The Primals – All Love Is True Love

The outcome of a collision between the raw essences of crust lined garage punk and pop infused grunge accosted by noise baiting metal, All Love Is True Love is the fierce new album from LA based rockers The Primals. Though it bears hungry ferocity it is equally as infectious and catchy as it is invasive; it all making for one of the year’s most irresistible debuts.

The Primals is a trio made up of Darkest Hour vocalist/guitarist John Henry, former Dead To Fall member in bassist Chad Fjerstad, and drummer Andrew Black who previously was part of The Explosion, and Title Tracks. Exploits within those outfits has meant anticipation once The Primals’ first release was announced has been keen among a great many and we can say that though there have been a fair few introductions this year which have simply ignited attention and excitement with plaudits in close quarter, All Love Is True Love is ahead of most of the field.

Produced by John Reis (Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes), All Love Is True Love immediately descends on ears with Hello Cruel World. Instantly a guitar gnaws on the senses, in turn triggering a caustic wave of noise as contagious as it is a visceral trespass. Even in its carnal insurgence there is an instant catchiness of pop sensibility which surges through the confrontation, vocals riding that temptation with a melodic snarl. Similarly soliciting is the predacious quality the band’s sound carries, one which permeates the whole album to compelling effect.

It is an outstanding rousing start as potently backed by the relatively gentler antics of Dead Predators. A web of noise fuelled clamour, earthy bass led swing, and sonic enterprise, the track quickly beguiles and tempts hips and imagination into an animated collusion before Another World To Call Your Own launches its own untamed will upon the listener. Across the three tracks alone there is no escaping a strong whiff of bands such as Nirvana and The Pixies, a breeze teasing throughout the release yet already there is a distinct character and presence which is all Primals as epitomised by their latest single which is next up.

Pity City saunters in on a rhythmic swing; flames of guitar crossing its lure as the melodic calm of vocals add infectious charm. The track simply becomes an insistent radiance spilling invitation where contrasting textures unite in imagination; a pop song in its rawest most accessible state before Fortune & Sons shares its punk ‘n’ roll animation with rapacious relish. It too has an inherent infectiousness which borders the viral and an equally belligerent breath which growls discontent as easily as it brews seduction.

Next up The Wayward Impaler is untamed pop rock which similarly melodically tempts as it shares sonic agitation while It’s Personal saunters in straight after with a heavy drawl and shadowed intentions before unveiling its own pop natured virulence within those persistent trespasses. Both tracks swiftly get under the skin, the latter especially laying a mighty hand on best track honours before Together Whatever has its say with its Sonics-esque, old school punk holler. Rhythms stomp and guitars abrase as the track incited body and the passion, another slice of quick addiction with a potent claim on the top dog title.

The album concludes with firstly the slow crawl of Save Me, Baby; a plaintively melancholic croon with rhythmic tempestuousness and lively pop rock animation, and through the rousing grunge punk ferocity of I’m Coming Home. The final track is pure threat and seduction, each in equal measure invading the senses in a “we are united, love you all and fuck the world” like declaration.

It is a stirring and tremendous finale to an album which has all the elements and deeds to re-invigorate already hungry or alternatively any stale appetites for rock music. It is a gem, simple as.

All Love Is True Love is out now via Southern Lord and available @

Pete RingMaster 24/09/2018

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Torch Runner – Committed To The Ground


There is nasty, there is vicious, and then there is Torch Runner, a band where sonic violence is seemingly an instinct which just has to be expelled and in the most striking and invigorating way going by debut album Committed To The Ground. Hailing from Greenboro, N. Carolina, the trio of vocalist/bassist Rob Turner, guitarist Scott Hughes, and drummer Josh Platt is an aural pestilence which gets into every bone, synapse, and emotion to splinter, wither, and savage respectively. Committed To The Ground was first released to strong acclaim in 2012 on vinyl only but their recent signing with Southern Lord ahead of a brand new encounter in the Autumn, has opened up a new worldwide CD release for the band’s startling debut. This enables all of us who missed out the first time around to have our senses and bodies violated in a manner they are definitely not but could easily become accustomed to.

