Thursday, March 28, 2013

Centuries- Broken Hymns

Year: 2013
Quality: 320kbps
1. Dead (Creation)
2. Crumble And Fall
3. Night
4. Coward (Extinction)
5. I
6. II
7. III
8. Dredge
9. Broken Hymns
10. Dusk
11. Caeruleus
12. Pessum Ire
13. Gelidus
14. Metus
Featuring four brand new tracks as well as compiling all of the bands now out of prints EP's & Splits. Sent in by the label.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Skinfather- Succession​/​Possession

Year: 2013
Quality: 320kbps
1. Succession
2. Possession
3. Execute Them All (Unleashed)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review:3 Way Split: ACXDC/Magnum Force/Sex Prisoner


Cheers to To Live A Lie Records for releasing what is most likely the most brutal 3 way split of the year: these 3 punishing powerviolence bands tear through their songs in roughly 10 minutes, with all 3 sharing a take no prisoners attitude of all go, no slow.

First up is 5 new tracks from  Antichrist Demoncore (or ACXDC for short). I've been into these guys for quite sometime and after quite a long period of inactivity it's awesome to see the band in action again. The 5 tracks they contribute fucking rip and might just be my favorite material from the band to date. It is also of note that these are most definitely the best sounding recordings I've heard from the band thus far: whoever handled the recording/production of these songs did a top notch job..

Up next is Magnum Force. I was unfamiliar with this band before this split but I've definitely got my eye on them now. Their 3 tracks are absolutely fucking crushing, and the last half of standout track "Boxed In" had me wanting to tear the walls down around me. I am most definitely looking forward to hearing more from this band in the future.

Closing out the split are 4 new songs from Sex Prisoner. I've heard some other material from this band and it sounded great, but these songs blow everything previous out of the fucking water. I would go as far to say this is my favorite side of this split, but it really is hard to choose when all the material presented is this good.

I will keep this review short and to the point just as the band's have with their material: If you are a fan of faster hardcore/powerviolence then you should consider this split an essential 2013 release. All three of these bands are at the top of their game and I can't wait to hear more from them in the future. The projected release of this split on vinyl is May 2013, so be sure to keep tabs on To Live A Lie's website for more info as it drops, and stream ACXDC's side of the split below as well.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Singing Announcement: 13th Floor Records signs Voyage In Coma!

Today is a huge day for 13th Floor Records as they announce the signing of Post-Rock/Screamo band Voyage In Coma. Hailing from Silver Springs, Voyage In Coma plays beautiful, crushing, delay and reverb-soaked emotional hardcore that makes for kick ass records, and especially kick ass shows. I actually had the pleasure of seeing these guys at the Karate Dungeon in Greensboro, NC (a basement that holds about 30 people, comfortably), and Voyage In Coma had one of the most aggressive, emotional performances I've ever seen. A big day for 13th Floor, a bigger day for Voyage In Coma, and a huge day for music!

The record will be released on a 7", late this summer, and only 500 copies will be pressed--3 different colors, for all your collecting needs. This is incredibly exciting news, and nobody is more excited than I am that this awesome band finally got picked up by a label that will do them justice! In the meantime, pick up a copy of their two previous releases on their bandcamp!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Trenchfoot - Endless Disgust

Holy, righteous Hell, boys and girls; Trenchfoot is a new band from Rockland County, NY, who put the "hard" back into "hardcore." These guys present a heavy, punishing style of hardcore metal that is reminiscent at times of Converge, other times of Young And In The Way, but always heavy, and always rad. This is the kind of album that makes you scrunch of your face, mean-mug your computer screen, and bang your head till you cough up blood.

Trenchfoot is a disgusting, flesh-eating disease but, more importantly, a killer band:

"So It Goes" - Holy Feedback, Batman. My favorite hardcore device starts out the track, followed by a discordant guitar and taunting drums, leaving the listener begging for a riff--and oh, how it comes. These boys are out for punishment, and they're not stopping until you receive it.Chaotically riffing with menacing time changes strewn wherever the hell they please, this short opener is an ode to the bands before them, but also a notice that you're about to get your ass kicked. Heed the warning, and enjoy the hell out of this album.

"Conscience Consumed" - Opening with a pummeling riff, Trenchfoot bangs on this track like they're banging on your skull: ceaselessly. Again utilizing time changes, they kept me on my toes, on the hook, continually waiting on the next hit. This track is a 55 second neck-snapper, slowing down into the sludgy end of "Hate has got me by the throat. I try to stop me, conscience consumed." Evil as hell, self-loathing, and pummeling, I'm imaginary moshing the shit out of this Starbucks patio. And you will too, to your respective coffeeshop.

"Nothing Left" - More traditional in form than the previous two songs, Trenchfoot thrashes through the first 25 seconds before plunging headfirst into the slowest, heaviest breakdown I've heard since Dead Gods' album. Never too heavy to be off-putting, this track is just what you want, when you want it... As long as that's what Trenchfoot wants. Bow down.

"Cold Sweat" - Reminiscent of early Ringworm, this grand prix-speed track ins 24 seconds of aggressive vocals, scathing riffs, and drums that could very well sound the apocalypse. Whoever did the production on this album should be a priest or pope. Or both. I'd go to that church.

"Hard Luck" - Feedback and a killer lead a la YAITW opens this crazy good track, setting up the podium for the end of the world. I can't explain in words (although, I'm usually pretty good with them) how perfectly heavy this album is. Never too much, always just enough. Another 56 seconds of rumbling bass, schizophrenic guitarwork, and manic vocals.

"Trio Of Lies" - HOLY SHIT--CAN YOU SAY SOLO? The second longest track on this album (clocking at 1:15), this banger is 30 seconds of evil sludge, followed by 20 seconds of fast, thrashy rage, and finished by a sweet-ass metal solo and feedback designed and placed so well, it makes God look sloppy.

"Mohonk Blue" - Similar to the tracks at the beginning of the album, except with a short, sludge solo at the end, this track riffs through at just over a minute and, more importantly than being another banger, sets up the closer perfectly. Heavier than hell, lonelier than Satan.

"Torn" - These goddamn drums, man. I can't get over them. Don't get me wrong, everything on this album is produced with perfect precision, but it's so rare to hear drums recorded this well, and they're used menacingly in the intro, combined with feedback, as this self-destructive track closes this beautiful album. The jump in my heart when their vocalist screamed "TORN AND TATTERED," can't be accurately recreated by anything other than being stabbed in the foot with a knife. And, fittingly, they close the album on the exact same note as they started: feedback. Love this shit.

