Fange – Poisse

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Fange
Poisse
Cold Dark Matter

Fange are a trio from Rennes, France, specializing in dirty, harsh, downtuned sludge, with ‘Poisse’, their debut release, exemplifying what you’d expect to hear from a band of such description – indeed the amount of quality sludge and doom I’ve already heard this year is meaning have to really pore through the fibres of each release. ‘Poisse’, I’m pleased to say, is among the better ones. They feature drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo (of Brain Pyramid) in their line-up, but this is far from the psychedelic retro worship of that band, and instead what they do is in no way trippy or upbeat. Fange are jarring, viscous and thoroughly oppressive in nature, striding firmly amidst stomach-churning riffage and noise elements. They do nod to certain allowances of atmosphere (the awesome feedback/noise intro to ‘Cloches Fendues’ sets the tone brilliantly), while the start of ‘Ammoniac’ sets off on a ripping hardcore punk tangent before settling back into what the band does best. And they do it really well – it’s not original (not much is these days) but its succeeds in creating a downtrodden vibe. The band’s name translates as ‘mire’, which is quite appropriate considering the depth of groove, fuzz and snarl, amidst a swirling brew of discordant aggravation existing in the interminable void they create. Check out the stream below and enjoy some of the harshest noise to come from over the Channel.

<p style="text-align:right;”>Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Poisse’ here (name-your-price download/limited CD)
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Old Skin – :consume:

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Old Skin
:consume:

Owing very much to my lack of activity towards the end of last year, I missed the debut release by Mancunian hardcore/metal crew Old Skin, highly anticipated for it containing members of Esoteric Youth and the brilliant Knife Crimes, who we reviewed posthumously after they left the world behind with, for my money, one of the best demonstrations of hardcore of recent years. So Old Skin came with a degree of expectation, but they showed that anyone expecting Knife Crimes mark II on ‘Mære’ that they’re anything but – what this band and that band have in common is an eye for darkness; but Old Skin were open to elements of post-metal, Old English folklore and a slight air of mystery. Whatever your take, Old Skin quickly became a flagbearer for UK hardcore, a scene which is bulging at the seems as it stands. That’s partly what makes the release of ‘:consume:’ such an interesting one.

Anyone following underground hardcore and metal right now, and everyone with an interest in the digital format should take note. For Old Skin have decided this release will only be available from 26/05/2014, up until 01/06/2014. It’s now 29/05/2014, which means there’s only a few days of this left before you properly miss out. And while these two songs don’t open up in the way that ‘Mære’ did, certainly not by way of experimentalism or reflection, it’s still a release worthy of the frenzied hype going around the social networks in a bid to get as many people to check it out before the band take it down forever. ‘Swordcharmer’ starts with a slow build-up, vocalist Michael Ribeiro showing exactly what a beast of a roar he has as the riff coarses and pumps up until 2:23 when it’s very veins explode in a brief crusty shred n’ blast out before dropping back into the main riff. The B-side, if you will, entitled ‘Snakeswallower’, is a more usual affair, albeit a corker, going at the jugular acrest a slight technical lick, before dropping into a mid-paced chug-groove and a satisfying hardcore rodeo to ride out to the finish.

This release will undoubtedly please fans of the genre and anyone into acts like Converge, Integrity, Oathbreaker, etc. who might be looking for something new can’t really do much better than this right now. A full length is planned by the end of the year and the blogosphere is sure to lose theirselves in it all again. One day, we’ll all have old skin, an inevitability, but we could all do with Old Skin in our lives, and the time is now to consume ‘:consume:’, or to watch it disappear forever. Time is ticking.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘:consume:‘ here (name-your-price, until 01/06/2014)

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Megalodoom – Tectonic Oblivion

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Megalodoom
Tectonic Oblivion
Witch Hunter

