Review: Sovereign – The World Takes (re-release)

sovereignpa

Pennsylvania hardcore band Sovereign have come out swinging, again, with the re-release of their debut album The World Takes.  Originally appearing in September of 2014, this new version finds the band having re-recorded the guitars and fully remixed and remastered what was already an angry, heavy slab of crusty d-beat/hardcore. The re-release is truly a beast, the new mix and master job having pushed the distortion and impact to the limit, further augmenting the atmosphere of rage and urgency that pervades each song. Continue reading

Review: LOCRIAN – “Infinite Dissolution”

 

Mankind’s inevitable extinction is not a foreign concept to heavy music artists. The mere idea of the human race ceasing to exist resonates profoundly within the metal and hardcore world. There are those who warn of the end of days and critique humanity, and there are those whose dissatisfaction with human beings instills a desire to accelerate the rate of the coming extinction. Either way, the concept is not a new one no matter how it is addressed. So what makes Locrian‘s Infinite Dissolution any different, other than the fact that is not strictly a “metal” album? The Chicago/Baltimore-based experimental trio’s approach to music attempts to revitalize an almost archaic concept and examine it with fresh eyes and ears. Locrian do not wish to preach to humankind about their self-destructive actions, nor do they wish to damn all of us on Earth either. Through multi-faceted compositions and non-linear narration, Infinite Dissolution urges the listener to reflect on the inevitability of the end; a bleak concept the band makes somber and beautiful simultaneously.

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Review: Will Haven – Open the Mind to Discomfort

OTMTD

I’ve been following Will Haven since the release of their 1997 album El Diablo, when I encountered the song Ego’s Game on a Revelation Records sampler CD (back when those still were a thing).  I saw them live the summer of that year and was hooked by the downtuned, sludgy riffs and hardcore intensity. Continue reading

Review: Bleak – We Deserve Our Failures

WDOF

Syracuse, NY’s Bleak has come of age on their first full length release We Deserve Our Failures via the venerable HEX Records. Since I first encountered the band at a very random live show in 2013, they’ve changed considerably.  Most notably, they changed vocalists later in that same year, eschewing the raspy scrape and sneer of former singer Mike, and trading it in for the vicious growl of current frontman Skot.  With that altered lineup and a couple of shorter releases under their belts (2014’s s/t EP and a split 7” with PA hardcore crushers Sovereign), the band has grown from a noise drenched, simplistic assault into something somehow beefier, more mature, and more complexly heavy. Continue reading

Review: SPYLACOPA – “Parallels”

Parallels cover art

Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan, John LaMacchia of Candiria, Julie Christmas of Made Out of Babies and Jeff Caxide of Isis. Just the mere prospect of these musicians coming together would excite any fan of forward-thinking heavy music. In November of 2008, it happened with the first self-titled Spylacopa EP. The six-track release was commendable for deviating from the formulas of each of its members respective musical outlets in favor of something more accessible but no less heavy and catchy. A follow-up release was scheduled for 2011 but never came due to the passing of drummer Troy Young. Isis and Made Out of Babies broke up and Julie Christmas’ musical output stopped after her 2010 solo record, The Bad Wife, and her Coextinction Recordings release. Spylacopa was beginning to feel like a distant memory. But, not far into 2015, LaMacchia announces that the group’s long-delayed debut full-length will be released. Sure enough, March saw the unveiling of Parallels, a 40-minute tour de force of metallic eccentricity.     Continue reading

Review: ABSTRACTER – “Wound Empire”

 

Wound Empire cover art

The dust settles and the smoke clears as you crawl out from underneath the protection of a corroded vehicle. You search the polluted skies for any signs of approaching aircraft. The bombings have become more frequent and the city you once viewed with awe is now crumbled, decrepit and in ruins. As you put on your gas mask to avoid potential poisoning, the air raid sirens begin to signal another impending attack. But emitting from their speakers instead of the traditional siren sound is something more fitting. It is the sound of Abstracter‘s Wound Empire. The Apocalypse, the End of Days, World War III, a global nuclear assault, every potential world-ending scenario could be set to the tune of this Oakland-based quartet’s compositions. Through four lengthy opuses, Wound Empire paints a picture of dystopian life in which all hope is exhausted, and provides the soundtrack for the only instinct the inhabitants would have left; survival.

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