Bandcamp stream: Link
When I was browsing the “black metal” tag on Bandcamp, this isn’t what I expected to find at all. The cover stood out like a beacon amongst all the monochrome artwork covered in skulls and kvlt imagery, inevitably drawing my attention. I’m glad it did, as whilst this isn’t black metal at all, the latest EP from Shanghai’s Spill Your Guts, Slip And Fall, is 12 minutes of invigorating, energetic, predominantly old-school hardcore with flourishes and twists that demonstrates why it shows up under the black metal tag.
The type of hardcore that Spill Your Guts play is the kind that reminds you of all that’s good in the genre. It’s largely up-tempo, incredibly energetic, and if it doesn’t get you feeling pumped up and ready to face the day ahead then something has gone very wrong. Whilst its lineage can be traced back to the original Youth Crew bands, with more than a passing nod to more modern greats like Champion and a frantic edge more typically associated with the Japanese hardcore underground, there are also plenty of moments that look beyond the relatively narrow confines of that scene and sound. Opener “Growing Tide” may open with intense, melodic riffs, but it’s only twenty seconds before a tremolo-picked lead and blastbeats make their presence known, before the song quickly goes back to more typical hardcore sounds. Such moments are littered throughout the record, such as on the title track. “Snakes” is a more mid-tempo affair, but still packs the necessaries punch and heavy riffs to succeed, whilst “Wasted Away” and “Wayfarer” both feature moments that owe a lot to grindcore, before moving back to more typical hardcore sounds.
The way the band shift through styles and influences is very impressive, making each change feel completely natural, which is to be commended when the songs contain such diverse sounds. Let’s face it, the generic Youth Crew sound is played out, relying upon the passion and belief of the musicians involved for it to work. So when a band like Spill Your Guts come along, playing not only with the self-belief required for Youth Crew influenced hardcore to succeed, but also adding some unusual extras to the sound, it makes for a brilliant listen. It ensures that they’re not relying on their passion and energy to make the songs work, but are writing songs that are interesting in their own right, which is something most hardcore bands don’t do. As such, Slip And Fall shows all that is good about old-school hardcore, whilst containing plenty of moments of invention and looking beyond the confines of genre to show that it need not be generic and predictable. The production is awesome, too.
Slip And Fall is available to stream and download via the band’s Bandcamp page.