Blistering is the best way to describe Together We’re Alone, the debut album from Australian hardcore band Statues, that and thoroughly enjoyable. Hailing from Perth, the band uncages a “chaotic” style of the genre which has a just as keen penchant for acidic noise and caustic punk. Like a voracious merger of Ghost of a Thousand and Shevils with Coilguns and Kabul Golf Club, band and sound is a corrosive and exhilarating proposition, not forgetting one of the most unique.
Formed in 2009, Statues became swiftly recognised and renowned for their high intensity stage performances, shows which has seen them play alongside the likes of Every Time I Die, Northlane, Stray from the Path, Stick to Your Guns, Structures, and La Dispute. Their reputation has gone before them but Together We’re Alone is the band’s first real foray into global attention and it is hard to see the release missing out on awakening an intensive spotlight on the quintet’s presence.
As unafraid to make a searing commentary on social and personal issues as it is in scorching the senses, band and album instantly stirs up attention and imagination with the brief and seriously potent All Fears Are Learned, All Victories Are Earned. The opening song almost swaggers as it casts percussive bait straight away but is soon turning its enticing entrance into a brewing maelstrom of raw grooves and caustic riffs. There is still a teasing lure to the track though, a lighter almost mischievous wink which subsequently turns to a scowl and roars along with the imposing and striking vocals of Jayme Van Keulen. As swiftly realised across the album, how a song starts and tempts is never a consistent narrative, just a moment in a fury of invention shown here by the guitars of Scott Kay and John Overthrow mixing stabbing riffs and hook spilling noise to further colour and ignite the already incendiary proposition.
The following Always Building, Always Breaking similarly opens with an engaging temptation before venting its rage, a bluesy flame of guitar a spicy offering initially. It is soon battling with and aligning to, a fierce bluster of noise and the rapid fire skills of drummer Daniel Harper as the track explodes with fierce enterprise and magnetic intensity. As its predecessor, there is as much irresistible contagiousness to the encounter as passionate fury, especially through the masterful infectious lures laid down by Matthew Templeman’s bass skills which seem to creatively revel in the tempest. The track is a brawl of an incitement, a torrential outpouring of angst and hostility within a weave of sonic ingenuity. Only two songs in and Together We’re Alone is already announcing that it is one of the most startling and exciting hardcore releases of current times.
Oh Precious Commodity does nothing to defuse that thought and declaration, its hoarse vocal and anthemic barracking accompanied by throaty bass groans and tangy grooves which feverishly scorch and light the senses. There is hailstorm of piercing beats throughout the knee buckling ferocity too which collude with a cascade of just as hellacious vocals and dramatically imaginative inhospitality. Together they make an antagonistic treat matched in its individual way by the mouth-watering sonic hysteria of Forseeing the Cloud and Not the Rain and the hellacious rampage of Affliction Prescription. With a great many hardcore bands similarity seems to creep into any clutch of songs but there is no sign of that across Together We’re Alone, this pair alone steeped in abrasing individuality and unpredictable invention.
The band throws a curve ball from left field next, the simple and bewitching soulful blues croon of I Want Peace stepping forward with just voice against handclaps as its body, before the impassioned hostile delirium of Abide consumes ears and senses. As now expected, the track is a shifting landscape of imposing ideation and eventful sound, ruggedly caressing and forcibly pounding the psyche from start to finish. The thrilling turbulence makes way for Burning the Truth At Both Ends with its spiralling acrid grooves of and the concussive might of The Wanderer; both a crippling net of rhythms and scalding vat of sonic exploration bound in emotional ferocity.
Between the slower melodic almost post hardcore tinged Hard Words, Softly Spoken and the closing Within Arm’s Reach, another unexpected twist comes with the blues instrumental twang of Hope Is. Its minute plus lure is an intriguing and pleasing respite ready for the final creative furor of the album, Within Arm’s Reach arguably the most intensive and painfully invigorating track on the album, though all songs truthfully leave senses sore and emotions elated.
Statues have set down a benchmark not only for themselves but hardcore with Together We’re Alone, the first of many you imagine if this release is anything to go by.
Together We’re Alone is available now via https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/together-were-alone/id944791123
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A stormy affair which leaves the senses rubbed raw but glowing with pleasure, Idiokrati the debut album from Norwegian hardcore rockers Man The Machetes, is an undeniably formidable and captivating onslaught. Fusing varied essences from rock and metal into their abrasive hardcore confrontation, the Bergen/Oslo based quintet has unleashed an album which is challenging and takes some intensive focus to discover all of its masterful elements but rewards richly for the effort. The album squalls with sounds drawn from the same caustic wells as a Cancer Bats or Ghost Of A Thousand but throughout sends shards and veins of melodic rock and punk which captures the breath of a Billy Talent or Red Tape. It emerges as a distinct and original sound which sets the band apart from most, and though they brew a similarity of sound and attack across much of the release it has plenty of variation to captivate fully throughout too.
