With so much excellent new music being released every week, it can be difficult to keep abreast of absolutely everything deserving of review. However, in the interest of giving as many artists as possible a fair crack of the whip, we have Under The Radar; a monthly roundup highlighting a handful of releases that may pass you by.
For this month’s edition of Under The Radar, we look at new releases Grievance, Nocturne Wulf, The Butcher Sisters, Inhuman Nature, Kilonova, Cold Curse, Hard Mind, Vonnis, and The Gloom In the Corner.
Grievance – Nothing Stays the Same
From the opening notes of ‘Nothing Stays the Same’, it’s clear that Dundee’s Grievance pride themselves on their concrete-laden hardness. Tightly constructed grooves elicit a volatile response within listeners, as the group balance the rabid aggression in frontman Dylan Flood’s rage in the face of betrayal with relentless energy. Breakdowns in this opener and ‘Wither’ are also hulking slabs of downtempo carnage, which contrasts from the more frantic dissonance heavy tones of the title track
Much of ‘Nothing Stays the Same’ is an outlet for untethered rage and adrenaline, but that fury also contains deep feelings of regret and insecurity, much of which reveals itself in Flood’s memoir-esque lyrics. “I know that my family are worried, they’re always asking me so persistent about me growing ever more distant”, he laments on ‘Wither’. ‘The End’ is a particularly poignant moment of the EP as Flood’s cries of “I have always been a coward, but now there’s nowhere left to run,” ring over melancholic guitar leads, ending the EP on a sobering note. While this EP would be satisfying enough on its more hardy moments, which always translate in a live setting, it’s those more tender moments that give Grievance an authenticity that’s sometimes amiss in contemporary deathcore groups. ‘Nothing Stays the Same’ is far from the finished package, but the foundations to become a world-beating group are certainly demonstrated in these four tracks. (AD)
‘Nothing Stays the Same’ by Grievance is out now.
Nocturne Wulf – NW
At two minutes to midnight, Glasgow’s Nocturne Wulf received revelations from the four horsemen of the rock apocalypse to seek and destroy the metal militia and bring down the angel of death. As the latest heavy metal gunslingers in town, the five-piece were summoned by the Druid to ride the Chariots of Fennris into Hell’s Heart and slay the Necrodancer. And by the grace of the horned one himself, on their debut album, with their mighty catalogue of riffs and tales of beasts, demons and hellfire, that is precisely what they do!
From the opening drama of ‘Come Hell or High Water’ through to the pummelling finale of the ludicrously titled ‘Troll Hunter’, NW delivery a veritable festival of heavy metal in all its resplendent glory. We get battering riffs, smoking solos, screamed vocals and lyrics like “With the spike of an iron-clad thunder fist/ his beast arises from the mist”. Sure, they roll out every cliche in the heavy metal play book and there is more than a nod in the direction of their heroes, but it is basically brilliant and supremely good fun. The solo on ‘Necrodancer’ is face melting, ‘The Druid’ is an instant epic metal classic and ‘The Wolf’ simply pulsates with menace; every track delivered with the panache it deserves. Superb! (EL)
‘Nocturne Wulf’ by Nocturne Wulf is out now.
The Butcher Sisters – Alpha & Opfah
The Butcher Sisters are a party band through and through. Their third album, ‘Alpha & Opfah’ , delivers the kind of metalcore complemented by fifteen Jagerbombs and a love for the swing and no-fucks-given attitude of early 00s nu-metal and hip-hop fused into a groovy cocktail of obnoxious swagger and undisputed bangers. What’s most striking is the extreme confidence and bravado with which they carry these songs. There are not many bands who could lead a gang vocal chant of “Ooh, gorilla man” and make it sound threatening, but the Mannheim six-piece do it with straight-faced aggression that makes ‘Banana’ an even harder piece of rap-metal glory than it’s armour-plated riffs suggest.
The tongue-in-cheek nature of ‘Alpha and Opfah’ is going to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many genre purists but you’d imagine the thought of the old guard frothing at the mouth towards TBS’s Hatebreed-meets-Limp Bizkit-meets 50 Cent’s ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ concoction will make the band grin with glee. Featuring a fully German set of lyrics, some of ‘Alpha & Opfah’s’ humour will be lost on a UK audience, but the bounce-heavy musicianship and hip-hop synth-laden production speaks for itself and tells you The Butcher Sisters ain’t nothin ta fuck with. (AD)
‘Alpha & Opfah’ by The Butcher Sisters is out now on Bleeding Nose Records.
