August has been a ridiculous month for new music. I’ve barely reviewed what I’ve wanted to review but that hasn’t stopped me from listening to a load of kick ass metal!
Metalmance Top 3 Releases from August
I keep saying it each month but bloody hell choosing my list for Album of the Year is going to be extremely difficult if this pedigree of top notch metal continues. Here are my top albums of the past 31 days…
LEECHED – You Took The Sun When You Left. Release date: 24 August.
This is utter filth. LEECHED sound like NAILS if they got in a fight with TRAPPED THEM and CURSED. Their balls are as big as the riffs on the record. Like the album title suggests this is a very dark piece of work. You won’t want to listen to this if you need cheering up. Songs such as By The Factories, Guilt and the title track absolutely decimate the senses and crush all hope. A Mouth Full Of Dirt is a hardcore delight in the same vein as HARM’S WAY. This is an incredibly brutal debut album, it’s no wonder they’ve been snapped up by Prosthetic Records and were invited to Tech Fest this year. I’ve found I have to listen to You Took The Sun When You Left with a light on to retain any sense of positivity I may still have. Absolutely devastating, and this is just the beginning.
EXOCRINE – Molten Giant. Release date: 13 August.
You may remember last month I reviewed this terrific album and was singing its praises. I was anticipating the reaction it would get from fellow fans and death metal enthusiasts. Let’s just say Molten Giant has been a massive hit in death metal circles. It’s an amazing feat of glorious progressive death metal, but so many songs on here are so memorable such as Scorched Human Society, Hayato and Flamewalkers, that fans have been saying EXOCRINE have achieved getting their songs stuck in their heads. Is this an example of CATCHY death metal? One thing’s for sure, their riffs are hella catchy too. If I’m still frequently listening to an album a month after I’ve reviewed it then that usually means it’s really struck a chord with me! I think Molten Giant is only going to manifest further with time, give it a few more months and it may very well creep up my album of the year list.
JESUS PIECE – Only Self. Release date: 24 August.
There seems to be a growing trend of ‘mucky hardcore’ bands as I like to call them, from CODE ORANGE and NO ZODIAC to newer bands such as VEIN (there’s a lot of hype about them isn’t there) and LEECHED, but you can add JESUS PIECE to that list now. This debut album is absolutely outrageous. Workhorse has a fantastic pace to it, Curse of the Serpent sounds like if CODE ORANGE listened to more powerviolence, and Adamant sounds like reeeaaaally old school EIGHTEEN VISIONS. The rage, the passion, the aggression just pours out of Only Self, it is an utterly compelling debut. Just imagine what venom they will spit out in the next release. Powerful stuff.
On the playlist…
Some choice pickings of other releases I’ve been enjoying this month.
HOMELANDS – Hurt People Hurt People EP. Release date: 18 May 2018.
There is definitely something in the water in Norfolk, what with all these promising bands emerging from the rump of the British Isles and all. HOMELANDS is such a band and their debut EP Hurt People Hurt People is so full of grit and determination it’s no wonder I keep seeing them name dropped by other local bands and groups further afield. It’s hard to figure out who HOMELANDS can be likened to; they have the contemporary energy of OUR HOLLOW, OUR HOME and COUNTERPARTS yet there is something really old school about their approach that in some songs such as Pleas, there is an air of I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN about them. However, they still have a lot of work to do before they reach this level. The foundations are there and they clearly have the drive and potential, I’m just hoping they’ll gain the confidence to really go for it with their next release. It’s clear from listening to tracks like Growing Pains and Humble Beginnings that they’re borrowing from their influences, but my main wish is for guitarist/clean vocalist James Clayton to really belt out his cleans and get them up in the mix. I don’t approve adding clean vocals in choruses just for the sake of it but Clayton isn’t half bad and the dynamic with main vocalist Nathan Locke is a strong one. HOMELANDS are still at a very early stage in their career, it would be good to see them take more risks to set the band apart from the rest.
THE VILIFICATION – The World Owes You Nothing EP. Release date: 30 March 2018.
Ontario band THE VILIFICATION are a bit of a mixed bag. They brand themselves as progressive/technical metal yet a load of other influences and styles are chucked into the pot. The prog tech influences are there with the chaos of SIKTH and the ambition of PERIPHERY, but what stands out for me is the emotive hardcore vocals. There’s me expecting some gruff vocals and flawless cleans but instead we’re confronted with Ben Tranter’s raw and passionate screams. It’s quite a distinctive combination. Tracks like Shuffling and Through Iron Sights have the obvious SIKTH riffs but some elements remind me of Suicide Season-era BRING ME THE HORIZON; that kind of edgy, in your face aggression. A Vicarious Life is an awesome finale for the EP, all the components of THE VILIFICATION come to the fore and the vocals are stellar. This is a very exciting EP and I’m really hoping when they do release a full length that it’s going to push boundaries and blow everyone away.
It ain’t metal, but I like it…
My little section to non-metal bands I’ve been listening to this month.
TRUEHEIGHTS – Days We Found EP. Release date: 6 April 2018.
To be fair, TRUEHEIGHTS are musically heavy enough to be featured in Metalmance in their own right but I wanted to differentiate them from the ‘pure’ metal in this roundup, as TRUEHEIGHTS are probably one of the most exciting emerging UK rock acts in recent years. What I find so exciting about them is they harness the energy of forgotten bands such as CANTERBURY and ATTACK! ATTACK! (the Welsh one, not the crabcore one) while bringing British rock kicking and screaming into 2018 with their intelligent approach. Yes, the vocals are good but the accompaniment backs it up perfectly for a fully encompassing sound which fills the stereo. First track Exit Route is a hark back to these bands but Catalyst is more like FORT HOPE with its slower and melodic pace. The band channel their inner GASLIGHT ANTHEM and FUTURES in No Tomorrow for an irresistible pop anthem. I haven’t felt this optimistic about a rising British rock act since YOU ME AT SIX and TWIN ATLANTIC, and look at where those bands are now. There is a magic and a colour about TRUEHEIGHTS that makes them unforgettable. They’re already rocking the radio and topping independent charts, who knows what true heights (sorry, not sorry) the band can reach.