Graham Finney


Both myself and PureGrain head honcho Chris agreed that this was quite an amazing name for a band; it’s a pity that their brand of NY power-violence doesn’t match their impressive monicker. You see, for all the comedy value of having track names like “Fergus The Engorger” and “Monday Morning Scumbag”, it’s hard to listen to Elder’s Rasp for more than about ten minutes before it gives you a stonking headache.

The release of Meir, the new album from Norwegian scrotes Kvelertak is a big deal. Actually, when I say a big deal, I mean a big deal in the rock world. In the rock world, the hype surrounding this record is akin to the sort of hype afforded to bands like the Deftones. Yes, we’re talking frothing mouth levels of excitement and, if you’ve seen the band ripping venues a new one or had any exposure to their raucous Norwegian rock ‘n’ roll, then it’s hard not to understand why.

Now I know, amongst death metal circles, it is something akin to treason, but I have be honest when I say that I’ve always found the death metal peddled by Six Feet Under to be a bit m’eh. I know, I know, it’s Chris Barnes and he was in Cannibal Corpse in a time when they redefined death metal but, I’ve never found any of his post-“Hammer Smashed Face” output in Six Feet Under to be anywhere near as potent or unrelentingly sickening.

When a biography cites influences as diverse as The Acacia Strain and Linkin Park, it is certain to raise something of a puzzled look on the face of the reviewer. Not only are the two bands at such extreme ends of the “rock” spectrum, but the thought of combining elements of the grunting, misery-core churned out by The Acacia Strain with whatever-the-hell-it-is that Linkin Park are playing these days, is, quite frankly, a horrific one.

Ever since the days of the New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal explosion, you have always been able to depend on Swedish bands to deliver quality material regardless of genre, post-hardcore mob Adept being no exception to that rule. Despite worrying signs early on that their third album was going to be riddled with clichés (“We are the Voice of the Youth” *shudder*), the frustrated, pent-up fury of frontman Robert Ljung’s lyrics on “Means To An End (The Greatest Betrayer)” sees the Swedes put some distance between themselves and the rest of the hit n’ miss post-hardcore scene.

Sheffield, or “Steel City” as it is known around the UK, is a city responsible for an impressive array of British rock and metal acts. From old school rockers Def Leppard to modern day metal troublemakers Bring Me The Horizon, Sheffield is a place which is steeped in rock history. However, should you have the inclination to dig through the bands that have made the front pages of the mainstream media, you’ll find an underground scene bubbling away with bands like Dead Harts who, as this album showcases, are smashing out some exciting sounds.

Some bands have a certain swagger about them. Buckcherry are one of those bands and Confessions, their latest album, is no different on that score. Dirty rock n’ roll is the order of the day here, as it always has been for the American trash-rockers although, this time, there is a little more depth to the content. Well, when I say a little more what I really mean is that Confessions isn’t purely an album about partying, strippers, and “recreational” powders.

I’ve heard Elite, the third album from Massachusetts tech-metal heavyweights Within The Ruin, described as a “paint-by-numbers” affair and, while I have to admit I’ve never paid much attention to their previous work, initial listens do give the impression that this is an album that doesn’t see the band veer to much from their signature sound.

Described as their “most focused, fiery and fierce” effort to date, Resilience is the fifth album from US rockers Drowning Pool, and first to feature new frontman Jasen Moreno. Resilience sees the band make their intentions clear right from the get-go with the pounding, defiant opener “Anytime Anyplace”. It’s this confrontational, focused theme that runs through the course of early tracks like “Die For Nothing” and the anthemic “One Finger And A Fist”.

There is a point midway through opening track “The Mean Spirits, Breathing” when hardcore legends Shai Hulud drop the pace to an almost crawl. It’s a brilliant moment that guarantees your attention is well and truly grabbed. While these slower moments are few and far between, the rest of Reach Beyond The Sun is littered with epic metallic hardcore.

French hardcore – two words that don’t usually conjur up images of anything particularly inspiring but, a quick visit to the journalists best friend (Google) brings up comparisons to bands like Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die, so maybe the forty minutes spent in the company of this album might not be so bad after all?

While there is no doubt that New York brutalists Suffocation have influenced a hell of a lot of the modern death metal bands doing the rounds these days, there is no ignoring the fact that, twenty five years into their careers, the death metal stalwarts are still way ahead of the pack when it comes to filthy, rancid extremity.

While the accompanying press release would get you preparing for a fairly generic metallic hardcore album, Welsh boys Continents have to get a thumbs up for taking the genre and giving it a right good shake up. Idle Hands effectively takes the blueprint of a genre bursting with a lot of bands who sound fairly similar and throws it right out of the window!