The rise of bands in recent times embracing the most visceral, physically vicious tendencies of both hardcore and death metal has been thrilling, with the likes of Trap Them, Nails, and All Pigs Must Die creating some of the most crushing, intense music of the past few years. Descent can now be added to that list, with the Australian band unleashing their debut album Towers of Grandiosity at the end of August. It is the kind of album that prompts moshing as much as head-banging, with physical hardcore catharsis combining with death metal violence with thrilling results. It may not offer anything new when compared to those previously mentioned bands; but when the music is this intense, this vicious, this irresistible, any complaints over lack of originality seem churlish.
There were points when I was listening to The Great Lake Swallows when I couldn’t help but question what the point of music is. A lot of music that is made can be lumped in to fairly large, understandable categories when it comes to motivation – the desire for self-expression, whether with or without words; the simple joy of playing with friends; or dreams of becoming a rock star or impressing someone you’re attracted to. But then, there is music that feels more serious, where motivations and meanings run deeper than what can easily be expressed. It is to this last category that The Great Lake Swallows belongs, with the collaboration between Canadian cellist Julia Kent and Belgian guitarist/tape machine manipulator Jean D.L. being a record that speaks of great things, that taps in to that sense of true meaning, expressing something universal that transcends words and culture. It is beautiful; it is captivating; and it is emotionally devastating.
The old school death metal revival is really in rude health, and I think it’s safe to declare it one of – if not the – biggest things happening in the metal underground in recent times. Alongside a considerable number of bands who owe considerable debts to Incantation, more and more bands are releasing records which celebrate the g(l)ory days of Autopsy. The latest EP from Transcendence, Hour of the Summoning, does just that. Grim, grisly, and packed full of flesh-tearing riffs, this EP delights in the old-school death metal filth it conjures, and what it may lack in originality, it more than makes up for with atmosphere, energy, and the sheer joy of hearing dirty death metal riffs played with such obvious passion.
It’s safe to say that the common thread that unites practically everything covered on The Sound Not The Word – regardless of genre, popularity, or anything else – is a sense of heaviness, be it musical or emotional. Beast to Love is an exception to that rule of thumb. The second album from Brine – following their Kill the Ill debut and New Brunswick EP – is a melodic, catchy, summery blast of post-punk melodies and power pop energy, full of bright energy and a sense of fun.
Every so often, a band will come your way that remind you why you feel in love with hardcore in the first place; where their blend of melody and hard-hitting riffs combine in those energetic, intense ways that take you back to your youth, making you feel like a teenager again in the best way possible. It’s that feeling that Eisberg give me, and never more so than on their new record Few Will Remain. Striking a masterful balance between the melodic and the brutal, with a sincerity and sense of conviction that cannot be faked, this release is one that exemplifies all that is good in hardcore. It’s been a long time coming – five years since their last tape, and seven since their original demo – but the wait has been more than worth it.
“Man plans and god laughs”; so goes the old saying. There are things that will happen to all of us that we have no control over, and that will come upon us with no warning, upending the order of our lives and leaving us to do what we can to pick up the pieces and carry on. Aside from the everyday practicalities of coping with a major loss or change, there is the emotional aspect too, which is where From a Father’s Son comes in. When his father was diagnosed with an advanced cancer that would soon take his life, Jimmy Sisco created the Anchorhold project to document that time and his memories. As you’d expect, it’s an emotional journey, and hugely heart-felt, with an intensely personal – yet universal – heart.