Dope Body – Lifer

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Dope Body
Lifer
Drag City

Despite having that hipster vibe about them that would normally give me a few second thoughts about whether there is substance beneath the style, Baltimore’s Dope Body confounded that odd notion of mine by letting loose ‘Natural History’, an album that rode all the way into hell and back out the other side leaving behind rubber tracks, broken glass and the odd black eye. That’s generally how the record felt as it battered at one end of the scale and went for foot to the floor kaleidoscopic energy at the other. It was such a breathtaking mix that admittedly resulted, in my humble opinion, in the feeling that ‘Lifer’ wasn’t up to much, on first listen. Or at least it didn’t to me. I was perhaps hoping for a bit more of the seemingly hedonistic vibe that went on with ‘Natural History’, but that only made me more blinkered I suppose. I was finding the first half of the record a bit of a drag, lacking the desired punch, taking a bit long to get going, and the second half feeling better, but not up to the level I was expecting.

But I encouraged myself to give it a few more listens, and what resulted was pleasant discovery in that I actually do like this record. No, I actually love it, as much as anything they did before. What grabbed me before was some of the insane noises that Zachary Utz was able to strangle out of his guitar. There’s not really an element of surprise like that any more nor any vast experimentation, but once I removed those blinkers, I noticed there’s a definite progression in their sound. Although the quiet-loud dynamics of their sound remain, there’s a definite ear cupped towards melody – indeed Andrew Laumann’ is as much a proponent as anyone in the band for this – his vocal performance on ‘Rare Air’ and the closing ‘Even In The End’ is the construct that propels these tracks along, while the lead single ‘Repo Man’ showcases the band’s progression in those aforementioned dynamics through its almost stalking tension before the inevitable explosion of distortion.

Dope Body – Repo Man (official video)

Perhaps the biggest similarities to their previous work lies in the track ‘I’d Say To You’, the shortest track proper (bar the ‘Intro’ track), with a pulsing guitar-bass riff exploding into a memorable chorus, and the fantastically on-edge ‘Day By Day’. Otherwise there’s ‘Echo’, which creeps along like a panther stalking its prey astride a simple, slow, lounge-esque bassline, before going all savage in the chorus as it pounces into anarchy, and the excellent ‘Nu Sensation’, which rides across a jangling, galloping electric twang before Laumann goes all Marc Bolan-like towards the end.

Despite initially making me feel a weird double-take, Dope Body have quite brilliantly managed to progress their blueprint into slightly more mature boundaries, but without losing the primal edge that made them stand out to me a few years back. It would have been very easy just to go balls-out wild and free all over again but the proof in a good album is how much it opens up to you as you listen to it over and over. ‘Lifer‘ is an affirming testament to that, as cerebral as it is primal and as smart as it- is reckless.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Lifer’ here

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Big Business @ The Key Club, Leeds, 21/11/2014

+ Black Moth + Blacklisters 

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When The Cockpit in Leeds closed down earlier in the year after 20 years in the business, it was a day of sadness for not just myself, but for many. The venue had been a hub for indie and rock in the city, hosting many gigs across the years which indeed saw many bands pass through en route to greater arenas. Sadly, it was deemed beyond economical repair and so the venue, situated underneath the busy railway station and affectionately resembling an air raid shelter, was closed down to perhaps the surprise of some. Indeed it was held in high regard and anyone who ever passed through that venue’s doors for a show will attest to that.

 

It seems endemic of the fate that seems to await many rock and alternative venues in this day and age, but in true testament to the adage that rock will never die (unless you’re Gene Simmons of course), venues tend to spring back up, in the big cities at least, and this is true of the Key Club, launched by former owners of the Cockpit, itself located where resided the club’s former Bassment and Subculture venues, in which I saw Darkest Hour years ago, and played as a member of a band respectively. Not much has changed about the place, bar the stage being moved from the back of the venue to the front, and a balcony overlooking the main floor now walled over, so you can’t see who’s off for a quick slash any more. Not that you’d want to anyway. Still, it holds some good memories for me and so I’m happy to see it back in use.

First up tonight are Blacklisters, whom are thankfully more focused on the task at hand than when I last saw them at the Brudenell Social Club supporting Dope Body. I want them to succeed at their craft and they aren’t too shabby tonight, even if the crowd aren’t too enthused at this point. The new material they play fits in neatly with older material including their destroying  rendition of Kasabian’s ‘Clubfoot’ and ‘Trickfuck’. Then there’s Black Moth, a local quintet who’ve made a few waves recently on bigger pages than this one. Their frontwoman adds a swagger to their proposition which isn’t exactly unique – driving dirty rock riffs amidst a slightly occult tone – but they know how to get a crowd going and there is enough life in their songs to consider them potentially outgrowing the confines of venues the size of the Key Club.

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Black Moth

Big Business, much like the Key Club owners, had their hand forced somewhat as back surgery for Scott Martin resulted in the guitarist sitting outside the band’s UK tour, which is currently ongoing as they support Mastodon. Alas, it’s the original two-piece of Jared Warren and Coady Willis, of Karp, Murder City Devils, the Melvins and just about anything righteous, who turn up, announcing themselves in showbiz style, before getting into material from their latest release, ‘Battlefields Forever’. It’s at frenetic pace to begin with, with ‘Chump Chance’ and ‘No Vowels’ quickly getting out of the traps before a fun run through ‘Hands Up’, which the front rows of the crowd duly take part in by raising their hands skywards to its refrain. The set seems a short one – only seven songs, which even an extended version of ‘Just As The Day is Dawning’ hardly filling up set time, but for whatever brevity the band make up for in effort and energy. Warren pumps out the low grooves and Willis just goes all animal like always, making this performance a particularly righteous one by the time ‘Lonely Lyle’ stomps to a conclusion.

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During that last song I rocked out a little too hard and my glasses flew off my head. Alas, they were found minutes later, trodden on and no use to man nor beast. Ah well. It didn’t detract from an enjoyable evening as neither did the rain that poured into the night.

Peter Clegg

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!

Live Review: Yob + Pallbearer @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 7/9/2014

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The date of this gig coincided nicely with the oncoming on my 30th birthday, for which I used this gig as sort of a celebratory gift. Indeed, to be able to go and witness two bands in their prime such as Oregon’s Yob, and Little Rock, Arkansas’ Pallbearer, is one of the best tickets a fan of such bands could ever ask for, and it’s no surprise the fans are gathering in droves outside the Brudenell Social Club, a top busy venue that’s been hoovering up the best gigs to LS6 in the wake of inner city venues closing.

I must say admittedly I didn’t go inside early for BongCauldron, who were lined up as the opening act for tonight’s double header (sorry lads), but judging from how they sounded from outside the venue they sound proper tight as a band and maybe next time I won’t leave it til nearly main event time to enter the venue. Really not like me at all but I don’t do nights out very often these days and I guess I got lost in the catching up.

That said, the headliners are the reason everyone is here, and a good proportion of that can be attributed to Pallbearer and their rapid rise in the ranks of heavy music. Now touring in support of their second album ‘Foundations of Burden‘, the quartet plough through a five song set that excites existing fans and surely scooped up many more in the process. ‘Watcher in the Dark’ sounds particularly devastating tonight with that opening riff, although the shredding solo is drowned out by the mix on offer. For the last two tracks they delve back into their rapturously received debut LP ‘Sorrow and Extinction‘, with closer ‘Given to the Grave’ proving to be as soul-crushing as always. This band do not waste riffs, and not a riff is wasted on the audience. The twin harmonies between frontman Brett Campbell and guitarist Devin Holt compliment each man considerably, but its the way the group harnesses their individual weight into a collective focus that highlights why they’ll soon be headlining their own tours outright on a regular basis.

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Pallbearer

As a trio Yob don’t quite fill up the stage with such a presence as their contemporaries, but not that it’s ever mattered. Just because you number only three doesn’t mean you can’t make a thunderous noise and Yob over the years have evolved to make some of the most expansive and weightbearing doom ever heard. This is in evidence tonight as they dedicate the majority of their setlist to their new album ‘Clearing the Path to Ascend‘, and it’s a joy to hear the new tracks in the surroundings of the Brudenell. ‘Nothing to Win’ sounds particularly excellent, with the rolling drums stirring up a cauldron of tension with one hell of a release with the chorus, and ‘Marrow’ sounds absolutely majestic in a live setting. Just as it appears they’re done, members of the crowd shout for more and responding to one or two shouting for ‘Quantum Mystic’; they duly oblige, ‘by request’ and drop into the long time staple of their set, finishing off in style and making sure no one leaves the Brudenell shortchanged.

My camera packed up before I could get any decent pictures of Yob, sadly. All in all though, a top night and a complete show of excellence from two bands at respectively different points in their careers, pushing ahead at the forefront of doom metal.

Peter Clegg

‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 Preview – Saturday

Welcome back to our comprehensive preview of ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014. If Friday’s line-up wasn’t enough for you, Saturday’s bill features no less than 15 bands, ranging from the fastest to the slowest, and indeed spanning the modern era of extremity to its very origins. There should be something for you all here. Doors at 12pm Saturday, first band at 1pm. Go!

