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Sunday 14 July 2019

Reviews: No One Knows What The Dead Think, Murderbird, Earthbound Machine, He Is Legend (Rich, Paul H & Matt)

No One Knows What The Dead Think: S/T (Willowtip) [Rich Oliver]

No One Knows What The Dead Think is the new band from The Discordance Axis duo vocalist Jon Chang and guitarist Rob Marton who are also joined by drummer Kyosuke Nakano and what we have is a short but sweet album of dissonant and discordant grindcore with a twisting maze of furious riffage, intense blastbeats and screams so intense that it sounds like Jon Chang might turn himself inside out. Like most grindcore this is a short and sharp but sweet release with ten songs that hurtle by in a dizzying blur.

 There are some damn complicated riffs and melodies going on throughout this release along with a few atmospheric moments but on the whole this is like having razor-blades shooting through your earholes. No One Knows What The Dead Think is an enjoyable piece of grind that a mixes technicality and ferocity into a finely tuned package. It is not wholly memorable but through the sheer intensity of it there’s probably plenty that passed me by on my listens. Fans who miss The Discordance Axis should definitely get their mitts on this upon release. 7/10

Murderbird: Pillars Of Creation (Self Released) [Paul Hutchings]

A pleasingly heavy yet melodic soaked release, Pillars Of Creation is 64 minutes of crafted hard rock from the band who originate from Stockholm. Clean vocals are saccharine coated but not to the point of sickness, the guitar work is focused and crisp, whilst the band hold everything tightly together with a neat rhythm section. There are elements of melodic and progressive rock, thrash metal and good old standard heavy metal wrapped up in this interesting and enjoyable release. Single Shining Star is a pacey, melody drenched tune, thumping bass lines driving the music forward with Tobias Ekholm’s vocals reminiscent of the early delivery of Claudio Sanchez of Coheed And Cambria. Smooth harmonies add greatly to the general feel of the album. 

Mr & Mrs Prejudice is a moody rocker, some tight riffs adding grit. Inferno sits centre album, and is the inevitable acoustic intro number, allowing a pause in the thunder that is erupting all around before a crushing riff kicks in and the track explodes into one of the heavier and certainly more epic tracks on the album. Murderbird sit closer to the melodic rock side of the fence but this album contains plenty of moments of fire and passion. Sometimes it’s refreshing to listen to something a little more mainstream, and that is no disrespect to Murderbird who have a genuine quality. Whether they can enter an already saturated market I’m not convinced, but Pillars Of Creation provides a solid foundation for the band to move forward. 7/10

Earthbound Machine: Destined For The Grave (Final Sunlight Records) [Matt Bladen]

Filthy doom is the order of the day for Helsinki four piece Earthbound Machine, Destined For The Grave is their debut full length following in on from two previous EP's. As soon as the first low, slow chord of Figures In A Terrain crashes out of your speaker you can immediately identify that Earthbound Machine are a doom band, the instrumental section of this band play crushing monolithian riffs that drag their knuckles across the concrete, though occasionally there is widdly, often reverb drenched lead break to move away from the down-tuned monotonous riffing.

Much like those original doomsters of the 70's Earthbound Machine, they rely on clean vocals rather than the more modern style of harsh shouts. There is of course an influence of Sabbath, but also Candlemass and Electric Wizard due to the sonic disorientation created by Rallies In Rage and the more ambient passages of Man In The Attic. These songs are not immediate, there are no four minute 'bangers' here they all build to a thundering sound of a stampede in slow motion. As we are all Destined For The Grave in the end what better soundtrack to get you there and prepare you for it than Earthbound Machine. 7/10

He Is Legend: White Bat (Spinefarm) [Paul Hutchings]

Formed back in the late 1990s, He is Legend are American hard rock from Wilmington, North California. Their name is adapted from the 1954 book I Am Legend written by Richard Matheson. Throughout their two decades as a band, they have experienced several line-up changes but have always maintained a core trio of vocalist Schuylar Groom, guitarist Adam Tanbouz and bassist Matt Williams. Latest recruit Jesse Shelley joined in 2016 although he didn’t feature on the band’s fifth album, Few which was crowd funded in 2017. White Bat is a ballsy, robust and rowdy 11 track release which doesn’t provide many surprises but is all the same a confident and polished album with a necessary swagger. The title track is a rampant aggressive piece of work and Burn All Your Rock Records adds a post-punk slant to the album. There are elements of The Foo Fighters amongst many others in the mix. This is American hard rock from a band who clearly have history, experience and confidence on their side. With a cult following certainly in the US, this latest album is likely to be welcomed with open arms. 6/10

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