Category Archives: EP Reviews

Ithaca – “TRESPASSERS” EP Review

Ithaca – Trespassers
Genre: Chaotic Hardcore/Hardcore

Label: COF Records / Soaked In Torment Records

If you’re new to this London lot like I was, let me share some basics: Ithaca are a five-piece that are pissed, mixing hardcore with chaos and emotive influence. Imagine a mash of Throats and Botch, with a bits of Curl Up And Die and Loma Prieta, and you’re pretty close – so to fans of the genres that those bands are associated with, Ithaca will seem familiar but fresh. This is their second EP to date and is made up of four short, sharp tracks. Continue reading

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Pig Destroyer – “MASS & VOLUME” EP Review

Pig Destroyer - Mass & VolumePig Destroyer – Mass & Volume
Genre: Doom Metal/Sludge

Label: Relapse Records

Pig Destroyer is a band known for its love of extremes and for most people it’s their grindcore material that first comes to mind – but it’s no secret that Pig Destroyer has dabbled in its fair share of doom and drone in the past. Continue reading

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Balam Acab – “CLUB WATER DISCUS” EP Review

Balam Acab - Club Water Discus

Balam Acab – Club Water Discus
Genre – Electronic/Witch house

Label: N/A

Balam Acab is a fairly mysterious American electronic artist, who concentrates on thoughtful textures rather than simple catchy beats, similar to the persuasions of Four Tet and Burial, and has been building a steady reputation for himself over recent years. On previous releases like the full-length album “Wander/Wonder” and EP “See Birds”, Balam Acab showcased his abilities of creating beautiful harmonies – so much so that a complimentary pillow wouldn’t have gone amiss – as the music just lullabies you into euphoric relaxation. Continue reading

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Social Studies – “SOCIAL STUDIES” EP Review

Social Studies - Social Studies EP

Social Studies – Social Studies EP
Genre: Hip-hop/Experimental hip-hop

Label: Daddy Tank Records

Social Studies is a duo project made up by vocalist Zano and producer Chris Devoe, and while their names are known, very little else seems to be known about them, managing to stay in the dark better than most artists who emphasise a hidden identity (although, MF Doom has been pretty on top of it). However, the duo behind Social Studies never really focus on this and simply deliver groundbreaking music – and perhaps it is with no platform to be biased on that it’s best to hear experimental hip-hop this way. Continue reading

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Mountain Mirrors – “ASYLUM ACRES” EP Review

Mountain Mirrors – Asylum Acres
Genre: Acoustic/Progressive Rock

Label: Magnatune

Mountain Mirrors, despite its collective name, is the prog-influenced acoustic project of Jeff Sanders from Massachusetts, and “Asylum Acres” is his EP of 2012; although having already put out three full-length albums already. This project focuses on dark, brooding collections of tales with undeniable guitar finesse and low vocals. Jeff Sanders, its sole concrete member, is the lone vocalist and guitarist of this project, while he invites outside musicians to add some different flavours on his tracks (usually with drums and strings). Continue reading

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False Flag Attack – “INTO THE SHELTER!” EP Review

False Flag Attack – Into The Shelter!
Genre: Grindcore

Label: Torn Flesh Records

Germany, in the metal world, is known for Rammstein and Die Toten Hosen. Perhaps for grindcore fans Germany incites thoughts of goregrind delinquents GUT. But now there may just be another addition for the underground grind fans: False Flag Attack. If you’re hoping for a light-hearted listen, then turn away now, but if you want some serious and furious attitude, then read on.  Continue reading

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Tongue – “Who Fired The Workers Of Happiness Factory?” EP Review

Tongue – Who Fired The Workers Of Happiness Factory?
Genre: Rock/Stoner Rock

Label: Self-released

Tongue are a band from Serbia, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Bizic Vladimir (AKA. Ripkid), formerly lead guitarist of the unfortunately disbanded hardcore punk pushers Lets Grow, who put out a strong amount of LPs and splits from 2001 to 2010. However, Tongue sees Vladimir taking a turn to a slower, groove-orientated rock direction. Continue reading

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The Portrait – “Infinity” Quick Review

The Portrait – Infinity
Genre: Metalcore/Experimental

Label: Self-released

The Portrait are a refreshing downtempo four-piece metalcore band from New Mexico, and even then it’s pretty hard to describe the band as ‘metalcore’ alone, as there seems to be influences of a sparse range in their sound – especially ‘djent’, ambient and progressive metal. If you’re hoping for a The Devil Wears Prada sound-a-like, then you’re looking at the wrong band.

This 6-song EP runs along a concept of the relationship between the Royal Stars and the Earth. Earth discovers the Royal Stars, a collective entity above the planet that watch over it. Then Earth creates humanity while giving it conscience; a right reserved only for the Royal Stars – eventually the gift becomes clear and the stars are initially unhappy with Earth’s actions, and events unfold.

So, with this story in mind, you can expect philosophical lyrics involving Gods, scenes of apocalypse, denial and acceptance, etc. The EP is split into four parts with an instrumental intro and outro. The opening track Arches prepares you with this ground-shaking rumble with all these echoing sounds, before these deep, tremelo-picked guitars jump in and the rest of the band follows in this metalcore/’djent’ mixing sound.

This sound is pretty continuous for the whole theme, obviously with alterations. The second track Part I. Gaia starts with this really nice spacey high-end guitar riff while vocalist Matt West introduces himself with clear pronunciation despite the almost spit-like shouting, with slight reverb. The track also features guest vocalist John Luzietti, who speaks as the Earth, having this mean guttural shout which morphs into growls. It’s pretty intense.

The following tracks also feature different guest vocalists with their own styles, speaking as the stars or Earth, keeping the listener on their toes the whole time. Matt Sanchez on Part III. Taurus has this very emotional hardcore sound which is accompanied by sombre waves of low, ringing guitars. Polyrhythm riffs also come in and out of each song – Part IV. Leo opens with one that just sounds punishing and judgemental.

The problem with “Infinity” is that its story seems so deep, yet only explored so briefly, that it should be material for a full-length album and maybe explained in more detail. It can be difficult to distinguish different tracks too, instrumentally.

But “Infinity” is definitely worthwhile for anyone looking for something more thoughtful and experimental than most metalcore bands, and sounds like unimaginable mix of Brutality Will Prevail, Hopesfall and “Hollow Crown”-era Architects.

You can download the EP for free here: http://theportraitnm.bandcamp.com/

7/10
Favourite tracks: Part I. Gaia, Part III. Taurus.

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