Esoteric Youth – 13:00-13:25

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Describing themselves as ‘the most evil band out of Manchester since Oasis’, this blackened hardcore crew who have been making inroads into the fulcrum of the UK scene since emerging with their demo in 2012 – their bleak crusty diatribes should prove a wake-up slap in the chops for anyone still recovering from Friday’s madness.

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Gets Worse – 13:40-14:05

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Another local act, these guys were named in our top 10 short releases for 2013 with ‘Negative’. They have no time for false grinders, pit violence, and indeed as Manowar, and a cracking Scottish blog might say, ‘wimps and posers, leave the hall’!

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Wizard’s Beard – 14:20-14:50

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Smashing stoner/sludge metallers in the vein of Iron Monkey, Weedeater, etc. who continue to raise the bar in what is deemed ‘heavy’. Blogs and zines have raved about their records ‘Pure Filth’ and ‘Four Tired Undertakers’, so buckle up and get your grooves on. This is about to get heeeeeavy.

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Noise Complaint – 15:05-15:30

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Cosmopolitan crossover thrashers Noise Complaint are rooted firmly in the UK, bringing together members from the USA, Italy and Brazil. Speed is the name of the game here and you’d be well urged to keep up. These guys are nuts.

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Monolithian – 15:45-16:15

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This Falmouth duo are creating welcome noise in the UK scene for their bleak and heavy jams that outgun and rise above more populous doom bands. Released a cracking split with hardcore crew Let It Die last year.

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Arkham Witch – 16:30-17:00

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Keighley-based traditional heavy/doom metallers with anthems of Lovecraftian horror, upholding metal values, mythology and famous comic books characters among others. Cracking retro worship.

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Acrania – 17:15-17:45

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Brutally pounding death metal from London featuring members of Pathology and Bloodshot Dawn. Brace yourselves – circle pits are coming!

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Jesus Cröst – 18:00-18:30

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Word is this is going to be the last show ever from the Dutch two-piece, who’ve been ploughing out good-time speedy grind for over 15 years now. With that in mind, let’s give them the ravenous send off they deserve.

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Grave Miasma – 18:50-19:25

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Fantastic old-school death metal crew from London who released the future underground classic ‘Odori Sepulcrorum’ in 2013. Being hailed as one of the flagbearers of the old-school renaissance of the genre by many leading blogs and zines, it’s time to fall under their spell.

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Deviated Instinct – 19:40-20:15

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For me, personally, these guys are going to be completely unmissable. Legendary 80’s crust-punks who reactivated in 2007 and put out their first record in 21 years with 2012’s ‘Liberty Crawls to the Sanctuary of Slaves’. This year marks 30 years since their inception, one of the true pioneers of the scene, and fans new and old can expect a raucous and furious show. Expect the pit to go truly nuts at this point.

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Hawk Eyes – 20:30-21:10

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Mad scientists of rock who incorporate elements of punk, hardcore, electronic and all manner of experimentalism to their sound, bothering mainstream rags and trendies as well as accumulating a rabid following. Hometown show for this lot, guaranteed to be packed out.

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Khuda – 21:25-22:05

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They’re back! Following their decision to disband early in 2013, Leeds’ post-rockers Khuda have reformed to record a new album and to play KHF, in doing so returning to the festival where they stole the show according to our occasional scribe Mike who witnessed them back in 2011. A truly awesome experience to watch and a swerve in direction from the madness that precedes it.

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Anaal Nathrakh – 22:25-23:30

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The reigning overlords of British extreme metal arrive in Leeds as Saturday headliners and ready to lay waste to the Vox Warehouse.

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Birdflesh – 23:50-00:25

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One of the most crackers bands to ever raise hell in grind, Swedish trio Birdflesh bring hell to town in a UK exclusive performance. Expect wild costume, bonkers antics and some classic grindcore from the scene freaks.

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The Day Man Lost – 00:40-01:00

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Preston grinders The Day Man Lost reformed to play the festival last year and emerged as one of its highlights. These guys are brutal, easily one of the most essential UK grind bands on the scene, and will provide a perfectly crazy end to the Saturday with short sharp blasts of purified rage.

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Peter Clegg

‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 Preview: Friday

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Welcome one and all to We Must Obey’s annual preview of this coming weekend’s ‘Kin Hell Fest. As those who’ve previously read our preview before, the drill is as such: we run the gamut of every band playing this festival, summing them up in a few words with images and links to their sites where you can follow them or check out some of their music.

