Converge/Napalm Death – Split

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Converge/Napalm Death
Split

Without question, this split release between giants of d-beat Converge and giants of grind Napalm Death is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, the world waiting with baited breath while the respective overlords committed their work to a shared vinyl. The hype and the belief is justified. Though frightfully short, each band’s contribution consists of two songs each, amounting to just under eight minutes of blistering sonic violence.

Converge open ‘No Light Escapes’, a fifty-two second track expected to be on forthcoming album ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’, and its Converge at their most visceral and pissed off, before throwing in a guest-laden cover of Entombed’s ‘Wolverine Blues’. The Swedes have influenced many a band that has passed by Kurt Ballou’s production desk of late, not to knock a solid if ultimately unsurprising take on the song.

The ‘Death follow up their expected impressive showing on ‘Utilitarian‘ with the same fervour that continues to drive them 30 years into their career. ‘Will by Mouth’ is just as vital as anything they’ve done in their recent history, possessing a nice old-school punk swerve, a feel that continues on ‘No Impediment to Triumph (Bhopal)’, a diatribe on the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984.

It’s not often that two highly influential bands get together to pay fanservice to their followers, but on this occasion its a collaboration to celebrate and to generally explode to.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Converge/Napalm Death‘ here [download]
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Check out the preview below:

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Ginger Wildheart wants you to pledge again!

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[For reasons already explained, you’ll have to excuse my tardiness in posting this…]

Off the back of the incredible success of Ginger’s triple-album ‘555%‘ album, Ginger Wildheart has returned with a new video message announcing a second Pledge Music project – and this time, it’s a three-pronged assault!

The entirely fan-funded ‘555%‘ was released a couple of months back to widespread acclaim, and was outselling chart fodder such as Coldplay and Rihanna in the midweek chart! Now he’s after your support again with a different kind of beast. The first project is ‘Mutation‘, a two-album initiative that began back in 2011, but put on hold until now. ‘Mutation: The Frankenstein Effect‘ is album number one, with an as-yet-untitled second ‘Mutation‘ album also being brought to life as we speak. Also in the works is another new project, a pop-rock band called Hey! Hello, featuring Ginger and singer Victoria Liedtke, expected to feature ‘big choruses, big (noisy) guitars and big smiles’.

More information can be found at the project’s official page on Pledge Music, where a range of donation options are available in eventual return for the album and various other things. In the meantime, check out the launch video for the project below, filmed by the incomparable Ash Pears of AshTV, in which Ginger details exactly what to expect from this latest endeavour.

And in a further update, Ginger’s now annual birthday show has been announced at the London Kentish Town Forum on Saturday December 17th, and will be headlined by The Wildhearts! This is the first show the band have announced in three years, and will be the ONLY Wildhearts show this year and indeed for some foreseeable time. They’re selling like hot cakes, so get on it! Quick!!!

Peter Clegg

Unsane – Wreck

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Unsane
Wreck
Alternative Tentacles

Unsane have been around for 24 years now. Nearly a quarter of a century. A testament to a band that has rigourously stuck to its guns, ploughing the same path, all pent with anger and venom, while various contemporaries have appeared and then either fallen by the wayside or maudled along with varying degrees of success.

Wreck’ is the thirteenth album of the New York noise-rock trio’s career and doesn’t offer any surprises, just plenty of high quality riffage and some incredible moments. ‘Decay’ is the perfect antidote to all those lovelorn and emotional heartache paens through its lyrics detailing the in-the-gutter misery of damaged relationships. ‘Look at the shit we’re in/please just forget everything’. I can forget all that sappy pop-rock nonsense when Unsane are in this miserable form. And they don’t relent there – they continue to bludgeon with riff after sledgehammer riff with the consistency of Team GB’s all-conquering triathletes the Brownlee brothers. The only slightly mellow moment comes for the main riff to ‘Stuck’, which broods before naturally volumising when it hits the chorus. My only minor quibble is with a cover of Flipper’s ‘Ha Ha Ha’, which Unsane do a good job of making it sounds as psychotic as it’s title suggests, but it doesn’t feel in sync with the rest of the album.
 
Nonetheless, ‘Wreck’ ensures a happy approach to Unsane’s 25th year as a band, and right now they seem to be as strong as they’ve ever been. They don’t muck about with the formula, they just harness it time and time again into a visceral attack. Life isn’t all cupcakes and roses. Unsane give us the grit and apply the burn over and over.

