Saturday, September 30, 2017

Defiant Until The End

With the release of "Defiant Until The End", the band Devour put Belgian Metalcore back on the map. One of their predecessors Kindred have set the standard high and were amongst the originators of the Limburg Straight-edge. This band relit the torch and carry the light further through these dark times in Hardcore. Proudly and full of conviction they created this beast of an album to remain until the end. Belgian Metalcore lives and is just given another milestone record for the vast discography of classics created over the past decades.

Here are my random findings after listening to the entire album three times.
  1. Defiant Until The End: The first song sets the tone, the environmental challenges we are facing have not lessened over the years but have only grown. The drums and guitars are perfectly aligned to open this album up in a triumphant way.
  2. Vultures: this song creates several atmospheres, sometimes the new york style and on other moments a more emotional sound.
  3. Arrogance: musically this is one of the best songs in my opinion. The riffs are played harmonically by the individual instruments, yet there's individual creativity enough to make it sound filled enough. The spiral of the cover comes to mind, the riffs are like a gully dragging us down but the entire delivery adds strength and power enough not to drown.
  4. Poor Hearts Will Bleed: this song reminds me of Kindred the most, especially in the part where there is spoken word. Not only this but also the beginning sounds like a far away echo of the music created during the 90's in Belgium.
  5. My Apocalypse: the beginning is All Out War worship and is later followed with a Cro-Mags-meets-Slayer riff and ends in a more abstract way.
  6. Barriers:
  7. X On My Hands: the old school die hard Straight-Edge song. 
  8. Anticipation: Towards the end we get an awesome guitar solo that later gets accompanied by a series of breakdowns that also end it.
  9. Abolished:
  10. Extreme Dichotomy: The intro to this song is well written, the main riff hits heavily and the short outro is perfect as well.
  11. Evolution: 
  12. Devoured: Is one of the vocalist's better songs, fast flowing words in the beginning, harsh scream and spoken lines. The two guitars are totally different is this song. The one guitar plays more melodic and sounds darker. While the other plays distorted, with more violent flashes and you can hear the steel squealing. So the last guitar becomes more at the front. The rhythm section by the drummer is great as well.
There are two points of criticism also. Music can be more varied in my opinion, more experimenting with different styles of Metal and Hardcore could make this more diverse. The main line in all of the lyrics is an apocalyptic world view. This theme returns several times, so song texts could be more diverse also or more pointing towards how solving all this... More positive insights are needed.
You can listen to it at the Devour Bandcamp website.

This record was released by Ugly And Proud Records and is pressed on black (/105) and red (/194). The vinyl changes colour when held in strong light. Instead of red it becomes marbled fuchsia. You can still buy it from the label in their webstore.

Conclusion is that Devour has blended classical Metalcore from the past into an outstanding album. Bands like All Out War, (early) Firestone, Earth Crisis and more come to mind. So, if you are in need of renewed Metalcore, this might be what you wanted for a long time...

Monday, September 25, 2017

Snapcase "Lookinglasself" LP

Snapcase is one of the bands that belong to the collective memory of those who lived through the nineties, so mine also. But that doesn't mean I have checked them out. Now that the debut LP, called "Lookinglasself" was repressed for record store day in April this year and somehow my local distro unearthed some of the more limited copies I decided to give it a go.

Their sound is rather unique in the Hardcore landscape. To me they sound like Nirvana made heavier. Like a Hardcore band that added the harmonic playfulness of grunge into their song writing. The lyrical content explores the inner self and reaches out to the psychological side of man. Also more philosophical topics are touched. Existence, emotions, relations, life and agony are all closely observed and described by the lyrics writer.

orange vinyl record store day
Snapcase "Lookinglasself" LP out 210 copies on solid orange
As you can see the cover suits the lyrical content. It looks like life gets drained out of the person kneeling down on the ground. The colourfulness of the figure resembles the diversity of persons around that can experience gravity in life. But that is merely my interpretation.

band photo on back cover and the record store day release sticker
Victory Records pressed this for the first time in 1993. They were a band from Buffalo New York. And most of the tracks were recorded by Don Fury Studios in NYC.

Conclusion is that this is not a bad record at all, surprising and refreshing, pushing the boundaries of what is Hardcore music. Layout and colour scheme also nice.

This repress for record store day also exists on more common solid blue vinyl and rumour is that there is a limited black out of 80 copies also.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Naysayer "Nation Of Greed"

A couple of vinyl records that I had picked up in the States about a month ago but didn't manage to post yet. Both records were made to sell at This Is Hardcore festival. These are two of the same records but with a different sleeve. The one was made by the band to sell and the other was made by the label to sell. So this explains the two covers for the same release and festival.

The one beneath is the band version. It has a fragment of the Agnostic Front "Cause For Alarm" album cover on it. You can see were the title letters are being photoshopped away, not that professional and looks like a quick job.

Naysayer "Nation Of Greed" TIHC 2016 band cover

number #13/30 with red ink stamp
 The other cover, done by the label, also gives a quick made impression. The live shot on the back cover was taken on the stage and is cool though.

Naysayer "Nation Of Greed" TIHC 2016 label made edition

As far as I know these 5 versions, should be it.

Naysayer "Nation Of Greed" collection

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Titan & Witness The Fall Band Press

Past weekend I was contacted by a long time reader of this blog. He told me he appreciated the work I have delivered over the past years. He also told he liked the articles and texts I write about the Belgian 90's Hardcore scene the most. The Reaper Records stuff is less appreciated, but that is a general trend in Belgium, also for him. I appreciated the feedback and him writing me. We talked also about bands like Congress, Length Of Time, Liar and Arkangel. We both know the bands from our teenage years, so we could relate.

Another reason that he contacted me was to ask if I wanted to buy a record of the band he plays in. It was a great proposal, since I had contemplated buying this record before. The record I am talking about is the band pressing of the Titan and Witness The Fall 7 inch on Bound By Modern Age Records. There are only 21 copies made!

Titan / Witness The Fall split 7 inch friends and band edition

silk screened cover with glitter finish
I have to say the cover looks amazing with the three colours and the glitter finish. Not easy displaying the glitter finish on a photograph. I succeeded in doing it but the image is not as cool as in reality. Since I have already bought two regular versions of this record through the Bound By Modern Age webstore I now have three versions and need to get the black cover and be satisfied once again.

No need to say that Titan is the band he plays in. He also got me the demo CD-r of them. It has two songs on it and is a must get, as it sounds different than the songs on this latest release. Earlier work so less refined and perfected but purer and more raw. I like that but can support their progression also.

Check out the Titan bandcamp page to listen to some of their songs.