Night Stalker – Demo 2014

image

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)

Stream it below:

Facebook
Bandcamp

Gilla Bruja – Clubbed Hands and a Fistful of Snakes

image

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

Buy/download ‘Clubbed Hands and a Fistful of Snakes‘ here
Stream it below:

Facebook
Bandcamp

ReverbNation

Cattle – Self-Titled EP

image

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
Stream it below:
 

Facebook
Bandcamp

Iron Witch/The Atrocity Exhibit – split 7″

image

Iron Witch/The Atrocity Exhibit
Split 7”
Witch Hunter/Dead Chemists

It doesn’t feel like two minutes ago since Iron Witch and The Atrocity Exhibit emerged onto the underbelly of the UK underground music scene, only to stick their boots into its collective craw. Maybe it’s just a sign of how damn busy these bands are to make their name, or how quickly word spreads. Whatever it is, by now if you’re a follower of UK sludge, doom, grind, or any shouty goodness going on, you should be well aware of who both those bands are by now. And if you’re not, where have you been? The two have now combined for a split 7”, contributing a single track each that revels in noise of a putrid splendour, and hatred of its subject matter of a venomous kind.

Iron Witch have long held claim now to being the new kings of UK sludge, and strengthen that claim here with ‘Her Cheating Heart’. Their longest track to date, at 6:42, they credit ‘all the lying, cheating whores who made this possible’. In no way bitter at all, they do what they do best and make it even better – a depressing and thoroughly heavy trudge that riffs hard. Vocalist Chris yells ‘if you had a heart it’d break in two’ with all the spleen of a man wronged and to top it all off, the song ends with an ever so brief but cracking slow lead that reminds me ever so slightly of that awesome one at the end of Iron Monkey’s ‘Fink Dial’. The sort that screams ‘fuck you, I win!’ Or in this case ‘fuck you’. Brilliant stuff.

In contrast, The Atrocity Exhibit take a diversion that their usual blast and destroy approach to grind, which so often works wonders. Instead, theirs is a true slug, a slow and obdurate track entitled ‘Throne of Bile’ that over its course exerts so much sonic pressure you’d think the speakers might explode under the weight. The band go out of their way to make this as uncomfortable a sludge track as you might imagine, eventually shifting upwards in tempo just enough to release some of the tension, but in no way letting the listener off lightly. Theirs too is just as hateful, and appropriately unpredictable.

This split has been available since late October of last year and you can still obtain one of 500 black vinyl copies via Witch Hunter Records and Dead Chemists Records, who came together to put out this release jointly. Follow the links below, stream and support. Smashing job all round.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Iron Witch/The Atrocity Exhibit’ via Witch Hunter Records; or at Dead Chemists Records
Stream it below:

Iron Witch Facebook
Bandcamp
Tumblr
Twitter

The Atrocity Exhibit Facebook
Bandcamp
Twitter

BongCauldron – BongCauldron EP

image

BongCauldron
BongCauldron EP
Superhot

Hailing from Leeds, Jay (drums, aka drunken bog dweller), Biscuit (guitar, relentless Squatch hunter), and Ben (bass, abominable cave goblin), make up the sludge power trio BongCauldron. One look at the name of this band will tell you everything you need to know about what they’re going to sound like, and what they’re likely to sing about. That doesn’t make them any less deserving of your attention or your judgment. The fact is, BongCauldron serves up an addictive stew of stoner rock, sludge metal, and boogie, on their debut s/t EP. It won’t surprise you greatly, at least not lyrically, but the band know how to jam through tracks such as ‘Tree Wizard’, which contain equal amounts of groove and gruff aggression. There is some neat variation between songs though, with the single ‘Up’ a hearty display of riff and reverb, the speedy blasts of ‘Vehemence’, and the Sabbathian sounds of ‘Gimp Jig’. Overall, it’s a pleasing body of work, falling somewhere between Wo Fat, High on Fire, and of course, Sabbath, given a slightly rough production job to maximise the distortion and drive in every bludgeoning groove. These five tracks will firmly establish the band within the swellings of the UK underground, surely pleasing these hungry swamp creatures.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘BongCauldron’ here (CD/download)
Stream it below:

Facebook
Last.fm

Human Cull – The Persecuting Society

image

Human Cull
The Persecuting Society

Plymouth grinders Human Cull have been pretty busy since we last reviewed them – we sadly missed their splits with Oblivionized (‘This Septic Isle’) and their intriguing slow jam ‘Cities Become Graves’ which featured on a split with Canadians Homolka. Both of these came out in 2012 along with the mini-album ‘Split Second Extinction’, so this marks the first release for the band in just over a year. Here they return to grind the axe at speed once again with six new tracks on an EP entitled ‘The Persecuting Society’. It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect from a grind band, but regardless, Human Cull still flex their muscles perfectly well, and these six tracks are perfect executions of the genre’s speed with a tinge of death metal influence held within too. Stream it below and get yourself the latest ice cold killer slab from the Plymouthian crew.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘The Persecuting Society’ here (name-your-price)

Stream it below:

Facebook
Bandcamp