Iron Witch/The Atrocity Exhibit – split 7″

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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:

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The Atrocity Exhibit Facebook
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‘Kin Hell Fest 2013 – The Review! – Sunday 28th April

Click here for full review of Friday 26th April
Click here for full review of Saturday 27th April

Sunday 28th April

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I arrived a little bit late in the day, expecting to miss Envoys and DSDNT, with the sharper changeover times to make sure of that. Shyeah, right! It was a while before the Leeds hardcore crew were ready to go, allowing me plenty time for that flyer to go up and to grab a beer too. Still, when they did get going, the crowd received a pretty good set. There still seems to be a fair few people asleep, and they missed performance of real intensity, with the band’s vocalist allowed to stalk the floor and bellow his lungs out at any given moment while the others duelled out the soundtrack to their downbeat mood.

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Even that doesn’t prepare us though for The Day Man Lost, making a comeback with a new lineup. They pull off a set that’s all kinds of amazing, seamlessly shifting from one song to the next with little time to draw breath before the next grind barrage hits. The pit perimeter seems to widen with every song with more and more people wanting to enter the frenzy. This is quite possibly the best set of the weekend, hoovering even the most vaguely interested party into undiluted glee with the constant stab-stab-stab of subjugating sonic violence.

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Horsebastard aren’t bad either, albeit experiencing a slightly subdued atmosphere as for some reason all TDML fans disappeared. It’s a rollicking mix of grindy hardcore punk and political awareness, with Chris Reese of Corrupt Moral Altar doing vocal duties here too. Their bassist is fleet of finger and doesn’t relent for the entirety of the set. But having been a guitarist short for the entire set, they do well not submerge in a sea of low-end grooves, making the best of a potentially sticky situation and winding up impressing the pants off many.

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Corrupt Moral Altar trucker caps had been sighted frequently since the beginning of ‘Kin Hell Fest, suggesting there was definite buzz about the underground ‘supergroup’, and if there was anything tantamount to hype then CxMxA didn’t let anybody down. It’s a blistering set and blood is even shed in the pit as the chaos gets a little too rowdy.

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Wode appeared to suffer from technical glitches early on but still manage to plough out a few of their impressive blackened tunes. But the spark to ignite this particular set is somewhat missing. I get that not every musician wants to be an entertainer but with the vibe given off at this festival it would have been nice for the band to appear to enjoy themselves a little more. As it is, the appreciation shown by the crowd doesn’t seem entirely reciprocal, and the overall feeling is a little flat.

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The Sufferinfuck set could have suffered similarly from the opposite perspective, with the earlier hordes of grind rangers not showing up as frequently for the West Lothian powerviolence mob, but any doubts are cast aside from the opening blasts from the back of the room. This is one of most furious sets of the weekend, anf their singer screams himself hoarse, even roaring at one point to the switches on the wall. There’s just enough time at the end for everyone to catch their breath before they close on the cerebral ‘Nature Will Out’, allowing for one brief moment of foreboding malice before they throw the kitchen sink at it again. Bloody terrific.

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If the first chunk of the day was largely fast, it’s mid-section was about to hit a sudden bump in the road, and the Scouse whiskey machine Iron Witch were on hand to slow things down. Always a class act as usual, they manage to sneak in a new song or two and still retain a familiar feel about their set, with the new material from ‘Hangover Suicide‘ fitting like a glove. Today’s set felt like they were doom trippin’ more than the last time I saw them, which was back when ‘Single Malt‘ was the flavour, but that’s no bad thing when the riffs flow as they so often do, and

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Things slow down even further for the arrival of Bong. A divisive act, in terms of people who can’t stand drone no less stand through 40 minutes of it, and of course those who can, whether we’re into it or slightly curious. Those that stay are greeted with a masterful display of pure focus and attrition, building and maintaining the volume throughout, with only a morsel of chanted vocals and a spacey upward movement in tempo as the set progresses on which to hang any hat on the coathook of melody.

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The room become tightly packed for the return of Leeds’ own A Forest of Stars, who use their soundtrack to ensure everything is precise to the most minute detail. The local crowd seem more than happy to let them get on with it and they don’t disappoint, providing a thorough, professional and wholly unique experience. The septet and their ensemble of instruments fill the seemingly tiny stage yet the crowd equally squeezes down to the front to glimpse to see their unique blend of progressive black metal, holding everyone’s attention like the mass conductors they are.