Trenchfoot is going to blow up. Writing some of the greatest, most innovative hardcore songs I've heard since Jane Doe, they mix genres seamlessly, pummeling and destroying this wax release, and making me look bad for acting like I deserve to review it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Darkentries - Myself To You + How The End Always Is (singles)

Let me introduce you to one of your new favorite bands, boys and girls; meet Darkentries. Hailing from Columbia, SC, Darkentries plays a dark, doomy, thrashing style of hardcore and metal that rules real, real hard. If you like heavy, dark, hardcore akin to YAITW or Cursed, but also love when bands experiment with new elements, then you are in luck, my viewer. Growing in leaps and bounds from their debut, "Funeral Shoes," both of these songs are masterpieces, clocking in at almost 5 minutes each, and span the beauty and brutality of hardcore and metal. You're gonna dig it.

Palmetto State Pride:

"Myself To You" - Starting with the sounds of booted footsteps, blended with fast picking, these Columbia boys get right into it--wasting no time. Stealing the "wall of sound" from shoegaze bands, these guys are unrelentingly heavy, beginning one of the heaviest riffs I've ever heard in my goddamn life at 46 seconds, with the haunting, "You saved yourself for Sunrise." I am headbanging like an idiot in Starbucks. I can't stop. Possessed. The riff begins to mellow out at around 1:30, with terrifying singing a la Robert Smith or Swans coming in to completely throw you off guard. Perfecting the same wall of sound tactic, with immaculately-reverbed vocals, the great ambient lead in a metal song comes in at 3:00, underneath the unfulfilled, wanton vocals. And guess what they bring back at 4:32? That fucking riff. But only for 2 measures. Teased me as I began to headbang again. Kick more ass, please. Just kidding. Not possible.

"How The End Always Is" - The Swans-style vocals start this banger, but "pretty" is not a word I would ever use for them. Wide-eyed and terrified? Yeah, that would work. And the guitars and bass make sure of that, haunting the track with masturbatory riffs that scale up and down with the fret-grease of (I'm assuming) the blood of vampires and werewolves. In fact, there's no screaming at all until 2:05, when everything that's been building crashes down like the Tower of Babel, resolving into a sludgy, droning riff with distanced vocals that scream from the gates of Hell. Enter the creepiest coughing and reverb at 3:00, fastcore-style percussion, with their drummer just beating the shit out of his snare and cymbals--respectively--and this song ends with... yep. My favorite: feedback. Holy shit, that was a ride.

I'm going to say this as politely as possible, if you don't listen to Darkentries, you're not a dumb ass, you're the dumbest ass. This band rips tracks like wolverine claws and punishes their instruments like a Catholic priest. Jesus Christ, boys and girls.

Review: Gas Up Yr Hearse! - A Banner Year For The Sum Of Our Losses EP

Listen, boys and girls, I'm going to make a statement here that I mean as one of my highest compliments, and if you take it as an insult, you're an idiot and a tryhard: This band reminds me a lot of Heavy Heavy Low Low's "Hospital Bomber" days. Say what you want about that band, but if you don't recognize that "Hospital Bomber" kicked more ass than 70% of the releases of the 2000s, then you're either lying to yourself or you're lying to yourself. Alright, that being said, GUYH! plays frantic, chaotic hardcore and they rule. This EP is 5 songs clocking in at 3:11. Convinced?

Open Your Mind:

"One Hundred Years From Now I'll Be Crawling From My Tomb" - 22 seconds of dual vocals scratching and scathing over dissonant chords, with a female vocalist screaming shrill alternates to their male vocalist for an interesting combination. I really dig this a lot, I just don't really know how to describe it.

"And As Her Hand Slowly Crept Up My Spine" - The second longest song on the EP, clocking in at 48 seconds, this song is schizophrenic as hell, reminiscent of--like I've said a million times--some of the best moments on "Hospital Bomber." Dissonant Converge-esque chords, providing an aural assault, and a scaling bass that battles the guitars frets that creep up and up. Nice little breakdown at the end. "I'm awake when you're asleep. You're always sleeping."

"Haunted By The Skeleton In My Own Body" - 30 seconds exactly, this track follows suit with their efforts on this EP: a heavy, chaotic, almost unlistenable assault. I held my breath the entire time. Just kidding. My lung capacity sucks. But seriously, this song rules.

"At The End Of My Biography I'll Be Dead" - 37 seconds of the fastest riffing, the shrillest screams, and orchestrated drums. Man, their drummer doesn't get enough credit. Having to keep up with teh guitars, as well as playing syncopated rhythms. Good showcase of this band's talent.

"That's Not Where I Remember Leaving That Coffin" - Again, the intro to this track is par-for-course, but at :21, it takes an interesting course. Adding in almost--no shit--melodic chords and jazz rhythm, they stay intriguing all the way to the end. Just when I had them pegged, they changed it up.

This band plays music that I would love to be bored by, but simply can't be. Providing enough changes in time, rhythm, and sound, they kept me hooked all the way to the end. I've never understood when bands play music that can fit their entire career's work on a 7", but this particular band is doing what they want, and--regardless of your own opinion--they're doing what they're doing well. Do I think it's at the same level as "Hospital Bomber?" No. But can it be in the next 6 months? Hell yeah. They'll have written 100 more songs by then.

Review: Falter - Demo + Split w/ Milorganaut

I'm going to let you in on a little secret here, boys and girls, I usually don't like powerviolence. I know that may discredit me in some of your eyes (which it shouldn't, because that would be stupid), but it's just the truth. I love bands like Infest and Spazz, and that's cool, but I don't "get" a lot of newer powerviolence; So, when Lenny from Falter asked me to review his band, and I found out it was Powerviolence (kind of, I guess), I was bummed. However, giving every submission its fair chance, I listened to these dudes through their Demo EP and split with Milorganaut, and... I dug it. Self-loathing, possessed vocals scream on through downbeat bass and drums, and it kicks ass.

If I enjoy it, you definitely will:


"Betray" - The first song I heard by Falter, "Betray" starts off with a great floor tom beat, and builds up to the opening lines, "Every single day, I don't want to try," punctuated by heavy, grimy guitar riffs ringing out. The lyrics are dark at best, covering the complete breakdown of a man (it's always a rule in criticism to never assume the narrator is the author), and the self-destruction of his mind. A great narrative, fueled by pure self-hatred and hopelessness, that rages with the speed of Infest and the heaviness of Spazz; not quite as pummeling as Iron Lung, but very, very close. Right on.

