Friday, September 23, 2011

ALTARS - 'Opposition' EP Review

Today we have another review brought to you by our good old pal, Nick Tolis. He has reviewed the very interesting and brutally beatiful new work by stalwart moshers, ALTARS. Their new ep entitled Opposition is a perfect example of new age, epic beatdown hardcore with melancholic touches and NO clean vocals. Enjoy!

ALTARS - Opposition EP
A mix of sounds

In case you are a fan of metal-hardcore, with lots of beat downs I guess you have found your thing here. The good thing is that this band manages to play something common but so different at the same time. After the intro song the album starts with a heavy beat down that will catch you from the head and throw you miles away. At the first seconds of the song “Advocate” I questioned my self whether this is a death metal band heavily influenced by Morbid Angel or a metal hardcore band. Things change rapidly. Fast beats, melodic loops, some screamo parts and some samples giving an industrial feeling create an interesting plus remarkable album.

To give a clearer idea, the album sounds like a mixture of Poison the Well, Comeback Kid, Born from Pain, Walls of Jericho and Chimaira. The good thing is that Altars succeed to put their signature to the album and to be proud to say that this is their music and not someone else’s music.

Overall, we have a six track EP, really well played, melodic-metal-hardcore with interesting ideas and lots of beat-downs to move your head up and down and enter the mosh-pit. Last but not least, the lyrics are faith-God-Christian oriented. Not really my thing to be honest but… nevermind the bollocks… let the guys play their music and express their thoughts…since they play it well… I am okay with it.

Nick can be reached at nikostolis [at] gmail [dot] com 

Featured Band: Denial Fiend - Deathly Thrashed into a Horror Holocaust

Simply put, Denial Fiend is a bunch of crazy fuckers who destroy the world with their awesomely evil death/thrash metal. I mean we all listen to a lot of metal and hardcore and whatnot, but every now and then we find a band that really stands apart due to its heaviness/originality, and Denial Fiend seem to have both of these factors in check. Also, if you are sick and tired of hearing a certain Municipal Waste come up whenever the term "thrash" is mentioned, maybe it is a good idea to start supporting these fellows here.

Denial Fiend packs a ton of energy and has that extreme death thrash sound that was forsaken somewhere in the annals of extreme music history. They have the excessive double bass drum use and the sick guitar riffs, but they also manage to keep it extreme, catchy and fun. Because we should let it be known that when we say thrash, we mean something heavy and extreme and not just sped up punk with stupid lyrics and no shock value. So remove the beer/party thrash punk from your mind and get into the real, original, evil thrash about death and destruction!

We should also mention that the song posted above from new album Horror Holocaust features Denial Fiend's new singer, who is no other than the legendary Accused's Blaine Cook. For an even heavier, more guttural Denial Fiend, check the band's older album They Rise.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CRUCIAMENTUM - Convocation of Crawling Chaos

Today's review is an offering by fellow partner in crime and long time contributor, Rigas. This guy may look like an outgoing peaceful rastafari dude on the outside, but he actually has a soft spot for brutal, underground and uncompromising music. He has gotten me into loads of bands in the past and UK's Cruciamentum just got added to the list. This guy knows his shit; read on to see what he had to say about this ultra-brutal band's new offering and be forewarned: this is some of the heaviest stuff we've ever featured here!
Death metal in 2011 bares the long history of one of the most extreme musical expressions. The genre had ups and downs in popularity but also quality; nevertheless there is a rich legacy with numerous landmark releases. Therefore, the bar is set high for new bands and I believe there is only room for dedicated people and crucial stuff, like this one.

Learn more  out the awesome cover by Alexander L. Brown here

Cruciamentum play death metal - just that - and that is very refreshing in times saturated by music overproduction where every band is blending countless styles in their songs (deathcore is now on demand, following the metalcore hype). While others try to broaden their sound in a superficial cut & paste fashion, Cruciamentum take the time to focus on their sound and devote themselves to the long tradition of death metal. As they go deeper they bring much more for us to listen: three death metal epics with manifold yet ‘organic’ shifts in exciting flow, ultra-heavy ‘buried’ sound, low guttural and relatively discreet vocals and a ritualistic occult feeling.

There is a cryptic ambience omnipresent; Cruciamentum are interested to create a specific sound and atmosphere in which to deliver their music. Knowing how to play authentic death metal, they are not exhausting themselves just playing as fast and brutal as possible. Their sound draws parallels to Dead Congregation, Disembowelment, Funebrarum, Demigod, Immolation, Incantation and Winter (less). It somehow reminded me also Morbid Angel of ‘Gateways to Annihilation’ era, but much more low-fi.

Cruciamentum shift skilfully a lot of tempos yet they incorporate also some slow, doom parts (remember Disembowelment! e.g. the 3rd minute mark of ‘’deathless ascension’’) which are very effective in their music. They also throw in some ‘morbid’ yet majestic melodies which at times are even reminiscent of early 90’s atmospheric doom/death (they use synths at the end of the EP). Surprisingly, there is a crushing beatdown part in ‘’Rotten flesh crucifix’’ which fits great and is very functional in the flow of the song, while later is coated with an obscure, bitter melody. Frankly, it is one of the best death metal releases I heard in years with its superior black & white aesthetics.

Cruciamentum hail from UK and they were formed back in 2005, but their line-up solidified in 2009. “Convocation of Crawling Chaos” comes in MCD and 10’’ MLP formats from the Greek Nuclear Winter records. It is a re-issue of their 2009 demo. ‘Rotten flesh crucifix’ has been already released as a demo in 2008. They are part of a stream of serious, original, crafty, quality death metal bands (Dead Congregation, Ectovoid, Swallowed, Eibon etc.) which are well-distanced from the gore death produced by the kilos. This wave of bands has been also visualized by committed artists like Alexander L. Brown (check also Timo Ketola, Toshiro Egawa, Mark Riddick and Scott Stearns among others), who illustrated this magnificent cult cover.

Support and disseminate original music!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reasons Why I Still Like Terror

On this short article I would like to explain just a few reasons why I still consider TERROR as one of the best current bands in hardcore music. They might be the most popular hardcore band since Hatebreed, but usually when the kids dig something so much, there is actually a good reason for it. So, here's my list why TERROR still rules...

  • They stick to the basics. In other words, they don't have to 'progress' and ruin everything. So sir. Just good old hardcore with tons of mosh, the way it is supposed to be done.
  • They are the everyday hardcore kid's favorite band. They don't sing about stuff you don't understand; they don't fuck around with pointless music patterns; they shoot to kill! And so, the kids get it.
  • They infuse positive values through hardcore. Although they're not your typical 'posi' band by no means, their songs are all about empowerment, venting your frustration and feeling strong through hardcore. What else do you need?
  • KOTF. Finally, someone brought back the Crew mentality that was missing from hardcore for so long. Keepers of the Faith, baby! We need more hardcore bands that defend hardcore music like that.
  • Members' credibility. Their singer sang for Buried Alive. Their bassist sings for Down To Nothing. Their drummer was in Carry On. Their guiatrist is also in Donnybrook. These are all bands with some pretty timeless value in the hardcore scene.
  • You can tell they're having the time of their lives. Have you ever been to a TERROR show? Then you know what I am talking about. I am sick and tired of bands and frontmen who can't be bothered to have fun on stage.
  • They maintain the old school hardcore aesthetics. Excuse me, but hardcore is not about tight jeans and the right kind of sneakers. It's about wearing your athletic fucking gear and feeling ready to combust at the show!
  • They are the perfect band to mosh to. No explanation needed, really.
These are just a few of the reasons why I still like this band after all those years. One thing I know is they've outlasted quite a few hardcore kids who are now into more 'mature' kind of music and the like. You know the deal. The Keepers of the Faith are still here!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

ENTRAILS - "The Tomb Awaits" Review

I see death metal in the same way I see a lot of hardcore; that is, as a style of music that metaphorically destroys everything in its way, and which gives the listener a sense of absolute strength and raging power. Heavy music has a magical way of destroying weakness and depression, and we have bands like Sweden's ENTRAILS to thank for that!

This awesome band has just released 12 songs of pure Swedish death metal at its best, similar to stuff like early Entombed, Dismember and Sinister (even though the last band is Dutch).  This album really  brings us back to a time when metal albums actually had substance to them and carried their own distinct identity. This is exactly what happens in The Tomb Awaits: there is plenty death metal carnage but at the same time the whole album is filled with a nice diversity which makes it so much more of a pleasant listen. At the end of the day, this is exactly what Swedish DM is traditionally all about: clever ideas combined with aggression!

What I mean by the above is that even though ENTRAILS do play pure and solid death metal, there is enough space for musical expression and a somewhat darker (compared to brutal death) atmosphere. The guitarists are capable of creating some pretty sick atmospheric riffs with the lower guitar strings that will send shivers down your spine and make the zombies in your local graveyard rise up. At the same time, the drums and vocals show no signs of compromise and just beat your brain and ears with endless aggression! Add a tiny dose of Swedish crust to the mix and you will get what I'm talking about!

