Monday, July 25, 2016

BURDEN OF LIFE

Spine- "Deny" 7" (Bad Teeth)
First Pressing, 2015
Black Vinyl /??

The latest EP from Chicago's/Kansas City's Spine. Certainly my favourite material of theirs so far. Turbulent, ferocious Hardcore littered with menacing blast beats, mosh bits, and sheer venomous vocals. The singers style actually reminds me quite a bit of Alex Hughes of Hatred Surge. This is certainly some of the best hardcore of that fast style to come out since that bands last recordings.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

IMMORTAL RITES

Morbid Angel- "Altars Of Madness" LP (Earache) 
Reissue, 2016
Black Vinyl /?? 

I have never been the biggest fan of Morbid Angel or the technical style of Death Metal that they played a big part in defining, but you certainly cannot deny how far and broad their influence as a band has travelled since the formative years of American Death. This is a new reissue of their debut album from 1989.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

FLOWER PHANTOMS

Blood Ceremony- "Lord Of Misrule" LP (Rise Above) 
First Pressing, 2016
Red Vinyl /700

Their latest release. Similar to previous works, though arguably more refined with stronger Prog and Folk influences. I still prefer yesterday's post matter a little more, but this is still excellent heavy music and will likely make a place in my top 10 releases for the year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

DRAWING DOWN THE MOON

Blood Ceremony- "The Eldritch Dark" LP (Rise Above/Metal Blade)
First US Pressing, 2013
Solid Red Vinyl /750

I've been pining for a hard copy this album for a good 18 months now, and same old story- I was too tight to pony up the cash for postage from the US. On a recent trip to Japan I was hoping to pick it up from Disk Union as they had it listed not their web shop, but no luck, they didn't actually have it in any of their stores. A little annoyed by this, I just jumped on Discogs one night in the our hotel in Tokyo and parted ways with the hard earned cash.
Released in various colourways in the UK and Europe by Rise Above Records, this copy is the only of the US variant, pressed with help by Metal Blade.
A lush combination of Prog, Doom, Folk, all layered together with female and male vocals, flute, organ and the standard guitars, bass and percussion, I probably haven't listened to any band as much as I have Blood Ceremony in the last year or so. Of their four full length albums (this is their third), this is by far their strongest work in my opinion.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

CHAINED TO EXTINCTION

Abyss- "Heretical Anatomy" LP (20 Buck Spin)
First Pressing, 2015
Black Vinyl /?? 

I can't remember how I first heard about Abyss from Toronto, I think they may have just randomly come up on a forum somewhere. I do remember though that I was instantly attracted to this album upon first listen. Abrasive Death Metal with influences that lay clearly in a reasonable spread of older stuff from various continents. A loud and crushing recording that punctuates 8 tracks in under 20 minutes. One thing that I eventually realised is that the singer from this band happens to be the guy that fronted Slaughter Strike, a band that issued a handful of recordings across various formats a few years ago, including a tape that I released an Australian edition of. This band is hardly comparable though- the sound that they've captured is infinitely heavier and derived from a less grind influence, perhaps claiming debt to something more like Nihilist rather than Terrorizer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

REHAB

Down- "Nola" 2 x LP (East West) 
Reissue, 2016
Black Vinyl /?? 

The original pressing of this record has been an absolute number one want of mine for years and it's a record that regularly commands high re-sale prices on sites like discogs dot com etc. Even old bootlegs go for obscene amounts. I was extremely pleased then when it was announced that "Nola" would be reissued on RSD 2016 for the first time since 1995.
I won't be another party to weigh into the frenzy surrounding Anselmo's questionable opinions. I have always possessed a large fondness of the man as a musician and a person and events over the last few months have been a catalyst for a sad time for me personally, as I would agree that he probably is everything that he is accused of, contrary to what I would like to believe. The evidence is pretty strong anyway.
I won't let his dodgy choices ruin my love for this phenomenal album though. It's certainly the best thing the band has ever produced, and definitely the strongest thing that Anselmo has ever been involved with. Wheras just about everything he had something to do with from around this era has aged horribly (listen to the recording and horrible guitar tones of any 90's Pantera material for an example), "Nola" stands the test of time with straight up flawless song writing, and an unmatched recording quality, both of which wield an influence so wide that it's practically inconceivable.
Not that I have ever seen a hard copy of the original pressing in real life, the impression that I get is that this edition is relatively true to that 1995 version. I suspect that some fans out there were expecting some sort of epic gatefold presentation with new liner notes, photos etc, but I am glad that the label ran with the regular single sleeve. I do find it odd though that they decided to reissue this as a double LP, when there isn't actually any new music included, or even a 45RPM pressing (it's 33). The 180g is a nice touch though.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