"Desolate" - Starting off with a jammy, groovy little riff, this song quickly cuts out the bullshit and dives into fastcore, with the drums banging frantically and the guitars muddled with speed. At the end of this assault, they bring back that sweetass little riff from the beginning that left me headbobbing and mean-mugging in the middle of Starbucks. Any song that makes you act like a goddamn fool is one that is worth listening to.

"Sellout" - Despite my disinterest in most fastcore/powerviolence, it really is amazing how much music they can fit into such a small amoutn of allotted time. In 56 seconds, this song goes from Coke Bust speeds to heavy metal-influenced halftime that kicks ass. I really wish I could say more, but this song is only 56 seconds. Plus, I like leaving a little mystery for you, viewer (you're welcome).

"Deaf" - A dirty riff to start, adding crashing cymbals and parallel bass to get a wall of headbang, that's what this song is. One of the more crowd-friendly fastcore songs I've heard.

"Possessed" - ...Nevermind, this one is. Clocking in at 27 seconds, I actually thought this was the intro to "Choke" on my first runthrough of the album. However, what most bands cover in 2+ minutes of aggression, Falter covered in 27 seconds, so I give them props for that. Brutally/off-puttingly fast intro, with mind-numbing slowness to end the song. Right on, right on.

"Choke" - Starting with the ringing out that "Possessed" ended with, this song isn't much of a showcase for the guitar and bass, but a platform for the harsh, crowd-bashing, vocals that work at double time, adding in a second vocalist (like Spazz. Hell yeah. And I know that had 3. Shut up.), and spew hot oil on the ears of whoever's brave enough to step up and hear this track. You won't be let down.

Split w/ Milorganaut (only Falter's songs):

"Tension/Regression" - Turning back to fastcore, and abandoning a slow intro track, Falter rips through 30 seconds of powerviolence madness before doing a beautiful half-time part that does showcase the guitar with heavy, heavy, heavy riffs a la Infest and Spazz, and vocals that belt out on every off beat--everyone's got a part. Hell yeah.

"Carcass"- Again, these guys faked me out with a 27 second song. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... Anyway, this song is a brilliant little fast song that resolves into a groovy, self-collapsing end with the repetitive screaming of "motherfucker." Needless to say, I'm into it.

"Cave In" - At 2:00, this song is the second longest in their career, and a sampling of some of their better, more refined aspects. From the quick, speedy intro, to a slower verse to, finally, a self-immolating outro with... what? Feedback. Holy shit, dudes, I've waited 8 tracks for this! And it was well worth it! Feedback makes me smile. In the words of Aloe Blacc, "You make me smile." A citing of that was as unnecessary as me doing my reviews in a Starbucks. But, in both cases, better safe than sorry.

Hey, guess what, boys and girls? I listened to a powerviolence band and didn't get bored. Score one for Falter, and score one for me. These dudes rule very hard at a genre that I'm largely disinterested in. That should say more than this entire review.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Passengers - Where We Belong

I'm about to rock your world, boys and girls. I got the pleasure of seeing Passengers last summer with Dead In The Dirt, Torch Runner, and Eddie Brock, and they blew me away. Playing fast hardcore with elements of heavy and dark hardcore, respectively, they blend sub-genres in a way that is reminiscent of Have Heart (who they do a kick ass cover of), Converge, and they're better than your favorite band.

This is hardcore at its finest:

"Bound By Blood" - Beginning with a pleasantly dissonant riff, and fast punk drums, similar to Jane Doe-era Converge, vocalist Alissa rips into the verse with haunting, Sylvia Plath-esque lyrics, "Mother, how dare you?" Providing a more personal, literary style of lyrics than most hardcore bands out now (or ever, for that matter), Passengers rip through this song, alternating between faster, aggressive riffs and bone-shattering riffs akin to your favorite 90s hardcore bands.

"Heat Storm" - Like I said, previously, Passengers kicks immeasurable ass, and not just sonically. I think, honestly, one of the areas that shines the most is Alissa's ability to write lyrics that stray from traditional hardcore messages and themes, and even themes like relationships and hardship--that are prominent in hardcore--are dealt with in such a way that the term "cliche" or "boring" isn't even in my vocabulary. And, if you follow my reviews, you know that I get bored very easily with hardcore bands, after being in the scene for 8 years. And, yes, there's feedback in this song, so you know I'm into it. Beautifully picked bridges, similar to the best tracks on Have Heart's Songs To Scream At The Sun, scale up and down under Alissa's screams of, "Searching for myself; Searching for that feeling of winter."

"Father's Day" - I've never been so pumped for a slower, heavier riff in my life. Passengers offers us a slow, menacing bass line, accompanied by the ceaseless crashing of cymbals, providing a wall of sound while the guitars ring out and Alissa belts out one of the better narrative parts on the album. Just when they get into rhythm, the drums and guitar kick up to circle pit speeds, "It's this twitch in my face, it's a dead give away. My thoughts are never quiet." I can't explain in words the feeling I got when I heard the ending of this song the first time; immaculately timed feedback, heavy hitting drums, and Alissa yelling, "This isn't safe! No, this isn't a safe place!" Chills--for me, and for you.

"The Gold Price" - Very few bands have ever done critiques on commercialism and consumerism without being cheesy or cliche. Passengers is one of those very few bands, and thank god (whichever one you please). Like poetry, with realistic images in place of general statements, this song--the shortest on the album--rages through one minute and forty-four seconds of pure, aimed aggression. The guitars, bass, and drums work overtime to rip through the track, dueling Alissa as she spits gold venom. "We earn this living at the cost of living. This is the rest of your life. Mindless, hungry, starving, feed me."

"Where We Belong" - This intro; this is it. It's not very often that hardcore bands embrace true beauty at the sake of their "hardcore credibility," and it's even less often that bands embrace beauty without losing any credibility at all. This is controversial, but I think that, without a doubt, this song is more beautiful and effective as a hardcore song (not emotional hardcore or melodic hardcore) than any Verse or Have Heart song. There, I said it. That's all I'll say--go listen to it for yourself.

"Animal" - This is the most lyrically powerful song I've heard ever. Another controversial statement, but when you listen to it, I swear to god you'll agree. Coming from Alissa's personal experience with sexual abuse in the drunken party scene, this song is filled with more righteous anger and justified rage than 99% of songs in any genre, ever, and the music follows suit--crushing, angry, violent, pure; this song is true.

Passengers, since I saw them a year ago, has blown me away with every listen-through, and this time was no different. With pure rage, aggression, and a full harness of both instrumental proficiency and songwriting ability, Passengers is your new favorite band. Buy their album, see them live, bring them veggie burgers, and listen to them daily--it'll remind you why you loved hardcore in the first place.

