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Wednesday 25 October 2023

Reviews: END, Cult Burial, Tower Hill, Anuseye (Reviews By Danika Ulrich, Paul Scoble, Matt Bladen & James Jackson)

END - The Sin Of Human Frailty (Closed Casket Activities) [Danika Ulrich]

Hardcore supergroup END's second full-length release The Sin Of Human Frailty is an absolute onslaught of raw, unfiltered emotion and intensity. The band manages to capture the grit and passion of each of their respective projects and creates an explosive and boundary pushing sound of their own.

In opening track A Predator Yourself there is an obvious element of fear and unease. From dramatic breakdowns to chunky guitar tones, END possesses a sense of darkness that a lot of artists in their genre don't with a combination of hardcore, industrial and viscous death metal. Gaping Wounds Of Earth offers a strong dose of rage and venom. The track plunges from technical euphoria into a brutal breakbeat. Earth shattering, grinding riffs dominate, with the melody ripping apart at its very core. There is real hatred hidden behind pounding drums and dissonant guitar strains. The band sets a tone of unrelenting aggression that doesn't let up. Vocalist Brendan Murphy's signature growls and screams are at their most frenzied and visceral, layering over chaotic yet tightly controlled instrumentation.

Title track, The Sin Of Human Frailty, is a ferociously perplexing song. The effect is aggressive enough to knock you out as the riffs blare in all directions. It's an incredibly intense two minutes. Thaw is gifted some haunting vocal contributions from Debbie Gough who, with her band Heriot, is accustomed to incorporating eerie melody into extremely heavy music. The jarring rhythms and disconcerting guitar parts sets the tone for a band that want to sound like no other. There's no denying the grooves and orchestration are incredibly catchy. Embodiment Of Grief is when the band's punk tactics really come into play. There's so much happening with the track before it descends into another breakdown. Inconsistent in a welcomed way with each breakdown nastier than the last. 

Although Twice Devoured Kill has a relatively standard hardcore riff, it came as a welcome surprise after the variety of onslaughts on the previous five tracks while fast paced blast beats make way for frightening anti-melodies and a double kick assault in track 7, Worthless Is The Lamb. Hollow Urn is definitely a jolt from the norm as it doesn't have the same intense atmosphere expected from END. But, the same darkness that drives their breakdowns also churns beneath the mesmerising atonal guitar patches and hi-hat loops.

In less than three minutes, Infest seamlessly transitions between different riffs and time signatures. Leper is a slow end to the album that alternates between expansive progressive meditations, oddly catchy guitars and possibly the album's biggest riff to mosh to. The darker parts are interwoven with more bold and progressive melodies that give the track a gritty, aggressive and eerie atmosphere.

This album is not meant for the faint of heart. From beginning to end the band delivered a sonic assault. Its a combination of different influences coming from members previous works in the metal and hardcore communities, with unrelenting speed and aggression, beats and crushing riffs, madly chaotic and intricately composed guitar parts.

A high point for the whole album is Brendan’s vocal performance. His aggressive screams and guttural growls can easily induce an adrenaline rush. It is captivating, raw, and unfiltered to a point that compliments the message and energy of each track perfectly. Not to take away from the others though, as the album is a showcase of each members talents. The complexity in the drumming that keeps time with the twitchy guitars and bass. The production is tight and the mixing strikes a balance between the elements, leading to a cohesive final result. END manages to blend the different ways they approach music without compromising each other.

The Sin Of Human Frailty is an album that will leave a lasting impression. It's a testament to the art of hardcore music and showcases the creativity of the musicians behind it. It's a bold and exhilarating album filled with cathartic screaming and moments of beautiful despair, demonstrating the power of music done right. 10/10

Cult Burial - Reverie Of The Malignant (Self Released) [Paul Scoble]

British purveyors of extremity Cult Burial have been spewing malignancy out into the world since 2020. The group, based in London are made up of César Moreira on vocals, Simon Langford on drums and guitars and Rick on bass. In the time Cult Burial have been together they have released one album before Reverie Of The Malignant, a self titled album released in 2020.

The style on Reverie Of The Malignant is a mix of death, black and doom metal, so lots of extremity, in whichever style the band felt works best. This is evident straight from the first track, Umbra which opens with a slow tremolo picked riff before dropping us into some blasting death metal, this then segues into expansive black metal, the song then takes a turn towards nasty slow blackened doom The song also boasts a very melodic and tuneful guitar solo before a crushing death metal ending. Next track Awaken has a more straight black metal feel to it. The song mixes huge and expansive black Metal with a more melodic style, again there is a very good guitar solo that is full of melody.