Some records are so heavy, you feel the weight of their delivery in your ears. Megalodoom’s ‘Tectonic Oblivion‘, quite appropriately, will do just that. Having previously impressed with their demo jam ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Grief‘ (later properly released through Tartarus Records), their debut EP, recently released through Witch Hunter Records, sees them truly accomplish what you’d expect from a band whose mantra is ‘No words. Just riffs‘. The opening track ‘Polar Vortex’ sounds just evil, in an ominous, Sabbathian way, but such is the boom coming out of every groove from the low end of the guitars and the thunderous bass that it isn’t just a superlative. And as the EP progresses, the Nottingham quartet show they’ve not just enhanced their ability to drag out a riff without losing its appeal, but also to create moments of such cacophony that they might well register on the Richter scale. The opening rumbles of ‘Sword of the Spirit’, the longest track here, are slightly reminiscent of High on Fire or Grief before they throw in another truly monstrous and devastating riff. The superb production ensures Megalodoom’s quaking delivery is pushed to the fore – overall ‘Tectonic Oblivion’ is another fantastic release that should belonging in your already bulging collection and confirms Megalodoom’s belonging in this frankly stupendous stoner/sludge/doom scene we have on these shores.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Tectonic Oblivion‘ here (name-your-price)
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We Must Obey is now three!

Yes, you read that right. Holy fuckballs. Yes, despite much limping about and shuffling towards inexorable doom – much like the world it seems – We Must Obey has made it, just about, to the ripe old blog age of three.

Regular visitors over the last year or so will have seen occasional high points in our coverage, such as when we got a Q&A with Ginger Wildheart, provided our in-depth, if slightly tardy, coverage of ‘Kin Hell Fest, and our recognition of printed media as Iron Fist, a magazine as true to metal as any other, launched last year. Then gradually we became less active as a blog, as I personally became more active as a person. In the last couple of weeks, largely thanks to the sporadic flow of activity spurring from ‘Kin Hell Fest and it’s aftermath, it’s fair to say that for now the fire is alive. Should my priorities continue to be taken up with other things as they so often are, then I can’t say for certain if we’ll make it to four years. I love rock, metal and all its offspring, but continuing as a one man operation with no sign of any further help coming in from the inside, it’s harder to find the same love for doing this blog as I did when I first started, inspired by the likes of Cosmo Lee and Invisible Oranges, and Andrew Childers of Grind and Punishment. I’m inundated with review requests these days and I try so hard to listen to everyone, but it’s hard to keep up. And there’s many I don’t even review despite having enjoyed their craft.

But I assure you, I don’t want to end it here, and if I, or indeed if anyone, can help me find that spark to make this more than just a passing concern for me again, you’re more than welcome to join this ship and we’ll steer it back on course.

I must continue to thank the usual suspects – Lauren at Rarely Unable, Grim Kim Kelly at Catharsis, Chris & Witch Hunter, Jona & Pelagic Records, and anyone whose been in touch to supply me/us with content. I do try my hardest to keep up and I’m often overwhelmed, but these people, among others, are part of the reason that metal and the flora and fauna that surrounds it remains intriguing and exciting. And thanks of course to Paul Priest and ‘kin Hell Fest, for supporting this blog in equal if not bigger fashion to us. Paul didn’t just spread the word but he pushed a good few new followers our way. If only we and many others could have done more for their festival. Most of all though, I must thank all the bands and artists who continue to innovate and create, that keep the metal flame alive and keep it exciting. Even as I approach 30 years of age, this isn’t anything that has its power over me like metal, that ability to retain an iron grip over me and leave me wondrous as to what I’ve just heard. And of course, I must not forget those who stop by to read these posts and gives a shit about my opinion. Indeed I’m forthright enough to heartily recommend amazing new bands to you, and if you’re enjoying listening to them as I do write about them, then you’re just as important part of the cycle.

Despite some of the gloom passed here, am I happy to reach this milestone? Why of course I am. I created this thing
after drafting my own skills for a year or so before deciding to have a crack at it. It hasn’t grown much, but neither do all the best Pokémon. And will I make it through a fourth year? I’m really not sure. But I’m not going to let it sink without trace either, and keeping the mystery alive is better than letting the magic die. If there is such a thing as magic here.

And for the record, I’m not giving out any cake. Luckily, you can make it yourself. And as we share our blog birthday with the one and only Metal Cakes, you actually can! Metal Cakes is six years strong today and there’s a new Entombed-themed cupcake for you to have a bash at! Go on. What’s more metal than cake, eh?

