XII Boar unleash cover of Motörhead’s ‘Damage Case’

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It’s always good to see a UK band going from strength to strength despite the ignorance of the masses, and XII Boar are a fine example of such exponence, having released several killer EPs and singles including this year’s 7″ ‘Truck Stop Baby‘. The band have now revealed a previously unreleased recording from that record’s sessions, in the mold of a tribute to the legendary Motörhead’s ‘Damage Case’, hallmarked by the trio’s wicked blend of sludge, stoner rock and blues, marks of which are left all over this version. It rocks from one style to enough, dropping into the bluesy section with an ‘eins, zwei, drei, vier!‘ and the result is emphatic enough for this to be considered one of my favourite Motörhead covers around.

The cover is available on their Bandcamp page and can be streamed and downloaded for free. You can stream it below here too. Get on it!

Water Torture – Pillbox

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Water Torture
Pillbox
Nerve Altar

The Buffalo powerviolence trio Water Torture recently dropped their debut full length ‘Pillbox’ into the world and if you’ve been following their early adventures, mapped across various EPs and split releases, this record marks the fruition of true promise and then some. ‘Pillbox’ is seventeen tracks long, and its refreshing in its variation – it can loosely be described as grind/powerviolence but barely any two tracks are the truly the same. Numerous tracks and passages of the album see noise elements swathed between low-end sludge grooves and guttural grind, often tacked onto the end of short blasts of despairing energy, almost like white noise or the dying noises of a machine, and occasionally marked as single tracks of pure noise, e.g. ‘Product One’, a cavernous, drenching wall of howling noise. Not too dissimilar from the approach of acts such as Iron Lung, and fans of that sort of stuff are bound to get into this. Indeed this makes for a much more dynamic grind album – not just stuck at one pace, but taking in sludge and dark acoustic elements – the track ‘Creature of Repetition’ is free of noise and grind elements and owes more to classical in its foreboding arrangement. Having cut their teeth on numerous split releases since forming in 2011, ‘Pillbox‘ is the record that should really get people to sit up and take notice of Water Torture. A band willing to take risks and make primal mechanical animals of us all.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Pillbox’ here
Pre-order the vinyl LP here
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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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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

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Wort – Not Your Cup of Tea

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Wort
Not Your Cup of Tea
When Planets Collide

When I started We Must Obey, I was part of a band called Poison Dwarf. I was bandmates with two of the guys from this band, Phil (guitar) and Mike (vocals/bass). Mike of course has contributed occasionally to this blog, while creating his own profile with the Manchester-based promotions team CLDH, and more recently, with sludge-rockers Pist. We played together for nearly two and a half years, until parenthood came calling for me and in the end, we played one final show together supporting The Prophecy, Iron Void and WMO favourites Iron Witch in August 2011 before going on hiatus. Poison Dwarf never officially died – more, it mutated into what was to become Wort, with the two remaining PD members joining up with drummer .

I could easily make this one of my old ‘Shameless Plug’ posts, but given how genuinely impressed I am with the results here, it is important to judge their official debut release, ‘Not Your Cup of Tea’ (complete with brilliant artwork from Dominic Sohor) on its merits. Yes, it hardly reinvents the wheel, but what it does do, as I can attest to (and you, if you listened to their demo, ‘WORT’s N’All!’) is show how this band have evolved into a beast to be reckoned with alongside the current proud crop of the UK scene. The tempo is slightly upped from that release, the production beefed up all around, and each track is stronger than the previous one. ‘The Swine Herd’ has a nice psychedelic vocal within it to add to its driving, pounding nature, and ‘Tea’ is just an all-round riffer that nicely rounds things off with the sound of Phil vomiting from a rank brew. Which is nothing new, let me tell you, haha.

Seriously though, ‘Not Your Cup of Tea’ is definitely my cup of tea, and it should be yours too. Sadly all the CD copies have sold out, but you can pick this up on name-your-price download. Give ‘em a wave will you?

