A lot of times when you come across a split record, you may find that the comparative quality of each side is a little, shall we say, unbalanced. One side is usually noticeably better; be it in recording, performance, or just in how much you enjoy it overall. Finding a split where I'm genuinely satisfied with each side, equally, is a bit rare. Newest case in point, this body eviscerating split 12" between Disciples Of Christ (D.O.C.), and Triac. Brought to us by the fine German lads at RSR. I think my most recent discussion about this record sums it up pretty well; I was working at my local record shop, about to spin it, and my boss asked which side would be more "palatable for the customers". To which I replied, "would you rather get stabbed repeatedly, or burned alive?" Get the frick out, both sides of this record will tear your skin off and throw it against the wall like Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill movie, just to watch is slowly slide down leaving a trail of viscera and chunky blood. D.O.C kick starts their side off with some thick, punching noise, before sounding off like a cannon shot into nearly 8 minutes of non-stop blastfuckery. Definitely the more visceral of the two sides, in my opinion. D.O.C. got a hell of a lot better since I last heard them on their split with Mind As Prison. The recording here is loud, caked in lo-fi basement noise, and transitions seamlessly from great song to great song. The band sounds absolutely on top of their game here, all the songs are perfectly executed and orchestrated, each stop/start, every kickstarting yell, it's all a punch in the gut, and what little grooves there are are violent, and excellently groovy. The Triac side, while definitely not as brutally lo-fi, maintains complete violence and disgust in a whole new way. The songs here cut like a knife; excellent, sharp guitar tone, and a kick ass drummer blasting absolutely perfectly. Now while this is an excellent recording, don't let that make you think that this thing is sparklingly polished. There is noise and feedback smothered all over these songs. I love what they did with the bass guitar in particular, it stands out constantly, and there are creative bass lines and breaks every where. When the band is blasting at full volume, the rumbling, distorted bass is crashing down over everything, and when the band slows things down, it serves as the perfect back bone and foundation for the guitarists to play their mangled, skronky noises. This split is a perfect pairing of grindcore brutality, and will definitely make my year end list. Buy or die!
Cloud Rat is a band that has very steadily been making a name for themselves in the international grindcore scene, and it's really not hard to figure out why. From their humble beginnings as another band featured on Grindcore Karaoke, they've stood out from the pack with well recorded records, and a tight, emotional, and creative spin on the genre. Two characteristics that they've maintained consistently throughout their recorded output. Jaw dropping live performances have more than likely helped win more than a few people over as well (I should know, they absolutely annihilate live). But man, this album, their 2nd full length overall, puts them over the edge and completely knocked me on my ass. "Moksha" is a 13 track, near half-an-hour, face shredder. From the ethereal vocal samples, leading into the riffs that start up the first track, "Inkblot", you immediately know that you're getting into an album that's both pulverizing, and left-field. "Moksha" displays the band at their best thus far; this is definitely the best recording the band has had, and the songs show them maybe at their most inspired. The trademark melody smothered riffs are still used in full effect, and the guitars have this excellent low end crunch always present in the background. The high and low end is perfectly mixed, and the riffs punch like a freight train crashing into a brick building and exploding upon impact. And as punishing and amazing as the musicianship is, the real power just comes from how sin-fucking-cere the emotion this band captures is. The lyrics and vocal delivery that frontwoman, Madison, unleash are just pure heaviness, and not really in the most conventional ways. The lyrics seem to come from a place of trauma and abuse, and not in a gory way, but in a degrading and emotionally scarring way. It's all to real and vivid, and the vocal mix and enunciation of the vocals were most likely intentional to make sure the lyrics were heard. When every part of this band is at full blast, it can sometimes be bone chilling. The complete left-turn midpoint track, "Infinity Chasm", was a real highlight too. It's almost completely melodic, cleanly sung, beautiful song that really reminds me of the more experimental tracks from Converge. Cloud Rat even threw in a goddamn Neil Young cover on here with "The Needle And The Damage Done", and it's a brilliant reinterpretation. This album was an amazing listen, and I can't wait to see what this does for the band. Top quality, grade A music.
