You’ll probably be unsurprised to learn that Shit Clit Split isn’t the most sophisticated of listens. Featuring one-man act Shiteater from the UK, who play old-school, disgusting death metal, and US grind/crust/powerviolence band Clit Eastwood, this is a split for those who don’t take their lyrics too seriously, but still want to hear killer riffs. The contrasting styles of the two bands play off well against each other, and there’s a lot of energy and fun to be found here, but its inherently OTT lyrical nature is both its greatest strength and biggest weakness.
There’s a lot of problems faced by underground bands when getting their music released. Arguably, the biggest one is getting people outside of your circle of friends to actually care about what you’re doing. Probably the second biggest problem – and the one that has hamstrung so, so many releases I’ve come across – is that of your music having the production it deserves. Such is the case for anarchist metal band Rookscare on their EP Ecotone. It is a brave, adventurous piece of music, exploring the overlap between nature and technology with varied, interesting songs that are well worth spending time. The trouble is, you may have a hard time hearing the real strengths of those songs due to a quiet, unflattering production. Devote enough time to it though, and you’ll realise that Ecotone rewards such patience.
One of the reasons the Scandinavian second wave of black metal is so lauded is that, whilst it possesses a clearly identifiable sound as a scene, each of the key bands were different from one another – Mayhem differed from Immortal differed from Emperor and so on. The same is true of the modern Icelandic scene; there is certainly an overall Icelandic sound, characterized by a soul-searing intensity and sense of this being music for the other. But crucially, each band sounds different from one another. On their debut album, Volaða Land, Draugsól demonstrate a style of black metal that is clearly Icelandic in origin, whilst also possessing their own unique character and take on the style. And, like almost everything coming out of Iceland these days, it is absolutely superb.
Sometimes, hard work pays off. Nottingham’s Underdark have certainly been working hard since forming in November 2015, pushing hard to get gigs in the local area and beyond, and catching the eye of record labels as a result. Originally digitally self-released, their debut EP Mourning Cloak is now getting pressed on CD by Third I Rex and vinyl by Sell Your Soul Records, giving the band’s blackgaze further exposure. It’s not hard to see why the band have been finding such success so quickly, as theirs is a convincing, passionate strand of blackgaze, that does not forget the harsh black metal aspect of the subgenre, combining it well with more restrained moments of relative calm.
Funny to think how much has changed in this past year. Comparing where the world is now with where it was when I posted my first set of short reviews a year ago is sobering. Let’s try not to dwell on that though, and have some music instead. This month there’s words on the new single from melo-death band Eshtadur, Cornered At The Earth; artful post-punk by Russians Mirrored Lips on чичичи; hyperspeed fastcore on the split between Beartrap and Hummingbird Of Death; soul-crushing black/death on Breeding Ruin by Dawn Of Tyrants; grindcore as love by The Brood on The Truth Behind; and psychedelic doom/stoner from Heavy Temple on new record Chasit. Enjoy!
According to the press release, Hyperakusi is a Swedish word meaning “sensitivity to everyday sounds”. Should that be something you suffer from, then you might want to steer away from this split between Finnish bands Resonance Cascade and Järnbörd. Whilst their versions of grindcore may not exactly be considered “everyday sounds”, they are most certainly not suited to those with sensitive hearing. Dirty, loud and uncompromising, both of these bands offer up slightly different sorts of blistering grind, making this split a riotous half hour that fans of the likes of Napalm Death and Nasum will surely enjoy.
Originally self-released, Nothing To Lose is being given a new lease of life thanks to a coming reissue from Black Bow Records. It’s a bloody good thing, too. This record from Battalions does not mess around. Angry, loud, and incredibly heavy, this is a sludge/stoner battering that takes the best elements of both styles and puts them together to great effect. Packed full of riffs and addictive songs, this bodes very well for their forthcoming new album.