Written by: Continuous Thunder
I first got into heavy music in my mid-teens, and by “got into heavy music” I mean found music that not only appealed to me, but also bothered my parents. (What’s the point of heavy music if it doesn’t cause your parents genuine concern?) Anyway, way back in the mid-’00s, when I was just a distant rumble, the heavy music of choice for the youths of the day was screamo and metalcore. CD players and primitive iPods were full of the sounds of bands like Underoath, The Used, From First To Last, and The Devil Wears Prada. Jeans were tight, lips were pierced, and hair was long and dyed black. These genres and styles fell out of favor right around the end of the decade, but screamo has had a bit of an underground resurgence in recent years. Infant Island, in particular, are a relatively new band that may prove that the genre isn’t entirely dead.
Written by: Arzou
ACxDC (Antichrist Demoncore, for the cool kids - Ed.) is to powerviolence as Gutalax is to goregrind. Extremely popular but disliked by the fans of the genre. After releasing their debut self-titled LP in 2014, people have been waiting for a follow up either with excitement or baited breath, ready to throw “ACxDC bad” comments wherever they can. Well it’s here, ACxDC’s Satan is King has been released with 15 songs and 23 minutes, and I’ll tell you what: if Satan is King then Satan is one milquetoast dude.
You see, another similarity ACxDC have with Gutalax is that they are both, despite their popularity, very mediocre. That parallel still reigns true with this album. It checks all the boxes of a good powerviolence album, blistering and skulldenting riffs, slow and crushing sludgy riffs, the ability to confuse grind babies into thinking it’s grind. Should be a good one, right? Well if you think reading a textbook is really fun then this might be the album for you. Despite all the checked boxes it feels like ACxDC really just did the bare minimum and created a bland and tasteless cake able to be consumed by the masses but unable to be remembered by anyone.
Written by: The Administrator
First things first: Fullmåne's Lurking in the dark is a lo-fi affair--the rawest application of punk-infused black metal you're likely to find whilst trawling through the underground. This is, indeed, a self-described "dark and dirty snapshot of night time drifting, paranoia and drugs." As such, it's only appropriate that we acclimate ourselves accordingly. Prior to starting in, then, let me find my scratchiest quill, my faintest ink, and my poorest quality parchment. I'll remove my cloak as well--better to write with the lingering threat of frostbite. Oh, and let me shut off the lantern for good measure. In the case of today's EP in question, I think it would be better if I worked by the light of the moon.
There, that's settled. Now I'm ready. Are you ready? Good.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
If you told me at the beginning of the year that one of the best sludge metal albums I’d hear in 2020 would come from two Japanese girls… I’d lean in closer and ask you to tell me more. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, when women are involved in making hard rock and metal on the doomy side of things, it tends to be pretty damn good more often than not. Some of my favorite albums from the past couple of years have been from bands like Windhand, Castle, and Electric Citizen. And this year we’ve already had great albums from Konvent and Lucifer. Well, get ready to add BlackLab to the pile.
As mentioned, BlackLab is a doom and sludge duo from Japan, made up of guitarist and vocalist Yuko Morino and drummer Chia Shiraishi. Abyss is their second album. Being a duo in the doom metal world requires some sonic creativity to get your sound sufficiently heavy and thick. I’m not sure what witchcraft Morino has employed, but her guitar tone is freakin’ huge! And these riffs aren’t just fuzzy, they’re downright filthy. We’re talking trve slvdge, Houdini-era Melvins levels of nasty. Along with down-tuning, a sub-octave can be heard filling out the bottom end. I don’t know if Morino dubbed in a bass guitar or if she split her signal into an octave pedal, but there is certainly no lack of low end here. She’s also the kind of guitarist who uses feedback to her advantage.
Written by: Izzy
Dance Gavin Dance are a band I only discovered in mid 2018, and the album they released that year, Artificial Selection, is; without exaggeration; one of my favourite albums of all time. I rarely talk about Dance Gavin Dance but I genuinely hold them up there with the likes of Deafheaven and Converge in terms of pure quality and how much I listen to them. Despite their long history and numerous lineup changes they have remained one of the most absurdly consistent bands I know, managing to pour out an amazing album every couple years like clockwork.
Now, if I’m not already getting called a poser by elitist metalheads, I’m about to get into hot water with elitist coreheads when I say I much prefer the Tilian era of DGD. I think his incredibly unique voice, coupled along with his spectacular range, has so much chemistry with Will Swan’s iconic guitar playing and Jon Mess’ gruff harshes that it really allowed the band to skyrocket after a small learning bump with Instant Gratification. Despite their guitarist being the namesake for “swancore,” the particular poppy and more clean-sung microgenre born out of post-hardcore and math rock, Tilian Pearson was the missing piece to truly forging the bands current unmistakable and unreplicable sound. Every current member’s talents gel together so perfectly, becoming a powerhouse quintet where I couldn’t imagine a single member being replaced. All this build up over their 15 year career has led us to Mothership, Artificial Selection, and now Afterburner, making up the best trio of albums the band has released to date.
