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Friday 29 September 2023

Reviews: Nervosa, FIlth Is Eternal, Stepmother, Maggot Heart (Reviews By Matt Bladen, GC, RIch Piva & Paul Scoble)

Nervosa - Jailbreak (Napalm Records) [Matt Bladen]

Right bear with me here; after the longest (so far) line up of Brazilian thrash band split in to Crypta and Nervosa. Founding guitarist Prika Amaral reformed Nervosa with their second line up recording 2021's Perpetual Chaos. However after this Nervosa had to rebuild again losing their singer, bassist and drummer but never to be stopped Amaral took up the vocals sharing guitar duties with Helena Kotina, as Hel Pyre comes in on bass and Michaela Naydenova on drums. 

With this line up in place they are ready to bring Jailbreak to the world utilising a twin guitar assault for the first time since 2011, Nervosa now sound more vicious than ever before, Prika and Helen trading buzz saw riffs, harmonised leads and wailing solos on rangers such as the title track, Ungrateful and Behind The Wall. The classic metal influence is much stronger due to the twin guitars but there's still plenty of denim clad thrash as the pace shifts between circle pitting speed or stomping grooves. Prika's vocals are ideal for their heavier thrash sound, coming from the German style of thrash of Destruction or Kreator, she can growl, making you ask the question why they needed a singer in the first place? 

Prika is joined behind the mic on Superstition Failed by Lena Scissorhands (Infected Rain), while Exodus/Slayer axeman Gary Holt brings yet more thrash guitar to When The Truth Is A Lie, which has some Sepultura percussion. Thematically the album is about taking freedom from oppression and take pride in who and what you are. It's critical of governments, society and many other blights on our society. So an upbeat message set to flesh peeling thrash metal, aggression and passion hand in hand on the ragers such as the forceful Kill Or Die or Nail The Coffin. Nervosa MK III are bringing the best material they can with their fifth album, brilliant thrash metal that doesn't get stuck in a rut but uses classic metal trappings to make Jailbreak their best album yet. 9/10

Filth Is Eternal - Find Out (MNRK Heavy) [GC]

My final review this week is from Seattle’s Filth Is Eternal and I have their new album Find Out has been described as a vigorous re-awakening of the band who have recently been building a decent reputation for themselves in the live scene. Fun fact, they used to be called Fucked And Bound which they decided was a bit much and changed to Filth Is Eternal. Anyway, let’s see what is going on with this album.

Its straight into it with Half Wrong which is scathing hardcore punk that flies by in just under 2 minutes and you already know that there is going to be no letting up on this album its going to be full throttle and angry all the way, Crawlspace has a crusty D-beat sound and brings that unmistakable 80’s sound gloriously into 2023. Magnetic Point clocks in at 70 seconds and despite its short run time has a measured but chaotic feel and doesn’t waste a second making its presence felt, Cherish throws a bit of a post punk vibe throughout the song but still has enough bite about it so it never loses any of its edge which is a decent trick to pull off! 

Roll Critical goes back to the vicious punk you are expecting but somehow doesn’t feel as hardcore as you are wanting its more of a straightforward punk track, it is however still angry and fun, Curious Thing instantly goes back to the grimy D-beat chaos and even throws in a nice guitar solo towards the end for good measure!! Into The Curve takes us to the halfway point of this album and we haven’t even had 10 minutes of music, we don’t get much more timewise here either, just over 2 minutes but what we do get is yet another scathing and urgent punk battering. 

We then come to the single Pressure Me which throws in a murky death metal-esque sound into the mix but obviously doesn’t ever veer to far away from the punk sound that they are so good at after this comes Body Void which is a barnstormer of a song and is 100% sure to be an absolute killer in the live setting as it starts of furiously and the builds and atmosphere until the furiously chaotic ending. 

The Gate clocks in at a mighty 2:40 and is just dripping in 80’s hardcore throwback sounds and even when we get some melodic vocals the viciousness doesn’t stop it just keep layering it up and bringing it to new levels, Signal Decay has a measured and precise feel to the song which helps the whole sound expand again to show that they don’t just do angry, pissed off punk, they also do thoughtful, angry, pissed off punk its got a haunting beauty through and really has to be heard to appreciate just how good it is! All Mother goes directly back to the snotty punk that serves Filth Is Eternal so well and is a blast of a song that is here and gone in the blink of an eye and in the last verse on this song the vocals have such a venom in them you just have to sit back and take it all in and it leaves you drained. 

Last Exit is your last slice of D-beat and it’s gloriously dirty and unrelenting throughout, its then down to Loveless to finish us off and at 3:15 its somewhat of an epic that starts with a riff so filthy you feel like you need a shower after hearing it and it continues on with this slow, grinding pace all the way through the song which is a bit of a departure from the rest of the album but it’s a gloriously disgusting way to end the album. 

