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Wednesday 6 November 2019

Reviews: Sorxe, Bednja, Dark Valley, Bare Knuckle Messiahs (Paul S, Liam, Matt & Steve)

Sorxe: The Ark Burner (Prosthetic Records) [Paul Scoble]

Sorxe are a trio of noisy bastards from Phoenix, Arizona. The Ark Burner is the bands third album, it is preceded by 2014’s Surrounded By Shadows and 2017’s Matter And Void. The album gets underway with the track Dependance Day, a track that works by juxtaposing huge, hardcorey sludge with much quieter, brooding sections. The more restrained part of the song sounds a little bit Alt-rock, and this works so well to make the huge and heavy feel even heavier. The final section of heavy and aggressive has a bit of a psychedelic sense to it. Exiled opens with a clean riff and vocals, drums are added to drive the track along, until a huge slow guitar riff crashes in and the track becomes the hugest piece of sludge i’ve heard in a long time. The vocals are now very aggressive and angry. As the track moves along it increases in intensity and gets more and more hardcore.

Full Transaction opens in a slow, dark and brooding way, the track has a minimal, tightly controlled feeling to it. This controlled feeling is smashed to pieces as we get a huge aggressive section before going back minimal, brooding and filled with menace till the end. Wondering If I Exist has a very long slow build, when it does get going the track is a mix of heavy but relaxed sections and much quieter, minimalist sections. The heavy parts feel fairly psychedelic, with interesting sci-fi noises from keyboards (I assume, could be an actual theremin). A Negative Exorcism also has the same sort of psychedelia as we met on the previous track. The opening is quiet and soft but with lots of weird noises and some sort of organ. After a couple of minutes we get a crushingly huge riff, that is slow but massively aggressive. After this the track goes back to being softer, dissonant and sci-fi.

The album is brought to an end by the sprawling monster that is the title track. The track starts soft, but quickly brings in an alt-rock riff, which is less heavy than a lot of the album, but drives the track along beautifully. The song has a section near the end of the first third that is reminiscent of early Black Sabbath, before the song goes back to quiet and introspective. The track has some of those weird sci-fi noises throughout, which feels nicely psychedelic. After the soft and brooding, comes the huge and heavy again. This time it’s tempered with some psychedelic touched. The track increases in aggression, and dissonance till an aggressive and nasty finish.

The Ark Burner is a great piece of hardcorey, psychedelic sludge. The album is huge but simple, even though the tracks are long, most of them only have two or three mood to them. However, this is not a bad thing, in fact, it’s the secret of why the album works so well, the riffs change and mutate throughout the songs, so it’s never boring, but you always know what the dominant feel will be. It’s an album that you will enjoy more and more, the more you listen to it, it grows on you in a very pleasing way. I’ve really enjoyed listening to it, and would encourage you to check it out. 9/10

Bednja: Doline Su Ostale Iza Nas (Transcending Obscurity Records) [Liam True]

Black Metal as a whole is an interesting genre. You have the many sub-genres and the different styles of experimentation to see how far it can go. Bednja on the other hand, experiment with the genre, but not in the usual way. It starts off as a seemingly standard BM record. The gruelling demon vocals of both Nikola Å arkanji & Ivan Milković blend with both Hardcore passion and BM brutality. The buzz saw guitar tone is front and centre, sounding just like Silencer in the process. The electric blend of both Hardcore and BM may be controversial but it works absolute wonders as both styles bounce off each other and emit a wave of atmospheric bliss. Then we get to the interesting execution of the experimentation. Half way through songs and even the beginning, they take a detour, a small section sounding a but like a Radiohead instrumental. You need to hear it too believe it, but it’s so unexpected that it actually works so well. If you’re not a fan of BM like myself, this is a perfect gateway album into the genre, and life of BM. 8/10

Dark Valley: S/T (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

Hailing from the heartland of Wales (Caerphilly) Dark Valley are grunge/alternative rock band who blend classic rock sounds with a punk snarl. Their self titled debut album opens with Same Distance From The Sun which is built around Feeder-like power chords and has an explosive solo. Now this is clearly a D.I.Y recording as the production/mix is a little thin but don't let that put you off, as the songs are quite well written especially 11 and Who's Laughing Now? Pt 1 & 2 the issue I have though are the vocals which are quite weak, detracting a little from the rest of the songs. As a self released debut album this is a solid, effort though as I said earlier in the review it does have some problems. 6/10

Bare Knuckle Messiahs: That Which Preys On The Dead (Diafol Records) [Steve Haines]

I don’t know when you discovered a love for rock music. For me, I was about 14 but please, bear with me in the following long-winded analogy but it DOES have a point and will give you a feel for what the experience of listening to this album felt like for me. Imagine a 12 year old kid. He got a guitar last Christmas and knows a few chords. He decides to form a band with his mates – two musicians and an elastic band twanger drafted in on the bass. They can’t quite pull off the more complicated covers of Metallica, Maiden and the like. But they try. They’ve also discovered a love for the new world of expletives – swearing IS big and it IS bloody clever. They pen some basic songs – what they lack in art, they make up for with F Bombs.

Inexplicably, they cobble together an album – ladies and gentlemen, I give you a basic idea of this execrable album from the Bare Knuckle Messiahs (made up of former Tigertailz members fronted by Kim Hooker). Musically, it’s inoffensive but vastly uninspired and lyrically, it’s swearing for the sake of swearing – like South Park: The Musical but WAY less entertaining. This is of course, only my opinion, but it’s a decent chunk of time that I’m never getting back. As you may be able to tell, I wasn’t particularly impressed and, in the favoured vernacular of the band, it was fucking shite. 3/10

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