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After that display of utmost composure and sincere appreciation, some depravity had to be in order, and London goregrind louts Gout were on hand to deliver it. Decked in their now trademark Hawaiian clothing and entering to the ‘Trololol’ song, the lights turn a blood red over the stage and when it all kicks in everything goes nuts. An explosion in the pit felt like it was forever waiting, until Gout came along and in one fell swoop opened up a sea of flailing, circling humanity. Eddie Spengler revels in his frontman role, unleashing ridiculous song titles – ‘Interspecies Zoophiliac Sex Safari’ being a nugget of pure gold in its utterance – and plumbing the deepest gutter of the vocal bucket whilst having a good old jape around the stage, as his bandmates blast and groove everything to pieces. It’s over in 30 minutes but the good times experienced here will long live on when looking back over this weekend.

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Not to be outdone, Bury death metallers Foetal Juice don’t waste too much time in delivering their own gleeful battering, hitting the jackpot with every song, vocalist Sam Read revelling in the role of growler and conjuror, keeping the crowd enthralled throughout and spending the whole gig with a maniacal expression across his face. 18 months ago they were a proud part of the original KHF. Sub-headlining this time around, how much longer before they’re headlining things like this in their own right?

Unfortunately, my carriage awaits as stamina gets the better of us and we decide to call it a night at a reasonable time. So apologies to Man Must Die and indeed Envoys from earlier, though I’m assured both were excellent.

Finally, I must close out this review with a massive thank you to Paul Priest and to all the KHF staff who made our time there very accommodating whilst running an excellent operation on a large scale throughout. I implore everyone to head over to the ‘Kin Hell Fest page over on Facebook and to continue to support this festival in any way, shape or form. We’d love to see this fest return in 2014 – it was a blast from start to finish, and its grand to see UK hardcore and metal, in all its forms, is very much alive and well in the catacombs of the underground.

Peter Clegg

‘Kin Hell Fest 2013 Preview – Sunday

All good things come to an end and the same is no different with the 2013 edition of ‘Kin Hell Fest. But will it go quietly? Of course not. There’s still another thirteen bands to see, and there’s an afterparty too for those who don’t have to jet for the last train home. So let’s round off this preview…

Envoys – 12:30-12:55

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Envoys are a lush instrumental post-rock/metal trio who certainly qualify as one of the more expansive bands on the line-up. Their 2012 demo (self titled as ‘E N V O Y S’) showcases a band full of potential.

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DSDNT – 13:10-13:35

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Local Leeds hardcore crew who formed in mid-2011 and have been tearing off limbs ever since. Their debut self-titled EP is up for free on their Bandcamp page and if Envoys don’t blast the cobwebs from Saturday away, DSDNT should certainly do the trick.

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Horsebastard – 13:50-14:15

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Assuredly free of any fraudulent horsemeat, this equine-loving crew are proprietors to head-shrinking grind and for one of 2012’s most disturbing and compelling videos, for the track ‘Short Controlled Bursts’. And that’s exactly what you’ll get here, as this Liverpudlian lot batter you time and time again with said accurate bursts.

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The Day Man Lost – 14:30-14:55

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Mourned by the Northern scene and by grind fans in the know when they originally split, Preston’s The Day Man Lost have returned with new blood and all new intensity. The mood is likely to be celebratory but at the same time it’s going to be downright nuts when they make mincemeat of the crowd with their furious assault.

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Corrupt Moral Altar – 15:10-15:40

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Making their first appearance in Leeds and indeed at this festival, Corrupt Moral Altar are a supergroup of sorts, containing members of Horsebastard, Magpyes, Malevolent Creation, and play ridiculously heavy, scuzzy sludge grind. ‘Luciferian Deathcult’ was more than just a warning shot, bringing to the fore classic vibes of Iron Monkey, Mistress and smoky bourbon. New release ‘Whiskey Sierra’ is set to prove that was no fluke. Do not miss.

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Wode – 15:55-16:25

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Fantastic up and coming black metal band from Manchester. Their drummer is also the lead vocalist, and he’s an absolute machine, especially on the kit. The rest of the band are up to his ability too. Certainly got the ability to be one of the highlights of the festival.

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Sufferinfuck – 16:40-17:05

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One of the many bands flying the flag for Scottish grind/powerviolence bring the pain to Leeds. They’ve been owning the scene over the border for a little while and now its England’s turn to be decimated by this West Lothian mob.

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Iron Witch – 17:20-17:50

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Highly talked about and full of boozy rage, Scouse sludge crew Iron Witch are going from strength to strength, off the back of two solid releases in the last year, ‘Post-Vegas Blues’, and their best work to date, ‘Hangover Suicide’. Unquestionably one of the bands you absolutely must not miss this weekend, though watch your drinks don’t go flying when the pit undoubtedly explodes in a fit of nihilistic rage.

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Bong – 18:10-18:50

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Even if you arrived ten minutes late into this band’s set, you probably won’t have missed much beyond the opening bars! In all seriousness though, Newcastle’s space-psych-doomers Bong will certainly be the trippiest band of the weekend, sending us all onto another plane whatever your poison is. A rare live outing not to be shunned.