Review: Kilgore Trout - The Golden Altar / The Black Hourglass

Kilgore Trout is an emotional hardcore/screamo band from Virginia, the beautiful state that I get to call my home for this time in my life. Besides being named after a Vonnegut character (if you didn't already know that, you need to read more), this band kicks an enormous amount of ass. Also, they have a female vocalist, which rules. Without further ado, let's do the damn thing.

Virginia's finest:

"Roads" - What a great start to an incredible album; Kilgore Trout kicks off "The Golden Hour / The Black Hourglass" with atmospheric, haunting picking, leading into an slow, dread-filled Orchid-esque verse that powers through a full-minute, until it collapses on itself and implodes into a bloody-fingers-fast, energetic riff, all under the scratching, raspy vocals of their vocalist, Meg. Ending this track with slow, self-destructive, clean strumming and dual vocals. Beautiful opener.

"Departure" - Ah, the almighty feedback. Coming in with fuzzy guitars, lo-fi bass, and pounding drums, Meg screams raspily, "All we needed was each other... Or maybe it was me that needed you." With a melodic riff soaking the verse, the vocals get increasingly more aggressive until the drop out--with beautiful bass interlude a la Circle Takes The Square.

"Scepter & Crown" - Embracing the more melodic side of screamo, this song delves into harmony, letting the guitars intertwine over rapid-fire snare, while the vocals bark and scratch at the melody. The last 30 seconds feature lightning-fast riffing and frantic vocals, ended with a lead riff drowned in fuzz. Nice little treat for me.

"In Tongues" - The shortest track on the album, and also, logically, the fastest. Although it is a killer track, with brilliant metal-influenced riffs that chug along head-bobbingly and dual vocals--both things that I love very much--I don't think it really does a great job of showcasing the band's talent at songwriting. But, as a short intro at a live show, I'd lose my shit, so I understand. Keep in mind, however, that this one Kilgore Trout song that I don't love is still better than 90% of your favorite band's songs.

"(I) Regression" - This track begins the three piece ending of the album. Regression begins with a dark, reverb-heavy picked section, while the bass plays subtly underneath, and the drums build until the drop out of the music and the beginning of callused vocals, screaming anxiously. This song exemplifies the newest screamo movement, doing a great service to their forefathers in Orchid and CTTS. Meg's vocals are at their most ferocious in this song, and left me short of breath--in the best way.

"(II) Dead Of Night" - A beautiful, dark, brooding instrumental, this track is reminiscent of (I mean this in the best way, so don't be an asshole, viewer) mewithoutYou's "[A-->B] Life." I honestly think anything else I say would fall short of doing this song credit, so I'm just going to let this song speak for itself. Haunting.

"(III) In/Finite" - Man, it's great to see a band that doesn't let their closer suck. In fact, it's best to see a band that doesn't frontload their albums and pulls out all the stops on the last track, and that's exactly what Kilgore Trout does. This song, taking from all of their best qualities, is schizophrenic to the core, dark as hell, and ends the album on just the note I wanted (and you, viewer, wanted).

This 7-track album from Kilgore Trout is one that explores the range of screamo, and taunts the viewer just into the realm of melody before crushing them with raspy vocals and bashing guitars. The only problem I have at all with this album is the recording quality, but with talent like them, you can bet your ass that it won't be long before Kilgore Trout releases albums ten times over the sound of this one. Overall, a nice treat from my fair state, and a killer debut. Right on, VA.

Review: Call Me A Dreamer - Progress + Dead + Self//Less

Boys and girls, boys and girls, good god. Baltimore is doing work this year! I just did the Dead Gods review, and I'm starting to see the intensity of Baltimore's work ethic. For CMAD, I'm going to review their EP from the last year, as well as their two newest singles. Playing emotional hardcore, mixed with darker, faster hardcore, CMAD has an incredibly unique sound that I've never really heard before--but am stoked to review.

Call Me A Reviewer:

"Introductions" - Starting out with ambient, delay-fringed leads and a rumbling bass, this song is a solemn ode to failed introductions, "So let's start with 'goodbye,' because I've never been one for introductions." Quippy, witty, and emotionally charged, this intro is a pleasure for someone like me who gets bored extremely quickly with most hardcore bands. After being in the scene for almost 8 years now, I've seen so much, and so it's always great to see bands like CMAD doing new things, and doing them well.

"Gillian" - Wow. What an unexpected turn. defying the logical progression of "Introductions," CMAD drops into a groove-heavy bass riff and... feedback (I swear to God, it's like these bands know exactly what I'm looking for), with their drummer punishing his floor and rack toms. All the elements combined make for a dark, enticing track. "It's all on you."

"Wasted" - A quick little banger, this track is 46 seconds of aggression, starting out with an exciting circle pit, and ending with a killer, fret-jumping breakdown. I know the word "breakdown" has been ruined by the metal scene, but this truly is a killer breakdown. Lyrics like a disappointed H2O, "One life to live, don't fuck this up."

"Nations" - Coming back to the melodic side of things, this song is an absolutely gorgeous track, and my personal favorite on the album. Anxious, raspy vocals cry out the never-ending question that we all face, "I don't know where home is. I'm always stuck between this rock and a hard place, when all I want is just to fucking fit in." The fact that this takes places over beautiful harmonics and trills, scaling leads, and almost--dare I say--twinkling guitars makes this a near-perfect melodic hardcore track. Everything I like about emotional hardcore is on this track.

"Day In//Day Out" - The most ambient, emotionally-charged song on this album, "Day In//Day Out" is an honest, introspective look at the life of the author, with lyrics like, "I hope someday you'll look and see, I'm not the man you wanted me to be," and "I've been starving myself for weeks." This song delves into the human psyche and the dark questions that most of us never ask ourselves. Props to the writer of this song for taking the time to do it.

"Dead" - Heading back to the darker and more destructive side of their music, CMAD brings us "Dead," a short, quick, Cursed-influenced track that rips, crunches, and spin-kicks you in the eye sockets as you listen to it. "The wolves, they pester me. The dark circles under my eyes grow darker, darker, darker still. No sleep. Dead." Brilliant song, short enough to fit in everything they wanted, long enough to be a badass, groovy crowd-pleaser. Hell yeah.