A huge thanks to Bryan, the vocalist for the supremely excellent Six Brew Bantha, for getting at me and submitting this interview he conducted with Bridgeburner, a seriously kick ass grinding powerviolence band from Kamloops. Any chance I can get to help support the Canadian scene, I take, so I hope you enjoy, and please check out Bridgeburner!
Bryan: So first off, who all plays in Bridgeburner? Names, instruments and your favourite non-punk/metal band or artist.
D: I'm David, guitars, Westside Connection. J: The names Jesse, drums, vocals, Motley Crue B: I'm Brian, I play bass, and all three of us do vocals. My favourite would probably have to be something classic rock oriented, ……its hard to pin one down
Bryan: Where do you draw your influences from musically? Does one person do most of the writing or is it a collective effort? I've heard several people make stylistic comparisons between you guys and The Endless Blockade, how do you feel about that comparison?
B: Our influences can be pretty broad at times, from sludgy stuff like GREIF and HAGGATHA, drone like SUNN, or modern PV/grind like OSK, SEA OF SHIT, MUDLARK, IRON LUNG, and DEFEATIST, and of course OG PV like MITB, INFEST, CROSSED OUT, and obviously (I suppose) THE ENDLESS BLOCKADE hahaha. I am personally stoked whenever I hear us being compared to them, as they are top 5 for me for sure. Whenever we write, it usually start as either Jesse or David bringing in a riff, or a couple of riffs and we just jam it, and move things around, slow it down, speed it up, or try to play it different ways until it sounds weird enough. D: We get together, talk about rad bands like OSK and COOKED AND EATEN, then just jam. The Endless Blockade rules. J: We draw our influences from the scene we're involved in and just get stoked and go grind. East Van and Squamish are always killing it! And yes….The Endless Blockade comparison is pretty cool too hahaha
Bryan: How about lyrically? Who writes the lyrics, what do you guys sing about and is there anywhere/anyone in particular you draw lyrical inspiration from?
B: We tend to get together and collaborate on the lyrics. Save for a couple of songs that we have brought to the table fully written. Our lyrics are usually inspired by day to day situations and things that we are interested in or that really piss us off. J: Maybe one of these days we'll break out of the habit of writing our lyrics right AFTER we record the instruments...
Bryan: You guys are from a small town in interior BC, not really the kind of place one might expect to find bands playing this music. How did you discover grindcore/powerviolence/sludge/etc?
B: Personally, I just kept searching for new and more exciting bands than the stuff I heard all the time, whether it be on the radio at work or mainstream metal bullshit. I started going to shows and found more and more bands that I was in to, and researched their influences. D: Living in an even smaller interior town, I found MUDLARK on the interwebs. J: From always being on the lookout for more violent, heavier, and faster music.
Bryan: When and how did Bridgeburner form? What are some previous bands you've all played in and do you have any projects on the go aside from this one?
B: Bridgeburner was formed in 2010. Jesse had written and recorded a bunch of songs, and asked me if I would be interested in playing them with him. We were at a show (I think) and asked David to play with us. And here we are…. I used to play in DYSPHORIA and JENKEM. I am currently in in a noise project with David called BVRMVDAN, and a grind band called WORST OF EARTH. D: I also play in HAND OF THE HORSEWITCH, HONOUR & DEVOUR, and MERV. J: I play drums in a death/grind band called BLOOD DRUNK and my most recent project FAMINE which is straight up crust along the lines of State Of Fear and Consume.
Bryan: For those unaware, tell us a bit about Kamloops... how's the scene? Where and how frequently do shows happen? What local bands are you guys stoked on? Any bands you've had the opportunity to play with in town who stand out as particularly special for you?