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A Forest of Stars – 19:10-19:50

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Unquestionably one of the most intriguing acts the festival has to offer, A Forest of Stars are more than just your average black metal band, winning new fans and dividing current ones further with 2012’s masterful ‘A Shadowplay for Yesterdays’, rich in Victorian theme and avant-garde propensities. This Leeds crew are another stellar draw for the festival and their set ought to be warmly received by all.

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Gout – 20:05-20:35

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Smashing London lads who are quite good at this grind jiggery-pokery, embracing the fun and silly side of goregrind while at the same time embellishing its wicked tendencies. If you enjoy Rompeprop you’ll enjoy these too.

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Foetal Juice – 20:50-21:20

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Grimy, scuzzy Mancunian death metal merchants FJ bring forth the muckment once again after a slamming performance at the original ‘Kin Hell Fest. Back with new material in tow, they’ve been ploughing away at this game for several years and are aiming to join the bigger leagues of death metal. Bring forth the slime!

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Man Must Die – 21:40-22:30

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The final band of the weekend are indeed a biggie – Man Must Die. Hailing from Glasgow, they were the first British band ever to be signed to Relapse in that time put out two crushing albums, including 2009’s brilliant ‘No Tolerance for Imperfection’, and toured with the likes of Machine Head, Decapitated, Hatebreed, Suffocation, Exodus and many more. They released a new single, ‘Antisocial Network’ towards the end of 2012 and their new album is coming very soon. Get ready to open up that circle pit Leeds, because MMD will bring it!

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That rounds off our massive preview, but stay tuned to We Must Obey for coverage of the whole festival. Til then, see you in the pit!

Peter Clegg

Iron Witch – Hangover Suicide

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Iron Witch
Hangover Suicide
Endtyme

Hangover Suicide’ is Iron Witch’s second release inside the year, and while the full-length still awaits, this latest 7” is yet another tantaliser of just how well this band is developing, and again showcases why they’re one of the most talked about bands of the UK sludge scene.

Recent attendees of the band’s live shows will already know these songs, and even those that haven’t will quickly realise that NOLA sound is still highly prevalent with Iron Witch’s makeup, but ‘Hangover Suicide’ again shows another slight progression in their development thanks to two fantastic tracks each weighing a megaton in their booming bourbon-drenched riffs. Recorded and mastered by Bri Doom at the 1 in 12 Studio in Bradford, from the word go this is a corker. ‘Death Was The Colour’ is everything good we’ve come to expect now from the ‘Witch, never letting any of its riffs outstay their welcome, each riff change signalling a slight change in tempo with no let up with Chris Fane’s gnarled vocal delivery. The title track is a pure doom stomper, clocking just over five and a half minutes, one of the most hypnotic tracks they’ve done yet. Its one of those tracks that gives rise to the phrase ‘doom out’. Not the slowest doom tracks ever, but one of those that will have you nodding your head to its quaggy groove.

And for those who aren’t physical these days, there’s also the meat in this meatiest sandwich, with digital-only track ‘The Last of Nothing’, which kicks off with real doom stomp swagger. We only heard this after we published, but let me tell you, its so heavy you’ll sink under the pressure. Damn!

Pre-orders on this release are now available through Endtyme Records at the link supplied below. Available as a 7″ vinyl (limited to 350) with a download code, stickers and an A3 poster, or just if you prefer. Do not miss out on this latest installment in the progression of the latest fine Liverpudlian aggressors.

Peter Clegg

Hangover Suicide‘ is officially released 18th February, 2013. Pre-orders for ‘Hangover Suicide’ go live at Endtyme Records’ store at 9pm tonight – get yours here!
Digitial version also comes with bonus track ‘The Last of Nothing’. Available here.

Stream it below:

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2012 in Review: An Editorial

A lot of you may have noticed, prior to the publication of the best albums of 2012, that we published a feature called 2012 in Review, something we didn’t do the year before. This is largely because Blogger, which we were on at the time, didn’t offer such a service. We only switched to WordPress in May and so weren’t aware of this feature, which I looked at quite wide-eyed and intriguingly when it arrived in my inbox on New Year’s Eve. It offered me the chance to publish the results, so publish I did. 

3,800 views seems modest, but we’re a modest blog. We did manage to get up to over 15,000 hits when we were on Blogger – I haven’t checked what the figures are for the old site for a while now, but I’m perfectly happy that people simply visit. It shows there is an interest in what we do, and the positive comments we receive either directly via the site, or on Facebook, or Twitter, show that what we do is entirely worth it.

Breaking into the top five posts forms the main crux of this feature, as in some ways shows what people are looking at and perhaps what we can aim to improve.

