Sometimes, the most productive thing in life can be to step back. It can be a difficult lesson to learn, but the way forward can, at times, involve not working harder, but removing yourself from a situation, re-assessing what is going right and wrong, and catching your breath. I don’t know whether such thoughts are behind the five-year hiatus that Naisian took, but whatever the reasons, it has paid dividends, as Rejoinder is the sound of a band in love with their brand of nasty, down-tuned sludge and noise-rock. In the space of twelve short minutes, it demonstrates a band who are at the top of their game, moving with the power and agility of a champion boxer, and hitting every bit as hard.
Label: Self-released / Tape Haus
The key with good crust (and all its related styles) is conviction. It’s not a genre that’s high on innovation, so coming across as if you actually care about what you’re playing and shouting about matters immensely. Crust/sludge trio Pillärs absolutely nail that point, with Abandoned coming across like the best parts of His Hero Is Gone and The Melvins, all laced through with a real sense of urgency and passion. This is music that won’t take the injustices of the world lying down.
Label: Holy Roar Records
The issue I have with a lot of prog music is that it fails to be progressive, and ends up instead feeling quite regressive and backwards-looking – a painful irony for music that, by its very name, should be forward-thinking. So, it’s a pleasure to hear a band like Boss Keloid who creature music that is both prog-inspired and progressive in outlook. Melted on the Inch is an album that toys with the concept of song-structures and convention, letting the songs wander where they will, to stirring, life-affirming effect.
Label: Astral Noize
As well as being an awesome magazine and website (disclosure: I’ve contributed to them), Astral Noize is now branching out in to releasing music as a label. They’re picked out a great record to start with, with Failure by Aerosol Jesus being an absolute beast of an EP. Sitting somewhere beteween sludge-heavy doom and screamo, laced through with black metal and noise influences, Failure is music for bad times. This is music that bleeds raw hurt out of the speakers, that doesn’t so much move forward as it do stagger, forever teetering on the edge of collapse yet always feeling strong and vicious. It’s one hell of an assault, and is the kind of record that lets you know that, whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone – even if that thought isn’t always comforting.
Label: APF Records
When you cut right down to the bone, metal is – generally speaking – a pretty enjoyable genre. Sure, there’s some exceptions, but as in most cases, there’s real joy to be found in the crash of cymbals and drums, and in heavy riffs being played at loud volumes. Manchester’s Nomad exemplify this incredibly well on debut full-length Feral, an album that encapsulates the thrill and fun of heavy music. Much like, say, Orange Goblin, Cathedral, or fellow underground warriors Allfather, this is heavy music at its most enjoyable, packed with riffs that are bound to result in spontaneous headbanging, all done with a grin and fist raised in triumph at just how wonderful metal can be.
Label: Crown And Throne Ltd / Dry Cough Records / Seeing Red Records
Some music should hurt. Such is the vase with the sludge/doom/crust of Body Void; the trio’s music is of such monstrous density and power that it can almost be physically painful to listen to. And yet, as off-putting as that may make it seem, there is something deeply rewarding and cathartic to be found within their cataclysmic, all-encompassing soundscapes. There is no easy route to finding such succor though, and I Live Inside A Burning House is an album that will challenge you; but the more you put in to the album, the more you get out of it.
Label: Dry Cough Records / Rope Or Guillotine
Neon Crosses is ugly. As slow as a collapsing glacial, as inevitable as the end of the world, the new album from Leechfeast moves with a singularly terrible purpose – slowly, but unrelentingly, it creeps forwards, spreading decay and desolation as it goes. Each riff is the sound of destruction in slow motion, each drum hit an impact upon an already dying world. It is harsh; it is uncomfortable; it is, in its own hideously twisted way, utterly glorious.