B: Kamloops is a small town in the interior of British Columbia. We currently have an amazingly vibrant scene for the size of our population. There are constantly shows at our local punk house, the Little Big House, as well as the occasional bar show. Local standouts would be SKUFF, SHITHAWK, DAMNED GRAVE, FTL, D//COMPOSE (RIP), and YOUNG OPPRESSION (RIP). Bridgeburner has had the honour of playing with MASS GRAVE, VILE INTENT, NAPALM RAID, WINTERS IN OSAKA, and so many others there. D: Little Big House rules, pretty much the only grind location here. We got to play with those SixBrewBantha guys once or twice there I think. All the bands from Squamish and Vancouver help keep this place alive. J: If it wasn't for LBH we wouldn't be where we're at right now. I could list hundreds of rad bands that i've seen in that basement. Mostly Skuff like 1000 times.
Bryan: You recently completed your first tour out to Winnipeg's almighty Arsonfest, tell us about your experience on the road. Best shows, memorable bands you played with, crazy random shit that went down, etc.
B: Yeah, we shared a bunch of dates with our friends in VIOLENT RESTITUTION. Arsonfest was an amazing experience, I am so grateful that we were asked to play this year. Tour was amazing, so many awesome people and bands. GOWL, MISANTHROPIC NOISE, SHOOTING SPREE, NORTHLESS, ARCHAGATHUS, VIOLENT GORGE, THE GREAT SABATINI, and every date the we saw VIOLENT RESTITUTION were standouts for me. We had a couple of nights where we camped with VR where crazy shit happened, like when I fell off of the front of the van straight to my back, hahaha. All in all, it was an amazing time, and I can't wait to get back out on the road! D: Arsonfest was at Negative Space this year, great venue. GOWL ripped me a new one. Brian got stoned once (while he was "sleeping"). Gas station fried chicken, the freshest. Played with GRIMACE in Saskatoon. Saw BURN COLLECTOR, PALE FACE, and VIOLENT RESTITUTION at a house in Edmonton. INTENTIONAL VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER killed it during an afternoon Arsonfest show, and so did the poutine. J: Arsonfest was so sick this year. Gowl was definitely my favourite performance that whole tour. Your an idiot if you bail on a chance to see them. Winnipeg also has the best poutine in Canada.
Bryan: You guys have also made the journey to play the last three editions (and counting) of Squamish's now bi-annual blast extravaganza Fastcore Fest, discuss your experiences with this fest and what makes it special enough to be worth the long drive every six months.
B: Fastcore Fest, is a definite highlight of the year for us. We love all of our crazy Squamish friends. If anyone gets the chance to play, or even just attend this fest, it is completely worth it. Camping in a beautiful setting, listening to rad bands, and partying with the coolest people, how could you get any better? D: Keep putting us on Fastcore! Brian somehow gets a nosebleed whenever we go there. J: We will always put time in our schedules to play fastcore every year. It's pretty much a fucking holiday to us!
Bryan: What does Bridgeburner's discography look like so far? Your recordings sound deadly, where and how do you record? Where can the public go about acquiring copies of your releases?
B: We have four releases to date, half of which are so DIY you are lucky if you have a physical copy hahaha. Our first release was a 3-way split tape with Squamish buddies SHOOTING SPREE, and HYPEREMESIS from Campbell River. After that we did a split with local party-rockers and good friends SHITHAWK. We have just released a split 12'' with Vancouver's AHNA, and a split tape with locals SKUFF. Everything is up for download and streaming on our Bandcamp site, and you can grab anything recent from us at any of our shows. All of our recordings so far have been done at the same place that we jam, the 'SlaughterHouse.' D: I live at the 'SlaughterHouse', which we've turned into a DIY studio. So far we've put out the Bridgeburner stuff, Honour & Devour tape, DAMNED GRAVE's new release.
Bryan: Plans for the future? Upcoming shows, releases, tours?
B: We have a couple of splits that we are writing for currently. Sometime next year we would love to tour the states. D: Play a bunch of local shows I imagine. J: Ask us to do splits with your band!
Bryan. Where can we go online for information on what's happening with bridgeburner? How does one get in contact with you?
