The wonderful people at Holy Roar Records have released a spring sampler compilation for free download! Featuring a selection of past and present bands from their bulging roster, playing new and unheard session tracks, this can only mean a big fat green tick in the win category. Anyway, I thought I would do a quick run through of each track and of course, provide the handy download link.
1. Brontide – Crunk Anansie
As an instrumental track, this works on the principle of building up layer upon layer of twiddling, almost tappy guitar-led rock, that essentially starts off quite mellow, and dream-like, before launching into a lurching see-saw ride of choppy riffs and drumbeats.
2. Youves – Big Arexic
This reminds me of Liars, circa ‘They Threw Us In A Trenchâ€Â¦â€™ you know, before they went all witch-crazy. The opening guitar whine, the way the notes seem to punctuate through at such a high-pitched squeal over the exceptionally tight rhythms and the memorable beat lends a certain air of ‘this could be your new favourite bandâ€™ to proceedings.
3. Holy State – Repeat and Fade
The comparison has probably been banded around more times than Iâ€™ve watched Bring It On,Ã‚Â but I had to stop myself to see if Iâ€™d accidentally put Hot Snakes on by mistake. To possess a voice that sounds like Rick Frobergâ€™s drink-soaked drawl of belligerence is quite something; to sound like an even scrappier and dirtier version of the San Diego four-piece is truly remarkable. Solid gold stuff right here.
4. The Ergon Carousel â€â€œ Ironclad
Despite the fact that this sounds like it was recorded in several dustbins and the drums sound like theyâ€™ve been actually made out of dustbins (and in time similar to the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland); this is 47 seconds of some seriously depraved noise that redefines the words ‘this is raw demo recording.â€™ \m/
5. the_Network – 500 pounds of idiot
Those looking to fill that Eden Maine hole in their lives should listen to the_Network. A musical barrage of caustic, razor-sharp riffs that dredge the very bottom of a crust-filled polluted pond, rambling vocal splutters and maximum brutality are all assured. Like the guitarist from Bowling For Soup â€â€œ itâ€™s heavy with a capital ‘Hâ€™.
6. Throats – Reign of Low (tape version)
Possibly the soundtrack that plays whilst you battle it out in a fight you have no chance of winning. A discomfiting and volatile experience, similar to that of Modern Life Is War, if they had listened to more metal and were fronted by someone who vocal chords consisted of iron fillings being rubbed into an open wound. A massive, yet exhausting adrenalin rush.
7. Maths – Untitled Album Demo
Unlike Throats, Maths eek out the essence of a coherent tune behind their thrash-hardcore attack. At times, the vocals seem rather lost in the mix (I realise this is a demo), but this adds to the appeal I feel of a quite an intense, yet harsh sounding avalanche of stabbing savagery from this Norwich based screaming train of destruction.
8. Cutting Pink With Knives â€â€œ Aylburton
Itâ€™s nice to hear the warm synthesiser bleeps of Cutting Pink With Knives again. Whether ‘Aylburtonâ€™ is a track specially recorded for this mix, or taken from an-out-of-print split7â€Â or a demo that didnâ€™t make the cut for their last album ‘Populuxxeâ€™ just goes to show the quality of the tracks displayed on their second LP and what they were capable of. Brilliance as always.
9. Rolo Tomassi – Cirque Du Funk (4Music Session version)
I actually kind of prefer this to the proper EP version. It sounds a lot more scrappy and the keys so much richer and has this odd warm sound thatâ€™s quite soothing (and incredibly haunting on the solo parts) behind the wall of grind-punk splatter. The end section sounds like someone battling an out of control Theremin under a blanket of distortion.
10. November Coming Fire – Return of the Black Dog
I think these guys have split now. Itâ€™s a shame, because they sound like the UKâ€™s answer to Give Up The Ghost. It bleeds the essence of Boston hardcore through and through, from the vocal rasp, to the breakdowns, to the fast-paced onslaught of the opening. Awesome scenes.
11. Jealous – RuinsÃ‚Â
We finish with a band whose music lives up to their name sake. My thesaurus reliably informs me that other words for ‘jealousâ€™ include: resentment, suspicion, envy and distrust to name but a few. ‘Ruinsâ€™ is all these things and much, much more. Scratchy, dishevelled hardcore that picks at your ears like hyenas round a carcass.
COMING UP: Mad Mac reviews (if he ever gets round to listening to the cd I made); Steve Mackay, Mike Watt and Estel CD that I had misplaced but have now found (the review will be done Ritcher Collective, sorry for the delay!); Shield Your Eyes album review and probably a mixtape of some sort.
By Ross Macdonald