Caïna / Cara Neir – Split

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Label: Broken Limbs Recordings

This was an unexpected surprise. I had thought that Christ Clad In White Phosphorous was to be Caïna’s final recorded output, but evidently not, as this split with blackened crust masters Cara Neir has emerged. Each band has a single track, though that’s all that both bands need to demonstrate their talent and unorthodox natures. Whilst both bands may have different sounds, it’s safe to say that their mentalities are comparable, making this split a bittersweet triumph – triumphant because of its undeniable quality, but bittersweet as this now marks the last output of Caïna to be committed to tape.

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Shiteater / Clit Eastwood – Shit Clit Split

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Label: Blackened Death Records

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.

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January 2017 Blasts

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 EshtadurCornered 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!

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Resonance Cascade / Järnbörd- Hyperakusi (split)

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Label: Wooaaargh Downfall Records

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.

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Palace Of Worms / Ecferus – Split

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Label: Crown And Throne Ltd

This is exactly how splits should work; the presence of one band you’re familiar with draws you in, leading to you checking the other side out, which results in you finding a new, awesome band to follow. That’s the case for me with this split. Palace Of Worms have, on the back of last year’s The Ladder (not to mention previous albums and splits), become one of my favourite modern metal acts, so I was very excited to receive this split. The good news is that Ecferus, who were previously unknown to me, have also offered up some excellent music that, combined with the three songs from Palace Of Worms, make this split an early highlight of 2017.

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2016 Favourites – And The Rest

2016 has been the year that saw me listen to, and review, more music than ever before. For every release that gets reviewed, there’s several that I don’t have the time to write something on; or that I listen to, but simply don’t get excited over. It’s also worth bearing in mind the purposes of this blog – exploring the underground. With the odd exception (such as the new Darkthrone), I have no interest in writing in the “big” releases; I want to help give some exposure and coverage to the small and underground, not go chasing whatever review or feature will get me the most hits. I’d also point out that it’s easy to lose sense of what actually is mainstream and underground when you spend so much time immersed in music. Sure, everyone may have access to Bandcamp and Youtube and a legion of Spotify recommendations, but  it’s easy to overestimate just how big our favourite bands are.

That said, there’s still some mainstream releases I’ve really enjoyed this year and want to share some thoughts on in another post. But here, I want to take the time to give shout-outs to those more underground releases which didn’t quite make the cut for my list of 25 favourites of the year.

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Asthenia & Akallabêth – Split

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Label: Ruined Smile / Wolf Town DIY / Disposable Culture / Two Moons Records / The Burden of Reflecting / Friendly Otter / Mellow Club / Rubaiyat / Forge Records 

As the winter nights draw in, odds are your listening habits might change accordingly. You might want to hide away with some fuzzy, beautiful bedroom electronica; or revel in nature’s harsh glory with something frost-bitten and atmospheric. Alternatively, you may need something to help give you that little extra push, to get you going at the start (or end) of the day. If that’s the case, then the split 7″ between Japan’s Asthenia and Akallabêth from the UK could be just what you’re looking for. Both bands conjure up memories of 90’s emo and post-hardcore, not just in sound but also in terms of energy and drive. If the cold, dark days and nights have you feeling down, then this might just help pick you up.

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