B: We try to keep our Facebook up to date as much as we can, just search our name on there. We also have a Bandcamp (www.bridgeburner.bandcamp.com) with all of our releases on there. Our contact information is on both of those sites for anyone that wants to get in contact with us.
Guys, it's a new year, and that means I have 365 days to absorb as much mew music as I possibly can without going hair-tearingly insane (not easy). I'm already up to my neck in things I want to review, and submissions from bands. One of the best bands I've heard already is a young up and coming, bone crushing grind trio from Alabama known only as Phylum. Interesting name, and some pretty interesting music to boot. While this is only their 2nd release, Phylum really seem to have all the pegs in the right holes. For one, "Divisions" is an entirely DIY recorded, mixed and mastered creation, and it sounds fantastic. The mix is full, punchy, and has just the right amount of chaotic rawness to make these songs sound exciting and full of adrenaline. In addition to the fact that all 5 of the songs on here are rippers. Total modern grind with a ton of metal/death grind influence, and some flourishes of Discordance Axis-y chords. You could easily call this tech-grind, but Phylum really don't come off as complete musical wankery, it all just sounds natural. Even usual flashy quirks like gravity blasts, which do pop up a few times, sound excellent. It's a very controlled performance, that remains absolutely insane. This killer EP will be getting the vinyl and cassette treatment very shortly, and I highly suggest you pick it up. Definitely look out for this band.
First BAoTW post of 2013! Here's to another year of finding new, awesome bands! Kickstarting this year off is Votnut, a North Carolina quartet that just kicks several types of ass. Boss distortion pedals are in full effect with this band, mixing together full on Rotten Sound/Euro-style grindcore with brutal Entombed style grooves and a perfect mix of whiplash inducing, mechanical stops and starts. This is a seriously awesome EP, one that looks to be getting a 7" release very soon. Preorder it here, and give them a like on Facebook.
It's not to late, is it? I always seem to do lists like this way past the time they usually pop up. But anyway, happy new year everybody, we made it through 2012! It's been a crazy year; extreme weather, face eating drug zombies, anti-climactic Mayan apocalypses (lulz), and more grindcore and powerviolence music than you can shake a stick at. When I look back at 2012, in terms of music, it was overall a pretty lack luster year. Most of the new releases I heard either made me go "ehhhh" or "that was pretty good". Maybe I've just gotten too overexposed to this music and it's starting to take a lot more to impress me, who knows. All you need to know though is that the 20 records were in constant rotation throughout my year, and I highly suggest you check out all of these releases if you haven't. And since I'm terrible with intros, let's not waste any more time and dive right into my 20 favorite releases of 2012!
20. thedowngoing - "ATHROUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS": This Aussie noisegrind duo blew my ears wide open when I downloaded this beast of an album off of Grindcore Karaoke. This is scarily good music, and they really are, in my opinion, one of the best examples of a grindcore band purposely embracing noisy production. There are just so many things that make this album work; the riffs are there, which is unusual for noisegrind, the songs are brutal, the vocals are so ridiculous that it's hard not to love them. Great band that I want to hear more from asap.
19. Pig Destroyer - "Book Burner": Maybe a curious album to be on this list considering how unenthusiastic my review of it was. But when we get down to nitty gritty, at the end of the day, this is still a Pig Destroyer album, and it is definitely a good one. Scott Hull riffs all over this album, J.R. still gives a sick vocal delivery, the album sounds great, the grooves are killer. It's Pig Destroyer being Pig Destroyer, we just had to wait 5 years to hear it again.
18. JJ DOOM - "Key To The Kuffs": Anyone who knows me knows that I listen to a whole lot of other music besides grind, and that I am a huge fan of hip-hop. One of my favorite rappers is the masked super villain known as DOOM (or MF DOOM, the name changes depending on if he does production or vocals). On "Key To The Kuffs", DOOM teams up with Jneiro Jarrel for an album that hasn't sounded like any DOOM collab. album before, but still kicks incredible ass. The über modern, yet fresh production style is a bit of a weird companion to DOOM's trademark flow at first listen, but that quickly faded away for me. This album is a fantastic listen the whole way through, and in my opinion is the best DOOM project since "Madvillainy". Come at me.
