Skinfather – Succession/Possession

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Skinfather
Succession/Possession
Life and Death

Featuring members of Pomona sluggers Xibalba, its no surprise that Skinfather play thumping hardcore/death metal (not ‘deathcore’), that truly doesn’t do halves on beefy, groovy, pummelling riffs and beats – and not a snip of horsemeat to be found! A topical cliché perhaps, but one that does this release perfectly justice and which should do a few circle pits justice in future too. ‘Succession/Possession’ is described as an EP, though more like a single with two original songs and a cover of Unleashed’s ‘Execute Them All’, a burgeoning cult favourite of metal bands everywhere at last. The delivery is not at all unlike Entombed, though less in the d-beat way that numerous Southern Lord bands have proliferated over the last few years, but in a much more old school death metal way. If you can get hold of this EP I’d highly recommend it – it’s not original but if you want a good clobbering around the ears you could do a lot worse.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Succession/Possession’ here
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Sectioned – Outlier

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Sectioned
Outlier EP

The problem with the term ‘technical metal’ is that it gets tarred and feathered with one of two things; either accusations of being staid and repetitive from when the genre boomed in the late 2000s; or getting labelled with the horrid five-letter word that I refuse to utter on this site, as though its meant to be wholly original and unique. So there you have it – I largely grew out of modern technical metal bands and those that did seemed to be becoming either a bit too big for their boots, fractured into different units or came up with largely derivative material.

I’m not saying that Sectioned are doomed to walk this well-worn path, and I’m pleased to say that ‘Outlier’ is, cliché lovers, fucking brutal. In the midst of trying to come up with a descriptor for its opening track, ‘Parasite’, I invented a genre that shall not be repeated here for I would certainly deserve to be slapped down for it. But joking aside, its slow build up is nothing short of menacing, utterly cold as the guitars grind and plunder before any vocals and any sort of melody comes in. It sits closer to sludge territory if nothing else, though technical sludge seems like an improbability given being technical in metal generally means being fleet-fingered, not something the thundering chords of sludge/doom have in common. Eventually said parasite gets in the system four minutes in and the initial malevolence brimming on the edges spills over in the final minute.

The remainder of ‘Outlier’ generally goes about with a bit more bluster, from the pit-friendly ‘Trismus’ to the more progressively natured ‘The Body As a Deadweight’. As far as technicality goes, Sectioned seem to have all bases covered, throwing in all manner off fluidity, discordance and insanity. It falls somewhere between the technicality of SikTh, Behold the Arctopus et al, with equal influence from Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan, albeit with the occasional generic metalcore/deathcore section as an inflammatory measure. Still, for someone who generally doesn’t go too near this sort of thing very often any more, it’s a pleasant surprise to come across a band already as accomplished and excellent at their craft as Sectioned. And furthermore, they’re Scottish. If I’d have realised that at first I wouldn’t have needed to explain their supremacy any further, for Scottish metal owns that word right now.

Outlier’ is available as both a CD and as a name-your-price download. Go!

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Outlier‘ here
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Hot Graves – Fashion Victim EP

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Hot Graves
Fashion Victim EP
Bigger Boat

Gainesville, Florida’s Hot Graves have been pedalling their caustic blackened d-beat/deaththrash for a few years now, but this is the first time I’ve gotten around to listening to them, and more fool me for not paying attention sooner. Expecting them to provide more of the blackened deaththrash they’ve been making their name for instead comes forth a caustic blackened punk rock attack, a seemingly spontaneous change of tack derived one recording session following intense efforts to ‘best themselves’. For ‘Fashion Victim‘, their latest release, is fantastically full of attitude with those DIY values and something a little markedly different from what they’ve done before and yet still stands apart from the crowd. Four tracks of sonically hot bombs drop in quick succession here, all recorded live with a delivery as scorching as their Bandcamp page colour scheme. They don’t waste time getting into the thick of ‘Fuck Ü/Ü Suck’, with a fist pumping ‘Oi oi oi!‘ thrown in for good measure, and each successive song scores highly on rabid vocals, crusty three/four chord punk riffs, high tempo rhythm and sneering attitude. The rebuffed cover of Bad Religion’s ‘Yesterday’ is a nice touch as well, with Hot Graves’ sound giving it a distinct darkened feel to the LA punk legends classic melodic punk. This is up as a name-your-price download, leaving you no excuse to check out and maybe even give a little to get down with this necessary evil.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Fashion Victim‘ EP here (download) or here (7″ and download)
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