Torch Runner and their ferocious brew of hardcore, metal, and dirt clad punk caught attention initially with a nine-track EP at the beginning of 2010. Locust Swarm shook the underground scene and instantly pulled an eager focus upon the band which a split with Young And In The Way the following year added more energy and urgency to. As mentioned 2012 was the initial launch of Committed To The Ground, a bruising malicious onslaught which thrust the band into another intensive spotlight. Ahead of the new album the band recorded with Kris Hilbert, it sends out a timely reminder and introduction to fans and newcomers to ignite their anticipation for a new fury you can be sure will be as pleasingly vitriolic and damaging.

Everything about the album from its opening second to the intrusive last is agreeably toxic, its veins running wild with a venom which spews destruction physically and mentally against seemingly everything, be it religion or society. Opening track Current simply goes for the jugular from its first breath, the visceral roar of Turner savaging ear and air as his bass equally imposes a heavy lure whilst the guitar of Hughes scars and cremates the senses with pure animosity. Spearing and entangling all of this is the breakneck attack of Platt whose skills and physical malice makes a tsunami look weak. Forty five seconds long, representative of the album which delivers twelve torrents in less than twenty three minutes, the track provides more thrilling devastation and crippling intensity in its grind/crust fused ravaging than hordes of releases can do across their whole body.

The impressive start is soon kicked up a gear in spite and enticement by firstly the hellish unbridled attack of Incendiary and the following corrosive tempest that is Feeding where grooves and rhythms represent the title by ripping apart and feasting on senses and psyche with vicious jaws of sound and might. The pair is in turn then exceeded by the outstanding Canon Cast which emerges from instantly intimidating sonic smog with venomous grooves and blistering riffs which converge together for a predatory prowl directed by the increasingly raw scowling tones of Turner. All the while the guitar winds cruel temptation around the imagination, unleashing grooves which just as purposefully stalk mind and emotions.

Clocked In follows suit, blending in a rapacious dark stealth with untethered hostility as it crawls over the senses snarling and ripping slices from their defences. Its climax expels an acidic flume of enterprise but it is the heavily brooding basslines and rabidity driving guitar and drums which sculpts another prominent highlight on the album, one matched by the excellent title track. Its haunting stark opening premise is soon the canvas for a lumbering bestial bass scourge to roam, its threat then enclosed in a sonic fog. Holding the thick substance of sludge and heavy noxious darkness of doom, the track spreads like poison through pores and psyche, its lumbering malignancy defined further by swathes of guitar contempt and vocal rancor. It is a riveting despoiling, one that has you mesmerised whilst it rips out your soul.

The torrential sonic maiming of Rede and similarly ruinous assault of Harrow keep senses cowering and thoughts fascinated, both equipped with short grooves and rhythmic enticements which again tempt as they decimate whilst the transfixing The Holy Are Broken in similar vein to the title track, brews a cancerous consumption of heavy invasive flavourings into a unrelenting laboured march which simply ignites the imagination and appetite for more of their slow and erosive invention. The main and only fault of the album is that with the majority of tracks so short and intent on causing the most violent results quickly, many never have time to show something unique which makes them blend together without distinguishing elements no matter how good they are, as evidenced by the final three songs. When like their predecessor the band takes a premeditated slow stalking as the core, tracks leap out to a new plateau, something hopefully the new album will show more of.

The threesome of Tolled, Pulpit Plague, and Vestige are ferocious treats to end the album, even with that just mentioned element, the first of the trio especially incendiary to the passions with its vitriol swinging gleefully from guitar scrubs and rhythmic spite.

We like a great many are newcomers to Torch Runner and now have a greedy anticipation for their new release thanks to Southern Lord and the reprise of Committed To The Ground. If a mix of Napalm Death, Weekend Nachos, and Kunz sounds tasty, then this is a band and release for you.

Committed To The Ground is available digitally @ and physically via Southern Lord @


RingMaster 23/05/2014

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Centuries – Taedium Vitae


It is said that ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’, a fact few would disagree with but taking that spite one step further is the debut album from US hardcore band Centuries. Their first album Taedium Vitae, the Latin for weariness of life, is a ravaging sonic assault, an captivating abrasion that shows no mercy yet creates a compelling and understanding undertow to almost seduce the senses into its squalling presence. It is an uncomfortable listen at times, nine tracks across around twenty minutes of angst driven vocal antagonism with an equally uncompromising predatory hardcore surrounding the emotive charge, but with essences of melodic and extreme flavours coursing through the dark themes, there is a riveting and compelling lure setting the album ahead of most genre releases.

Snarling out of Florida, the young quartet have become a strong force in their local hardcore scene since forming 2008, and across the subsequent years began stirring up passions and areas further afield. Many tours across the US and Europe has entrenched their potency of sound and presence with a loyal and growing fanbase but now is the time for the band to set the rest of the world on alert, and the Southern Lord released Taedium Vitae the perfect fuse to that destructive explosion.

The brief awakening of sonic intimidation and ominous ambience Incipit Tragoedia opens up the album, the guitars sculpting the air with intensive design within a growing brooding atmosphere. As it flows into the following Caerlueus, senses cower from the suggested impending violence, a confrontation soon realised as the guitars chew upon the ear with rapacious yet controlled riffs and rhythms create a deceptive frame of striking rabidity, their punches seemingly restrained but resonating deep with full malevolence. It is a short maelstrom with the bass holding court pleasingly as it passes the vitriolic baton onto the excellent Pessum Ire, the new slice of sonic savagery and vocal chafing aligned to an underlying groove which entwines thoughts and emotions in its contagious toxicity.

The fluid emergence of Metus from its predecessor thrusts the listener into a darker carnivorous expanse of malicious beauty, the track a warring sonic scrub which is as visual in its scarring shadows as it is disturbingly entrancing and an ensnaring threat on emotions and psyche. As again barely the deep breath’s worth of time making up the song streams into next up Gelu, the album confirms it works as individual tracks and arguably even more powerfully and impressively as one blistering exacting angry storm. Punk infused and blackened in breath the song rages with torrential rancor, guitars and vocals a bitter fire in their individual predaciousness whilst the bass and drums crowd, batter, and devour any remaining atom of defiance.

The wonderful sonic irritant Egelidus gnaws at every inch of the listener next, slapping beats stalking the background of the exhausting aural pestilence to soften up further the already bruised and smarting senses to an inch of their resistance. This is soon exploited by firstly the tempestuous punk frenzy of Grave Cordibus and then the furious pandemonium of Servisse, both planting greater lingering seeds to pull passions back to the album time and time again.

Closed by the emotionally charged tempest of Irrita, Centuries has provided an album that takes senses, thoughts, and emotions on a harsh, often painful, and thoroughly invigorating condemnation. With only a surface scrapping that can at times bleed tracks into each other a slight issue, Taedium Vitae is a striking and thrilling experience which burns physically and mentally whilst casting a wash of pleasure and satisfaction which marks the band as the future of hardcore.


RingMaster 05/08/2013

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Dead In The Dirt – Blind Hole

dead in the dirt cover

If you have already been exposed to the primal grindcore/hardcore force that is Dead In The Dirt through their two EPs, Void in 2010 and Fear the following year, than you are already bruised and battered by the band’s vitriolic sonic might and probably eager to stand before their debut album Blind Hole, a release offering might and hunger previously undiscovered within the band. If new to the devastation the Atlanta trio offers then hold on tight as their new full length takes you to the darkest, most violent, and vicious places possible, areas within that you probably never knew existed. It is a merciless destructor of senses and sensibilities, 22 songs within 24 minutes that chew up, spit out, and then roast with sonic fire the safety of your hopes and thoughts, let alone emotions.

Consisting of Blake Connally (guitar, vocals, lyrics), Hank Pratt (drums), and Bo Orr (bass, vocals), Dead In The Dirt return with an album, recorded with Andy Nelson (Weekend Nachos) at Bricktop Recording Studio in Chicago, that engulfs the listener in a merciless tirade of enraged socio-political lyrics and scavenging sonic acridity. From the opening torrential storm of Suffer, the album seduces and suffocates with its intensive hostility. As guitars flail away layers of skin from the senses with each sonic rub and the bass prowls like a heavy dark predator, the song fills air and ear with a melee of delicious vehemence from vocals and drums. It is a squalling sandblast of a fury which in its short presence leaves lungs gasping for breath and emotions aflame, whilst igniting deep hunger for all to follow.

The likes of the rampant seizure of the ears, The Blaring Eye and its successor the black hearted pit dredging Swelling tear down walls of sanity and hope whilst the thrilling You Bury Me arguably offers the first glimpse of a breathing space for the senses, its destructive passion and rhythmic toxicity gripped by an almost restrained groove and an acidic melodic wash. Note the word almost though as the track sears with a caustic and hungry rabidity that again only steals energy and passions.

