendencies are rife throughout ‘Eklectric’ and at first it has a little trouble sticking as it seeks to find its direction. It’s not bad at all but there’s an awkwardness that sits about the formula that some might find hard to digest. It changes up a little with the more direct and venomous ‘Mouth of Hats’, and later on ‘Thud’, but it always remains firmly in angular territory. Eventually the album does gather momentum as the various elements that make up EOLB start to find a little more cohesion. Tracks like ‘Senescence’ and ‘Blueshift’ keep the momentum flowing ticking along nicely and there are plenty of other worthy jams as well.
Not quite a masterpiece, but this is a welcome return for one of the UK’s diamonds in the rough.
But now, the hat can be worn in celebration once again! I had always wondered what had happened to the Dukes of Nothing. I remember them pounding my ears the first time I heard them. ‘War & Wine’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Fever’ – they were another damn fine British band that just disappeared not just from my radar, but everyone’s radar, it seemed. Immediately following this news, I tried to imagine Tony’s voice singing Turbonegro’s anthems, and I really, really couldn’t. Hank is one in a million, not just as a vocalist, but a performer too. Yet at the same time, I can’t imagine anyone else filling Hank’s shoes. It feels right.
Turbonegro are now expected to finally complete work on their follow-up to 2007’s ‘Retox’, although no release date has been confirmed yet. Check out Dukes of Nothing’s video for ‘War & Wine’ above and see if you think Tony measures up to the task at hand of satisfying the Turbojugend!
Drugs of Faith
‘Corroded’ is the debut album by Virginia’s Drugs of Faith, and seeks to do exactly that by fizzling away the divider that parts grindcore, hardcore punk and rock. Clocking in at around 26 minutes, ‘Corroded’ sets out to show that grind need not be all about speed, and indeed this is a diversive fourteen tracks that do not disappoint.
Those 26 minutes blitz past but as I’ve just said, not necessarily about speed. Surely, its starts off like a firecracker on ‘Greyed Out’, but soon the hardcore and alt-influences are blending in and it makes for a real treat. The slightly slower pace and shouted vocals, as opposed to screamed/growled, give this record a distinct identity, and the socio-political lyrics are not lost in the mix as can happen with many a grind record.
As excellent as this record is, it all too often straddles the fine line dividing hardcore and grindcore. It wants to make the jump across to grind but just when they increase the pace, they jump right back to the other side. They do this supremely well at times (such as on ‘Giveaway), while at others, it just seems a little half-hearted, like they’re cursed with indecision. Maybe that’s just my own personal taste. I actually almost love the fact their toying with my head in this way, but sometimes, I just want a clear choice.
And for those impatient people like me, it’s not until the album reaches its climax that ‘Corroded’ really does make that leap full on into grind territory, and then it takes Pig Destroyer’s J.R. Hayes to show up on ‘Lingers’ and unleash his harsh vocals all over the track, just to up the intensity. This spills over into closer ‘The Age of Reason’, which absolutely explodes with critical blasts and screams at all the right points, before booming right back into breakdown territory.
Nonetheless, this is a corker of a record and really deserves to be played out loud. It possesses a sound which fits somewhere between 90’s Napalm Death, Fugazi and a lot more besides. And if that doesn’t intrigue you…well…fudge it. You can’t please everyone.