DARK DAY DUNGEON – Know Your Enemy (CD / Let it Burn)
I know I know, this album came out quite a while ago, but as I found it in my mailbox only last week I think it’s my obligation to review it anyway, especially because it’s a real smasher. Dark Day Dungeon come from Switzerland and most of you might know them because of the fact that Mosh, their vocalist, sang in Elision and Catarat before. So with Mosh on vocal duties you can be sure that you won’t find any indie rock on this album but pure, metal influenced moshing hardcore. Even though the songs are very brutal and tight you can find some emotional melodies in the songs. But overall it’s just heavy as hell. Like Cataract’s “Golem” album, “Know you enemy” was recorded at Alpha Omega Studios in Italy, and once again the sound is great. I think the best bands in the hardcore scene nowadays that have lots of metal influence in their songs come from Europe, just take a look at Heaven Shall Burn, Caliban, Arkangel, Cataract or Dark Day Dungeon. Everyone into this sound can buy this album blindly and add to his/her collection. Mosh it up, dude!
FEAR MY THOUGHTS – Vitriol (CD / Let it Burn)
If I remember right I saw Fear My Thoughts from Germany live some time ago when they were supporting another band that I also can’t remember (what’s wrong with me, am I getting old?). Well, at least I can’t recollect that they sounded as cool on stage as they do on this record. Maybe that’s because the show was qute a while ago, so they supposedly made a huge leap forward. I don’t know their previous album “23” that also came out on Let it Burn, but “Vitriol” is a really wicked piece of music. Although the bands’s music is nothing totally new, their version of metal influenced hardcore is quite refreshing to me as they add some cool ingredients to the standard sound of similar bands. This being sick and bizarre intros / sound samples that fit perfectly to the band’s sound. They also have some complex parts in their songs that remind me to Converge or Botch. Usually I find it hard to listen to these bands for a longer period of time, but Fear My Thought manage to keep my attention as these are just single parts within the songs and not a whole track based on complexity and chaos (that’s what I don’t like about those bands mentioned above, but that’s just my humbly opinion). Along with Converge and Botch, according to the band their influences range from Shai Hulud, At the Gates or Zao to Slayer and Iron Maiden. I like this record, give it a try.
GRAVE - Back From The Grave (2CD / Century Media)
The latest aIbum from the Swedish cult act Grave is finally unleashed upon mankind (hehe, anyone gets the hint?). After some years of silence Grave are indeed "back from the grave." Actually they've never broken up officially, but I don't know the real reasons why they took suck a long break. But it was worth waiting for the new record, that's for sure. For anyone of you who doesn't know the Swedish Death Metal legend, Grave were among the very first to play brutal Swedish Death Metal along with cult acts like Nihilist as they started out way back in 1988, back then known under the moniker Corpse. And when I say brutal Swedish Death Metal I don't mean any shitty At The Gates rip-off Gothenburg crap, but old school Death Metal it was done in the late 80s / early 90s by bands such as Carnage, Dismember, Nihilist/Entombed, Nirvana 2002 etc. Grave 2002 are different from the days when they started of course. They're not less brutal or anything, but the songs are a bit slower than those of their first two records "Into the grave" and "You'll never see...", but that's just natural in my eyes as those classics came out over a decade ago. Sometimes I feel reminded to Entombed's "Wolverine Blues" album from 1993 when listening to "Back from the grave" (I never liked the stupid description "death'n'roll" by the way), because the songs are groovy yet brutal. Well, maybe the comparison to "Wolverine Blues" isn't that fitting, but most of the songs are midtempo ones and "Resurrection" even reminded me to Carcass during the "Heartwork" phase. Now if that isn't enough for you to buy this great album, then what about this: The first edition contains a bonus CD for free that includes the band's three demos from 1988-1989!! Yesss, finally I get to hear them in proper sound quality as the tapes I received from the tape trading network (cheers Oli!) were sometimes a bit dump. But after all these years the demos still kill, so better be fast and grab this record and listen to the classics. Oh yeah, and Jonas Torndal, the original member who left Grave after the debut "Into the grave" is back again, how cool is that?! P.S.: There's something I have to get of rid: It totally pisses me off when I see how people in the Hardcore scene get so excited about Death Metal these days when some years ago they thought of Death Metal as noisy crap. You are so stupid, guys. I wonder where all the people were a couple of years ago who now claim to have listened to Death Metal for ages. Well, maybe it makes you even more cool wearing old Carcass shirts to shows you bought on Ebay for $60 (how stupid is that?), but I don't think so. So please don't pretend to be a Death Metal insider. If you like the music that's just fine, but please don't claim to be an old school supporter of the bands. Thanks, now fuck off.