Maybe surprisingly for an album of this size, track wise, and all of the very brief abrupt natures of their assaults, there is not a second or song which leaves you short on satisfaction wrapped provocative despoilment. Obviously some tracks will stand out for the individual but the depth and consistency of the aural pillaging and thrill of the whole album should be taken as a mighty given. Further personal highlights stirring up passions and appetite to the feistiest degrees come in the nasty shapes of the barbarically jawed No Chain, riffs and rhythms an irresistible horde led by the continually unyielding vocals, the intensively riveting The Pit Of Me where again the band fuse unexpected aspects to their turbulent scenery, and the prowling blackened doom laded Caged. The song is a sludge thick labour that expels a raptorial menace and challenge as it accelerates its intensity and ferocity.

The following incredulously addictive Starve with its pungent maelstrom of rhythms and hatred stands toe to toe with the pinnacles of the album matched by the outstanding Pitch Black Tomb, where again drums and bass cajoles violently the passions into lustful submission whilst guitars and vocals smear sonic mercury over the surrender, and the closing sludge /crust weighted Halo Crown which sucks the listener into an inescapable stranglehold of smothering ruthless fervency.

     Blind Hole is a scintillating album which will be too intensive and dangerous for many but for fans of stark callous and inciting hardcore it is an exhilarating proposition. With their album released the same time as the debut from label mates and fellow hardcore stretchers Centuries, Dead In The Dirt is helping to take the genre to new exalted heights. There may be casualties of war on their rise but every ounce of blood and sweat spilled will be worth it on the evidence of their impressive release.


RingMaster 05/08/2013

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Power Trip – Manifest Decimation

photo by Ken Penn

photo by Ken Penn

Like in those nightmares where however much you fight and try to escape you get nowhere and are stuck in front of the impending dark threat, Manifest Decimation the debut album from US metallers Power Trip is an insatiable and unrelenting predator which just keeps coming with no chance of evasion. A riff built tsunami of rapacious energy and carnivorous hunger, the album is an incessant juggernaut of force and attitude but unlike those unwanted dreams this is one consuming ravage you will want to return again and again.

Dallas-based Power Trip, create a tempest of spiteful intensity through an invigorating fusion of thrash and hardcore, their crossover maelstrom, certainly on the album, unleashed through a collection of tracks which prey and drag the senses from their perch like a pack of rabid wolves. The past five years since the release of their impressive early demo of 2008 has seen the band as hungry as their sound in gigging, with other striking releases and splits alongside.  The promo accompanying the album declared the band as ‘Channelling the old-school energy of legendary acts like Cro-Mags, Nuclear Assault and Leeway through modern thrash warfare,’ a description which tells you all you need to know about their sound though there are other references you could offer. Recorded with Arthur Rizk and Daniel Schmuck and produced, mixed, and mastered by Rizk, the Southern Lord released Manifest Decimation is eight tracks of muscular mayhem honed into a tornado of passion and aggression all thrash and hardcore/punk fans will devour greedily.

Opening with the title track, Manifest Decimation initially breeds an emerging ambience which scrubs and ignites the ear before pt-e1365797198596swooping from within its sonic midst with massive boned rhythms from drummer Chris Ulsh and equally heavily weighted slow to explode riffs from guitarists Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart stalked step by step by the intimidating bass sound of Chris Whetzel. With a demon borne spiteful cry from vocalist Riley Gale the track settles into a rabid and intense attack, energy searing the air and riffs echoing and stalking within the drum assault like cavern bone vultures. Across its destructive confrontation though there are flames combining sonic heat and melodic acid for compelling inventive shards but ultimately the implacable growl of riffs steers song and passions.

Both the following Heretic’s Fork and Conditioned To Death continue and elevate the rabid onslaught, the first with thrash intent and immovable riffs eroding the ear and beyond to again uncompromising incessancy and the second bleeding in from its predecessor through an initially steady gnaw upon its victim before firing up another furnace of thrash and hardcore voracity. In many ways to this point and through to the end the album, it is like one continuous unquenchable piece of savagery, everything flowing in their distinct ways into the next greedy bite of the listener whilst holding an umbrella of uniformal ceaseless riff driven malevolence. This means at times a little work is required to spot the unique aspects of each song but a willing effort such the might of sound and release.

