Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quick Reviews: Les Gants, Coke Bust, Twitching Tongues

The Challenge
by Les Gants
Excursion Records

Hailing from Seattle, WA, Les Gants features guitar and bass work by Aaron Edge (Hauler, Iamthethorn, etc), drums by Rob Lovell, and vocal duties by Greg Bennick (Trial, Between Earth & Sky). The Challenge is a 5 song EP of fast, driving, and raw hardcore reminiscent of bands like Lords or early Black Cross, but with a heavier emphasis on punk elements. Les Gants aren't exactly what most fans would expect when stacked up with the band's members current and former projects, but that's part of what makes this outing so catchy and memorable. It's gritty and intelligent punk rock with an unrelenting fury.

A Fair Fight

Les Gants @ Facebook
by Coke Bust
Grave Mistake Records

Following up 2009's Lines in the Sand, Washington DC's Coke Bust returns with their brand of pummeling and grinding hardcore. While Degradation isn't a far cry from the band's previous material, it has grown and matured noticeably enough. The songs still have a heavy fastcore and poweviolence influence, but riffs have become more interesting, and rhythms swing & crush with ease. Coke Bust have found a stellar middle ground between the constant, aural assault of songs like Another Fucking Problem and Keep Out, and follow it up with the trudging, crawling attack of songs like Deathbed and No Authority to keep the EP refreshing and heavy.

Keep Out

Coke Bust @ Myspace
Insane & Inhumane
by Twitching Tongues
Photobooth Records

For their first official release, California's Twitching Tongues offers up their own take on metallic, rock-influenced hardcore in the same vein as Only Living Witness. Although Insane & Inhumane has been toted as being reminiscent of bands like Type O Negative and Life of Agony, its interesting guitar work and clean vocal delivery has heavier nods towards OLW's Prone Mortal Form than anything. Much like Pegasus, Twitching Tongues may borrow heavily from the bands who have influenced them, but their creativity and incorporation of melody keeps the material satisfying and from being dated.

Voluntary Confinement

Twitching Tongues @ Myspace

Friday, February 11, 2011

Featured: Wreck

In the last year or so several Washington-based hardcore bands have emerged and found their respective niches, picking up popularity by word of mouth, sheer talent, and an uncompromising musical drive. Whether it be because of bands like Power, Oblivion, Owen Hart, Ill Intent, Sixes, White Wards, or Sojourner, the latter half of 2009 and whole of 2010 has been one hell of an impressive and diverse showcase of the Northwest's hardcore, punk, and metal communities. However, one band's sound that has stuck with me the most is Tacoma's Wreck.

Wreck features current's and ex's of a handful of regional groups (Rebuilt, Cool Runnings), playing a breed of NYHC-influenced hardcore; incorporating grungy, harsh, and dissonant metallic overtones reminiscent of bands like Only Living Witness, Urban Discipline era Biohazard, No Warning, and Trapped Under Ice. The material has a distinct groove and bounce, but is offset by crushing & melodic guitar work, thick bass tone, and throaty vocal delivery.

They may not be the easiest band to pin down, but that's a huge part of what keeps Wreck's music interesting and easy to return to. Follow the link below to check out their 2010 Demo and 2 tracks from their upcoming EP Reap What You Sow.

Download (RAR File):
Demo + Two

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quick Reviews: Dead Weight, Venia, Cursebreaker

The Age of I
by Dead Weight
Mind Melt Enterprises

Based out of Seattle and featuring former and current members of such bands as Champion, Sinking Ships, and Sojourner; Dead Weight presents their debut demo The Age of I. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes in length, Dead Weight delivers 5 songs of stout and punchy hardcore with a distinct mid-late 80's NYHC flavor. Although tracks like The Age of I, Wolf, and Get Real are reminiscent of and comparable to the likes of Sick of it All, Alone in a Crowd, and Straight Ahead, Dead Weight does an amiable job of keeping the material fresh, interesting, and confrontational. The Age of I was recently limitedly released on cassette via Mind Melt Ent.

I've Lost All Faith In Myself
by Venia
Blood & Ink Records

Following up their 2009 release of Frozen Hands, Minnesota's Venia returns with the punishing & heavy EP I've Lost All Faith in Myself. Although it may not be a huge departure from Frozen Hands, I've Lost... shows the band progressing past simple and somewhat formulaic hardcore to incorporate crunchy, off-time rhythms and catchy lead guitar work. While tracks like Crux and Numbers Game have legitimately crushing parts, backed with thrashing metallic guitar work and a fresh vocal delivery, the remainder of the 5 song EP tends to lull and feel somewhat dated & redundant. I've Lost... may not be the strongest it could be throughout its runtime, but it's still a promising look into Venia's future material.

The Black Banners
by Cursebreaker
Independent Release

Cursebreaker are a band based out Portland, OR and yet another group embracing the dark, crust-influenced hardcore sound which has become so popular in the last few years. Presenting The Black Banners, Cursebreaker offers up 8 fresh and catchy songs of driving hardcore reminiscent of bands like Lewd Acts, Pressvre, and All Teeth, with plenty of dirty and moody d-beat & punk rock overtones to bring it all together. Cursebreaker have made an honest and sincere effort, but at times The Black Banners feels like it lacks a sense of musical direction. Decide for yourself by heading over to their Bandcamp for a full album stream & download.

Born of Night

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quick Reviews: Energy, A Better Hope Foundation, Such Gold

Walk Into the Fire
by Energy
Bridge Nine Records

Following up their 2008 release Invasions of the Mind, Massachusetts' Energy returns with a 3 song EP in the form of Walk into the Fire. Although not a far cry from its predecessor, Walk into the Fire takes a new direction with previously unexplored melodies and songwriting; incorporating elements of goth & pop rock and keyboard-heavy & symphonic harmonies with their predisposed blend of melodic hardcore & post-punk. Unfortunately much of the EP's experimentation & over-polished production saps the release of most of, if not all of its drive and energy. By no means are these songs not catchy, but personally, there's just little to interest me here.

Let's Get Away
You Can Never Go Home Again
by A Better Hope Foundation
Independent Release

Based out of southern California, built upon sincerity & dissonant hardcore riffing, and conditioned by relentless touring & diy ethics, A Better Hope Foundation returns with their new 4 song EP, You Can Never Go Home Again. With a sound that lies somewhere between the likes of Modern Life is War, Defeater, and Sinking Ships, the EP is a melodic and cathartic release full of heavy, depressive attack and disillusioned themes. While there may be plenty of bands trying their hand's at "epic" hardcore lately, tracks like Below the Salt and City Laments are perfect examples of why A Better Hope Foundation are head and shoulders above the rest.

City Laments
by Such Gold
6131 Records

Blurring the lines between melodic hardcore and pop-punk, Rochester, New York's Such Gold presents Pedestals; a 6 track CDEP of upbeat and punchy hardcore attack heavily reminiscent of bands like the Movielife and early Set Your Goals. More often than not this kind of band passes under my radar, but that's not to say Pedestals isn't a quality and catchy listen. With poppy bass & guitar work, and tracks like Sycamore and the Brass Tax, the EP is a constant barrage of energetic and driving pop-punk rhythms and melody. Unfortunately Such Gold are playing a genre of music that has been - for better or worse - run into the ground; however don't let that deter you from giving this release chance.

The Brass Tax

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


As always, Deadhorse is slow but not dead. And as always, I appreciate any bands & labels for the interest, and I am getting to your reviews as time allows.

For readers, I apologize for the lack of updates, but have featured music and reviews coming up. Until then, if you feel like reading something, head over to my record blog: