EP REVIEW: Esodic – De Facto De Jure


I’m searching for an analogy on this one. Guess the only thing that springs to mind on this humid evening is when you’re watching Anthony Bourdain (RIP) on No Reservations and he goes to a Tapas place or some fancy small plate restaurant. The micro bites seem delicious, and the chef is eager to share the details behind the dishes but can’t help to think that Bourdain must’ve helped himself to a sandwich afterwards. No way he was just satisfied with the doll-sized portions, right? Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Florence Black – Bed of Nails


There has been a mini-surge in Black Stone Cherry-influenced rock in Britain recently, with new bands Stone Broken, Those Damn Crows and Scarlet Rebels amongst others specialising in catchy and consummately made hard rock.Continue reading


EP REVIEW: Beyond Grace – Welcome To The New Dark Ages, Pt. 1


 

The conclusion of 2022 saw Beyond Grace split with Prosthetic Records, and as any innovative and adaptable band does, the four-piece took charge themselves and carved out quite the hype-laden release timeline. 

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EP REVIEW: ALT BLK ERA – Freak Show 


 

Talent-wise, the sisters of ALT BLK ERA are well beyond their years even if lyrically, it’s just about as cringe-worthy as anyone’s high school diary. Hearing the “nobody understands me” cliche from actual teenagers instead of balding middle-aged men trying for a new demo is a very refreshing change, though!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Hammerhedd – Grand Currents


The biggest challenge for prodigious talents Henry, Eli, and Abe Ismert is the need to shift the narrative from discussion around their ages (18, 16 and 13 respectively) and their undoubted potential to the types of plaudits and eulogies that adorn the releases of the artists they aspire to be considered in the same breath as; the Mastodon’s and Gojira’s of our twisted, alternative Metal world. Previously released via Bandcamp in the COVID-restricted summer of 2020, the brothers from Kansas City are re-issuing their debut Grand Currents (self-released) on the back of a groundswell of support for singles ‘Sediment’ and ‘Foundation’, this time accompanied by a physical release. 

An album of peaks and valleys, when flying high Grand Currents achieves that aim of refocusing the story to one of deserved acclaim. A twisted post-Thrash underbelly is a tough core that provides a grounding to a progressive modern Metal mentality, holding the expansive sensibilities on a tight leash that the brothers may do better to loosen on further releases. For it is those moments that seek to crack the skye that do Hammerhedd the most credit: halfway through ‘Drone’ and the Voivod-ian cortex wraps itself around a rhythmic Tool-esque build, or the discordant judder of the back-nine of ‘Sediment’. When they indulge their musical expressionism they really show their hand and talk of potential begins to be realised. 

Yet, their greatest weapon also highlights their greatest shortcoming. While Henry Ismert is expansive and able to find twisted barbs in his guitar work, exploring spaces that Mastodon and Helmet have opened up, his rudimentary vocal output undermines both the finished artistic product, and the bands reach and appeal. To make the step that Hammerhedd (and let’s be honest, the band name doesn’t help either but we’re probably too far down that line to unwind that one…) could potentially make and to invade the alternative conscience in the ways the aforementioned other Progressive Metal leading lights have, they will need to find a way to bring the vocal performance up to the technical level of the other instruments on display, in a way the ideas and musical vision deserves. 

Still, time is on their side. And Grand Currents possesses more than just flashes of potential. It does intimate there is more to come, yes, which can only be a good thing, and it is also a valid and worthwhile investment of your time, even if only to have been onboard for if and when they do find a way to raise the vocals to the level of the other instruments somewhere down the line.

Buy the album here: https://linktr.ee/hammerhedd​

6 / 10

STEVE TOVEY


Basilysk – Emergence


Progressive music and Death Metal have always been strange but undeniable bedfellows. From the very early days of Death’s career, Chuck Schuldiner would play with a technical precision akin to the most progressive bands around and this overt musicianship has continued through the genres’ long and storied histories, from Dream Theater to Tool to Black Peaks, and from Cannibal Corpse to Venom Prison. Musical dexterity is the cornerstone of the two genres, so when they collide you get something mind-bendingly complex.Continue reading


PUSH! – Dark Dive


While the Crossover scene (Heavy Metal and Hardcore Punk) has been flourishing in North America, it is nice to see that the same love for both genres of extreme music are found fused together even in Portugal. PUSH! is back with another Crossover album entitled Dark Dive (self-released) and it is ensured to impress. Equally groovy and crushing, the Lisbon, Portugal natives put together eleven tracks which is the perfect sample size to start listening to an up and coming potential gem in Western Europe.Continue reading


Thunder Horse – Thunder Horse


Fancy that, Thunder Horse (BC/TX) just happens to be the debut LP from well, err, Thunder Horse. I’m only surprised because even the youngest bands today seem to have a trail of EPs and singles before jumping onto the hollowed full length. And as far as musical maiden journeys go, this San Antonio outfit has hit the ground running.Continue reading


Irk – Recipes From The Bible


I get a real kick not only out of reviewing a band from the UK, but also a band that are from the city I hold very dear. Irk are a Noise Rock trio from the bastion of Yorkshire, Leeds. It will never be the most commercial genre, but there is a lot about Irk that is worthy of note, and to show exactly what they’re all about, they have served up their self-released crowdfunded debut album, Recipes From The Bible.Continue reading


Deathkings – Ex Nihilo


I guess Deathkings really missed us since the release of 2016’s All That is Beautiful and decided to do something really nice about it. Being the sweethearts that they are this Los Angeles collective have gifted us a little something in the form a new EP, Ex Nihilo (self-released). And while it’s only two tracks on the shorter end of the spectrum (compared to the usual Sludge/Doom fare) it’s a potent and deadly reminder of what Deathkings is capable of.Continue reading