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Numero uno was our feature on the newest metal magazine to hit newsstands, Iron Fist, which achieved 202 views as of 31/12/2012. I received some great comments from fellow metal fans about this article in which I suggested there was no reason why printed media couldn’t co-exist happily alongside the online format, be it blogs like ours social media and so on. I grew up musically before the blogosphere and Facebook erupted so I considered magazines a valuable tool for getting into bands, and still do. I repeat the call that people should go out and support this magazine. Louise Brown and her team do a sterling job and people buying this excellent magazine in numbers is exactly what is needed in this day and age.

The Campaign to Stop the Kingsgate Shopping Centre Expansion: The threat it poses to Huddersfield's music scene and a whole town

Dead in the water! Thanks everyone!

Intriguingly, second was the video for the spoof song that spawned from the campaign that we supported in the Campaign to Stop the Kingsgate Expansion. The Kingsgate Shopping Centre is based in Huddersfield and was proposing to knock down The Palace Theatre, an iconic landmark in need of repairs, as well as a number of surrounding buildings including the town’s premier rock/alternative venue The Parish, to expand the shopping centre by 50%. A group of around 1,500 quickly joined against the scheme and we got on board, speaking out against the proposals in favour of a counter scheme for student flats, which would protect The Palace and put a massive dent in the Kingsgate proposal’s plans. In the midst of the campaign, a spoof campaign was set up calling for Kingsgate Water Slide Park, and thus the song ‘Slide One Out For Kingsgate’ was born, sung by ‘local pop megastar’ Bona featuring producer H. Kelk, and a certain Ol Drake from Evile providing the obligatory guitar solo. It provided hilarity amongst a serious campaign which eventually was successful, with the council voting overwhelmingly for the student flats, saving the Theatre and almost certainly guaranteeing The Parish’s status. 

Yes, our interest was chiefly (at first) for The Parish to be saved, in what seemed to be initially a tall order. That we won was incredible. The fact that people bothered to check out an issue that was very much a local one, that more than likely wouldn’t affect them, shows that the time we invested into the campaign was wholly worth it, and underlines not just the importance in protecting our local music venues, but indeed, protecting local commerce, local industry, local history and architecture. Our town centres are far too faceless and formulaic in a flagging economy and revolution and change is what is needed. Hopefully, we won’t need to campaign any more for Huddersfield, but expect us to raise our voices again if the ugly beast rears its head again. If it can reattach it, that is. 

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The remainder of the top 5 consists of reviews or review-esque features. Slightly surprising considering my reviews are ten a penny and that numbers 3 and 4 should stick out perhaps says a lot for social media and indeed the UK underground community. The reviews in question are Megalodoom, a doom/sludge/stoner quarter spawned from UK droners Bismuth and ex-members of Year of the Flood, with their incredibly-titled demo/rehearsal jam Indiana Jones and the Temple of Grief; and Iron Witch’s ‘Post Vegas Blues’. The Liverpudlian sludge quintet are tearing up venues with their booze-soaked fury and given our glowing praise for them previously, I guess I’m not surprised to see people digging their stuff. But a rehearsal jam? Megalodoom haven’t been around very long and that they should be number three on my list says that either a) traffic really is low, or b) the UK sludge/doom underground is in rude health, and clearly there’s people out there wanting to see what I said about them, and/or indeed looking to check them out. We do stream releases whenever we can, something I decided to do a while ago instead of plain images and text so people can get an idea of what I’m describing. Clearly, it works. A lot of love too for the reissue of Sleep’s ‘Dopesmoker’. One of the greatest albums of all time – fantastic remaster by Brad Boatright and one album worthy of all the adoration it’s received.
 
So what do we have lined up next year? Aside from garnering the attention of more readers around the world – 77 countries and counting so far, cheers everyone! – the truth is, the bulk of what we write is reviews. Mostly albums and short form releases. Occasional live reviews; with two one-year old twins, a job, responsibilities at home, I can’t afford too many but I aim to take what I can get – Mike (Collins), our other contributor, will still submit a few bits here and there, I imagine. I’m mulling over whether to ask for any more people to help with content. I like the fact it’s a small two-man operation, hampered as we are, but without question it would help us be a little more productive, during those times when I’m not able to update it from whichever device I’m using – its been particularly difficult when relying on mobile to update the blog and to then spread word about it – HTC can suck a big fat chode for that one. But there’s still plenty of other stuff we’re looking forward to. Like ‘Kin Hell Fest 2013. Like some corking new albums coming out. Some oddball features. More opinions and rants. Whatever. All in the name of quality, top-notch music.

Did someone say ‘Slayerthon?’

Happy New Year everyone, and thank you all again for your support. 

Peter Clegg