17. Sakatat - "Bir Devrin Sonu": Unfortunately, this may be the last release we'll see from this Turkish grindcore band (they're playing their last couple of shows early this year), but man did they go out with a ripper of an album. Keeping it brief at a scant 8 minutes, "Bir Devrin Sonu" is about as solid as a grind album can get. The only thing this album does is blast; fast and efficiently. The songwriting isn't that varied, like, at all, which can be a bit distracting, but it's hard to ignore just how good these guys are at writing quality grindcore, and this album is 100% quality.
16. Converge - "All We Love We Leave Behind": I really fell of the Converge train this year, since their last 2 splits were very underwhelming, and I more than likely over-saturated myself with their music (I used to live and breath this band). So imagine my surprise when I finally gave this album a spin, after putting it off for so long and hearing so many people tell me how amazing it is, to find that this was in fact a killer Converge record! This album reminded me of why I love this band; everything about this band, and this album is fine-tuned and fitted to make absolutely refreshing, interesting, brutal, heavy, melodic, blasting hardcore music. I only wish I had heard this album earlier in the year, it probably would have been higher on the list.
15. +HIRS+ - "100 Songs LP": Yes, compilations count! I mean, how could I not include the discography compilation from my Philly favorites? Readers of this blog know that I've sung this bands praises many a time over the past couple years. And having all of their recorded material on one convenient 12" slab of wax is fantastic. Drum machine blasting, techy, sample smothered, sexy, industrial, grind as fuck, non-stop assault to the dome. Heres to another year of quality music from +HIRS+!
14. Extortion/Cold World - Split: Much like Converge, I haven't really been a fan of Extortions last few releases, but they came back with a vengeance on this split 12" with Cold World! This is the fastest and most aggressive stuff the band has done since their split with Agents of Abhorrence, and it is a great return to form for these Australian titans. And let's not forget Cold World, their side kicks just as much ass as their companions. Crazy, old-school inspired, blasty blast fastcore from Austria that is the perfect addition to Extortion's brutality.
13. OSK - "Wretched Existence//Bleak Future 2007-2010": The most criminally slept-on release of the year? I'd certainly say so. People, do you knot realize how crazy good OSK are? Buy this compilation CD and you'll get treated to some of the best grind Canada has to offer! This release is crazy good from front to back, and shows that this band has been consistently on top of their game for their entire recorded history. If you guys don't know my now, now you do. Buy or die.
12. Dirty Projectors - "Swing Lo Magellan": This is a band that I fell head over heels in love with in the last half of 2012. I had been a fan of their last album, "Bitte Orca", a long time before I heard this, and "Swing Lo Magellan" definitely is a very different sounding album that the last one. It's a lot more stripped down, less flashy, more rooted in grooves and simple melodies, and it's all absolutely fantastic. There are just so many great pieces to this album: "About To Die" is a high contender for my favorite song of the year (that bubbling programmed drum beat, and that bass, unf), I love the bouncy, playful piano melody on the track"The Socialites", and the vocals are just absolutely gorgeous. Fantastic, inventive, artsy indie-ish rock that I highly suggest checking out.
11. Death Of Self - "S/T": Here's a band that arrived, put out a stupidly good 7" EP, and then went and broke up. It's a real shame they didn't stick around longer, because if they continued to make music as sick as the material on this thing, they could have been untouchable. The songs on here are just absolutely brutal. Like, body smashed into jelly with a sledgehammer brutal. Also, Ethan Lee gives one of my favorite vocal performances of the year. Dude is just straight up vicious on this album. RIP guys.
10. Column Of Heaven - "Mission From God": It made my top 10!! I had some little problems with this release when I first reviewed it, but like most things in life, I get over them and move on. I really can't think of a grind or powerviolence album that sounded anything like "Mission From God" that came out this year. It really does stand out from the crowd. Equal parts grind and noise, with a little dash of death metal thrown in for good measure, this is an album that I've really grown to love, and I can't wait for their future releases.
