Graham Finney


If you’re from Florida and you trade in crushing blast-beats, vocals that sound like they’re dragged up from the swamps, and riffs that make your fingers bleed, then you’ve already ticked off most of the requirements needed to call yourself a bona fide death metal band. You see, if you’re of a certain age then you’ll be well aware that, Florida, along with Sweden, was responsible for some of the most influential death metal bands of all time. Thankfully, the importance of those bands hasn’t faded over time, especially with bands like Dark Sermon adding a modern twist to the face-stoving heaviness of the Florida death metal sound.

Sometimes something happens that makes you sit back and wonder where the fuck time has gone. Reading the accompanying press release for Topple The Giants, the new album from Bakersfield rockers Adema, was one of those things. You see, back in 2001, I was sat in a hotel bar with original Adema frontman Marky Chavez and we were both watching footage of the Twin Towers come crashing down. Like I said, we’re now in 2013, it’s hard to believe that over a decade has passed since that meeting. So, while there is no doubt that the world has changed, the question pertinent to this review is where do Adema, one of the second-wave of nu-metal bands, sit comfortably within a rock world that has changed so much in thirteen years?

By all accounts, the recent UK shows by Aussie bruisers Thy Art Is Murder were some of the most ear-splatteringly loud that the UK underground scene has experienced in a long time. Similarly, it doesn’t take long into the blood-curdling brutality of Hate opener “Reign Of Darkness” to realise what a dumb-as-fuck move missing those shows was. Okay, so Hate may be a fairly unsurprising listen but, Jesus, there is no denying the fact that these Aussie shredders know how to do heavy.

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.

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”.

Tonight’s poor turnout could be due to the appalling weather conditions that rendered a good part of the UK house bound for six days, or it could be that the Reading metal crowd only make the effort to turn up when a name band comes to town, but whatever the reason, yet another show rolls through the town with little interest from the “scene kids”.

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.