This year, ‘Kin Hell Fest is bigger and better than ever. Being held in the 1400-capacity Vox Warehouse in Leeds, the festival has attracted the biggest names so far since the fest was founded in 2011. We are very proud to be supporting this festival again as we did in 2011 and in 2013, and together we will all make this a festival worth remembering. So without further ado, let’s get down to previewing Friday’s action.

Death Tripper – 14:00-14:25

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Cracking young hardcore/d-beat/grind crew who first came to our attention here when they released a split with Nottingham vegan PV chums Meatpacker. A great way to kick off proceedings.

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Ephemeral Foetus – 14:40-15:05

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This Derby-based lot are a cracking band, mixing d-beat crust/thrash/punk riffs with raging societal intensity and aggression. They recently released a split with fellow Derby crusties Piss on Authority (‘Fallacy’), and if those three tracks are anything to go by, they be as relentless in their performance here as they show ‘Relentless Contempt for Man’.

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Pist – 15:20-15:45

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Super riff worship featuring a wealth of experience from the Mancunian scene. Pist will step up early on the Friday slinging tracks from their recent released debut ‘Riffology’. Heavy rock ‘n’ roll to raise a glass/plastic cup to.

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Necro Deathmort – 16:00-16:30

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London based duo Necro Deathmort are certainly one of the most intriguing additions to the line-up, bringing with them electro beats fused with doom vibes and industrial machinations. With a slew of releases behind them, their appearance here will herald a monolithic vibe; expect them to stand out.

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Iniquitous Savagery – 16:45-17:15

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Scottish brutal death metal merchants who will soon be releasing their debut album, and will arrive here to pummel your brains in with ridiculous riffs and carnivorous screams aplenty.

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Haar – 17:30-18:00

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In Edinburgh, a ‘haar’ is a dense chilly fog that blows in from the North Sea when the wind is in the east. Cheers Lonely Planet! It’s also home to an excellent progressive black metal band of the same name, producing music as murky and challenging as the conditions out at sea.

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Evisorax – 18:15-18:40

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Wigan grindcore berzerkers who have the backing of Scott Hull and J Randall of Agoraphobic Nosebleed fame – the former mastered their 2011 album ‘Isle of Dogs’ and the latter released it through his Grindcore Karaoke label. Their shows are known for being highly charged and confrontational, which is just fine with us.

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Undersmile – 18:55-19:30

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A rich, diverse, and quintessentially heavy doom band from Oxford, coming with the backing of Dylan Carlson (Earth) and Henry Rollins. High praise indeed. Ranging from titantically heavy to marvellously serene.

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Ingested – 19:45-20:20

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The headliners of the first edition of KHF are back! Expect huge slam pits for this lot who in 2013 stepped up their game with their brilliant LP ‘The Sorreption’.

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Pentagram Chile – 20:40-21:20

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Pentagram’s story from being one of the forerunners of extreme metal to releasing their debut album 28 years later still seems unreal. Yet Anton Reisenegger managed to pull it off after all that time and delivered the goods for the lost years of never making it happen. They’re about to land in town so prepare to get your heads banging away in appreciation of a band that Reisenegger refused to allow to die.

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Napalm Death – 21:40-22:45

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Do these guys really need an introduction? Oh go on then. The granddaddies of grindcore, Napalm Death have in their thirty years as a band redefined extreme music, taking down fascists, racists, policitians, warmongers, hypocrites, societal injustice, famine and more with their diatribes. Often imitated, never bettered, it’s truly a coup and a cause to celebrate that they are greeting this festival with their presence. If there’s a band this weekend you must not miss, it has to be Napalm Death.

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Famine – 23:05-23:30
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Local merchants of hardcore/powerviolence/crossover style animosity, they emerged last year with our top-10 rated EP ‘A Hand of Sore Thumbs’ and are another of the highly rated reasons for you to ensure you turn up early on Saturday for the full attack. Shouting along to the chorus of ‘Sold Bowels (Saved Owls)’ should prove to be a weekend highlight, as will jumping in the pit for these.

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Lock Up – 23:50-00:50

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Closing out the Friday night will be an appearance by deathgrind supergroup Lock Up. Joining Shane Embury, fresh from performing with Napalm Death, will be the dream team of Tomas Lindberg, Nick Barker and Anton Reisenegger (also fresh from his Pentagram slot). This is the ONLY place you will see Lock Up in the UK this year. Make sure you don’t miss it!

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Peter Clegg

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)

Stream it below:

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