Time, dear readers, to revisit an old review! This one was published back in the primordial days of the Sleeping Village--before, in fact, there was even a website to speak of. Enjoy! - Ed.
Upon releasing 2017’s brilliant The Dusk In Us, Massachusetts hardcore stalwarts Converge unabashedly stated that the album was composed of some of their weaker material. In the words of guitarist and producer extraordinaire Kurt Ballou, "We all disagreed about what the strongest songs were...it was a compromise. Some of the songs on that album are actually some of the weakest ones that we recorded, and some of the ones that aren't on the album are the strongest. We're just not exactly sure how we're going to release them yet.”
The result of this uncertainty is Beautiful Ruin. Representing these mystery tracks recorded during The Dusk In Us sessions, this four track EP is startlingly brief, but certainly worthwhile.
Written by: Ancient Hand
Aggression and forthrightness are the key components of Code Orange’s attitude. After the release of their incredibly well-received album Forever, the band maintained a certain level of aloofness and, well, fuck-you-ness. While some perceive this attitude as cocky and narcisistic, this attitude truly stems from the group’s hardcore/punk roots. The band’s DIY nature still exists to this day-- despite their Grammy nomination and signing to Roadrunner, the band still packages and ships their own merch.
This fierce devotion to their craft also translates into a ferocious protection over their artistic direction. After the worldwide success of Forever, it may have been anticipated that the band would lighten their sound and move forward in a “Bleeding in the Blur” style where Reba Meyers would sing the band into top-rock-chart stardom. However, the band’s first record in three years, Underneath, does anything but.
Written by: Izzy
The instant I heard the single “Earth and Sky," I knew I wanted to review To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse. Only once in a blue moon does a song that genuinely makes me want to destroy something appear, densely packed with crushing riffage and percussion--and this feeling was only solidified by the second single “I, Flatline,” which remains one of the most standout tracks on the album. At that moment it was decided, and here we are with our self fulfilling prophecy.
Much like the album in question, I wish not to waste even a moment before throwing you into an endless pummeling torrent that ends before you realize it’s over, leaving you dazed and confused for hours to come. In the case of To Dull The Blades of Your Abuse, the sophomore LP from Manchester’s Leeched, you will be brutalized by 36 minutes of back-to-back noisy, vicious, and unforgivingly heavy riffs that make you wanna punch somebody's lights out. In the case of my review, it’ll be the unnecessarily obtuse verbosity I write all my analyses with to make me sound smarter than I actually am that leaves you confounded as to what the hell half these words mean and why couldn’t I just say “Hi how are ya this album kicks ass you should listen” instead of writing this massive thinkpiece.
But that’s showbiz, baby! If the writing ain’t soaked in glue and glitter it ain’t gonna get no attention, so I invite you to enjoy some kickass brutal jams and expand your English lexicon with me this fine evening. [Or whenever I actually post this - Ed.]
Written by: Izzy
Despite often on first glance appearing as a metalhead, probably because I’m oft wearing my Slayer or Gojira tshirts, I actually consider myself much more of a hardcore kid at heart. I never cared for classic punk, and my dad raised me on Dio and Black Sabbath so it was natural I grew up mostly in the metal scene, but as I got older and learned about more genres adjacent and outside of metal, when I finally dove into hardcore something about the music and community just grabbed me and I’ve felt so at home there ever since.
Don’t get me wrong, metalheads are great people (usually), but the hardcore community was so accepting, progressive minded, filled with activists looking for a change, it felt like where I belonged, much more than any metal community I had been a part of. So, in the span of a couple years I went from a diehard metalhead to a straight-edge core kid, I guess you could call me…Transgenre.
Okay okay I just really wanted to make that joke. I’ll actually start the review now.
In the interest of transparency: Creeping Death have three things going for them right now. The first is that gorgeous cover artwork. The second is the fact that I downloaded Wretched Illusions before clambering into this airplane, and, lo and behold, theirs is one of the few albums currently available for the duration of this flight. Thirdly, and most importantly, is that Creeping Death peddles a thoroughly solid brand of death metal, and that is all and everything this weary scribe is craving at the moment. When I'm feeling this malnourished, nothing sticks to my bones quite like meat 'n' potatoes death. No bells and whistles for me, please. Just the inevitability of crushing riffage, throat-wrenching growls, and enough thrash-derived adrenaline to keep me awake, thankyouverymuch. But enough talk. Let's hit that runway, shall we?
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!