As Murderer’s Row with its growl throated bass intro opens the gate for another senses plundering from riffs and rhythms, realisation dawns that the hollow trait of sound and production is to stay for every song. It provides a resonance and cavernous voice to the record which did take a while to decide upon and for personal tastes is the only thing the album maybe falls down on. To be honest there is nothing wrong with it but it does detract and remove some of the potent malnourished greed which all bestial and voracious metal needs. It does not stop this, and other tracks from nevertheless rioting until full energy is spent in submitting to their impressive demands.

The excellent Crossbreaker and Drown continue the mulish chug fest whilst final songs Power Trip, another exciting and invigorating thrash brawling, and the outstanding The Hammer of Doubt leave a legacy of need to indulge in the violence once again. The closing track, and arguably best on the album though all make a strong claim, is the most animalistic antagonistic fury on the release, its unslakable ravaging of the senses heightened to an intensity and corrosive energy which sucks air from the lungs.

Wrapped in the excellent art of Italian artist Paolo “Madman” Girardi, Manifest Decimation feeds all expectations and hopes placed before it with passion and craft making Power Trip a band set to bring an impacting mark on metal if maybe not with this release but a future one.


RingMaster 10/06/2013


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Hessian – Manégarmr


Exhausting, senses numbing, and simply plain vicious, Manégarmr the debut album from Belgian band Hessian is as toxic as it is scintillating though a tempest which has to be endured and enjoyed numerous times to feel its full wealth of rewards and riches, admittedly by that time though the ears are wasted sludge on the floor and mental capacity reduced to that of molten tar.

Consisting of guitarist Levy Seynaeve (of Amenra), drummer Tim Bryon (of The Black Heart Rebellion), vocalist Bram Coussement, and bass player Kenneth Vanhoutte, Hessian came together three years ago, their different musical backgrounds and inspirations joining for an immediate understanding, an instinctive conspiracy which roars from within their raging music and album. A well-received debut EP set things in motion soon followed by a split 7″ with Amenra, a split LP with Pale Creation on Magic Bullet Records, as well as numerous shows throughout Europe. Their recent signing with Southern Lord has laid down the perfect base for the release of Manégarmr into the world though whether it is ready for it is debatable.

The band bring the most destructive essences of sludge and black metal into a merger with just as predatory intent of punk and crust, the result a carnivorous abrasion which scores flesh and leave synapses a dysfunctional wasteland. Opener Ascension sends a sonic banshee squeal through the ear before thrusting a furious onslaught of blackened riffing and energy right after it. It is a mere appetiser though as the full force and hunger of the track explodes in a hardcore brawl fuelled attack with bass and drums chewing everything in sight in rapacious urgency and the guitars searing anything left, whilst the vocals of Coussement treats the senses to sand blaster bred violence.

It is a murderous start easily matched and at times outbid by the following likes of the scintillating venomously grooved Serpent’s Whisper with a cascade of fervid malevolence accompanying every skilled and malevolently crafted note, the savage Plague Monger, and Father Of Greed. The second of these rips a big hole in emotions with an annihilatory scythe of riffs and a down pour of rhythmic brutality before cauterising the wounds with a sonic greed and melodic acid for a painful but delicious confrontation, while the latter of the trio throws its full weight against the senses with lumbering oppressive doom cored intensity.

Allowing a little respite through the acerbic and melodically distressed instrumental Vamacara, band and album regain any lost submission through the ferocious Swallowing Nails, its fire of sonic animosity leaving a hazy aftermath of burnt consciousness and simpering compliance, and the equally vindictive Hollow Eyes, a ravenous war on the senses whose every note is a rabid predator obliterating any notion of escape or hope.

Completed by the title track and Mother Of Light, it is hard to say enjoyment played a major part in the experience such the pungent havoc unleashed but there is only a massive selfish hunger to return to its nasty arms left after the final duo of songs leave their branding. Both tracks epitomise the release and band, grievous, sonically severe, and the deliverers of undefined but intense invention, even if you have to fight through the corpses of lost brain cells and demolished senses to find the treasure.

Manégarmr is an excellent release deserving of all the acclaim it will receive. One more final warning, do not try to listen to anything else for a least a day after facing Hessian eye to ear, the ringing does stop…eventually.


RingMaster 13/05/2013


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