Peter Clegg

Unsane – Decay

Buy ‘Wreck’ here

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Iron Witch – Post-Vegas Blues

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Iron Witch
Post-Vegas Blues
Thirty Days of Night

Often dubbed Liverpool’s answer to Eyehategod, Iron Witch have indisputably been one of the sludge bands to watch in this country since they dropped ‘Single Malt‘, an EP so full of bile and sickening grooves. So much so, we tipped it above the likes of Trash Talk and Between the Buried and Me for our top short releases of 2011. A piss-ant blog likes ours won’t exactly be cranking up the pressure for subsequent releases, but a building fanbase and even a few favourable eyes across the Atlantic might well mean getting more out of the ‘Witch in future.

Eschewing the potential lure of moving onto a first long play, Iron Witch are more than content to play the short card again and thus return with the eagerly anticipated ‘Post-Vegas Blues‘ 7″. They haven’t shed anything since ‘Single Malt‘, providing an A and B side of yet more malevolent bourbon-soaked sludge. Side A plays nicely into their hardcore punk tendencies, as ‘Gunshot Residue/Exceed The Dose’ explodes with the same force as a .45 as it shifts through the gears. The title track plays very much to their bluesy side and despite the obvious comparisons to their Louisiana forefathers, it still possesses enough character to stamp a mudhole in Liverpool, with some serious vocal animosity at just the right moments.

Post-Vegas Blues‘ doesn’t have quite the same impact that their initial work had, but doesn’t give an inch in quality. A logical next step in Iron Witch’s career, a further stepping stone to relative greatness. When that debut album will drop is anyone’s guess, but a good bourbon is worth waiting for, and we’d all be happy for this quintet to plough their trade on the live circuit before they take the plunge.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Post-Vegas Blues’ here
Or here (limited 7″ vinyl)

Stream it below:

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We’re back

Posting new content again from today. Thank you all for biding your time with me. The last two weeks have been extremely difficult. But now its back to business. Cheers.

Peter Clegg

An announcement

Due to personal issues, there will be no new content for the foreseeable near future. An announcement will go over our Facebook and Twitter echoing this and a similar announcement will go out when we return. We will continue to accept all submissions and press releases you wish to send our way via e-mail.

I personally thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.

Peter Clegg

Joe 4 – Enola Gay EP

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Joe 4
Enola Gay EP
Whosbrain

I was recently pointed in the direction of (by kind request) Croatian rockers Joe 4’s ‘Enola Gay’ EP, a 10”, five-track slice of not wholly original, but certainly high quality rock in the vein of 90’s alt-rock forefathers The Jesus Lizard, Shellac, et al. Each of the five songs is a series of riffs that are a little disjointed, but work the entire time, capturing that sound perfected by their main influences. They can rise out of any perceived lull with a build up of volume and drive, each riff meaning business, and to say I was heartened by this trio’s output on this release isn’t too much of an understatement.

I can’t think of too many bands to have made a name for themselves internationally coming out of Croatia, but I wouldn’t be too saddened at all if Joe 4 found some success on a wider scale. Noise rock is on the rise again, with old stalwarts like Unsane still making a racket and newer types like KEN Mode, The United Sons of Toil and slightly partier types like Dope Body all making a name for themselves. Joe 4 aren’t like any of those bands specifically, and they’re certainly not as harsh as the Canadian trio, owing much more to the classic alt-rock template (particularly Jesus Lizard) as previously mentioned. A little more individuality wouldn’t go amiss, but this is an excellent starter. 

Enola Gay’ is available through Joe 4’s Bandcamp page as a name-your-price download with physical options also available. You can also stream this bad boy below if you’re still undecided. Crackin’.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Enola Gay’ here (name-your-price)
Stream it below:

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Nile – At The Gate of Sethu

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Nile
At The Gate of Sethu
Nuclear Blast

As they approach the twentieth year of their existence, South Carolina’s Egyptology-obsessed death metallers Nile are showing no signs of slowing down, returning once again with their seventh album, ‘At The Gate of Sethu’. First impressions of ‘Sethu’ suggest it lacks the initial explosive power of some of Nile’s previous releases, yet it still possesses enough magik from the fast hands of Karl Sanders and Dallas Toler-Wade to continue to devastate as per what we’ve come to expect from Nile.