I’m digressing now. I think we’ll leave it there. Cheers everyone!

Employed to Serve – Change Nothing, Regret Everything

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Employed to Serve
Change Nothing, Regret Everything
Holy Roar

Employed to Serve first emerged onto the scene in 2012 with the release of ‘Long Time Dead’, but it wasn’t until their second EP ‘Counting Crows’ and a subsequent announcement for ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 that they arrived to my attention. The release of ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’ continues upon the very trail they’ve blazed for themselves. If there is such a thing as a title for best up and coming band right now, Employed to Serve are striving for it and then some. 

In contrast to their earliest release, ‘Change Nothing’ focuses less on the melodic aspect of their sound and more on all out brittled rage. Overall these six tracks are shorter and showcase a monstrous, strident beast lurking deep within this lot, now a full blown quartet after starting life with just founder members Justine Jones – who is furious as a vocalist, her chaotic roar sounding just as intense as I imagine Employed to Serve are a crazy act to watch live – and Sammy Unwin (he of Regurgitate Life/Oblivionized), who here delivers more bludgeoning riffs with some occasional technical flair. It’s hard not to want to go apeshit listening to this band, and this record in particular. A band like this should make you want to flip out and destroy things. Listening to tracks such as ‘No One’s Child’ and ‘Heavy Limbs’, this ticks every box in that department and thus pleases me greatly.

Influence wise, this release marks Employed to Serve close enough to the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Agoraphobic Nosebleed, but this is a band who are carving an opening for themselves, showing their varied sound over the course of three releases. Just that this is easily their most formidable and frenzied yet. A full length is in the offing and it surely it won’t be long before they’re dominating bigger stages. Get yourselves onto this band now, and regret nothing in the process.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everythinghere (multi-format download) or here (vinyl options)
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Grey Widow – I

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Grey Widow
I

A band with members of Dopefight, Parole, Thread and The Ergon Counsel should rightly get anyone with half a brain and/or indeed knowledge of the lush UK underground rather excited, and that is exactly the case with London-based tyrants Grey Widow. Their debut album ‘I’ was released early this year, and while it offers no real surprises (from the cover art to the music itself), it is nonetheless doom/sludge metal done right. The opening, self-titled track builds up into appropriately filthy, groovy doom/sludge, and ticks every box you like depending on how you like your riffage – equal parts nihilistic, filthy, just downright heavy. ’IV’ provides a nice swerve; one of the album’s stand-out tracks, it chucks in some nice blackened misery, full of rolling beats and chaotic howls, before slowing down the riffage and playing out in suitably forboding fashion, and ‘VII’ flirts with hardcore punk at one point before punching you squarely in the face with more swampy dredging sludge riffs. And the last track – surprise, titled ‘VIII’ – is one of the most hateful dirges committed to audio this year, and you will find it absorbing every inch of your barely alive corpses.

Their mantra is ‘Nihilistic putrid fucking hatred. Worship nothing. Follow no one. Destroy everything’. Without question this record proves they lift and breathe that statement of their sound and their mission objective, and ‘I’ is a living embodiment of all that is great and wholly impure about downtempo worship.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘I’ here (download), or here (CD/cassette/LP)
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Iron Reagan – Spoiled Identity EP

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Iron Reagan
Spoiled Identity EP
Magic Bullet

Given away as a free flexi-disc vinyl with Decibel magazine, but available as a free download for anyone and everyone, this release sees the band at their fastest and indeed briefest that they’ve ever been. This is fastcore done fast, crossover with brevity, but losing none of its hardcore punk sneer or attitude. Not even Municipal Waste, the main concern of IR members Tony Foresta and Ryan Waste, pursued speed like this at such relentlessness. Only the title track exceeds a minute, with song length cast aside for micro thrash diatribes like ‘Your Kids an Asshole’, ‘Cops Don’t Like Me, I Don’t Like Cops’, and more. Really you can’t pick out a stand out track on a release like this, as it just bounces from one song to the next and the name of the game is to keep up. Just download it and enjoy what you’re hearing. Rarely does anyone do crossover this right these days.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Spoiled Identity’ here (name-your-price)
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