The next track Parasite takes a route via very slow and heavy death to arrive at dissonant death metal for the majority of the song. The song vacillates between crushingly heavy and sickeningly dissonant, and also features a shredding guitar solo that is more about nastiness than melody, the song ends with massively heavy doom riffs. Paralysed has a similar feel to the song that preceded it. The mix of styles is is more death than doom, and with both feels there is lots of dissonance. The song also has a very interesting section that is slow and doomy, with a pacing that is staccato and aggressive.

The song Strive keeps the dissonance of the last couple of tracks, but does it in a more black metal style. The song is very aggressive and purposeful for the most part, but does have a quiet and minimal section in the middle to give the audience a small respite, before the song rebuilds itself back to its former horrific proportions. Existence opens with slow and very heavy riffs before dropping into blasting death metal that has a real grinding feel to it, this then morphs into fast and flowing death metal that feels very rapid and full of inertia. The song does boast a soft section so we can get our breath back, and two solos; a melodic one and a more frenzied solo over blasting riffs before an abrupt ending.

The album comes to a close with Oblivion which plays with mixing massivley heavy doom with blasting fast death metal. The song mixes fast and savage with slow and heavy in a very effective way, nearer the end of the song that staccato feel to the pacing on the slower material returns again in a way that feels like blunt force trauma. The song and album end with doomy riffs that slowly fade out.

Reverie Of The Malignant
is a fantastic piece of savagery. The band have cherry picked any form of extremity that they feel will work together; they seem far more bothered that the songs work and are effective rather than care about genre boundaries. Some of the transitions might surprise you, but they always seem to work. A lot of work has gone into this album having a sound that is cogent, and have left the genre definitions for others to work out. The overriding objective seems to be extremity and savagery, and the band don’t seem to care how they achieve this; this has led to the creation of a fantastic piece of extreme art. 9/10 

 Tower Hill - Deathstalker (No Remorse Records) [Matt Bladen]

Canadian trad metal with a song about alcoholic fizzy water? Yeah why not? Tower Hill started life as a solo project for vocalist R.F. Traynor but soon expanded into a fully fledged band. Inspired by their love of speed/trad metal bands such as Running Wild, Riot, Exciter and Helloween they come up with every conceivable type of lyric from fantasy battles, sleazy relationships and of course Claw Is The Law is a heavy metal ode to White Claw hard seltzer.

It's fun and frivolous, music built to be shouted along too while wielding and air guitar. Tower Hill aren't a joke though, the twin axe attack is vicious and refined, the rhythm section sets a breathless pace and Traynors vocals are meaty and sky scrape when needed. Closing with the swashbuckling Port Of Saints (an ode to Majk Moti), going into the pirate metal (Running Wild), as they stay with speed metal for the most part. It's old school yes but done with the reverence of the current NWOTHM crop have been giving for around 10 years.

Driving at 100 miles per hour from the first moments, Tower Hill are old school to the core but if you're a fan of the old school then you'll enjoy Deathstalker. 7/10

Anuseye - Right Place, Wrong Time (Go Down Records) [James Jackson]

Honestly I don’t even know how to pronounce the band name without conjuring up an image of some sort of infection. Fortunately however this isn’t some pig squealing Gorecore band whose album cover is plastered or literally blasted with excrement. In fact the artwork is quite Pop Art, so quite the contrast, Anuseye describe themselves as Ppsych rock and there’s a certain groove and sway to the intro of first track Odessa, that has moments that remind of Black Sabbath, particularly the drum fills, adding to that I’m reminded of a band I’ve not listened to since the early 2000’s and that’s Monster Magnet, there’s a similar feeling to the riffs. Sagres, the album’s second track loses that groove and is a bit more mainstream, ending in a rather self indulgent spsych rock acts.

By all accounts Anuseye comprises of former members of psychadelic rock acts Colt.38 and That’s All Folks, I’m sure followers of psych rock or at least Italian rock artists maybe familiar with these bands but it’s all new to me. Churchofchrist (no spaces) contains an infuriating familiar drum pattern as its intro and its incorporated elsewhere within the song, intentional or not I don’t know but it reminds me of a BritPop track but I can’t recall the name, the song itself has that feel to it also. Bratislava is a guitar led piece, a spoken word vocal line plays in the background as an effects laden guitar plays a trance like melody. Medellin contains another Sabbath sounding riff and it’s the stoner rock influence that’s apparent here.

This is a 12 track album and I’m currently halfway through and struggling to finish the album and in turn this review. I don’t particularly have an issue with any of it, the songs I’ve listened to have been well crafted and I’m sure are good examples of the sub genre the band are a part of , for me personally however it’s not ticking any boxes, of the tracks I listened to, nothing has particularly stood out, nothing has made me want to listen to more, I’ve no interest to discover anything released previously.
Nice try but personally it’s not for me. 5/10.

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