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Not Your Cup of Tea’ here
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Night Stalker – Demo 2014

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Night Stalker
Demo 2014

Yes. Hell yeeeees. It’s always an exciting time when a new demo comes to light, and particularly that anticipation that beneath it lays your new favourite band. Enter Leeds’ Night Stalker. As well as proving its Yorkshire who ought to have independence, given how good our great county is at just about anything, their six-track demo is a blazing ‘hello arseholes’ to anyone looking their way. It’s hardcore punk along tried and tested lyrical lines – non-conformism, religion, sheeple being three such examples – but it does so dancing all over you with it. The opening couple of tracks are full on hardcore punk rippers, both as uncompromising in snarl as each other, but the next couple of tracks, including the brilliant ‘Staring At You’, are cracking riff worshippers, showing that this band do have another gear. There’s a brilliant old-school 80’s hardcore stench lingering all over this demo, evocative of Poison Idea at times, and that’s a good thing. Night Stalker aren’t the first band to do this – they’re just the latest to show their class with it. And what’s more, it’s free, so you have no excuse not to grab yourselves a copy and give yourselves a damn near quarter hour of raging causticity.

Peter Clegg 

Download ‘Demo 2014’ here (free download)

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Gilla Bruja – Clubbed Hands and a Fistful of Snakes

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Gilla Bruja
Clubbed Hands and a Fistful of Snakes

Marking their first release in five years, sixteen years after first forming, veteran sewer dwellers Gilla Bruja return with five more tracks of violent Southern-fried noise, and in doing so, proving that time has not tamed them. As the opening track, ‘Goat Bothering for Beginners/The Saintless Tainted Throb’, builds in with the distorted movie sample and the loud wall of feedback that gradually crescendoes, the noise unleashed by the band is unsurprisingly, but most definitely, thick, heavy, brutal sludge, the kind that long time followers of Gilla Bruja will surely recognise. It’s violent, it chugs, and it most definitely is loud, falling somewhere between Buzzov*men’s bile, Crowbar’s groove, ‘Southern Trendkill‘-era Pantera. The third track ‘Another Predawn Trauma Hangover’s Terrible Wrath and the House Fire it Spawned’ throws in a hardcore punk section before slowing into thudding territory again, and throughout their vocalist makes one hell of a din. It’s got that enjoyable old-school, even B-movie horror feel running through its veins, and if you didn’t check out this band before they disappeared for a while, they’re definitely a band you should check out now. This release is unquestionably one you should play very loud to feel every gouge and every rasp.

Peter Clegg

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Cattle – Self-Titled EP

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Cattle
Self-Titled EP

The bass guitar. Often a symbol of groove, depth, and funk. Depending on your angle, and indeed what style of music you play, the bass can either be the one thing that hooks you into a song, or a powerful weapon of forcible downward magnitude, as ever with stoner, sludge and doom. There are those bands who either dispense with the bass altogether, and there are some for whom the bassist is seemingly unimportant (Metallica’s ‘…And Justice For All’ a seeming example for Jason Newsted fans).

But although the bass as a leading instrument is neither new or unique, there aren’t many that use the bass in such a way as Leeds’ Cattle, an intriguing three-piece, eschewing the usual need for guitars and dispensing with them in favour of a vocalist, bassist and two drummers, which becomes the integral part of their sound on this four-track EP. They fall somewhere between math rock and noise rock, juxtaposing often between the two. But whatever, they realise the importance of the bassist as both an instrument and as a force, exposing every groove, nuance, and occasional bludgeon. The first track, ‘Rockets’ ratchets up tension and atmosphere at first before the vocals come in, kicking off a delightful riff-fest. The second track, ‘Whoa Bessie’, is for me the highlight of this release, a bit like Big Business riding the Unsane bull and becoming every bit as much of a rodeo as the title suggests by speeding up and slowing down to great effect, like sailing the choppiest waters but without the feeling of seasickness. The bass is allowed to stand right out and at times it even resembles a bit of a lounge session, such as the toe-tapping riff that forms part of ‘Pyramid Shaped Hole’. When they do drop into noise rock territory, its every bit as trenched and rocking as you’d expect, but that they allow the bass to sometimes seem so sparse and alone, above the excellent percussive tones, occasionally bordering on minimalist, giving them an extra edge and a slight uniquity that often goes missing so often in bands these days.

It will be interesting to see where they head next, but Cattle are a rare breed indeed, and the curious amongst us will no doubt find appreciation in this band.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Self Titled’ EP here
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