The production sound also carries the recognizable Swedish identity, with the distorted bass on equal levels with the guitars and the overall outcome sounding brutally bubbling, but in a way controlled.  Finally, I will also give the band kudos for the awesome acoustic guitar introduction, which gets the cemetery atmosphere going before all hell breaks loose.

For an extensive ENTRAILS interview go here.

PROS: Definite old school death metal feel, quality riffs, excellent Swedish production, wide variety of extremely brutal death metal vocals, crust-core rhythms here and there.

CONS: If you listen to this late at night you might sh*t your pants.

DA LOWDOWN: Awesome, solid Swedish death metal with room for sick melodies without being overly technical.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cave In - "White Silence" Review

Today we have something different to present our readers compared to the usual all hard all core stuff we post here. The following review is written by my friend Nick, who is a definite brutal music afficcionado (proven by standing the test of time!). I think that many hardcore kids will lend an ear to music like Cave In, as they are one of those bands that came out of the hardcore/metal scene and stepped away throughout their career -- but kept  making good music. Read on and find out why you should check out the band's heavy as fuck new album!

Back To The Roots (?)

It is really admirable  when a band can modify its style so dramatically and provide good material. Cave In seem to me like a phenomenon in the extreme music scene. Ok, extreme in some occasions, I agree. Personally I don’t know what to expect anymore when a Cave In album comes out.

White Silence is an 180o turn again for Cave In. On one hand you’ll find heavy, complex riffs, intense bass guitar and noisy guitar fill ups and on the other hand a more prog- rock approach with psycho-traveling songs and less aggression. There is an obvious influence on the sound and the style as also on the vocals, from the sound of the project bands of its members (Zozobra, Old Man Gloom), therefore along with the complex and fast riffs you‘ll find slow, drown, heavy parts and mid tempo songs.

But that is what happens only till the middle of the album, because as the album goes on, Cave In sound more like a prog-rock band than a sludge-doom-metal core one. Prog-rock with a post-rock aesthetic and with loads of psychedelic sounds is what you will find at the second half of the album. Clean vocals appear quite often but when they do so, they are either distorted or alongside with some brutal ones.  I know that the marriage of these styles sounds a bit chaotic and wired. But Cave In do it and most important they do it very well.

“White Silence” is a complete album. You won’t get bored listening to the album and you will definitely play it again and again. You will move your head up and down and gradually you will become heavier, drown back and get lost. The overall result: a dirty, sick and traveling sound with loads of upside downs which leads to a dirty, sick, album that travels you from aggression to relaxation.

Typical Cave In stuff right?

Friday, September 9, 2011

RIVALS! - Make Your Own Path

Rivals! is a modern youth crew hardcore band from Athens, Greece, and possibly one of the best HC bands to come out of this country. These dudes have a strong Champion / Have Heart influence, bouncing back and forth between melodic youth crew and harder straight edge hardcore. They also manage to add some new school elements (some intelligent mosh parts etc), but without sounding lame or emo.

Members of Rivals! were in a more forward straight edge band named xFor No Reasonx, and after their demise in 2008, Rivals! was created with the same ideals more or less: to play honest, driving hardcore with a strong sXe feel. They have an awesome recording that will be released soon after a lot of anticipation, as I really feel the world needs to hear this. Their ep entitled Make Your Own Path contains a bunch of hard-hitting hardcore songs with layers of melody, aggression, melancholy, and great vocals and guitar work.

The thing I like about Rivals! is that they are doing it old school: they are a bunch of kids who are friends and they love hardcore. You'll spot these dudes in hardcore shows in Athens and elsewhere keeping it clean and buying merch with a smile on their faces. I am glad to call these guys friends and I think the time has come for the world to get to know more about this band!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DEAD END PATH - Stay Up, Stay Active: Pennsylvania Metallic Hardcore

As long as there are bands like Dead End Path out there, I WILL NOT lose faith in hardcore music. DEP play heavy metallic hardcore which is equally influenced by Ringworm as it is by Slayer. They have a few recordings out, including a self-released demo, an EP and a full length (released in 2011) on Triple B Records.

These Pennsylvania dudes pack a ton of aggression in their sound, and have a heavy duty frontman that will make most hardcore emo screamers of today go running back to mommy! DEP also hits you in the face with harsh reality lyrics and songs with titles like "Turn Cold" and "No Paradise". This is dark, negative hardcore that somehow makes you feel good! And that, my friends, is a rule of heavy music!

Even though the band has kind of progressed to a somewhat cleaner sound on their new full length Blind Faith (a better and more professional recording being the main reason), they have kept the underground feeling that makes a good hardcore band, as well as the extremity of their early recordings.

