We’ve got some truly wondrous new music to bring your week to a terrifying yet bright and uplifting end. Today’s new music selection includes an early contender for heaviest album of the year, another album that won’t be too far behind it, a bit of pop-punk, a quick burst of Hungarian savagery, a bit of British rock and a new track from one of the UK’s finest new metal acts.
You may want to shut yourself away in a dark room, turn it up loud and enjoy this musical feast!
Mastiff – Plague (Album)
What better way to kick off this review of new music than with something utterly terrifying from the Hull hardcore doom merchants, who we introduced you to yesterday. Despite just ticking into February, this may be one of the heaviest things you’ll hear all year.
The fear of dread is apparent from the very first second as opener Hellcircle rises with what I imagine waking up in Hell sounds like. A barrage of huge guitars and pounding drums almost offer a light relief in support of the unmistakably brutal vocals of frontman Jim Hodge. A rolling riff over pounding cymbals is about as upbeat as Mastiff will ever get, before then descending into low-tuned riffs and guttural screams.
Bubonic opens up with an almighty smash of wild guitars then drops into a haunting verse of savage screamed vocals followed by meandering riffs. Laboured guitar riffs continue over a backdrop of chugging bass and pounding drums. An almighty mass of wild drums and ascending guitars kicks in then drops into almost inhumane growls over booming guitars.
That’s followed by the brilliantly titled Brainbleed, which launches into a huge wall of guitars and frantic drums. Big doomy guitars then support drawn-out scary growls before electronic noise and the sound of sobbing takes us into Quarantine. It begins with a cheeky little riff that’s joined by a chugging bass then a bigger version of the riff as Jim’s screamed vocals join the party. Big low-tuned guitars take over then drop into a low repeating riff that’s joined by rolling drums and cymbal smashes then more savage vocals.
Vermin opens up with high-pitched guitar bursts that eventually intersect low chugs of guitar in an almost apocalyptic intro. That’s not eased by the dominant booming screams that join them, which come to an end with a brief pause before swiftly ramping up the intensity once more. Whirls of wild high-pitched guitar spin around your head as gutteral screams fill your soul with dread, before chugging guitar chords and ascending guitar notes finish you off. Check it out in the video below:
Torture does exactly what it says on the tin, opening with a teasing plodding guitar and pounding drums that give way to terrifying screams then a brutal onslaught of growls with wild guitars in support. That’s followed by a low riff, which ushers in the musical equivalent of waterboarding.
And after that, you will only want to Weep. Which is convenient, and this track only prolongs the savageness being inflicted upon you.
The album closes out with 9-minute epic Black Death, which starts with long drawn-out low-tuned guitar noises that continue for fully three minutes. Booming drums power us towards a mass of screamed vocals with an almighty bassline plodding away underneath. The track is the perfect ending to an album that gives you some glimpse of what a Dementor does to Harry Potter, packed with tracks so heavy and bone-breakingly brutal that you fear you’ll never feel happy again.
I’m scared, and so too should you be – especially if you don’t go and listen to this now. Plague is out now digitally and physical format on Bandcamp, and you can follow Mastiff on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Ithaca – The Language of Injury (Album)
Formed out of a mutual love of metallic hardcore but despair at its lack of ambition, Ithaca draw influence from everything from Southern doom and 90’s math rock to the savageness of early Poison The Well and Oathbreaker.
The result, as evidenced by debut album The Language of Injury, is a crushing mass of shrieking guitars answered by haunting melodies.
Nowhere is this more true than second track Impulse Crush, which opens up with wild squeaking guitar bursts over screamed vocals and pounding drums. A darting riff answered by the same high-pitched guitars comes in, there’s a brief moment for breath, then launches into an almighty cacophony of wild guitars and vocals. That gives way to palm-muted guitars under big screams then unnerving stabbing high-pitched guitars that take us through to a creepy ending. Check it out in the video below:
That’s followed by Secretspace, which opens up with a seriously heavy riff then drops into a quiet section of freaky growls, which eventually get blown away by a wall of huge low guitars, screams and a high-pitched guitar.
