Thursday 24 April 2014

Various Artists - Distortion And Dissonance

'Distortion And Dissonance'
Various Artists

Review by Jerry Kahale (1-10) and Brayden Bagnall (11-17)

Genre/s: Mathcore, Dark Hardcore, Grindcore, Screamo, Metalcore
For Fans Of: Distortion and/or dissonance 

Instead of reviewing one band we are going to review the 17 Australian and NZ bands on this compilation from Art As Catharsis all in somewhat bite size reviews that I hope don't jump around too much in contextual tone. Now some of the bands have already been featured on this fine and dandy blog and for those we will still provide a review anyway and then have a link to the original post right afterwards. So without further ado lets start at the first band and if you are a regular visitor you should fully know who these chaps are...p.s we do not apologise if you get offended at the number of made up genres we create here. 

IDYLLS - Animal Test
Fuck it, I'm going to be straight forward and unprofessional, I think Prayer For Terrene is AOTY material. Only four months into 2014 and already this is one of the most ferocious, absurd and sadistic releases that has ever graced ears. This is a living nightmare captured on record (or mp3 for now) and this one song doesn't do it justice. Seriously it doesn't. Not only has it broke the already high standard that Farewell All Joy established, it has also opened to experimentation and forays into other styles and genres all without losing its core characteristics that defined IDYLLS from the rest. I expected this album to knock it out of the park but it just knocked it out of the fucking hemisphere.  You can download the whole album right now on their bandcamp for $5 so shut the fuck up and give your chump change in exchange for what, in my humble opinion, is bloody brilliant music.
 If you haven't read their interview on this blog then stop doing what you are doing and go read it and then come back here. 

Totally Unicorn - Guts
These guys need little introduction, especially if you reside down under and like music with distorted guitar and a bit of yelling, but for everyone else Totally Unicorn create outrageous, eccentric and mostly sensual heavy post-hardcore specifically for unleashing you and your dad's inner magical animal all for the sake of partying. Guts is as unpredictable as the band's live antics. Its oddball style of partycore are viciously catchy and quite danceable before the quirky time signature changes pulls the rug from under your feet as a reminder that its their party and what they say goes. The final passage of the song is pretty much the party reaching tipping point and crashing in a rambunctious yet glorious manner. Its fun for the whole family. 

Snakes Get Bad Press - No Secret
Ready or not, SGBP unleashes their own brand of negative mathgrind fury right off the bat with little to fault here. Its not often that a band comes along and their most heaviest instrument is the vocals, full of character with a captivating temperament that has a vigorous, emotional and weighted dynamic, like as if he is at this moment in your room yelling right in front of your face. Lets not retract from the rest of the music though for it all rips, blasts and outright smashes its way through with pinpoint precision and a surplus of juicy licks to boot.

Tanned Christ - Provider
You can just feel those opening notes dripping from your speakers, but not in a smooth and sweet honey sort of way, but rather a watch out its going to start hailing sort of way. That's probably the best metaphor i can abuse to describe Tanned Christ, an ongoing hailstorm, which carrying on from that metaphor, hail being ice and ice being clear, the color of the guitar timbre here are so pristine and cold, similar to early Agents Of Abhorrence or even Discordance Axis where the norm of using chunky distortion isn't utilised. Hey, do those vocals sound familiar? They should because it is infact Drew from Totally Unicorn fame in "party at the back but business in the front" mode. Tanned Christ is actually, for lack of a better word, a supergroup with members from both equally gloomy and doomy Making and Narrow Lands (they deserve a review on their own too) but this ain't brooding music here, its constantly and indiscriminately destructive and not even your umbrella is going to save you here.

Jxckxlz - The Madman Is Me
They used to be called Jackals but vowels are for weaklings. Jxckxlz is a sludge/math influenced metalcore band with members that either play or used to play in Kill A Celebrity, Adrift For Days, Lo! and Snakes Get Bad Press. Unlike most bands so far Jackals traverse into more atmospheric endeavors instead of short bursts, flowing and weaving through the motions of chaos, nihilism and reflection manifested by both their maturity and their experience. Besides their well encased craftsmanship is a story told through an autumn state of fury and madness that is expressed from the catharsis of every note, rhythm and roar pulled off so diligently that it surpasses being just a Botch or Gaza worship band, which many have done but with not as much patience or artistry as this.

Their debut Dronepunk was reviewed here before so click on these words to suss it out.

Gvrlls - The Death Of A Bridge
That hum of chromatic and dissonant guitar wailing is a good indication that this is going to be pretty mean and scary. Gvrlls combines essential mathcore with a post hardcore foundation with just a pinch of modern metal sensibilities, particularly the menacing vocals which are really reminiscent of Darkest Hour. It does seem to overrall have a little more accessibility and familiarity unlike other bands on this compilation but it makes it all the more welcoming to their brand of angsty post-math-metalcore and its no doubt a worthy addition here.

ACHE - Sorry...
As an antithesis to bands with metallic tones like Tanned Christ, ACHE is not only one of the most heaviest and robust bands on this compilation but its also one of the most appropriate usage of a seven string guitar, and by appropriate I mean actually playing chords on those oversized guitars in an unbelievable act of using kinetic force to move the hand across the neck and applying pressure from your fingers onto the strings alongside the fretboard to create and play other chords besides the dreaded open chord, but I digress, ACHE is what happens when you forge the full fledged barrage of crust punk with the intensity of screamo and you get a refreshing yet outright devastating and melancholic display of scrrrustmo punk (sorry) to come out in a long time. There may not be a whole lot of complexity and odd time signatures happening here compared to other bands but sometimes less says a lot more, and with the hoard of weeping guitars and brutal but heartfelt vocals it is certainly the case here. 

Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt - Within
Ever come across a band that is exactly what everyone says about their so called superiors or influences except its even more true? Or rather, FGWMWS>DEP. I know, big call, definetly egging on for a shitfight and believe me I love DEP as much as the next mathematician but when a band that has probably has 1/100 of DEP's fanbase create deliciously articulately catchy music thats less bombastic, more grounded and yet full of impossible riffs and rhythm jumping all over the scale/offbeats all which is orchestrated by an intelligent gentleman going postal, settles for just a moment before it strides into an uproarious plight of misplaced glee and madness that sucks us all in to sing along to a choir more contagious than, well, the entirety of Ire Works, then I am prepared for any shitfights to come.

In Trenches - An Impending Collapse
I have to admit I felt like this band has fallen off the radar and I wasn't too sure if they were still around or not. Turns out they are still kicking it and just as well because this is a fine slab of rage that is certain to ignite even the most apathetic crowd. A bit more Rise And Fall/Cursed sludge hardcore influence than from the rest of the pack, its has an abundance of terrific riffs and plenty of variety and progression throughout the track with a good handful of mosh-friendly moments that doesn't overstay its welcome or seem out of place. Don't let the fact that this has one of the ex-members of I Killed The Prom Queen (that could have changed though its been a while) deter you from skipping this track, you'd be mad to do so.

Thorax - Shit Chute To Oblivion
Something a little different, which for this compilation is saying quite a bit. First off being the first band with a female vocalist present on this compilation, which brings a unique yet fitting shade of raw and fierce energy to lead on this peculiar style of mid paced psychedelic hardcore, yes it does seem to be a thing. Half vintage doom rock and hald rough as guts hardcore with a lot of infectious groovy parts in between some quite spacious moments scattered in and out which makes for a lot of interesting guitarwork to traverse around the pummeling drums. Its the longest track on this entire compilation but its also a track that stands out with its unique juxtapose of different heavy music styles.

Régresser - A Black Cloud
Régresser are a band from Newcastle, so naturally you can assume the band is comprised entirely of surfers. Hobbies aside, régresser play party friendly hardcore, tinged with the sort of mathy noise rock Daughters were peddling prior to their untimely demise. Inventive song writing complimented nicely by diverse vocals and some impressive musicianship all round. Not bad for a bunch of surfers.

FVCK MOUNTAIN - The Guilty Thirty Eight
FVCK MOUNTAIN actually have a really hard to pronounce name (though it's an excellent Arrested Development reference - JK), so to keep things simple, just pronounce it like 'fuck'. Anyway, these Brisbanites play some mighty mean hardcore, coated in the crusty, sludgy goodness that Cursed was bringing to the table back in the day. Neat, downtuned tunes for the Deathwish Inc. generation. Did I mention they're from Brisbane? I'm from Brisbane too. There ya go.

(Edit: the Arrested Development reference went way over my head. For shame)

Parents - Dissent
Parents are the worst kind of Australians - they're New Zealanders. Despite the questionable citizenship status, the mathcore influenced skrimz these guys play is both refreshing and sonically jarring. While it's definitely throwing back to the genre genre's heyday in the 90s, Parents play their music with a technical ferocity and poilished sheen that sets them aside from the rest of the screamo revivalists. If you like your chaotic music offset with the odd post-rock/hardcore interlude and aren't afraid of a few odd tempos here and there, give Parents a look. 

Graves - Insect
Graves are New Zealanders too, and like Parents, I think it'd be totally okay if Australia appropriated them and raised them as their own (like any other NZ musician, really). Graves, however, are more concerned with utterly annihilating your ear cavity and punching any notion of melody or refrain in its stupid little stomach. It's full throttle metalcore, a la early 2000s Converge, with an emphasis on brevity and dissonance. Short, sweet and loud. 

Marathon - In Shadows
Another Brisbane band that deserves way more attention than they get is Marathon. One of the few bands that can pull of 'noodly' without infuriating me, Marathon's music is a maelstrom of furious riffage, imbued with emotion and decorated very nicely with gnarly, throat shredding vocals. Modern screamo done right. I should also mention they've just put out a new full length, so you should probably go look at that

Ritual Harm - When Day Fades to Night and Push Becomes Shove
And now for something a little different. Imagine emotional hardcore run through the grim styling of death metal, crust and just a smidgeon of black metal, and you'll have a pretty good indication of what Ritual Harm sound like. It's absolutely pummeling stuff that kinda sounds like it belongs on A389 with Full Of Hell. Interesting factoid: I've seen these guys live, and they play in the dark - with candles! How cool is that.

Machina Genova - Courtaud
And you thought the most exciting thing in Canberra was the roundabouts, tsk tsk. I've seen a lot of praise heaped on Machina Genova in the past 12 months, and you know what - they kinda deserve it. These dudes play some of the most caustic stuff to ever come out of Australia, let alone it's second most boring city (you suck Adelaide). This is metallic hardcore at it's frantic, chaotic  best - I can basically see the guys in the band frothing at the mouth when they play it. Blistering tunes that you should check out as soon as you've finished reading this review.

So there you have it. Now go download it. We know how much you like free music.

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