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Wednesday 3 March 2021

Reviews: The Hyena Kill, Inerrant, Messiahvore, Ungraven/Slomatics (Reviews By Matt Bladen & Paul Hutchings)

The Hyena Kill - A Disconnect (APF Records) [Matt Bladen]

Four piece The Hyena Kill come from Manchester and their music perfectly encapsulates the mood of a nation. A Disconnect is beautiful and bleak record full of introspective atmospherics (Mire), huge thundering riffs and a very pronounced emotional power that runs throughout. According to vocalist/guitarist Steve Dobb the record was written after a very low point in his life. This feeling of suffocation and claustrophobia has translated into powerfully resonant album that is catharsis for its writer but also for the listener. Much of this release come from the extensive use of quiet/loud dynamics throughout the band wearing their Deftones, Tool and Nirvana influences on their sleeves. The Tool sound coming on the pulsating Passive Disconnect while Cauterised has a subdued rage to it that Chino Moreno and co have always been very fond of. Dobb as a vocalist is one who can really cut to the bone, impassioned and raw his lyrics are so much more affecting because of it, Witness is a key example of this. 

Since their previous record The Hyena Kill have fleshed out their ranks with Charlie Seisay's throbbing bass playing the anchor for founding member Lorna Blundell's expansive drumming that flashes like a bomb and shifts into breathing space for Dobbs vocals but also his guitar playing as he links in with Sam Jones, who also brings the synths. This makes for a much broader, dynamic soundscape on the album. However with these additional musicians now in place this four piece are louder and more vicious but where the record really hits home is on the acoustic Thin a song that gets under your skin after only a few listens as does the dreamy Glass SceneA Disconnect as a whole takes a few listens to fully develop, but after a few listens it it really digs in when the electronic elements are brought forward it really creeps its way into your psyche even more, as I've said before final song Mire is a perfect example of this. Affecting and brilliantly realised The Hyena Kill have definitely become a much more impressive prospect on A Disconnect, bringing a freedom through music. 9/10

Inerrant - Undividual (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

Cardiff based ragers Inerrant are a little unique as a band formed as a way to dispel lockdown boredom their first album Incarceraging was a politically charged, attitude filled mix of punk, hardcore, metal and all manner of guitar based anger thrown together by some of the most experienced names on the South Wales/South West/UK underground scene. However proving it wasn't a one off the band have returned with not only another full length called Undividual but also a covers EP called Around The Furlough which features their take on Nirvana, Deftones, Nailbomb, Dog Eat Dog and Strife and is well worth a spin (I missed out reviewing it because I'm an idiot). So to the second full length and once again it's a rabid, unflinching record, clad once again in a wonderful artwork from baphometsbrother (check him out on Instagram). 

Paul Fortescue's visceral vocal delivery the major force on the recordings, once again making me miss his often terrifying live performances. The hardcore/punk sound is more prevalent on this album than the previous one but with a tough metal sheen. Marc Real's bass is often lost in the turmoil but is always there kicking you in the guts while Lewis Green's drumming sets a breathless pace on Mind Pollution and the propulsive Close Incognito. Guitarists Gareth Rowley and James Britton peel off riffs on Cash Killa and the riffy Lactic Assets. As with the first record there are a plethora of guests with Ben Duffin Jones (ex Shaped By Fate and Chaos Trigger), Ben Woosnam (Hondo MacLean), Paul Davies (Blowgoat) and Earl Christian (ex Captain Accident) all adding their musical talents. Inerrant are turning into a band that instill an feeling of anticipation especially when they drop recordings seemingly at random. Get on the bandwagon now I say. 8/10 

Messiahvore - Messiahvore (Coffin & Bolt Records) [Paul Hutchings]

If Messiahvore’s music could be described by footwear, then their debut self-titled album would be a size 12 Doc Marten boot. The Denver outfit who formed in 2018 lace together lashings of groove and solid chugging metal in one massive stomp which penetrates the psyche quickly, demanding that you pump your fist and jump around the room. Although a relatively new band, the combined sum of the parts has been playing the scene for years. It shows in an assured and addictive album. Plenty of variety underpinned by a driving groove that permeates and hangs in the listening equipment long after the song has finished. The punishingly addictive Doublecross is but one example of the compelling nature of the band’s work.

Slow, heavy passages sit side by side semi-desert rock that demands the attention. There’s more than a splash of the drive of bands like Hogjaw and Texas Hippie Coalition. The massive Blood And Guts is heavier than a blue whale carrying a bag of anvils, with its massive gargantuan riffs hitting every sweet spot. Drawing from influences as diverse as Sabbath, punk and death metal there’s ample to enjoy on this slabdragger of an album and not a copycat move in sight. Recorded in their own “crash pad” in Denver during the pandemic, Messiahvore is a solid and pulsating 35-minute ride that threatens to suffocate with its power. The band even have the cheek to throw in a five-minute spine crushing instrumental, The Last Word, to close this powerful album. Well worth a listen. 8/10

Ungraven/Slomatics – Split EP (Blackbow Records) [Paul Hutchings]

2019 saw me experience some welcome cerebral vibrations when I spent time with Slomatics album Canyon. It was an experience that resonated deeply. The Belfast outfit are back, teaming up with the punishing tone and riff of Ungraven, who share three tracks each on this release from UK label Blackbow Records. Ungraven formed in 2019 and comprise Conan frontman Jon Davis, Fudge Tunnel bassist David Ryley and drummer Tyler Hodges (Tuskar). Two of the tracks were initially written by Davis whilst on tour in Virginia using a drum machine with Defeat The Object crafted with Hodges during rehearsals before their 2020 tour. 

Davis is happy to acknowledge the industrial behemoths Ministry, Godflesh, Nailbomb and the thrash of Sepultura in the three tracks. All three songs Defeat The ObjectOnwards She Rides To A Certain Death and Blackened Gates Of Eternity are huge. Walls of mighty riffs, Davis’s instantly recognisable screaming vocals and a heaviness that defies description stampede from the speakers. If your stack holds, you’re lucky. The assault is brutal, blistering and over in 13 minutes. You’ll experience few more intense moments in your whole life than that first encounter with Ungraven. The epic sludge of Slomatics has been pounding the underground since 2004. With six albums and several split Eps the band play the type of music used to level housing projects. 

The reverb, low end and harrowing delivery all combine to enormous effect. Their opening song KaƤn pulses slowly, like a barely believing eye on a giant beast. The riffs are glacial in their speed but also in their heaviness. Rising above the tsunami of sonic assault, drummer Marty adds mournful vocals that echo and resonate. Proto Hag slowly lumbers in a fuzzy stupor, before the seven-minute beast that is Monitors slowly edges out to conclude another masterful release from a band dedicated to the heaviest of riffs. Turn this mother up, close the eyes and be transported away. It’s a trip to savour. 8/10

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