Now on to record number three, the aesthetic of noemienours is becoming well-established. Rooted in an underground DIY mindset, and with a vegan perspective, the music on these records is beautifully low-fi, filled with a tension and tenderness that is at once arresting and soothing; the kind of music that is perfectly suited for late-night listening, to quieten the noise in your head. New record As a Bear Doth her Whelps continues to use bears as a central part of imagery and aesthetic, but increasingly this feels like a metaphor to express ideas about isolation, society, and disconnect from nature. It’s sad, beautiful, and quite moving.
Taking in a huge variety of genres and influences, yet with the end results being remarkably focused and cohesive, the self-titled EP by one man band Singular is an impressive slice of noisy post-hardcore/black metal/emoviolence that succeeds in finding the common thread between the genres and stitching it together in impressive style. Moving between emotional soundscapes and blisteringly violent outbursts – and taking in everything in between – this is varied in a way many other bands try, and fail, to be; an achievement made all the more remarkable for being a solo creation.
Funeral doom, by its very nature, should not be easy to listen to. Music so steeped in misery, in world-ending sorrow and soul-crushing heaviness, should consume the listener, overwhelming you with its desolation until all you can do is immerse yourself within its dark currents, letting its slow tides of despair carry you away. That’s something that one-man act Omination understands, with debut release Followers of the Apocalypse demonstrating why the funeral doom genre is so named. With seven huge, lengthy songs, this album is a monolith in more ways than one, with black metal influences giving its sorrow a vicious edge that keeps the album interesting, never losing momentum no matter how slow or sorrowful it may be.
Grind is protest – well all know this. But sometimes, other than a vague sense of “society is bullshit” style slogans, it can be unclear exactly what a band is protesting against. That’s not the case with Olivia Neutered John. The London-based project focuses it rage on how society treats women, flipping the typical gendered dynamic of death and goregrind lyrics on their head. Ahead of the release of Complete Castration – a compilation that will bring together previous releases The Toxic Orgy, Transphobia Annihilation Squad, and Kill All Men (Starting With The White Ones), and will include several new tracks – we asked mainman Dick Weeks about the five biggest influences on the project. Some might be what you’d expect from a death-grind band, but some are perhaps a bit surprising; yet, within the context of Olivia Neutered John’s sound and lyrical aims, they all make complete sense. Here they are, in the words of the mainman himself.
It shouldn’t have been this way. Sure, I expected that the second album by British band Rope would be an album full of emotional power; the kind of record that can kindle to life emotions you thought were long-lost to the faded memories of youth. But what I didn’t expect Come Closer Now to do was hit in ways that speak of emotional vulnerability in so profoundly adult, mature ways; to come across like a record made by people who have worked shitty jobs, gone through genuine heart-break and loss, and come through it all with their sense of self both reinforced and adjusted. Somewhere between Self Defense Family, Slint, and Jawbox, Come Closer Now is the album that will speak to your 30-something self in ways that you didn’t think were still possible.
The previous release from Arid, Offerings, was a punishing EP of “anti-fascist, anti-state, anti-human” crust, fueled by a righteous anger and sense of protest. It was a great release, that hinted at something very special to come. Now, following a shift in line-up and direction, the band return with Scars of War. Whilst you might expect such changes to potential undermine the momentum the band had previously displayed, Scars of War displays a band that are still possessed by the same sense of anti-fascist anger, determined to kick back against the growing tide of fascism, with these four songs (and Doom cover) being the soundtrack to protest marches and direct action.
The trouble with modern records that so clearly recall the glory days of old is that it can be hard for them to stand on their own; to succeed on merits other than reminding you of whichever records or bands you consider to be classics. By whatever metric you care to judge though, the debut record from London’s Dungeon is a victory, with Purifying Fire being an electrifying onslaught of old-school speed metal, with a few dashes of heavy and death metal thrown in to keep things interesting. But more than anything else, throughout its duration, Purifying Fire excites because it sounds so vital, energetic, and untamed, with Dungeon standing out amongst the masses simply because of the quality of their material.