Ok, so at the risk of offending those that think I shouldnít cover dross etc, and should support upcoming UK bands, I present a couple more reviews of UK bands. Though theyíre a bit hardcore like sort of thing, and a bit of metal. Please forgive me. I bought these, so I thought Iíd review them. Strange concept eh. Yeah, I am still pissed off. And yeah, that was meant to be sarcastic. And if you donít like it, well you know where you can go <Doctor leads the patient away. Calm down Dave, youíre antagonising the reader. Here, have one of these pills and a nice lie down. And hereís a Canvas CD to ease your recovery.>
Canvas / Hard To Swallow
My God. For the sake of the poor listenerís health, I hope no-one finds this in the easy listening section and grabs a copy by mistake. A yaaaaaay fest of the highest order, this is a split CD of two of the countries more acquired taste listening experiences. Itís also the first release on Contrition Records, which if I remember correctly from the Earth Crisis gig, was said to be the new label set up by one of the Canvas guitarists. Formalities out the way, itís time to gargle.
Canvas are a bit arty it has to be said. So it depends when you catch me as to whether I like them or not. At the moment, I do. The tracks here are actually intelligently constructed. They move through passages, and itís relatively controlled mayhem, held together by a fine rhythm section. Of course the vocals irritate the fuck out of me, something that occurs with Hard To Swallow as well, but thatís ok, for the most part I can put it aside when I need to. The twists and turns of the likes of Womb Plague and the crushing droning grind of R.S.I keep me interested. Itís perverse and sick, but ...
HTS arenít as arty, but theyíre no more accessible either. Mixing more speed blasts into their music, as witnessed on To Have And To Loathe you can almost hear the phlegm in the voices of Bloody Kev and Pete who occupy the vocal duties. In fact, combined with the music on say Pullpit itís almost like witnessing 2 sides take each other on in musical combat as the production mixes things from side to side with the guitars and drums. And is that a heart monitor like thing at the start of Spitroast? A considerate offering to the listener. And a great drawn out riff in there as well. The honours at the end? Hmmm, even I think. HTS keep it more focussed at times, but when Canvas really do loose their minds, well itís a sick sight in there.
Of course, play either of these bands near your parents, and theyíll disown you immediately. Well, after giving you a look of "what the ..."
Available from: Contrition records, PO Box 187, Leeds, LS1 1LH,. E-mail - email@example.com
Unfounded - Corrode Copro Records
Managed to get given a copy of this at the Kill II This / 3D House of Beef gig. Which is nice as Iíd been trying to get a copy. 6 tracks which take you on a much wider musical journey than I at first thought it would. I had visions of it being another hardcore fest, but although itís hard, itís more varied and adventorous, and retains a metal heart along with some furious double bass kick drumming. To the extent that as it starts up with the title track itself, the name Fear Factory creeps in. Playing in a similar vein, but when the vocals take the more melodic kick, they sound a whole lot more soulful than Bell manages, but there again, not nearly as convincing on the harsher material. Maybe they should stick with the more melodic vocal leanings. Shit, I just managed to burn my tea a bit cos I was listening to this. What more ringing endorsement could you want????? But Iíll forgive them that, cos this is better than my tea is going to be anyway. Dry is fairly disjointed in itís feel, all hyper speed drums, more thoughtful guitars, and a wah section going on in there.
But is it enough to set them apart from the rest? Probably not at the moment, but thatís what development is all about innit? Weíll have to see how they go. Best track here is I Alone, in which they slow things down, give everything more space, more melody, thereís some keyboards in the background for atmosphere, and then allow it to all build to a heavier faster conclusion. This is the way I think they ought be be going.
Muy Feo - All Pleasure Is Relief.
This is another in that Org series of monthly singles limited to just 1000. And like the Cynical Smile one before it, this comes with an extra 12 tracks making for a 17 track single. Which makes it worth checking out whether you like the band or not. Because thereís a good chance thereíll be something here thatís new to you and may just catch your eye. Or ear. Anyway, Muy Feo are ok, but they donít set my pulse racing overboard. Itís all ok, Chance Operation is funky and crunchy, Too Pure passes by and Drag Habit and Dead Arms finish off their quota, but it just isnít sticking with me at the moment. Nothing wrong but ..... Watch out for Rothko though. More next time.
DarkMoon - Seas Of Unrest
Time to dip the toes into Black once more, as Iíve just received this. Shouldnít go by appearances, but that centre pic of shadowy figures (the band), holding aloft a trust sword, and a back pic of holding some animal head skeleton do not for a good feeling make. But the music as it starts on From The Moons Mist We Arise isnít quite as bad as I was fearing. Very symphonic (which from my limited experience this sort of music aims for), and with some initially pretty melodic guitar, the vocalist opens his gob and out comes a sound which, if you wanted to suggest it, could border on the hardcore at times. That sort of throaty roar which can get very old very quickly. As do the lyrics, some may like to "attack the enemy, maim all in your path, cast the curse of contorting pain, dominate with your blade", as Writhing Glory suggests, but Iím not one of them. I prefer to attack with words. Itís a release that I donít know, I hate it when people get on metalís back, because I know the influence itís had on music today, and it still most definitely has itís merits. But when you remove everything but the music from this, itís difficult not to see why people ridicule. The blurb that came with it is very earnest, and funny. I canít help but think that if I wanted to try and make change, or be subversive, there are many more powerful means than music.
But still, the atomospherics and chill wind blows for the start of Immaculate Bloodline and weíre into a bit of the deep spoken drawl. The guitars still churn away at full tilt though in the background, though itís right, that because of the sheer speed, you actually loose some of the heaviness. Youíd think that something like this would be mind crushingly heavy, but to me itís not, because you simply loose some of the chug factor, some of the crush, even when rhythmically they do slow down a bit. Shame, cos thereís some actually really decent guitar melodies in here as well. Tearsoaked Ground even has some tribal sounding drums in there, which is actually quite bizarre mixed in with those symphonic keyboards.
And why do these albums try to destroy your eyesight. The font is hard enough to read, and then they put it in red on a black and turquoise like background. I know Iím trying to knacker you all with small print, but this is just silly. Not the one to convert me to "the dark side". Now Darth Vader on the other hand. Now he was subversive.
Available on Music For Nations