There was not a second wasted on this album, every note and vocal hits the mark and its full of furious anger but also underscored with fun and full throttle punk, the various styles that are sprinkled in for good measure never veer off course and always add to the sound and the way they can one minute be uncontrollably angry but the next thoughtful and melancholy is a real strength and I can only see Filth Is Eternal getting better and better as time goes on. An absolute must hear album. 9/10

Stepmother - Planet Brutalicon (Tee Pee Records) [Rich Piva]

Tee Pee Records doesn’t put out a ton of albums in a year, but when they do, they rarely, if ever, miss. So, when I see something coming out from them a vinyl pre order is imminent from this guy. This all holds true for the debut album from the Australian trio Stepmother, who call out bands like Blue Cheer, The Pink Fairies, and The Damned as reference points, so of course this is coming home to me. But does Planet Brutalicon live up to the Tee Pee standard and those classic bands they call out as influences?

The short answer is f yeah it does, as Stepmother kicks so much ass on Planet Brutalicon. You can hear the Blue Cheer/early punk influence all throughout the record, with no better example being the total ripper opener Fade Away. I would not be surprised if these guys had some Motorhead records in their collection too. The production on Planet Brutalicon is perfect for the band’s sound, case in point the next track, Settle Down, which is a proto metal/punk mash up that gets everyone up and moving and the sound produced by the band has been recorded as it should sound. The Damned influence is strong on Scream For Death, as the raw punk rock energy comes through strong. Where The Game is brings that high octane proto metal punk hybrid right into you face, all with a super catchy chorus. One Way Out slows it down just a tad, but still kicks ass, like a proto metal Ramones. 

Do You Believe takes the tempo a couple more ticks down, focusing on the proto side of the Stepmother persona. If you thought they would slow down you were wrong, as Dead And Gone sounds like The Replacements before they started making videos. You lose zero quality as the record hits the second half, with the killer guitar work on Here Comes The End, the hard rocker that reminds me of a rawer version of Junkyard. Waiting For The Axe, and Stalingrad that brings the MC5 vibes. Signed DC slows it down but blows you away when the guitar kicks in and is one of the best tracks on Planet Brutalicon, providing a nice change of pace but is not lacking the energy, just in a different way. The closer, Gusano is a surf rock style instrumental that is a pretty cool way to finish out the blast of pure energy that Planet Brutalicon is.

Tee Pee Records once again does not disappoint, as Stepmother brings it on Planet Brutalicon. This is pure rock and roll energy that dares you not to get up and move. Great stuff and a keeper for sure. We need more bands that just play kick ass rock like Stepmother brings us on Planet Brutalicon. 9/10

Maggot Heart - Hunger (Svart Records) [Paul Scoble]

Maggot Heart are a Berlin based Rock Band that was originally a solo project for Swedish guitarist and vocalist Linnéa Olsson that started in 2016. A full band was not far behind with the addition of Uno Bruniusson on drums and Olivia Airey on bass. In the seven years the band have been together they have released two EP’s City Girls and Show Them Your Teeth both released in 2017, and two albums before HungerDusk To Dusk in 2017 and Mercy Machine in 2020.
Maggot Heart play aggressive rock music, that is in places; noise rock, punk rock, alternative rock or just straight hard rock over the course of this album, changing sounds depending on the mood they want for the particular song. Maggot Heart are also joined by three guest artists; Jan Groppel on trumpet, Lars Zander on tenor saxophone and Fabian De Menou on piano.

The album starts with the track Scandinavian Hunger (which is a play on words on the Darkthrone album name Transylvanian Hunger, for those readers who are not black metal fans!). Which is a great, brooding piece of noise rock with a punky edge. The riffs are nice and spikey and the song boasts a really good driving and aggressive chorus. Next we get Nil By Mouth, another uptempo rocker that is driving and purposeful, again we get a really good chorus that sticks in your head. It’s a great song that has a pleasing noisy swagger to it.
LBD has a tight strummy guitar riff and feels a little lighter than the first two songs, something that is emphasised by the use of trumpets. The song is tightly focused, and absolutely drips with great melody. The next track Archer takes us a little further from the aggression of the first two tracks. The song has a slow and brooding opening before piano and saxophone are added making the song a big ballad that just keeps getting bigger. Eventually this has reached Bond theme proportions. The song keeps growing to a huge ending with a massive and very fervent vocal performance.
This Shadow takes us back to a taut rocker. The song boasts a tight and brooding verse section and a bigger and very dramatic chorus. The song has a great ebb and flow due to the vacillating between the two sounds, I also love the huge rumbly bass guitar! Looking Back At You is another aggressive rock track, this time with a bit of an alternative rock feel to it. There is another very effective vocals performance from Linnéa Olsson and a very good dissonant guitar solo.

Concrete Soup has a brooding and dissonant feel to it, the verse section is spikey and belligerent, but is tempered by a more flowing and melodic chorus. The album comes to an end with the song Parasite, a spikey and aggressive piece of rock, with a very antagonistic chorus and a very tightly controlled verse section. There is a brooding, dark and minimal section in the middle before the song builds back up for assertive and forceful end.
Hunger is a great album. I love the variation in the material and how, despite the different styles on offer here it always feels like a complete whole, where there are connections between all of the songs. Maggot Heart have a talent for great choruses that I have loved singing along too. There is just the right mix of aggression and warmness, hostility and beauty to make this challenging, but also deeply enjoyable and affecting. A fantastic piece of spiky rock! 8/10 

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