The lack of perceived initial firepower might well stem from what seems – whisper it – a slightly accessible feel to it. Yes, it’s still absolutely brutal, but the average song length is slightly down, no huge, long dirges as per ‘Those Whom The Gods Detest’ and ‘In Their Darkened Shrines’, for example, and the resulting compactability certain makes the songs that tiny bit more imprintable on the mind in a strange, catchy sense. That doesn’t mean that Nile are any softer, mind – their palette this time just emphasises the technical aspect a little more, and Sanders and Toler-Wade displaying exactly why they’re regarded as one of the finest shred-combos in death metal. The musicianship is extremely tight once again, with regular fast tempos employed with absolutely clinical blasts of guttural aggression. The occasional clean vocals are thrown in again too and work exceptionally well. Yes, its still Nile as we know and love, but credit for them for challenging themselves on every record.
 
Summarising, ‘At The Gate of Sethu’ certainly isn’t Nile’s finest work, but it’s far from shoddy – at least Nile refuse to become stagnant and continue to try things most death metal bands can only dream of.

Peter Clegg

Nile – The Gods Who Light Up the Night Sky at the Gate of Sethu

Buy ‘At The Gate of Sethu’ here

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Some random thoughts on Hacktivist’s ‘Unlike Us’

0:09 – I don’t like d***t, but so far so good. That’s not a bad riff. Why would you want your face blurring out?

0:35 – Oh crap. What is that? Meshuggah meets Hollywood Undead? Who knows

1:10 – So the hook is ‘Set the beginning of change‘. Graffiti should make that evidently clear. Yeeeeaah boyeeeezzz!

1:30 – ‘People start fights because of us‘. Real imaginative.

2:12 – This is just getting silly. What would Brian Posehn think?

2:30 – Is this part still going?

2:49 – Here we go – weak polyrhythm breakdown!

Fair enough, my analysis of Hacktivist’s video for ‘Unlike Us’ might be a lame attempt at derisional comedy to some (I’d be the first to admit that), and perhaps a tad bit harsh. But there’s original and then there’s ridiculous. And if by ‘set the beginning of change‘ they mean inspire a generation of kids to fuse dubstep, rap and metal together like its 1999 again, and claim its unique, I do wonder for metal’s future. I’m no troll and if people like this stuff (judging by the numerous positive comments on YouTube, there’s a fair (too) few who do), more power them. Yet, I continue to despair.

Every few months it seems some horrid cross-genre of music emerges. Yes, rock and metal’s golden era was long left behind in the mid-90’s.  We should already admit that. I now truly fear it will never re-emerge if tripe like this is pushed to the fore.

Maybe there’s still hope the Large Hadron Collider might actually create a black hole and cause the Earth to collapse in on itself. A fate more desirable than years of this.

Peter Clegg

Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix

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Tenacious D
Rize of the Fenix
Columbia 

I wouldn’t want to give too much away about Tenacious D’s third album, ‘Rize of the Fenix’, because like with any comedy proposition, giving too much away spoils the surprise and indeed, loathe as I am to say it, the novelty. Still, while ‘The Pick of Destiny’ wasn’t a bad album, ‘Rize of the Fenix’ unashamedly blows it out of the water. It retains the classic brand of D’s humour and approach to rock, making it more grandiose, naturally funnier and wholeheartedly rockin’.

As ever with Jables and Kage, there’s a whole variety of the usual D trademark stuff, so there’s a couple of skits, which are thankfully very amusing, but importantly there’s more focus on the music itself. The longer tracks in particular are Tenacious D at their best. The opening title track tackles their box-office failure and even contemplates a world without the D, and Black’s vocal range is given full proverbial flight. Black’s vocals soar again on ‘The Roadie’, a grand tale about being (yes) a roadie, and ‘The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage’. The album’s more frenetic moments aren’t too bad either, ‘Deth Starr’ in particular being fairly rifftastic. They haven’t lost any notion of being even a little crass, but overall, this is the most mature sounding Tenacious D album yet, both lyrically and musically. For a comedy rock album to be deemed a masterpiece might be stretching it far – but this is as accomplished as the D’s debut and indeed one of the most rocking experiences you’ll have all year. Grab a beer and crank this up. The D will live on! 

Peter Clegg

Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix

Buy ‘Rize of the Fenix‘ here

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