Iced Out – An Inevitable End

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Iced Out
An Inevitable End
Church of Fuck

Following quickly onwards from their ‘Demo 2012’ release (re-released as ‘#1’) which first displayed their pissed-off sludgy hardcore (as opposed to ‘sludgecore), ‘An Inevitable End’ Durham’s Iced Out ploughing through five new depressive-fuelled anthems that serve as a definitive step-up from that demo. Vocalist Dom Moss, who also bellows for Esoteric Youth, is the centerpoint for this improvement – his voice on the demo sounded tired – not in a bad way, more in a way that suggested there was extreme apathy and hate directed towards the subject matter of the demo. Here, he sounds more energised, more spiteful, and when his voice explodes, it explodes.

Although hardcore can serve as a defiant cry to the world, Iced Out are another angry voice against the world – but the downtuned guitars serve as the perfect foil to Moss’ rage, as evidenced on the opening track ‘Gold Dust’ and indeed the closing, blast-infused ‘Cheat Card’. Not a foot is placed wrong in those riffs and the drummer serves every change in tempo well. It has echoes of fellow purveyors of doomy hardcore Xibalba, with an Entombed-style tone without going down the d-beat route like everyone else seems to be doing.

Iced Out – Gold Dust

And while it states the bloomin’ obvious that this should be turned up real loud so that everyone can hear, it’s true. Those riffs and drum beats simply won’t cut it if it’s not booming full blast. I’m not suggesting neighbourly unfriendliness or anything outside public decency, but if you want to get the most out of ‘An Inevitable End’ you really do need to fire it up. I listened to this twice in a row on my commute to work. On the bus, I think I may have still been waking up, but the socially-deemed acceptable level of volume didn’t seem to wash. Walking through a dreary, empty town centre surrounded by boarded-up shops and dull grey skies at 7:20am on an October morning with increased volume gives this record the power it truly needs.

It’s available through their Bandcamp as a free download but is also going to be made available physically through Church of Fuck Records. If you’re the type whose heart isn’t so much on your sleeve but lying motionless in the gutter, what are you waiting for? Hope-bereft hardcore rarely sounds this satisfying.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘An Inevitable End’ here (free download)

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Esoteric Youth – Demo

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Esoteric Youth
Demo
Church of Fuck

This debut release from Manchester’s Esoteric Youth is five tracks of blackened crusty hardcore that does sound very much from the beaten track by today’s standards, but sticks out enough to mark some potential. The production, perhaps going for a balance between slick and lo-fi, doesn’t always pay off, often muddying the occasional blastbeats and not always complimenting the vocals the way they should. Underneath all that is a promising demo that gets stronger as it progresses, striking a balance between blitzes of frenetic speed and nihilistic aggression, climaxing with ‘Hive Collapse’, a pure rager for the first 90 seconds, before fading to the sounds of a thunderstorm. I’m looking forward to what these guys have to offer next, providing they can find the right balance between the production and their sound.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Demo‘ here (name-your-price/ltd. cassette tape)
Stream it below:

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Knife Crimes – Complete Discography

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Knife Crimes
Demo MMXII (Complete Discography)
Church of Fuck/Witch Hunter

How often is it that you hear of bands who commit one recording that gets the underground buzzing so much, only for said band to then return to dust? Like Siege? Punky Bruster? Minor Threat? Bands like those had something special about them to create a single album or recording of note that people still talk about those recordings many years after they were originally released, whether on a cult level (certainly in the case of Punky Bruster, a Devin Townsend side project) or on an altogether more influential platform.

It’s unlikely that Knife Crimes will ever achieve that level of notoriety or cult status, but even so, word was beginning to spread amongst the UK underground of their ‘Demo MMXII’ recording that was attracting plaudits and perhaps beginning to gather a little place when suddenly, the band split, and its more than likely that most of you will get into Knife Crimes, like me, too late, simply off the back of word of mouth reviews like this. It’s to Witch Hunter Records’ credit that they’ve put ‘Demo MMXII’ out as a CD release, boosting its tracklisting with the final two recordings from the band, and entitling it, a la Minor Threat fashion, ‘Complete Discography’.

Knife Crimes posted on their Tumblr account when announcing ‘Complete Discography’ the words ‘Thanks to the world for letting us down’. This statement rings true lyrically. The last song ever written and recorded by the band ‘World Past Saving’, opens ‘Complete Discography’, a defiant spit on man’s chokehold on the planet, and former B-side ‘Field of Flames’ is no less uncompromising. The tracks comprising ‘Demo MMXII’ make up the belly of the EP and are full-on smashers with demoralizing lyrics bleak as they come. ‘Cold Cross’ is particularly miserable hardcore, with the lyrics ‘Born into this world/Baptised in boiling water/disowned by the world/like lambs to the slaughter’ set against a thunderous twin pedal assault and guitars that even sound like they’re lamenting their own existence on this world. In Knife Crimes’ world, Jesus has a lot of explaining to do.

The three additional tracks aren’t half bad either. These are the final Knife Crimes recordings, do not disappoint, but in the knowledge of the band’s split, the closing track doesn’t half feel like the dying breaths of the band. The appropriately named ‘Death Hymn’ is a dark acoustic number with raging hardcore vocals over the top; an appropriately sorrowful trudge into the end. The final echo of the guitar is really as haunting as it gets. The conclusion of a short history. The end of the briefest of careers. Maybe if the world continues down its current path, this might well be the appropriate soundtrack. As it is, this happens to be one of the greatest statements of UK hardcore to date, which is all the more shame, despite respective members’ committing to future projects, that Knife Crimes are no more.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Complete Discography’ here (name-your-price)
Or here (CD)
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