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?
Lest ye readers read the forthcoming praise and subsequently turn upon us scribes in our lofty ivory tower, brandishing pitchforks and torches whilst profusely bleeding through wretched earholes, let me make something clear. Treading Water, the debut LP from Milwaukees’ two-man grind unit LIFES, is not a pleasant listening experience. Both in conventional and unconventional sense.
Treading Water is a brief but pugilistic cacophony, a squealing and burping punk-ridden grindy mess. LIFES carry themselves with the boisterous aggression, powerviolent attitude, and hardcore gravitas of Iron Lung or Dropdead, combined with the wild grinding invention of (my personal scene faves) The Locust. But sonically, the closest comparison I can draw is the vocal delivery of Liberteer's Matthew Widener. That said, both Zak Rudnik and Dave Holochwost handle vocal duties; I'm not sure which is which. Both are pretty damn excellent, it should be worth noting, and no matter who is roaring, the message comes across clear.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.