Inhuman Nature – Inhuman Nature
London’s Inhuman Nature base their sound on a central meeting point of hardcore and metal, akin to predecessors in Leeway and Integrity. But in the case of their self-titled debut, their glorification of classic metal tropes forms a deliberately large aspect of their mentality. It’s in the Conan the Barbarian-esque artwork, the heaps of Slayer worship that’s so present in the high adrenaline solos of ‘Carnivorous Lunar Activities’ and the half-pace prowl at the end of ‘Satan’s Claws’. Plus there’s plenty of high pitched howls reminiscent of Power Trip’s Riley Gale.
Unlike some thrash revival records out there, Inhuman Nature have trimmed all the fat to give listeners the most vital bursts of energy across this 28-minute run, and it works to stunning effect, with tracks like ‘Forgotten Tomb’ providing a haywire dose of punchy two-step rhythm. Fans of the classic thrash sound will revel in Inhuman Nature’s homage to the elder statesman of the genre, while there’s also plenty of catchy hooks and mid-tempo grooving to attract a hardcore audience to their style as well. In time, they’ll probably become subject of countless debates of what genre and group they belong to, but regardless of what else you’re into, this record is like a sonic petrol bomb explosion. (AD)
‘Inhuman Nature’ by Inhuman Nature is out now on Injustice Records.
Kilonova – Omnicide EP
‘Omnicide’ is the debut effort from newcomers Kilonova, a metal four-piece out of Newcastle Upon Tyne. They combine an aggressive thrash approach with a more modern feel to deliver a heavy blend of hard-hitting riffs, underscored by pummeling rhythms and breakneck bass runs. They have only been together for around a year so there is a lot of room for development, but there are some classy moments on this first bunch of songs to hit the ether.
‘Descent’ opens with 40 seconds of sinister atmospherics and blasts of machine-gun riffing, before segueing into the full-blooded fury of ‘Straight to Hell’. With an attacking thrash groove and guttural vocal from Ellen Hill, it makes for a high-octane introduction to the newcomers, rubber-stamped by the punchy ‘Hang the Hangman’, which follows in equally frantic style. The acoustic intro and slower groove of ‘Own Enemy’ mix things up a little, but it is a little disjointed and less effective than when they have their foot on the gas. The raging finale ‘Ivory Tower’, with its slightly punky feel, is also a little clumsy but enjoyable enough. Sandwiched in between is the six-minute epic ‘Blood in The Water’, which combines all they have to offer; Hill showing vocal versatility while the riffs come thick and fast and they experiment with their direction. There is definite potential on display from the newcomers, and with a little more songwriting experience, they should define their direction better on their next release. (EL)
‘Omnicide’ EP by Kilonova is out now.
Cold Curse – Violent Measure EP
California hardcore/death metal quartet Cold Curse have been slogging their way up and down the freeways of their home state for nigh on six years, recently sharing the bill with Momentum and having previously graced the stage with big hitters like Code Orange. However, ‘Violent Measure’ is only their second release but features a heavy death metal influence over a punchy hardcore template. The whole thing ways in at less than ten minutes, but the four tracks on offer are certainly hard-hitting.
‘Clandestine’, kicks off with guitars to burn the house down and a deathly guttural vocal to accompany the full-on powerfully pulsating rhythm attack. ‘By The Sword’ follows with a more sinister doom-laden feel, before kicking into a relentlessly attacking frenzy designed to set mosh pits ablaze; they also drop in some classy time changes to temper the assault, hitting the spot in style. ‘Burning’, is more uptempo mosh fuel, it’s slightly more hardcore lean giving it that fast car spinning out of control feel, but it is damn heavy and perfect for a sweaty club packed to the rafters. ‘Destroyer of My Enemy’ closes the EP with a short sharp burst of pummeling death metal, they drop in a chugging end-section though to sign off leaving the listener hungry for more. Great little record, heavy as fuck with just the right amount of fury. (EL)
‘Violent Measure’ EP by Cold Curse is out now on Creator-Destructor Records.