"Self//Less" - Distorted bass a la early-Trash Talk leads the intro, before pummeling in with the guitars and drums. Another darker song, this song borders on the edge of fastcore/powerviolence with kickass sludge breaks and lots and lots of perfectly-placed drums. You can actually hear where they blow out the monitors on the recording (which kicks ass). "There is nothing for me here. Erase Me."

Call Me A Dreamer is another showcase of the enormous talent and work ethic of Baltimore, MD, and a damn good one, at that. "Progress" shows us the bands' versatility, and "Dead" and "Self//Less" continue to pummel us while we wait for their split with Dead Gods. Awesome job, dudes. My only complaint is that "Nations" isn't a 15-minute song. But, c'est la vie. Support this band with your whole heart.


Review: Dead Gods - A Prayer For Hell

Well, boys and girls, grab your silver bullets and wooden stakes, because Maryland's very own Dead Gods have come straight from your nightmares to rip apart your virgin ears (and souls) with this debut. If you follow this blog, and my (Connor) reviews, you know that I'm a sucker for dark hardcore, and sweet, unholy Christ, ladies and gents: this is about as dark as it gets. Labeled by the infamous A389 records as "Baltimore's Sons of Evil," Dead Gods is out for blood, and you better be damn sure they're going to get yours, too.

I want to punch a hole in this Starbucks barista's face as I'm writing this:

"Fallout" - Bands, I can't say this enough: feedback is the quickest way to my heart, and once again, a band has made their way into this blackened dungeon. Dead Gods begin this aural assault with a slow death of anxious drums and maniacal feedback before plunging into an uber-heavy verse that would make any fan of The Banner or Ringworm shit their pants (I've spent $30 on underwear during this review). Taking an expected (but welcome) turn, they kick up the drums, initiating the most raucous circle pit imaginable... But only for a moment, before dropping back into a spine-crushing ender, "There is no progress, no salvation, we're better off dead."

"I.V" - "I.V" is a pleasant, if not masturbatory, instrumental that features Dead Gods at their most self-destructive: Purple Mercy-esque stoner riff solos over top of dropped, heavy bass and rhythm and ending with the most irritating (I use this as a compliment), grating feedback I've ever heard on an album. Right on.

"Baptized In Lies" - Like "Raining Blood" slowed down to Holy Terror speeds, this intro sets the mood for the track before plunging boot-first into a Birth Is Pain-era Ringworm-influenced verse, chugging along like a steam engine train, with every snare hit like a body on the rails. This is a must-love for any fan of hardcore/metal/anything.

"Jesus Loved Me All Night" - Going to be honest, boys, didn't quite vibe with this track. Musically, it's incredible. Dark, heavy, fast, everything I love; but, lyrically, I just... didn't get it. It seemed like this wasn't actually anti-Christ in nature, but almost bordered on sociopathy. If I'm off-base, please set me straight, but this track just left me a little confused. And it's probably just me. Musically though, like everything else on this album, I dug it 110%. Great, to-the-point thrasher.

"Forever Down" - This track is another certified banger, coming from the same school as Holy Terror, and with horrifying lyrics that are darker than the inside of a casket. Kick ass. Alternating with a heavy beginning, and a stoner solo ending, this is a nice journey through the Dead Gods repertoire; beautiful sampling. Now, go put on your black-out contact lenses and snap your neck headbanging.

"10:48" - A shorter track, like "Jesus Loved Me All Night," this song rips through 46 seconds of ungodly fury, with crunching guitars, well-placed, and raspy vocals belting out terror. Loved it. And you will too.

"Zero" - Like "Fallout," this song starts out with my favorites: bass and feedback over drums. Groovy, dark bass, like Trash Talk's from their self-titled album, hits the listener in the stomach over and over again until Dead Gods brings in the lead to mindlessly solo over the whole unholy orchestra. More stoner/sludge influenced than their other tracks, this is a personal favorite, reminiscent of Neurosis (one of my favorites). Enter the circle pit, menacing riffs, and nightmarish vocals, and it's over.

"VI.V" - This instrumental keeps the dark mood going, instilling dread and fear--don't you ever forget what Dead Gods just did. It's all over. You can sleep now.

"Wormtongue" - Just kidding. These dudes are about as done with you as your fat uncle is with his Budweiser six-pack; that is to say, never. A sludgy, slow ode to the dark lord, this song riffs through 2 minutes like a hot knife in vegan butter (real quick). The riff at the end just kills it, going in half time, and beating you with a crowbar of bass. "If I'm the one who's fucking selfish, why am I still here?"

"On My Way" - Like their predecessors, Dead Gods uses this last (vocal) track, as well as the proper use of their instruments, to make sure you don't forget what they came to do. In the words of Otis Driftwood from The Devil's Rejects, "I am the devil, and I came to do the devil's work." Killer track.

"VIII.V" - Just as quick as it came, it's over. Dead Gods has gone ass-rippingly through 11 tracks in just over 30 minutes. This crushing outro seals the deal for me. Love it.

"Hidden Track" - What? You think I'm going to ruin this for you? Go download it for yourself.

Living up to their name as "Baltimore's Sons of Evil," Dead Gods have presented an album here that is just as dark as your favorite band, and way, way more terrifying. Besides my one (let me repeat: ONE) qualm with one song, this is one of the better dark hardcore albums I've ever listened to. It doesn't get boring, it isn't too repetitive, and the parts that are repetitive are entirely welcome. On second thought, these guys aren't "dark hardcore," they're Evil as Hell (literally). If you don't like this band, good luck sleeping at night. Make sure you lock the deadbolt.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Music Video Premiere: Black Mask - "Surface."

Brought to us by South Florida's very own wunderkind, David Burns, this video presents the ass-ripping force of Black Mask through the lens of amusement park rides, skateboarding, and lots and lots of mosh. Check this video, share it with your friends, and go like Black Mask. Dudes kick ass.

Review: Ghost Key - Winter

I have a very special surprise for you today, boys and girls. Hailing from Peoria, Illinois, Ghost Key plays evocative, passionate, melodic hardcore in the vein of Frameworks and Oddczar. It's only been 2 months since they released this kickass EP in January of this year. Dealing with emotional and mental health, the futility and danger of religion, and the loneliness and agony of depression, this EP is a powerful one, with not one second of catharsis.

It's so cold in here, it's so quiet:

"Past.Present" - "My mind is a prison, and this is my hell." This opening line from Ghost Key is spat with rage from the dried lips of depression and hopelessness, with force and self-immolation like a burning monk. Self-agonizing lyrics are strewn over gunshot tight snare hits, drowsy guitar leads, and heavy-set bass that anchors the song in the harbor of beauty and angst. "You always said that I was weak, and I never proved that I was strong," reflecting the struggles of depression--finding motivation in nothing--and ending on the beautiful, haunting, "There's a noose hanging from the ceiling; it's the only place I've ever belonged."

