Hi! No sarcastic introduction this time or any cover-star baiting. Just some honest reviews and an mp3 of the best track off the compilation. Nice.
Soulfly â€â€œ Unleash
The one thing about a Max Cavalera band is that you pretty much know exactly what it sounds like even before you listen to the opening bars. Mixing the right elements of Soulflyâ€™s typically abrasive thrash metal with some interesting world-music influenced breaks and a squealing guitar – business as usual for the Brazilian mob.
Alesana â€â€œ This is Usually The Part Where People Scream
Well itâ€™s happened; Iâ€™m officially bored to tears by screaming in music. Thanks, Alesana; youâ€™re boisterous, but woefully hackneyed take on the genre is doing nothing for me. In fact, Iâ€™ve had to turn this down, for fear that anyone who witnesses me listening to this tripe will think that Iâ€™m some pre-pubescent bed-wetter who likes music with all the depth and charm of a turd sandwich.
We Are The Ocean â€â€œ Donâ€™t Be Careless
Take note: this is how you do it. Londonâ€™s We Are The Ocean know how to sucker in the kids, playing the kind of scream/sung melodic hardcore that welsh-boys Funeral For A Friend used to peddle. The vocals give a strong nod towards Dallas Green of Alexisonfire with equal gusto and vitality. Promising.
Harvey Milk â€â€œ Barn Burner
Iâ€™m not sure whether all Harvey Milk songs sound like this, but I pray to god they do. At just over 2 minutes in length ‘Barn Burnerâ€™ is a rampant rock ‘nâ€™ roll facepunch of dirty, fuzzed out riffs and machine gun drumming. This chews up the airwaves like fat man let loose in a chocolate factory. Absolutely brilliant, one to crash your car to.
Capricorns â€â€œ Seventh Child Of A Seventh Child
Instrumental band Capricorns say a lot with their music. Some would consider this difficult for a band without a singer, but when youâ€™re making this kind of pulverising racket, who needs some weedy little fart shouting into a microphone? Not these guys. With the kind of drummer youâ€™d kill one of your own friends to have, this doom-laden approach to metal is hard to beat.
Mouth Of The Architect â€â€œ Rocking Chairs and Shotguns
Mouth of the Architect are one of those bands that relies on huge passages of winding sound, interspersed with the kind of vocal roars you would normally associate with various wounded animals or enormous men with beards. Come for the dread, stay to be ground down into a fine powder by this Ohio noise-brigade.
Apse â€â€œ From The North
Not really sure what to make of this. It kind of washes over you like a really cleansing shower, but doesnâ€™t really go anywhere. Sure, there are some nice moments, if sweeping passages of the same note tickle your fancy. Ultimately though, itâ€™s pretty dull. Iâ€™m sure live, itâ€™s equally as un-enthralling, but I could be completely wrong of course.
Rinoa â€â€œ Atlantis
This is a bit like listening to Poison the Well covering Deftones songs, with a dash of Hopesfall in the mix. Impassioned screams, complimented by strong instrumental passages and the kind of rough and ready sound that youâ€™d associate with a plethora of underground European hardcore stalwarts. Seriously good work guys, oneâ€™s to keep an eye on.
Racebannon â€â€œ Awaken
This one time, I heard two cats fighting to the death outside my window. Suffice to say, it sounded better than the fuck-awful racket Racebannon class as music.
Disarm â€â€œ The River City Ransom Death Pact
Iâ€™m a massive sucker for really fast-paced punk rock, so it comes as no surprise that Disarmâ€™s brand of riffs oâ€™ plenty appeals in bucket loads. Itâ€™s all there, the â€œwoaaahhh yeahsâ€Â the snarling vocals, crashing drums and driving guitar lines. Formulaic as an excel spreadsheet, but oddly pleasing.
Calabrese â€â€œ Voices Of The Dead
A horror-rock band without a stand up bass? Shirley not! Calabrese are 3 brothers who all look like they stepped off the set of Greased meets The Krays. Whilst some kinds of horror punk can be pretty hit and miss, this is surprisingly pleasant with a huge chorus and buckets of potential.
Withered â€â€œ Dichotomy Of Exile
Someoneâ€™s been listening to ‘Blood Mountainâ€™ too much! Oh yeah, thatâ€™s me. Also, it seems American metallers, Withered have been spinning one or two Mastadon albums as the riffs on ‘Dichotomy Of Exileâ€™ sound even more beefier and heavier. It then all goes a bit black metal then, which doesnâ€™t interest me in the slightest and the â€œyappy the back flipping dogâ€Â vocals are complete pony until the throaty roars kick in. Bit of an odd one.
Fellsilent â€â€œ Immerse
For the fanatical metal fan in us all, this will probably appeal in truckloads. In this case, it does very little except irritate and sound woefully run of the mill. Okay, so it has the detuned guitar shriek and the scream/sung vocals aren’t too bad, but it’s all a bit ‘what’s the point?’ Fellsilent? If only.
The Psyke Project â€â€œ Poems Written By Kings
Apparently their drummer wants to nob Madonna. Yikes. Maybe he can win her over with his drumming, which is nothing short of terrific on this track, all double-bass pedals and inhuman stick work – lovely. The rest of it is pretty good as well, coming across a bit like doomed-hardcore heroes Cursed if they decided to extend their sound with even more foreboding.
Vessels â€â€œ Look At That Cloud!
Instrumental five-piece Vessels hail from Leeds, so no wonder they sound a bit down in the mouth! Just kidding. I really don’t know what to say about this, other than it draws to mind the kind of extensive ‘build ’em up, knock ’em down’ approach to sans-vocal rock that This Will Destroy You have, with the closing eruption of sound at the 6.30 mark spewing forth a wonderful crushing conclusion.
See above for band myspace links. Harvey Milk’s album ‘Life…The Best Game In Town’ can be bought from Relapse Records here.
By Ross Macdonald