Released through Indie Recordings, Idiokrati is the accumulation of two years of hard work and a likely trigger to widespread recognition beyond their homeland. The band has risen from playing small Norwegian venues to lighting up festivals such as Pstereo and Hove as well as supporting the likes of Gallows and Kvelertak. The five friends who began playing music they loved in an old German bunker, have been on a forceful rise to date with the band travelling to Toronto In August 2012 to work on this their debut with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Comeback Kid). The album which emerged after four weeks of intensive work is a stirring and impacting bruising which ripples with infectious lures and irresistible melodic teasing. It is an uncompromising abrasion but one which employs skilfully crafted and engaged melodic flames.
From the moment opener Sluk Det Rått barges through the ear with a welcoming groove to the sinewy rhythms and riffs offered there is an immediate compelling draw to the release. The song is a grazing instigator through the barbed beats of drummer Per Christian Holm and the coarse vocals of Christopher Iversen but tempers their harsh rasping with magnetic melodic flares from the guitar and an imaginative sonic teasing which borders on sirenesque. Leading straight into second track Sjelsvrengt, the song is an impressive start equalled and continued by its successor. Again the melodic sonic magnetism is to the fore in the second track with the guitars of Morten D. Carlsson and Erlend N. Sætren irresistible in their invention and the bass of Erik A. Larsen a beast of muscular yet wanton contagious dance. The scorching presence of the song is less instantaneous than what came before but provokes an emotive response which is just as powerful.
Idiokrati continually does nothing less than impress, the likes of Mageplask with its mesmeric groove, the punk coated Slagen, and the intensive tempest Maktesløse encounters which ignite and energise the passions and primal instincts. The release has a fluid gait with many tracks evolving into the next seamlessly and with sonic skill though it too offers the only real downside to the release, a returning similarity across parts of the album. It is not a major negative but does defuse some of the invention underneath the surface scathing and occasionally make songs merge into one which an arguably over needed focus is required to differentiate.
Other than that the album is a tremendous debut and when tracks like the deliciously intimidating Deltidsidiot with its ‘celtic’ toned groove and the senses sizzling Hjemkomst lay their exhausting presence across the ear the release is exceptional. Man the Machetes offers strong emotions of much more to come too which really inspires Idiokrati to provoke immense anticipation for the band and their releases in the future. If you want something different then check out this impressively promising brawl of a band.
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Raw, abrasive, and deliberately confrontational, Irish post hardcore band Milestones is already well on the way to making a dent not only in their homeland but further afield, something their new release can only reinforce. Their new EP Entropy is an impressive swipe of aural brutality, one bruising bully to endure but be fully rewarded by. It leaves one clutching a support under its onslaught but full of complete satisfaction from its violent presence.
The quintet from Dublin rose from the ashes of Out of Nowhere in April 2011. With the band name came the Blood demo, a three track release which marked the new direction and set in motion the growing attention and power the band has since triggered. Two tracks The Boats and Gone With The Wind followed, each pulling further acclaim, whilst the band consistently destroyed stages alongside the likes of US band Bury Your Dead, Betrayal and Stick Around. Entropy is evidence of the band growing quickly and finding a depth to their music within songs of sheer towering intensity and undeniable quality. Released as a limited tape cassette via Savour Your Scene Records, just 100 units available, and as a download, the six track release is one to rupture senses and fry thoughts whilst igniting both into action just as equally.
Still Organs scrapes raw from its opening graze upon the ear and is soon probing the wound with a fury of tumultuous riffs and spiteful vocals. The delivery of Peter Kealy, backed by Jack Marmion and Rafino Murphy, simply crushing notes into being with plaintive cries and earnest shouts to match the inciteful guitar play of the other pair. The track is barely in excess of a minute but is a corruptive and stirring beast.
The following Premonitions carries the great start to even more intense heights. Again vocals and guitars strip flesh with their caustic might whilst the drums of Keith Davis rifle and plunder the ear with strong challenging beats and the bass of Keith Fish is a predatory stalker within the sonic violence. Again short, the song is an impact which leaves lingering marks to satisfy all with its extreme musical vehemence.