LEIAH – Sound And Diversity (CD / Background Beat/Startracks)
Leiah started back in 1998 and after several line up changes their third full length album “Sound and diversity” is released on Background Beat, a sublabel to Startracks (home to bands/artist like Fireside, Refused or Kistofer Aström). Their previous records were put out on Genet Records and extensive touring followed their release. Leiah shared the stage with bands such as The Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music or As Friends Rust. Even though all these bands are more or less labelled as “emo”, Leiah’s sound is different to these acts. They’re not as super melodic and sometimes pop sounding as The Get Up Kids (“Something to write home about” is still a masterpiece, ok?), they’re not as rough Hot Water Music (they rule!!), I’d say they can be compared to bands on Deep Elm Records. That means that there are lots of melodies and emotions on this record, and I think Leiah found a very good mixture of more complex indie rock tunes as well as catchy pop melodies (just listen to the fantastic “Cover”Discover”). Now, check out “Sound and diversity” and/or catch them on future tours.
SAVING THROW – We’re Never On Good Terms With The Light (CD EP / Let it Burn)
After having listened to this EP for the very first time I felt reminded to Boy Sets Fire, but now as I listened to it for a couple more times I think that I was wrong. Even though Saving Throw can be compared to Boy Sets Fire when it comes to the combination of aggressive parts and melodic, almost desperate moments, the five piece from Syracuse, NY, is way more aggressive than Boy Sets Fire. Whereas Boy Sets Fire include some melodic vocal lines in their songs, the vocalist of Saving Throw focuses on aggressive screaming and he throws all his emotions into his words. In the US Saving Throw are no real newcomers anymore as they have two US tours and performances at the Hellfest under their belts. With this EP licensed for Europe from Blatherskyte Records Saving Throw hopefully become a little more known here, too. They certainly deserve it.
THE MILES APART / LIGHTS AT AMBER / MORNING BEFORE - Sunrise People In Sunset Days (Split CD / Strange Fruit)
If I remember right there was a similar release some time ago being a split release with Jimmy Eat World, Sensefield and another band that I don't remember right now. Now Strange Fruit also come up with three bands sharing one CD. These bands are The Miles Apart, Lights At Amber and Morning Before (with whom I already did an interview after the release of their "The new romantics" CD that can be found somewhere else on this site). All three bands go in the same musical direction which is heartfelt indie, but they manage to sound different nevertheless. All in all there are 8 songs on this album, three from The Miles Apart and Morning Before and two from Lights At Amber. The songs by Miles Apart are emo with a pop edge and I like them a lot, hopefully there will be a full length out soon. Lights At Amber are a bit more in the indie vein, and they're ok, even though I think that their songs can't compete with the other two bands featured. That doesn't mean that they're bad, but I like the other two better. Morning Before closes this CD with three more songs, and especially their last track "I thought I knew you" is so beautiful. This split release is a good thing in my eyes to check out some promising "new" acts, so take a listen.
V/A – Love It Or Hate It – A Collection Of Songwriting Examples (CD / Puresome Productions)
To be honest, I’ve never heard of Puresome Productions and most of the 17 bands featured on this compilation before (to be precise, I only knew Leiah before), but that made it even more interesting listening to it. And it starts off with a real killer band/song, Half Nelson’s “Catch 22”, one of the best songs I heard in a long time. Also Jettie’s “Cutter” is a beautiful masterpiece, not forgetting Auster’s “Retaliate”, just to name a few. Most of the songs are previously unreleased and of high quality. The bands featured all play indie rock/emo, so everyone into this sound should check out some very promising acts. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them could be found on bigger labels in the future. As I don’t have any further information about this release, the bands or the label, here’s a list of the bands that participated in this compilation: Half Nelson, Postman, Leiah, Keystone Sinatra, The Unisex, Seven, Jettie, Dead Silent Days, Auster, Franklin Lakes, At Certain Hours, The Bright and Shiny, The Whole Nine Yards, Holana, Caitlyn, Motion Coming to Rest, Laakso. I guess this comp should be available for a cool price, so please support the bands and the label (for more information, visit www.puresome.net or contact firstname.lastname@example.org).