The album’s title track offers a view of the more melodic side of Ithaca, with fun darting guitars and an enjoyable little section of ascending guitars alongside a descending bassline. As does penultimate track Gilt, which opens with big atmospheric guitars, which soon continue over what very nearly resembles clean vocals. Check out the former below:
While their more savage side comes across in the short, not particularly sweet, Youth vs Wisdom, which sees pounding guitars relentlessly plugging away under a mass of throat-savaging vocals.
It’s an impressive debut album that offers a lesson in mixing truly brutal metal with delicious melodies. Catch the band’s free entry release party at the Old Blue Last in London tonight, The Bees Mouth in Brighton on 2 March, then London’s Boston Music Room, supporting Svalbard, on 16 March. More info on all their gigs is here.
RCKLSS – So Cynical (EP)
Time to drop the intensity a little, so let’s introduce you to Brighton pop-punks RCKLSS. The band today release their impressive debut EP So Cynical.
It opens up with the catchy Every Time, which starts with big punk chords that feed into a laid-back opening verse that increases in intensity with the introduction of a low guitar riff then bursts into a singalong verse.
The pace drops a little at the start of Animals, with winding vocals building up to a chorus of drawn-out vocals “We’re all just animals, Can you feel it as it makes its way to the bone?, Running from cannibals and I’m bleeding, But I don’t know which way to go, We’ve gone as far as we can reach, You ripped the heart right out of me, We’re all just animals, Can you feel it?” The track builds in intensity towards a big heavy ending of layered vocals. Check it out below:
Tell You, which opens with the EP title line “You’re so cynical,” is more classic pop-punk sounding with edgy punky chords opening up then big “Woh-oh” backing vocals support frontman Matty Halliwell through the chorus.
This is a cracking first EP from an intriguing new band, it’s got pop-punk at its heart but there’s far more to it than that. For example, penultimate track Sorry For Trying is a winding pop-punk lament that drops into a big smash of chugging guitar chords late on.
You can see the band on tour around the south coast this month, kicking off at Three Wise Monkeys in Colchester next Friday (8 February) then taking in Worthing, Hastings, Torquay and Southampton. More info on their gigs is here.
Harmed – Jester (Single)
Some true savagery from the hard-hitting Hungary metal act we introduced you to a couple of weeks ago. It launches straight into brutal vocals and low-tuned guitars that plough away throughout under the unrelenting screams of Levente Spicze. It’s short, sharp and savage.
Primes – Don’t Forget Your Memories (Single)
We first introduced you to Primes back in November, and the Scottish trio are back with a typically anthemic effort.
The song offers a taste of classic Scottish alternative rock, opening up with delicious high-pitched vocals that build towards a big anthemic chorus that’ll have you singing along for hours. Don’t Forget Your Memories offers another glimpse of why we should be getting excited about a band who have still only been together for a year.
Crosslight – Run Into Flowers (Single)
Our New Band of the Week back in July release the latest track from their debut album. This was our favourite track off the Nottingham crew’s excellent album Road To Recovery, so it’s great to see it released today.
It’s actually the ‘opening track’ from the album, which kicks things off in punky fashion with its catchy fast-paced chorus and funky little guitar solos, as well as the dark lyrics “The fact is that we all just die, Watching the world just pass us by, And no-one seems to be asking why, But it doesn’t really matter when you’re being controlled.” Check it out in the video below:
High Rise – My Solitude, Your Hope (Single)
Something nice and heavy, and absolutely brilliant, to end with this week, from one of our first ever New Bands of the Week way back in October 2016.
This latest track shows Kingston, south-west London, quintet High Rise’s maturation as a band, it’s a fantastic combination of heavy verse and engaging singalong choruses. It opens with chugging little riff under a synthy noise that explodes into a wild smash of guitars under huge screamed vocals from frontman Jovic Staddon. The vocals drop into a mix of almost spoken words and screams alongside darting high-pitched guitars and relentless drums, then drops into a big singalong chorus “And I am honestly, honestly afraid, of what we have become, It’s too late now to say I’m sorry, I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”
A breakneck smash of vocals and guitars takes over, then a fun little riff answered by stabs of low-tuned chords that drop into another chorus. The chorus is extended, then there’s a brief pause for breath with drawn-out chords before slowly building up to a huge mash-up of heavy guitars and screams, that drop into a final blast of the chorus. Check it out in the video below:
For me, High Rise are right up there with the best new metal bands in the UK, and My Solitude, Your Hope offers a timely reminder of just that.