WAIT FOR THE END

Pleasure Cross- s/t 12" EP (Iron Lung)
First Pressing, 2014
Black Vinyl /500

Debut s/t vinyl release from this Portland based weirdo Hardcore/Grind outfit, otherwise known as the "Wait For The End" EP. Members have spent time in Walls and Pig Heart Transplant among many other Iron Lung alumni. Quite a few of the songs here have been re recorded after originally appearing on the bands 2013 demo tape. I prefer the somewhat rougher qualities of that tape, but none the less, this is gripping, fantastically chaotic stuff.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

SODOMATIC MALEVOLENCE

Vastum- "Hole Below" LP (20 Buck Spin)
First Pressing, 2015
Black Vinyl /?? 

Discovered Vastum early this year when I went on a bit of an online trek searching for some new heavy music. This is their second LP following a demo (later pressed to 12") and a debut album, and as far as I am concerned, their crowning glory.  They started life with a much more doom orientated Death Metal approach, but it seems that with this newer stuff, while still certainly maintaining that vibe to a degree (this is a 6 song full length), they made a bit of an effort to inject a bit more energy into the song writing. That raised tempo combined with a pretty impressively loud (and still doom orientated) recording really creates a huge sound in general, and I'd be confident in saying that this is probably the best Death metal LP of the last 18 months or so.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

LONER

United Void- Demo Tape
First Edition, 2016

This could be a contender for my favourite demo of the year. Hailing from the Seattle area and comprised of relatively unknown (to me anyway) guys playing stripped down and very well written Hardcore. The recording is excellent and the vocalists approach is absolutely vicious. I love when I discover bands out of the blue like I did with this one.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

BLEACH BATH

Repos- "Poser" LP (Youth Attack)
First Pressing, 2016
Red Vinyl /300

"Poser" marks my first foray into any hard copy material by the Repos for various reasons. One such reason is that as a general rule, over the years, all of their hard copy studio albums have always managed to sell very quickly upon initial release, and then used copies would command a slight premium online etc. Though the main reason would probably be that despite the amount of hype that has always surrounded the band - statements like "the only relevant modern hardcore band" etc are rife among various blogs and message boards - apart from that "Poison Head" tape from a few years ago, I have never been absolutely crazy about these guys. When YA uploaded a couple of tracks a few months ago though, I was instantly captivated by the blown out recording and burly nature of the songs. I'm confident now that this record meets all of that hype (but there are plenty of other modern hardcore bands that are just as worthy, if not more, of the attention).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NIGHT QUEEN

Obscure Burial- "Epiphany" Demo Tape (Invictus)
Second Edition, 2015

This second demo from Finland's Obscure Burial made my best of list from last year, and without a doubt, it was the best tape I found in 2015. It was first actually released in 2014 though, this second edition surfaced 12 months later.
Gritty, horrid, guttural Death Metal with a slight Black Metal lean. New LP due soon. I hope it's as shit coated as this.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

NOTHING LEFT TO BLEED

All Out War- "Dying Gods" 12" EP (Organized Crime)
First Pressing, 2015
Red Vinyl /??

"Into The Killing Fields" was one of my favourite LP's of 2010, and it still sits within the top 5 albums of the last 6-7 years for me. So when All Out War announced the follow up to that record, with this new large format EP, "Dying Gods", I got pretty excited. The general consensus seems that this is a true return to form, being the bands first recorded material since "FTWWC" with the full original line up, and the basic hallmarks of that early material are here; it's chuggy as fuck, but with an updated recording. But with listening to this material as much as I have since it's release last year, it's become gradually apparent to me why I was so fond of "ITKKF"; the crawling chug was really toned down in favour of a far faster aural assault with that album, it was snappy and really energetic.
This isn't nearly as jumpy but it's got plenty of signature crawling mosh, and the Amebix and Carnivore covers aren't bad either.

Monday, May 23, 2016

KILL THE BILL

Arms Race- "Gotta Get Out" 7" (Quality Control)
First UK Pressing, 2014
Orange Vinyl /50

Debut EP from this gritty UK Hardcore band. Massive hints to Negative Approach and bands of similar ilk. I originally ordered this on blue vinyl and it arrived to me cracked so Ola at Quality Control was kind enough to send me a copy from the limited orange press. This is of the UK/Euro edition, PKR handled a US pressing.