The Destiny Program is a modern hardcore journey that while isn’t like their predecessors that paved the way for today’s hardcore bands, isn’t completely removed from the sound. Theirs is more of a Hatebreed sound with chugga-chugga guitars and a metalized core. Passionate songwriting amid sometimes catchy hooks and fast-paced double bass crushing, “Gathas” is a decent retreat into today’s hardcore sound without it being exhausted on some mall wastezoid group.
Posts tagged metalcore
Norma Jean has gotten far more mature in their songwriting since their fourth album. “Meridional” is chaotic, unbridled and energetic, tackling topical concepts throughout. Spouting off huge amounts of aggression and anger, Norma Jean isn’t afraid to launch into chaotic noisy metalcore with math-y abrasions. Or you know settle back into a furious metallic hardcore scream-a-thon. Challenging from start to finish, “Meridional” never rests on its laurels. It sticks its tongue out to the MTV crowd who likes heavy music but doesn’t LIKE heavy music. As technical as one would expect from the Dillinger Escape Plan, “Meridional” only pulls a punch when it’s all over.
Okay so I admit this review is well over due. But just because I’ve been slacking off, doesn’t deride any of the importance of how truly epic and essential Converge’s seventh record release is. Jacob Bannon (singer) and Kurt Ballou (guitarist) are two of the most influential people in metal/hardcore/heavy music today, with Kurt Ballou having established himself as one of music’s most revered producers/engineers with his God City Studio a well-sought after destination. Ballou’s resume in the production, recording, and engineering realm is as impressive as his own musical one with a long resume that includes The Hope Conspiracy, pg. 99, Cave In, Modern Life is War, Blacklisted, Champion, Scars of Tomorrow, Orchid, and Paint it Black among many others. Indeed the group as a whole is a visceral auteur of heavy music, paving the way for many other experimental and chaotic bands to land into a scene that is welcoming, always moving, and rarely if ever stagnant. On “Axe to Fall”, Converge yet again expands their horizons with wavering and sober moments like “Cruel Bloom” featuring bluesy gravelly vocals sung by Steve Von Till (Neurosis) amid moist piano and ambient acoustic guitars. “Wretched Bloom” also features a guest vocalist in Genghis Tron’s Mookie Singerman who smoothly pours out a velvet of clean vocals that oddly complement the typical raging storm of Bannon’s ferocity. The album pours out buckets of emotion into a room that was once soaked with blood but is now drying, peeling off red-flecked paint chips like a million past childhoods wrought with self-destructive actions, something a song like the punk-fueled “Cutter” seems to cry out on. Converge are champions of everything heavy and prove their worthiness of the crown by dipping their quill into an inkwell of heavy rock, visceral chaotic metal, churning hardcore, and melodic heavy alternative art. “Axe to Fall” will fell an entire forest before it’s through rockin’ you out.
Despite the new singer Jason Woods, It Dies Today still sounds as tight as ever, as if this group who formed originally in 2001. Their hybrid brand of metalcore, screamo, and hardcore remains solid despite the over-arching clichés that blot the genre. After all, how many bands that brush their hair back the wrong way would still have the balls to cover Duran Duran’s classic “Come Undone” and actually make it sound pretty damn good. Mike Hatalak not only plays in the band but recorded and engineered “Lividity” and churned out a damn fine sound. While It Dies Today may not be a band that writes memorable or awe-inspiring classics, they do write energetic classic metallic-edged tunes. And hell that’s worth something these days.
Earlier this year Trustkill Records inked Italian metallic hardcore outfit Awaken Demons to a deal and launched upon a PR campaign online to promote the launch of their full-length “The Mirror”. With guest vocal slots filled by the likes of Karl Buechner (Path of Resistance, Earth Crisis, Freya) and The Acacia Strain’s Vincent Bennet, “The Mirror” was sure to garner some attention regardless. The album is riff-heavy with firm nods towards the late ‘90s era of metal-edged hardcore. Blasting through the confining walls that the hardcore label can sometimes bring, the group sludges guitar slams with energetic and passionate screams and yells alongside an amalgam of thrashy drumming and gut-wrenching bass slaps. The band is set to embark on a tour with labelmates It Dies Today as well as Century Media’s own Arsonists Get All the Girls. You can stream the album online at Trustkill’s site.
Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta co-produced this debut album along with legendary hardcore giants Zeuss (Throwdown and Shadows Fall) that will finally be unleashed officially in the beginning of 2009. Sounding very similar to the debut of Hatebreed, “Confess” has over-distorted guitars that wail in the darkness of the lyrics and dankness of the screamed vocals. Furious drumming and heavy metal guitars combine for a sound that is more metalcore than late ’90′s hardcore metal. Too Pure to Die is a sultan of hardcore onslaught with a fashionable song structure and lyrics that employ real-time exploits to a ‘t’.
Racebannon has always been one of those influential bands that most of the newer kids to the scene haven’t acknowledged or heard of despite the fact that they easily were some of the very pioneers of chaotic post-metal and hardcore. Once again experimenting with the very notion of rock ‘n’ roll with a defiant lack of ‘breakdown’s and clichés, Racebannon returns after a four-year hiatus on their new label Southern Records with a release in “Acid or Blood” that shows up anything Mike Patton or Melt Banana could create. You didn’t think that new singer for Dillinger Escape Plan came up with his style all of his own do you? Well regardless, “Acid or Blood” shows off a band that is unafraid of doing something different on each and every release despite their fanbase. Often compared to the likes of Converge, Racebannon is so much more than that with a firm grip on abrasive, cerebral metal. Distortion-heavy guitars churn and curdle with bouts of noisy anarchy. Drum-wise, I rarely find a band more intriguing and inspiring—it’s not just a bunch of fills and time signature changes but they really use their percussion as an instrument all on its own. This is the most important heavy music release in 2008.
Listen to “Sister Fucker” [MP3]
North Carolina was home to Azazel, one of metal’s underground sensations until their members left and joined such groups as Aria and Between the Buried & Me. Bummer-tron. Their debut EP was released originally by Tribunal Records way back in 2000. The original engineer, whom you’ve probably heard of before, Jamie King found a bunch of their material and remixed it in his studio. Tribunal re-issues it with not only a look back at the original EP “Music for the Ritual Chamber” but also tosses on remixed versions of three of Azazel’s songs that were released on their first demo to create the perfect discography.
After losing members to some of Germany’s finest metal outfits in Deadsoil and Caliban, Six Reasons to Kill regrouped with their twisted and topical opus merely titled “Another Horizon”. Veneers of guitar distortion and sludge fill your guts with crunchy thrash and metalcore sounds. Social issues such as discrimination, racism, human rights, the environment, and other good subject matter are explored on this heady but important album.