"Fulfillment" - Reminiscent more of La Dispute leads (minus La Dispute crying), this song showcases delay-heavy guitar riffs, a grooving, three-note bass lead, and free-range drums that measure out the evocative lyrics, screamed from callused tongues, "Don't tell me a story about the boy who got better. Tell me a story about the one who never suffered." Although the lyrics on this track are somewhat confusing and esoteric, suffering from depression myself, I can account for how scatter-brained the lyrics may seem, simply for the sake of purity and emotion. One of the best emotional hardcore songs I've heard recently. Super impressed.

"Stones" - Starting out in sporadic bashing of cymbals and syncopated vocals, this track leads into a fuzz-drowned verse, with excellent drum tracking to offset the muddled guitar. This song, with its off-key leads, simple 4/4 drums, and thumping bass, threw me off. But, trust me, it wasn't Ghost Key's fault. After a second listen-through of this track, I got it; and by "got it," I mean that I started weeping openly in the cafe I'm sitting in. The off-key leads, the "simple" drums, and the bass that I thought at first were "boring" and "frantically off-time," were actually meant to be there. Those elements are there intentionally to showcase the vocals and heart-wrenching lyrics of the song; they are there to show the self-destructive nature of the author, through the self-destruction of the song. "If I ever learned anything, never put your faith in God, because look what he's done to you." Wow. Weep, you fuckers.

"Rewritten" - A more energetic and structured intro than the other tracks on the album, this conclusion to the EP quickly fades back to the post-rock instrumentals/raspy vocals that you've grown to love by this point on the record. Dealing with the loss of a loved, but unloving, friend. As the song wears on, the instrumentals grow more faint, more frail, weaker; and the vocals gain more ground, ripping apart the final notes of this beautiful song with, "I'm sorry it was you."

Ghost Key, unlike many other emotional hardcore bands, have created an EP without any classic pitfalls or cliches that are so commonly associated with the genre. They have honed their skills, respected their art, and it has paid off tremendously on their debut. Go see them in Chicago, go buy their merch, and download this album, or it's your loss.


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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review:Old Wounds-From Where We Came Is Where We'll Rest


After several excellent EP and 7 inch releases, New Jersey's Old Wounds is preparing to drop their debut full length on Glory Kid records and it's an impressive achievement indeed. Playing a brand of dark metallic hardcore, the band has honed their sound throughout their short existence as a band and rip through these 12 tracks with an unbelievable amount of passion and chaotic urgency. From the beginning of album opener "Shallow Water" through to the title track that closes the record, the band never strays away from a breakneck pace, as even when the band employs a much slower pace like on the crushing standout "Void" they play with such vicious energy and youthful rage that you are drawn further in as the band feeds on the very chaos it creates.  Reminding me of many great 90's bands in the best way possible, it's been quite sometime since I can recall any band really nailing this style of hardcore with such precision, as well as the utmost sincerity (congratulations goes out to the band as well for being one of the first bands in almost a decade to employ the now somewhat dreaded "chaos chords" in a way that makes me want to mosh someone to death as opposed to turn off the song). The end result is a record that simply needs to be hear by all fans of heavier metallic hardcore, and a band that reinvigorates my interest in this style of hardcore and has me looking forward to what the future holds for them, both on the road and in the studio.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Gut Feeling - Self-Titled EP

Hardcore is not dead, boys and girls, and Gut Feeling are making damn sure of that. Hailing from my home state (always a treat for me), these NC boys play fast hardcore punk with a badass, modern twist. I could write about this band all day, but I have to be consistent with my reviews, and not overstep boundaries of band worship that the 13-year old kid inside of me wants to do. Let's get to it. NC's on top.

I can feel it in my gut:

"Death By Misadventure" - Ah, the minute long song returns! And this time, it's come back with a vengeance! Fast, heavy, and menacing, Gut Feeling plows through this track with hatred and anger, refusing to settle for complacency like so many of their contemporaries. In only one minute, they drop the line that keeps the listener hooked for the rest of the EP. "Are you screaming just like me? Or have you resigned? Asleep with complacency."

"Nothing About The Brave" - Summoning the muse of bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Chain of Strength, these lyrics come from a heart set on unity, brotherhood, and comradery--all things that the hardcore scene has lost grip of, but not Gut Feeling. Through the use of measured drums, and free-form leads (even solos, hell yeah), they bring back the lost feelings that we all grew up with in the scene, encouraging a true revival of hope without being cheesy or cliche, "When the dark's closing around you, and you've got nothing to hold on to, it's the hope that survives. It's got to come from inside." Powerful lyrics from a powerful song.

"The More Things Change"- Reminiscent of bands like Sinking Ships' faster/more aggressive songs, this song, the longest song, sets out at breakneck speed and never slows down for a second. Gut Feeling has no time for dramatic breaks in their music because, plain and simple, they're on a mission. They are out to remind the hardcore community of why they got into it in the first place, and good god, they're doing a great job. All I can think of while I'm listening to this album is how I stood at the front of the stage during Within Reach and IcedxOut shows (for all you NC locals out there), and soaked up every note and every word as a 13 year old kid. My heart is beating through my chest with this one.

"Lock and Key" - The longer the EP goes on, the raspier the vocals get, and I love it. Raspy vocals kick ass, and especially with Gut Feeling--you can feel the passion, the love, the honesty in the vocals. This is no clean-cut hardcore album, boys and girls, this is raw, passionate hardcore aimed at the true fans of hardcore.  These NC boys preach a familiar message as their predecessors, but with a brand new audience to scream at, why wouldn't they? It's only necessary. "It's hard to see in a world so dark... Every chain, every cage, breaks the same... Refuse, revolt, resist." Kick ass aggression.

If you like hardcore punk, then Gut Feeling is your band. If you like passion, then Gut Feeling is your fix. If you miss the unity of the hardcore scene, then support Gut Feeling so they can restore brotherhood in your neighborhood. I have, I am, and I will. What about you?

Review: Strangers Now/Enta Split

Wow. Well, boys and girls, I'm beginning to wonder where the bad bands are. For the past two weeks or so, every band I've gotten the chance (or, should I say pleasure) to review has been absolutely incredible. In fact, I feel like a broken record sometimes, just repeatedly typing "incredible" into this small writing space that I have. And, yet again, I've been dealt a wonderful hand with this split! Coming from the always wonderful, always lovely Skeletal Lightning, this split actually marks the label's first ever vinyl release! And, boys and girls, it's a damn good one. Strangers Now plays melodic hardcore like you've always wanted to hear, and Enta writes the atmospheric, emotional hardcore (I grew up in an era where "screamo" was a death sentence, so I hate using the word) that will make you cry and sweat like your favorite band tried to do.