Check out their awesome tumblr site:

Dead Icons: Kentucky Hardcore!!!

I don't know much about Kentucky in relation to hardcore (or metal), aside from the fact that it has spawned an awesome, hard as nails HC band called Dead Icons. These guys play heavy, metal tinged hardcore which resembles the good old 90s stuff in many ways. If bands like Cro Mags, Allegiance and Terror say anything to you, then CHECK THIS OUT!

The band has signed with Bullet Tooth Records (ex- Trustkill) and is now on the roster with many other great acts like Most Precious Blood (modern HC pioneers), First Blood (SXE HC mosh), Kid Liberty (HC-pop punk) among others.

All it takes is one listen and you'll be convinced that these guys are the real deal. I am so tired of bands that are supposed to play hardcore and actually don't play it; I want more bands like Dead Icons, that make me wanna go crazy, make me wanna go nuts and live thus hardcore shit like I've only just begun!

You can also hit the link and read a nice Dead Icons interview with Lambgoat and make sure to listen to the song below.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I will admit that the majority of the stuff I listen to is kinda violent, or at least intense in one way or another. However I try to keep an open mind and go for other styles of music every now and then, I mean it is always good to have different stuff in your record collection, and a wide palette of music to choose from so to speak.

Bands like This Murder of Angels come and fill that gap in my musical knowledge in a very efficient and refreshing way. They play a style of music that shares equal influences from pop, post hardcore, black metal, prog and even a dose of classical music. This may sound weird but when you actually hear Wake, everything sounds right in place and you can start getting into those chunky post metal grooves.

These Scottish dudes have created a new style in which they are not afraid to go all soft and then come back with hellish screams, thick-layered guitars and prog metal drums. I guess they do pretty much whatever they like, and this is something that I totally respect in a band.

I can imagine myself playing this on a variety of occasions, not when I want to mosh but when I'm feeling a bit down, when I want to go on thinking mode, when I read a book or even when I chill with someone who can't handle too much hardcore or metal. This is very progressive, very clever music and I am glad that a band like this would care to approach a hardcore fanzine like Take Your Shot. So, in the name of Unity, hardcore, metal, post-hardcore, whatever... let's go!

UPs: complex, thick layered instrumentation with a wide range of influences to stretch and test our musical knowledge.

DOWNs: Not enough heaviness and maybe too much piano/keyboards.

LOWDOWN: Very progressive but also catchy post metal with awesome vocals and and an artistic, almost theatrical feel. Not yer mama's Deftones, but an original band!

More SLAYER core!!!

If you, like me, are always up for some intense SLAYER-ic carnage, well how about "Angel of Death" (originally on the super classic Reign in Blood album) done justice by heavy as fuck death-core contemporaries, CARNIFEX? Enjoy the sheer brutality of a thrash classic pumped up with steroids and taken to the extreme!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

COMMON CAUSE - S / T EP (React! Records)

What we have here is a straight edge hardcore record that makes me wanna wear some athletic gear and go straight for a run, lift something heavy or just room-mosh with this music on full volume!

I know that React! Records puts out some of the best stuff in positive / oldschool hardcore, and I definitely wasn't disappointed with Common Cause's new ep. I first heard this band on the Chain of Strength tribute ep (an awesome comp by the way) with their cover of "Those Days", also included on this ep.

These guys continue the tradition of the few remaining purely old school straight edge bands out there. The sound, the ethics and even the aesthetics all belong in the  old school SXE tradition, and this is something I couldn't be more happy about. No matter how much hardcore music progresses, it is important to save and persevere the sound of crucial hardcore bands like the aforementioned Chain of Strength, Insted, Youth of Today, etc. Being a new band, Common Cause have obviously updated their sound with a good production and a heavier edge to their sound, but the outcome remains totally old school.

The lyrics are about values and ethics like understanding and compassion. This may sound weird to some hardcore kids but believe it or not, hardcore also has its compassionate, thought provoking side. I wish there were more hardcore bands singing about this stuff nowadays, with no hard attitudes, violent and self-destructive messages etc. Hardcore stands outside from metal and punk not so much because of the sound, but because of the message of unity and integrity.

UPs: Good production, awesome self-righteous hardcore message, an evident straight edge identity, fast paces & speedy guitars, Chain of Strength cover. 

DOWNs: Could do with more songs (a full album), and would like a bit of a wider vocal range.

THE LOWDOWN: 6 songs of old school straight edge hardcore with a newer edge, filled with positive hardcore messages.