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Tuesday 1 November 2022

Reviews: Stake, The Gloom In The Corner, Inclination, Varials (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Stake - Love, Death And Decay (Hassle Records)

Belgian alt riffers began their life as Steak Number Eight, Brent Vanneste forming the band in tribute to his brother their four album set them on path of becoming one of the most talked about names on the heavy rock scene shifting to their current name in 2018 with their fifth album Critical Method ending the mourning period of Brent, so this constituted the name change to what it is now. However if the last few years has taught us anything death is ever present usually associated love and decay, Brent experiencing more loss in his life using it as fuel for this record as guitarist Cis Deman brings his realism to counteract his bandmates more emotional content. Together they bring the driving post, alt rock that is the darkest form that it's taken.

From the vicious F*ck My Anxiety where there's a low slung riff and plenty of shouting, to the trippier Queen In The Dirt/Ray Of Sun, which bleeds into desert rock wooziness and also tracks such as the grungy Deadlock Eyes, Stake flex their musical muscle here with a deeply emotional vein running through the 45 minutes of this album. It's deprived of joy for the most part, but there's a sense of acceptance, death of course is inevitable as is decay, but love, love can be a force for good or a measure of despair. The triad of emotions are explored by the cinematic Belgians. Name changes aside, they continue to shine with their cathartic heaviness. 8/10

The Gloom In The Corner – Trinity (Sharptone Records)

Billed as ‘conceptual metalcore’ Trinity is the latest album from Australian band The Gloom In the Corner. Fighting against the idea that concept records are just for prog and power metal bands, TGITC bring cinematic orchestrations, electronics and lots of big angsty metalcore anthems, filled with breakdowns. The storyline follows on from their debut album, the characters established there now fighting their way through “The Rabbit Hole Dimension”. The concept to the album means that they can bring in various guests to appear on this rip roaring ride through pit inducing metalcore most of them adding their vocals along with singer Mikey Arthur to bring the characters to life. 

Lauren Babic (Red Handed Denial), Monica Strut (The Last Martyr), Joe Badolato (Fit For An Autopsy), Ryo Kinoshita (Crystal Lake) and Elijah Witt (Cane Hill) are amongst those that get guest turns, their vocals picked to elevate these already expansive tracks. With so many voices here you may feel that Arthur won’t get a fair shout, however his guttural growls, roars and rapid fire delivery on Behemoth is one of the highlights of the album. Slamming between metalcore, deathcore and djent with the added symphonic elements The Gloom In The Corner come roaring back with this follow up to their debut, putting their own stamp on the concept album. 7/10 

Inclination - Unaltered Perspective (Pure Noise Records)

A hardcore album that starts with some, raw audio acoustic guitar and vocals, full of studio echo is interesting but it sets the tone of Inclination's raison d'etre. This is a raging indictment of today's society, these straight edge hardcore upstart's (they formed in 2019) have released a debut album that echoes the sounds of Minor Threat, Knocked Loose (who guitarists Peter Katter and Isaac Hale also play for), driven by vitriol for the ruling classes and developed as a way to rage. Tracks such as Bystander give you some chugging breakdowns while Without A Word is a short stab of violence, Katter and Hale's guitars doing a lot more than just bringing speedy riffs, there's a lot of atmosphere on Marooned which has metalcore/djent tendencies the chuggy rhytms of bassist Caleb Murphy grinding against the artillery barrage of Christopher Mills' drumming. 

Inclination definitely have something to say with this album, their political and personal opinions writ large on Unaltered Perspective, the title itself defiant while A Decision deals explicitly with vocalist Tyler Short's discovery of straight edge culture, though you can feel every single lyric pulsing through his savage screams. Featuring Tom Sheehan (Indecision), Ryan Savitski (One Step Coser), and Russell Bussey (Magnitude), Unaltered Perspective was recorded by Andy Nelson and sounds absolutely huge! Inclination are one of the newest names on the hardcore scene but they are going to be one of the leading lights in years to come. 7/10

Varials - Scars For You To Remember (Fearless Records)

Scars For You To Remember is the third album from so called 'metallic juggernaut' Varials. This is a record that thrives on extremity but also balance, the moments of sheer brutality counterpointed by moment of melody. A five piece consisting of Mitchell Rogers (vocals), Mike Foley (bass), James Hohenwarter (guitar), Shane Lyons (guitar), and Sean Rauchut (drums), play a brutal style of metal/deathcore with very little let up in the wave after wave of extremely aggressive riffing, screamed vocals, violent drumming and breakdowns galore. 

If you’re not a fan of this style of music then Scars For You To Remember won’t convince you, tracks such as Day 3: Revenge showing the influence of Slipknot and Wage War, the pace shifting and hardcore sound very strong though Circles brings some synthy sections. I enjoyed the sheer force of this record but the music is not usually my cup of tea, however if beatdown filled heaviness is your thing then there’s lots to like on this conceptual modern metal record record. 6/10

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