Hard Mind – Corrupted Souls
Boasting a massive sounding production and tight-knit rhythm section, French quintet Hard Mind deliver the kind of performance where riffs aren’t so much being played as they are being shunted directly into your face with the force of a freight train hitting the buffers at full speed. But the songwriting is far from being a trainwreck. Debut album ‘Corrupted Souls’ revolves lyrically around religious greed, police brutality and social unrest in a nation rife with political division and Yellow Vest movements echoing the Revolution of 1848. One can imagine when playing to a home crowd a lot of the topics hit close to home and incite mass sing-alongs.
If they don’t get people moving infectiously the concrete grooves found on the title track and ‘Class War’ resembling Terror and the heavier end of Stick To Your Guns will make the whole venue stage dive. At 23 minutes, ‘Corrupted Souls’ is another record that’s here for a good time, not a long time and closer ‘Face the Truth’ admittedly ends the record on an abrupt note, but as a first record, it’s going to leave listeners lusting for more dense metallic hardcore from Hard Mind. Either way, there’s more than enough muscle on the tracks we have for it to batter you over and over again. (AD)
‘Corrupted Souls’ by Hard Mind is out now on FWH Records.
Vonnis – Bikini Season
Belgian noisecore quartet Vonnis label themselves as a cult. The dirgy underground-dwelling misery found on their debut full-length ‘Bikini Season’ is a way of life to them that expands beyond their music, and the chaos found on these twelve tracks influences their live shows, living state and encompasses the fans that listen to them as well.
Mashing together influences from black metal, hardcore and noise, Vonnis quickly prove their chaotic intent on opener ‘Into the Hive’, as it’s rusty production showcases buzzsaw guitar riffs and scrappy vocals which build in pace before the last third of the song becomes a sonic warzone, an attitude present on the title track and the unrelenting 40 minute battle charge ‘Doppelganger’ which continues into ‘Love Letters Never Sent’ featuring rapper O.P.W to stunning effect. Their aim is not just to disorient listeners though. Lead guitar patterns on ‘Ojos Brilliantes’ and closer ‘H(A)unters’ are layered with grandiose soundscapes of humming melodies, creating a surprisingly graceful texture which contrasts from the nail-biting chaos surrounding the rest of the song’s fury. But as it fades out and the guitars continue their ambient swelling, it reveals a more sensitive, vulnerable characteristic trapped behind a veneer of raw brutality. ‘Bikini Season’ ultimately thrives on its unpredictability, and there’s no doubt many listeners will find it all a bit too weird to get a full grasp around. But this is why Vonnis are a cult, and if you can handle the chaos and curveballs they throw across these 33 minutes, maybe they’ll let you inside. (AD)
‘Bikini Season’ by Vonnis is out now on Hypertension Records.
The Gloom In the Corner – Flesh & Bones
Get ready to jump, you absolute freaks, because every note of Melbourne’s The Gloom In the Corner’s mini-album ‘Flesh & Bone’ is a powder keg of explosive metalcore ecstacy. Delivered on scattery time signatures, rousing choral passages, and power drill breakdowns, each moment has you on the edge of your seat begging to hear each following riff.
Up to this point, The Gloom in the Corner’s work has based itself around continuing storylines within the lyrics of their debut album ‘Fear Me’, single ‘Villain’ and subsequent EP ‘Homecoming’. ‘Flesh & Bone’ is told from the point of view of murderous detective Sherlock Bones, and contains details of fighting cannibalistic demons, and becoming possessed by a Satanic cult to murder his wife among other unpleasantries. The bloody recklessness is complemented by the panic-inducing frenecity of the musicianship, while the sadness of the loss of friends and loved ones in Bones’ life is spectacularly charted in the melodic passages of ‘Peace’ and ‘D.I.M.A.’. Fans of early Motionless In White’s narrative lyric approach who like their metalcore with more technical madness will fall in love with The Gloom In the Corner and the full story arc carried across their albums. And even if concept albums aren’t your thing, the musical intensity of ‘Flesh & Bone’ is delivered with such ferocity that it more than speaks for itself. But the full package of what TGITC stand for puts them in the highest league of newly developed talent on the Australian heavy scene. (AD)
‘Flesh & Bone’ by The Gloom In the Corner is out now.