Like Animals – Feral EP

Photo Credit: Travis Tiernay

Photo Credit: Travis Tiernay

Taking our introduction to Canadian trio Like Animals through new EP Feral, it did not take long for their sound to show it matched up to the release’s title; each of its five tracks an untamed slice of noisy revelry and warped imagination and all leaving the licking of lips and a taste for more.

Hailing from Orillia in Ontario, the trio of guitarist/lead vocalist Jamie Haffenden, drummer/backing vocalist Will Tennant, and bassist/backing vocalist Myke Caouette create what is declared in regard to the EP as deviant melodic math metal. Equally though, it has paws in progressive technical metal, noise rock, and hardcore ferocity we would suggest, all flavours amongst others spicing up the increasingly impressing Feral. Following previous EPs from Sweet Whispers, Plagued Ears to The Undertoad and The Wild, the latest encounter is another animal themed exploit challenging and unsettling the senses and gripping the imagination with its unbroken raw spirit and fierce exploration.

EP Cover - Like Animals - Feral_RingMaster ReviewThe EP opens with its title track and initially a low key, melancholically toned guitar coaxing which is quickly joined by Haffenden’s voice. A few moments more and Tennant and Caouette bring a bulkier incitement with their rhythms, each carrying raucous intent to their catchy nature; William English meets At The Drive-In coming to mind through it all. Subsequent jazz lined weaves of guitar and moody bass shuffles only divert the creative adventure to new thrilling detours though they never meander too far from the driving compelling core of the encounter.

Perpetually unpredictable and magnetic, the track is a gripping start to proceedings instantly backed by the Fall of Troy meets Red Hot Chili Peppers like discordance of The Lions Share. Everything from vocals to sonic tempting has an off-kilter edge and mania to it yet things never lose structure or captivation even as hardcore ferocity succumbs to advent-grade devilry, and in turn it to a punk fuelled uproar. Again expectations are left lifeless as the track continues to creatively twist and turn like a dervish before Lounge Lizard relaxes things with its unconventional balladry and skittish canvas of ear bait and invention. Every Time I Die in league with early Postcard Records era bands like Orange Juice or Josef K comes to mind at times, not for clear reasons the latter pair but close enough to suggest the ingenuity at play as the song seduces at times whilst on its way to a more volatile and explosively dynamic trespass of ears and passions.

The indie punk/technical rock discord juiced eccentricity of Caterwaul ignites ears and appetite next, bordering on frenzied reactions admittedly whipped up by its tempestuous landscape of bullish ideation and exhausting noise aligned to seductive asides and mellow trespasses. As creatively busy as it is though, The Jungle Book of Love provides an even more feverish incitement whilst bringing the heated confusion and clamorous beauty of its namesake to bear on ears and thoughts. Dipping into spices of Mars Volta and The Dillinger Escape Plan, the track is a tapestry of wilding craft and sonic, maybe slightly deranged, adventure.

That description easily applies to Like Animals as a creative force too, a thought cemented as Feral for the umpteenth time sets our passions boiling whilst words are written.

The Feral EP is released January 22nd @ http://likeanimals1.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/likeanimals/   https://twitter.com/likeanimalsOFCL

Pete RingMaster 22/01/2016

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The Great Sabatini: Matterhorn

The new EP from Canadian grind metalers The Great Sabatini leaves a dirty big permanent indentation on the senses and psyche that is as welcome as it is destructive and intrusive. Matterhorn is no release to get your quick fix of infectious and undemanding pleasures from for it is a crippling, desensitising, and cruel intrusion that is far more rewarding and extensively satisfying. The EP leaves one grasping for a safety point, a ledge to use for some resemblance of security but the  eight tracks that make up the release only whip  away the balance and sure footing time and time again. It is not an easy listen but it deeply exhilarating and worth every single violation it delights in swamping its recipients with.

Formed in 2007 the Montreal quartet of Steve, Sean, Rob, and Joey (Sabatini) create sounds that have found themselves drenched in or pulled from the combined might of grindcore, math metal, sludge, noise rock, and progressive metal. They then twist them into a precise yet seemingly chaotic and openly oppressive dehabilitating corruption or as they call it and themselves, “swamp trench arithmetic.” Their first year saw the release of their debut EP Burning Wilderness and plenty of shows plus a coast to coast Canadian tour the following year, early evidence of the band work ethic. First album Sad Parade of Yesterdays arrived late 2009 supported by a North America tour, the band all the while picking up a formidable underground following and acclaim. Over the past years they have supported the likes of Coliseum, Today is the Day, Fuck the Facts, Threat Signal, Psyopus, and Bionic gaining further momentum if not yet the breakthrough their sounds deserve. The 7” single Napoleon Sodomite of last year accompanied what is an insatiable gigging regime the band seems to have but it is with Matterhorn that one feels they might at last find their deserved place in the attention and thoughts of the bigger musical world to stand nearer to the likes of Unsane, Today Is The Day, Botch and Converge.

Released through No List Records, Matterhorn attaches itself to the ear with rumbling riffs and a predatory bass in the opening City Limits. Soon it sidesteps in pace and tone into a caustic and intimidating questioning of the senses. It is a thick and muggy assault that takes its time like a jabbing boxer, finding the weak spot and bruising it with a towering intensity and seismically sonic probing. The vocals are coarse and intrusive to combine with the not so much brutal but heavily demanding sounds.

Zacios follows with again an opening fingering and teasing of the already inflicted wounds. Once inside it quickens its energy with concussive rhythms and a groove that winds tighter and tighter around its victim. It is raw with the baritone bass licking its lips as it prowls the song and the guitars cutting through with direct and intrusive melodic acidity. Nothing is clear cut in sound or intent with everything coated in feedback and filth dripping distortion but nor is it impossible to hear and enjoy the individual elements that make up the tsunami of intensity, the production perfectly appreciative and understanding of the sound.

The band throws one off kilter a little with Invisible Door, or rather lulls one into a sense of relief with its ambient soothing and beautiful yet disturbed atmosphere. With an emotive piano leading the way with estranged sampled voices and a marvellous distressed sax in the background the song takes one to a back street world, a place of shadows which then suddenly lurch out from the brilliant Null And Void. The song is the highlight of the release, muscular, threatening and opposingly vibrant, the track a persistent aggressor that leaves a breathless and grinning wasted wreck in its wake.

The closing duo of songs Wagons and Sad Parade of Yesterdays finish things up just as impressively. The first introduces itself with an ethnic like beckoning before expanding into a scorched mesh of incisively cutting guitars and overwhelming impactful energy. The closing ten minute Sad Parade of Yesterdays is the most impressive if not the favourite on Matterhorn. The track reflects the EP title in its massive heights of quality and invention from the band. The most progressive and stirringly open song it brings all the impressive elements of the band to a full and breathtaking journey.

Matterhorn is accompanied by free digital release The Royal We EP produced by Topon Das of Fuck the Facts which offers more of the same excellent and challenging sounds. The Great Sabatini takes your senses and thoughts to leave them floundering, whimpering and enthralled not to mention deeply satisfied.

RingMaster 21/04/2012

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