If you don't listen to this album, you're an idiot:

Enta "Become" - Enter melodic, clean-picked lead, layered over frail, reverb-heavy notes from the rhythm, and crisp, solid snare hits. I'm a sucker for layered guitar, and these dudes hit all the right spots. Raspy vocals, screaming hoarsely over a sonically-induced coma/heaven. Emotion bleeds from the throats of the vocalists, ripping across the delay from the lead, and crashing into the cymbals with every frantic bash. I can't remember the last time an atmospheric post-hardcore song over 5 minutes didn't bore me, but this captivated me all the way through--all 352 seconds. I was waiting on the hook of every time change, every word, sweating with anticipation. I'm sweating. Damn.

Strangers Now "One Thirty-Six A.M." - Growing up loving bands like Life Long Tragedy and Modern Life Is War, this song makes me feel all kinds of tingly. This is real, emotional hardcore that tons of bigger bands have tried to do recently, but none of them have quite nailed the emotion and pain that Strangers Now has introduced us to. More along the lines of forefathers Give Up The Ghost and American Nightmare, this track will make you love melodic/emotional hardcore again. If you like We're Down 'Til We're Underground, you're going to love this band. Actually, regardless of your musical preference, you will love this band. They're irresistible.

Enta "Ghoulish" - In an effort to show us that they can master any style of emotional hardcore, Enta uses this track to showcase a faster, more aggressive style of the sub-genre. Bringing to mind We Were Skeleton's faster songs, and even a small (but still there) Give Up The Ghost influence, this track is an absolute crier. Most bands write about emotion, but Enta makes you feel it like very few bands can nowadays. I am in love with this split, in case you couldn't tell; but, even if I wasn't, there's no denying that these two bands kick more ass than 90% of their contemporaries.

Strangers Now "The Love I Had" - With this track, Strangers Now has passed the point of tapping their GUTG influence, and has driven a pickaxe into the source of the spring. Maintaining equal parts emotion and aggression, this song is a slow death, and doesn't let the listener look away for even a moment. With complete mastery of their instruments and raspy vocals, they belt out, "You were supposed to be the one that understood me." Clearly coming from the bottom of a blackened heart, this song strikes right into the gut of the listener. You will know pain when you listen to this split.

Enta "Unchanged" - "There is no hope, there is no comfort here." After a short, fast intro, Enta plummets back into their slow, anxious verse, complete with soaring leads, a manic depressive bass, and heart-wrenching screaming. There's not much I can say about this song, without taking away from the credit that it has earned itself. This song shows us--as well as the 90% of bands that they outplay--what emotion in music sounds like; what it feels like. "Everything will be okay. We will remain unchanged."

This split, shamelessly, had me crying; weeping both tears of pain and joy. From one end, it is emotionally charged, evocative, and brings out the emotion that is hidden within all of us--the pain we've forgotten or refused to deal with. From the other end, it brings me the most joy that this split is one that actually exists, and will revitalize the stagnant emotional hardcore scene that exists all around us. This is not the "same ol' same ol'," boys and girls, this is a whole new ballgame.

Fever Dreams- As Above, So Below

Year: 2012
Quality: 320kbps
1. Shallow Skin
2. Hellhound
3. Spine
4. Cultmonger
5. Below
6. Dust
7. Last Leg
8. Put An End To Me
9. Grief Ritual

YOUWRETCH- Sympathy of Wolves

Year: 2012
Quality: 320kbps
1. Sinner
2. Three Days
3. Bottom Feeder
4. Fields
5. Cobblestone & Smoke
6. Tar Covered
7. Crows Feet
8. Sympathy of Wolves
9. Hell Followed
10. The Binding Dark

Review: Band Of Mercy - Conquest

Well, boys and girls, welcome to the arena. Band of Mercy is a vegan hardcore band [featuring ex-members of Die Young (TX)] that is so adamantly convicted of their lifestyle that they make Earth Crisis lyrics look like U2's. Band Of Mercy is not just about spreading the "good news" of Veganism, they're all about Jihad-style conversion; convert or be crushed. So, without further ado, I'm going to let the songs speak for themselves.

You must hate yourself:

"Eat To Win" - Starting off the album with Metallica's "Trapped Under Ice"-style acoustic guitar is something I would expect roughly zero bands to do nowadays. But, when the intro leads in to Motorhead-riffs, there's nothing else I can think of that would be a better intro. This song is not only a kickass ode to their thrashing forefathers, but a new breath of stylistic Veganism. Hell, they even tell you what to eat. If I wasn't already vegan, this song would scare the shit out of me, with lyrics like, "Show them a vegan like they've never seen, primed to deliver one million ass beatings!" Also, they address the classic omnivore question, and answer accordingly, "Where do I get my protein? What, are you a fuckin' idiot?" 3 Minutes of fast, thrashing hardcore. Bang your head.

"You Must Hate Yourself" - It is a fact that somewhere, right now, Lemmy from Motorhead is listening to this song and shitting himself. Aside from the killer riffs, the thought-provoking lyrics pose interesting commentary on the lifestyle of American eating. Listing through several, "normal" eating habits of modern humans, this song is a powerful mirror, reflecting the lifestyle that is slowly and surely killing us all. "I wouldn't give a fuck if you destroyed yourself, but your actions affect more than you."

"Building A Culture" - This track follows suit with their Vegan Jihad, making sure that animal cruelty is a forefront issue in everyone's mind. Raising awareness for the most incredible cause over 2:18 of scathing guitars, neck-snapping snare, and the tightest, blast from the past solo that's been in a hardcore song since the 80s. "We've come to fucking conquer!"

"Feral Nights" - The opening riff is reminiscent of Minor Threat's "Look Back And Laugh" (one of my personal favorites of ever), and is quickly followed by evocative, bone-breakingly slow and crushingly powerful verses, that proclaim an incredibly sensual message through the use of first person narrative. I mean, I think it's sexual. It would be out of place, but... Yeah, it's gotta be sexual. Which I'm pretty much all about. Right on, Band of Mercy.

