Despite their being a lot of second-stage UK-festival metalcore fodder on this month’s CD, this isn’t too bad. Being As An Ocean, Killer Be Killed, Martyr Defiled, Get Involved!, Frameworks, En Garde, Hey Vanity, Oh Captive and Out For Tomorrow all stand out from the crowd and are all worth your time.
Bury Tomorrow – Watcher
Competent and direct metalcore from Bury Tomorrow; the beatdowns are brash, meat-headed and obvious, whilst the unclean vocals are harsh, stringent blasts of volatile hate. Not so keen on the clean vocals, which feel clumsy and oddly shoe-horned in. This is quite theatrical in execution for most of the second half – for some reason they break out the power chords and it all goes a bit Dragonforce-guitars, which I’m afraid to say is never, ever good.
Miss May I – Echoes
A weird case of the vocals not matching the music. Miss May I’s vocalist adopts a scratched, hollow screech that would perhaps suit a scrappy, raw hardcore band who live to tour. It doesn’t work with the rather lucklustre metal that’s on offer here. It’s plodding, somewhat badly produced and washed out in the mix and makes very little impact or impression. Formulaic and flat, this is a leaden, tired slog that goes on for far too long. Shit keyboards as well.
Being As An Ocean – Death’s Great Black Wing Scrapes The Air
The most post-rock song title award this month goes to? Beware though, there isn’t a trace of navel gazing, pedal board stamping on this. Being As An Ocean are all about the raw, hacking bloody mess of shattered dreams and feelings. This is melodic hardcore fed through the grinder and out the other-side. Vocalist Joe Quartuccio channels great tides of wrought, emotional pain amidst screams, shouts, spoken-word segments and hoarse, guttural fury. Musically, think of a down-tuned version of Refused at their heaviest, with a dose of gnarled, bitter determination.
Whitechapel – The Saw Is The Law
Deathcore has got to be the worst genre hasn’t it? I tried listening to Carnifex a few months back and it was laughably bad. Whitechapel are a few rungs above them but that means they’re breaking water in the ocean of stinking dog shit that deathcore sits in. The vocals are reminiscent of Satan trying to rap and it’s utterly bizarre, horrible and stupid. You don’t need this garbage, no one does – go read a book or something.
Killer Be Killed – Face Down
Actually pretty decent. Super-band of sorts – big Greg from Johnny Escape, Maxy from The Soulflys, Troy bassface from Mastodon’t and some bloke who used to drum for the Mars Volta. If you ever wondered what all four bands sounded like mashed together, well…this is it.Greg’s vocal bits over some direct, riff-fuelled thrash metal actually work really well; it’s intense, nerve jangling and hectic; Troy Sanders brings his mighty-mammoth lungs to bear also on the pre-chorus and Max does a good job, despite being a bit flat compared to the Patton-bark of Greg and the howl of Troy. Altogether a crushing, lurching burst of stamping heavy rock meets tribal thrash.
Devil You Know – Seven Years Alone
Howard Jones left Killswitch to do this? Oh dear. Note, the best thing about this are Jones’ vocals; dude has a great voice, especially on the melodic parts – but the music is just fucking boring. Plodding, metal-paint-by-the-numbers dumbcore and it’s all a bit predictable, familiar and retreading ground that I thought had been concreted and paved over years ago. I mean, those Killswitch fans who aren’t getting on with the new/old singer,will probably enjoy this, but it lacks any of the technicality and excitement of KsE.
Martyr Defiled – No Hope
Guys, why so angry this month? Bleakness, encompassing darkness and harrowing fear seem to be what Martyr Defiled go for. The guitars sound absolutely huge on this – built on a giant, sun-blocking scale of crushing doom, dressed up in black metal, with a vocalist who switches between frat-boy-hardcore chants, battery-acid gargling roars and nerve-shredding screams. It all goes a bit gothic near the end – I kept expecting some eerie church bells to ring out over the closing dirge of rotten chords.
For The Fallen Dreams – Emerald Blue
I’ve just looked these guys up on Wikipedia and found that they’ve had an exhausting number of band members (4 vocalists, 7 rhythm guitarists, 10 bassists and 4 drummers in 11 years) that’s quite a turn-around of personnel. I think Megadeth have had less line up changes than that. If the guitars on this were any more bloated, they’d be Mr Creosote. There’s plenty of malice on offer and it’s heavy, like deliriously heavy and hideously brutal, but it feels contrived and rehashed and haven’t we heard this sort of thing done before?
Get Involved! – Let Your Guard Down
Another supergroup, featuring ex-Thursday, Glassjaw, From Autumn To Ashes, Judge (never heard of them) and Death In The Park (who?). So, this is fucking excellent – combine the gloomy melodrama of Cold Cave, with jagged, post-hardcore meets grunge rock and some bizarre theatrics, and vocal rasps and you’re only 50% of the way towards what Get Involved! and their unique style sound like. Credit to vocalist Derrick Karg-Zamudio, who channels moments of Jason from letlive., into his breathless, emotionally and somewhat large-ham delivery, which is darkly psychotic.
Frameworks – Loom
This sounds like it’s been recorded whilst a truck-full of gravel is being poured onto a load of glass. Scratching screamo in the same vein as Scotland’s Departures, fed through the hardcore punk mill – Frameworks are that intense, raw-scrape of possibly-hopeful, ultimately bitter punk that Touché Amoré fans are going to love. Fuzzy, scrambled guitars collide and intertwine over the math-punk drumbeats and rusty bass to create something truly jarring and tender.
En Garde – Bar-Stool Politics
En Garde channel The Bronx-style punk rock good times into your face, forcing it into a maniacal grin. Think the scrambled, garage-rock riffs of Dangerous!, the brash, gruff shouts of Matt Caughthran, blaring out over a wave of snapping, beer-soaked rock ‘n roll. This is rampant, enthusiastic, spirited debauchery packed into under 2 minutes and it’s electrifying and mouth-frothingly addictive. Check out the video as well.
Hey Vanity – The Life, The Party, The Scene
You’ll see these guys high up on the Slam Dunk Festival bill next year, mark my words. Melodic pop-rock brimming with gusto, slightly gravelly vocals (think Lonely The Brave), infectious and sickeningly tuneful, Hey Vanity are a superb addition to the growing UK rock scene.
Oh Captive – Beds Of Many Ghosts
Bouncing and brimming with melody, Oh Captive are precise, intricate and squeaky clean with their post-hardcore attack, which is fast-paced and direct. It reminds me strongly of Straight Lines in places. Lyrics aren’t great, but they thrown in the odd-pop-punk breakdown to keep the kids entertained.
Out For Tomorrow – Give Me A Reason
Great opening riff on this; a bit sleazy, a huge swinging hook that you can latch on to. The vocals are all over the place, however. In some parts, they’re damn good – think We Are The Ocean soaring, powerful, full of force and determination. On the chorus, they fall flat and are rather nasally, which is odd, considering instrumentally, it sucks you in. Conflicted about this one.