Needing an extra focus to delve beneath the surface acid, the EP is a varied and intelligent piece of songwriting. It is not an easy listen at times admittedly, and probably too harsh for some, but given time it unveils some of the freshest and more invigorating music to emerge in post hardcore for a long time. The outstanding Old Hands and arguably even better Graveside, leave the air sizzling as their venom is squeezed out through confronting rhythms and incendiary melodic enterprise all brought within a tight sonic whipping. There is a definite punk vein pulsating throughout, especially in the second of these two songs, which adds to the temper and cantankerous attitude of the music and rubs that little bit harder on its target.
Entropy ends with the riveting manipulative tones of Pound OF Flesh, a track which takes a different though no less intense journey than before and the brawling nasty Ladders. The second is a concussive blistering which takes its time to emerge out of an initial chaotic storm to evolve into an infectious and compulsive weave of emotion and expressive rock.
Influences for the band come from the likes of Comeback kid, Defeater, Everytime I Die, and Lower than Atlantis, and to that elements of bands like Gallows and Ghost Of A Thousand also emerge as the EP plays. Milestones has a distinct energy and sound which with Entropy sure to recruit more and more wasted contented ears, pretty much means there will be no stopping them.
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As the windows and doors to your thoughts, emotions, and soul are blasted and virtually shaken off their hinges by Empathy the new EP from Belgian post hardcore band Campus, you know this is one release you are not going to forget in a hurry, or want to. Empathy is immense, a sonic wind tunnel of intensity and aggression veined with inspired invention and melodic enterprise. The enormity of the EP is clear as one lies on the floor grasping for a new breath to chase off the numbness that pervades every sinew as the release signs off from its deeply satisfying four track obliteration of safety.
Released May 28th via Small Town Records, Empathy is destined to ignite passions within a great many more than ever before. With a sound which has traces of bands like Architects, Underoath, and While She Sleeps to its formidable and imaginative creation, the release is the next step on the quest to conquer far afield from their already worshipping homeland. The EP follows their thoroughly acclaimed 2009 album Oh, Comely! which itself followed a well received debut two years before in We Are The Silence. That initial release led them to opening up the Belgian leg of the Taste of Chaos tour of the same year and saw them share stages with the likes of The Used, Rise Against, Aiden and Gallows. Since then they have not looked back as shows and tours with the might of bands like Alexisonfire, Cancer Bats, Parkway Drive, Bring Me The Horizon, Underoath, and Architects filled subsequent years as well as numerous festival appearances.
It is probably fair to say outside of Belgian the band has still to find the heights their music deserves but with an impressive appearance at the Hit The Deck Festival in the UK this year, slots at the Burnout Festival, Hevy Festival, and Skatefest upcoming and most of all with Empathy this feels like the point the rest of the world takes notice.
The release opens up with the title track and within seconds has the senses reeling. As the rhythms of Josse Wijckmans pummel the ear hungry growling riffs prowl with a predatory intensity and overwhelming energy. Vocalist Martijn Leenaerts scowls and unleashes pure venom to match the tumultuous attack. His delivery is persistently varied and an example to many other same genre frontmen that mixing up things is a mighty tool. The guitars of Tijs Mondelaers and Fabrice Parent strip flesh with the sharpest of harsh riffs and energy whilst mesmerising with a melodic invention that leaves blisters seething within the ear. They are openly impressive and again show that thought and diversity can be a weapon of the greatest devastation.
From an impressive start the band raise the bar with Lone Wolf, another track to fly from first note with rampaging energy and dehabilitating effect. As with the first song bassist Tuur Geeraerts is a growling vehement presence bringing the darkest shadows and depth to the songs. Abrasive and provocative the track riles up more than the ear and leaves the first search for air an urgent need.
Downtime is a lumbering brute of a song, its heart, pace, and towering muscle the heaviest on Empathy. It does not neglect the other elements the band does so well neither, offering an impatient groove to wind around the ear with a grip borne of spite and melodic craft to light up the skies of the song like meteor shards, white hot and violently incisive.
The EP closes with the best song within its angry walls in Young Bastard. All the great things that preceded it return in greater heart and intensity. Vindictive, the aggression is lifted to its greatest heights leaving the senses ringing out for mercy and relief but wanting more and more of the same. Within this synapse melting the song explodes with the most infectious groove and clean vocals to ignite flames of primal energy. The track reminds of Red Tape with a twist of Ghost Of A Thousand at times and is easily one of the best tracks heard this year.
If Campus does not breakout to infect the world with their great sounds then justice has never had a place in music but with Empathy the feeling is their time is just shifting up multiple gears. https://www.facebook.com/CAMPUSBE