9. Death Grips - "No Love Deep Web": The band that put out what I called my favorite release of 2011 came back with 2 types of vengeance in 2012 with "The Money Store" and this album, "No Love Deep Web". And while they're both very solid albums, I have to say I prefer "No Love.." more. This album really brought the heavy, noisy aggression that I fell in love with on "Exmilitary". MC Ride is back screaming his throat out, but also has given a lot more variety and character to his vocals. And the beats range from strange and futuristic ("Pop", "Whammy"), to just straight up punishing, like the track "No Love", which has a beat that sounds like Darth Vader coming down a staircase to hatefuck everyone to death. This album is catchy, heavy, groovy, and all around enjoyable. Can't wait to see what they do next.
8. Sea Of Shit/Water Torture - Split: A split that I'm sure we all saw coming before it was announced, this slab of black wax is a double dose of disgust. The Sea Of Shit side is good, for sure, "Black and Blue" is an excellent track. but to me this split really shines on Water Tortures side. This release has some of my favorite songs from the band ("Living Hell", "Attn: Starved"), and the heaviest recording the band has had so far. I'll end by saying that "Living Hell" has the nastiest breakdown I've heard all year. Fist-through-the-wall kind of material.
7. False Light - "S/T": This sickening South Carolina outfit gave me my favorite debut of 2012, and have serious potential to become a big thing in the underground this year. This EP mixes disgusting grindviolence, gutter production and heavy sludge metal, into a soupy, distorted concoction of incredibly enjoyable jams. This will finally be getting the 7" treatment very soon, and hopefully we can expect new material in the near future. Must listen!
6. Standing On A Floor Of Bodies - "Sacrilegious and Culturally Deficient": SOAFOB broke through the sophomore slump and released an album that slays even more than their demo, which I had thought would be impossible. "Sacrilegious..." is 15 minutes of total horror-grindcore. The cold, chilling industrial sound that this band captures, with nothing more than a bass guitar and a drum machine is basically unmatched in grindcore right now. These guys have a their own sound, and they push it to the extreme. Now hopefully my bands split tape with these guys will come out soon ;)
5. Six Brew Bantha - "S/T": This band shot out of the Canadian scene like an atom bomb and decimated the underground with their amazing debut album. I'd to say that this is definitely my favorite grindcore full length of 2012, no other album has kicked my ass in that good kind of way quite like this one has. This band is just so ridiculously tight, and the recording is just absolutely perfect. I'm still jizzing over how good the snare tone on this album is. Two splits are coming out this year, hopefully another full length too. Hail Canada!!
4. To The Point - "Success In Failure": To The Point are one of my favorite new bands, a band that I will buy anything that they release. "Success In Failure" completely sold me on this band, it's a 7" that I completely fell in love with at first listen. Old-school powerviolence runs through the veins of all the members of this band, and they bash out quality song after quality song with years of experience to back them up. Listen to this band immediately and if you find this record, buy it without any hesitation.
3. Water Torture - "Shellfire!": Yep, Water Torture make a 2nd appearance on this list with their EP, "Shellfire!". This really has been my favorite band of 2012, not other band has made quite an impact, or kept me as consistently satisfied as Water Torture have, and this EP never ceases to be absolutely amazing. What more can I say about this band or this record that I haven't said countless times already? It's bass n' drum powerviolence perfection; top notch recording, fantastic songs, completely over the top heaviness, it's an astounding release.
2. Sordo - "Tactical Precision Violence": However, if there was one bass n' drum powerviolence release that I'd have to say rules over them all, it would have to be the debut 7" from Sordo. More bassy powerviolence perfection that you all should seriously pay more attention too. This EP is just absolutely fucking disgusting, in the best way possible. Perfect, destructive recording, with a brutal bass tone. There is not a dull track out of the 20 that are one here, this record gets me pumped up every time I listen to it. It's heavy, but it's also fun. It's not that über-serious face kind of powerviolence, this shit just straight up rocks.