"No Breed Nation" - Wow. This song is the most heartbreaking and sobering song on the album--for me, personally, at least. This song tackles the issue of Spaying/Neutering your pets, and presents an all too realistic picture of abandoned/stray animals. On top of the lyrics, the riffs continue, never too fast, but just groovy and heavy enough to convey the message of the song. Honestly, this album's lyrics are so impacting that it's actually easy to forget that there's some of the greatest hardcore punk available right now playing over it.

"Conquest" - The second longest song on the album, opening with classic, treble-heavy, punk-beat lead guitar and dual vocals. Awesome. When this song plays, I just see all the black and white pictures of hardcore shows from the 80s, with the circle pits, and aggression, and stagedives. This song and album have revitalized the style that so many of us missed in our own youth, and what we always wish we could see live. So, here it is!

"Hey Vegans!" - Kick ass bonus track! This song is personally affecting for me, being part of the vegan lifestyle. Without accidentally being cheesy as hell, I can say that the sounds of this track, as well as the sentiment, are incredibly kick ass, and refreshing for me to see. "They call us fags and terrorists, but let them say what they fucking want, 'cause they don't know who the fuck they're dealing with!"

Whether or not you live a vegan lifestyle, you should and will love this band, and pick up an album. These guys kicked this album's ass, and you better watch what you eat, or they'll kick your ass, too!

Reason To Care- Dear Liv Ivy

Year: 2010
Quality: 320kbps
1. Prologue
2. Dear Liv Ivy
3. Crystals and Glass
4. Eerie Melody
5. Chronicles
6. Dreary Fall
7. Merry Go Round
8. Gold Dust
9. My Burial
10. At Sea
11. Epilogue

Review Requests: BANDS! Get reviewed!

Alright, boys and girls, a very special time has dawned on us--the time to get your band reviewed. If you think that my reviews kick as much ass as your band, email me a copy of your latest work, a few pictures, and a nice message. That's all it takes. I (Connor) am in the business of helping great bands get the credit they deserve, and get the spotlight they've worked for. So, PLEASE, if you're in a higher publicity band, please contact out other writers. I'm sure they'd love the chance to do a write up on your new Deathwish/Bridge 9/Topshelf release! Not me, though. (except Shai Hulud, of course. I'll write reviews for Shai Hulud any damn day of any damn month).

Email me at:

Have a kick ass day. And be on the lookout for a sweet BAND OF MERCY review soon!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: Callow - Disappear Here

Alright, boys and girls, prepare yourselves. Today, I'm bringing you one of Boston's most talented acts (right alongside Aviator, of course), Callow. These dudes play emotional hardcore with a beautifully strained, powerfully meek delivery. Mixing in subtle elements of heavier, darker bands like Cursed and even the Godfathers themselves (Converge), the final outcome of "Disappear Here" is one to be remembered; but, I won't spoil it for you, just yet. This album is going to be pressed on cassette by It's A Trap! Records, very, very soon!

How can hardcore be dead, if Callow's forever?

"Awake" - The sweetest, fuzziest chords start the song, with (incredibly well-produced) drums punctuating the wall of sound swiftly and elegantly, all rolling over a sullen spoken word piece that flawlessly sets up the mood for the rest of the album. "I need to disappear, I need to escape."

"Light" - At the end of the "Awake," dissonant chords signal the "beginning of the end," so to speak. And that end dread is conveyed fully in "Light." Fast and raw punk chords ring out muddled, undercutting the painstaking, throat-closing screams, "The walls I saw were white. Where was the light?" Reverb-heavy vocals finish the song with the haunting image, "There was nothing bright enough to shine me a path, so I broke down and found my own."
"Glass Eyes/Broken Home" - This song is a schizophrenic, mind-numbing journey through the evocative past of the album's narrator, and leaves the listener with the familiar sense of dread, let down, and heartbreak. Then it's over... only to begin again as the second part of this song overcompensates for the chaos of the first, structured and burning, "You never gave me the chance."

"Convict Code" - The most catchy and riff-heavy song on the album, this track is most reminiscent of Cursed's "One" and Covnerge's "Jane Doe" albums. Frantic drums, self-mutilating and masturbatory vocals, and bloody-fingertip riffs that overtake the listener--most likely before moving onto a flock of pigs that fling themselves over a cliff. (See: The Bible... Or don't.) Again, this is the darkest, most intense song I've heard from a dark hardcore band in awhile. And I don't mean in a cheesy, "frightening" way; I mean in a pupil-dilating, silent scream, "oh-my-god-I'll-never-be-ok-again" way. "Tomorrow never showed its face."
"Understudies" - Ok, I may have been wrong, before. Because, boys and girls, this song is going to be the one that keeps you up at night, not because you don't want to sleep, but because you can't stop thinking about your own existence. The most heartfelt, realistic song about contemplating suicide and wishing for self-destruction that I've ever heard in my life. I stopped the track at the end to soak it in, and really meditate it (something I haven't done since I tried to find God through mewithoutYou's "[A-->B] Life." Editor's note: Didn't!) But regardless, this song is hauntingly beautiful, and terrifying in a way that I haven't known bands to possess since... ever.

"Disappear Here" - This instrumental track is not wasted, boys and girls, and there's nothing "filler" about this song. All the beauty of the first part of the song--the clean, constructed riffs, and somber melody--is thrown out with the bathwater in the second part. Adding in distorted guitars, and incredible, booming bass, and those same, kickass drums, the last 2 minutes of this song is the most self-destructive riff I've heard since Trash Talk's "Revelation." (Say what you want about Trash Talk's self-titled album, but that song ruled for what it was.) 

"Asleep" - Clocking in at almost 5 full minutes, this song was a pure treat for me. Hitting all the spots I love, from the Jane Doe influence, to the more melodic, Give Up The Ghost stylings, this track is a masterpiece of modern hardcore. Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, if this is the future of hardcore, then hardcore can stay forever. Beautiful, crushing, beautiful. Guilt, anxiety; my eyes were wide open for the entire track. Ending the album on a hopeful note was a turn that I did not see coming, but it's rather refreshing than the usual "fuck, kill myself, eat shit, suicide, girls, suicide, ironic line/pun, eat more shit" layout of most emotional hardcore bands. "I'm afraid of the future, yet so satisfied to know that we can continue to breathe. We will never let go."

All that being said, this album is a roller coaster, both manically depressed and manically depressing, this album is emotive, evocative, and perfectly on the border between healthy apathy and mind-draining suicidal thoughts. Beautifully structured, composed, and orchestrated; this isn't quite an album to weep to, but it's one that deserves to be laid next to you, while you lay awake at night, wondering how your life got to the point it's at. Enjoy the rest of your night.