Knife Hits – Eris
With the recent influx of new bands within the genre, as well as the reunions of some its founders, screamo is as relevant now as it was 20 years ago. Orlando’s Knife Hits is one of the aforementioned new breed and their debut full-length Eris is sure to satisfy lovers of the modern incarnation of screamo, as well as the bands of old. Much like genre progenitors Orchid and pg.99 and modern acts like Youth Funeral and Loma Prieta, Knife Hits transverses the waters between high octane melodic stampedes and spastic chaotic flurries. It’s certainly not a new approach by any means, but it is an approach that continually works in this band’s favor throughout their album’s modest 22-minute duration. After the icy solo guitar march of “Second Death”, the album officially kicks into high gear with the sprawling “Aches”. The track unleashes a lumbering riff that repeats stubbornly throughout the majority of the tune, while pummeling, tension-building drumming thunders underneath. The song explodes during the last 38 second with a metallic hardcore throat punch complete with emotionally-wrought vocals. The one-two punch of “Descent” and “Perpetual Lethargy” follow shortly after, both delivering less than 60 seconds of pain each. The former track blends metallic hardcore angularity with grinding aggression, similar to that of Discordance Axis. The latter track, in contrast, embraces screamo with an onslaught of spiraling, technically proficient melodic riffs and feverish chord progressions. The majority of cuts on the record fall into one of those two categories, with some tracks like “The Veil” and “Iconoclast” melding the two approaches together. But Eris also finds time for some surprises within its brief runtime, like the sludgy crawl of “Map Territory Relation”. Overall, Knife Hits and Eris are a welcome addition to the screamo fold. Fans of the genre in all of its forms will not be disappointed by this short and sweet stormer.
Release Date: September 16, 2016
Label: Dead Tank Records/Hydrogen Man Records/Give Praise Records
Favorite Tracks: “Descent”, “Our Dilemma”, “Map Territory Relation” and “Iconoclast”
For Fans Of: Ochid, pg.99, Youth Funeral and Converge
Reserving Dirtnaps – Part II
Memphis’ Reserving Dirtnaps worship at the altar of the 90s metallic hardcore breakdown, and do so proudly. Combining the grit and aggression of acts like Turmoil, with the thrashy groove of Madball, Reserving Dirtnaps unleash southern-fried, curb-stomping aggression across six tracks on their new Part II EP. Following the band’s 2014 self-titled EP, Part II picks up where its predecessor left off and delivers crushing riff after crushing riff. The EP doesn’t do anything new for the genre in the grand scheme of things, but this is a style that doesn’t lend itself to much experimentation and instead thrives on blood-boiling anger. And anger is the name of the game on Part II. The record opens up with the band’s eponymous track, which features 80 seconds of barreling riffs and ending breakdown that will conjure many a spin kick in a mosh pit. “Total War” follows next with a stampede of grimy riffs propelled by monstrous d-beat drumming, scraping metallic bass lines and vitriolic vocals. The bitter beatdown paves the way for the galloping monstrosity of “Slip to Dust” to deliver its chugging assaults of riot-inducing hardcore chord progressions. The one-two punch of “Locked In” and “Dispose to Remain” come crashing in next, which become a blur of sprawling antisocial riffage and thrashing, tremolo-picked supremacy. The album ends with arguably its best cut, “Withdraw”. The track unleashes hellacious, high octane hardcore complete with chugging rage and thunderous drumming. The track’s ending breakdown is heavy enough to bring skyscrapers toppling down. While it may not be groundbreaking, Part II comes out swinging and doesn’t let up. It’s a record fueled by piss and vinegar and is perfect for those looking for something to smash things to.
Release Date: December 9, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Total War” and “Withdraw”
For Fans Of: Turmoil, Madball and Blistered