Hair Puller – Old Friend
Hair Puller‘s full-length debut, Old Friend, is a complete barn burner. This Portland trio deliver a pulverizing sludge sound fitted with noise rock grit and the blood-pumping energy of hardcore, whose chaotic feel is only heightened by caustic vocal performances from all three members. The 10 songs across this 30-minute recording are full of angular, chugging destruction and face-melting dissonance, bringing the likes of Old Man Gloom, Kylesa and Made Out of Babies to mind. Bulldozing sludge grooves collide head-on with frantic hardcore riffs throughout this release while the drumming issues a special beating of its own, drifting between straightforward pummeling and sudden rhythmic shifts. Gross noise chords and spiraling, jerking guitar acrobatics also rear their ugly heads at opportune moments during several songs to ensure listeners’ heads are properly spinning. It’s simply one heavy hitter after the next. Hair Puller‘s debut is a no frills, rowdy and rampaging sludge metal release that will have listeners’ picking their teeth up off of the floor.
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Label: Nadine Records/Accident Prone Records
Favorite Tracks: “Trash Fed”, “Doubts”, “Chores”, “Waste” and “Diamond Thighs”
For Fans Of: Old Man Gloom, Zozobra, Cavity, Kylesa, Floor and Made Out of Babies
Heart of Jordan – Heart of Jordan
Heart of Jordan tow the line between radio friendly alternative metal and groove-laden metalcore on their self-titled debut. Drawing equally from hook-heavy metalcore sounds of later-era Killswitch Engage and 36 Crazyfists and straightforward hard rock characteristics à la Breaking Benjamin, this Michigan band deliver a slightly updated version of a familiar sound. Galloping rhythms, chugging heavy rock riffs, and impeccable pop sensibility work together to bring listeners some infectious modern metal moments that even the most jaded metalhead will find catchy at times. But while Heart of Jordan prove themselves to be one of the more genuine sounding bands of this particular style in recent memory, they tend to fall prey to the shortcomings this style is notorious for. Whether it be a riff-heavy headbanger or a melodic rock number, the songs tend to reuse similar motifs and vocal patterns, albeit with slight alterations here and there, making for a rather predicable listen. The record starts off strong, but some listeners might foresee where the band is going by the middle of it. There’s definitely a some fun to be had on this record, but it feels like a missed opportunity.
Release Date: September 21, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Throne Alone”, “No Escape” and “Enslaved”
For Fans Of: Killswitch Engage, 36 Crazyfists and Strata
Neptunus – Alien Conspiracy
Neptunus concoct a chaotic form of interplanetary deathcore on their newest EP release, Alien Conspiracy. For 23 minutes, this Indonesian outfit deliver classic deathcore sounds with a modern facelift and with a high does of technical death metal virtuosity. The guitars transition from palm-muted, bulldozing riffs to frantic meteor showers of atonal, earsplitting leads on the drop of a dime. The drumming is equally erratic and punishing, rivaling the volatility of the guitar work above it. As with any record labeled “deathcore”, the breakdown is key and is utilized tastefully on this release. The drop-tuned guitars chug and stomp like the xenomorph queen and pulverize listeners into paste during these moments. More often than not, the breakdowns will be fitted with off-kilter rhythms for an extra dose of cerebral punishment as well. Then the vocal performances top everything off with an array of guttural growls and acidic shrieks. All-in-all, Neptunus‘ Alien Conspiracy is a solid technical deathcore release that is the perfect soundtrack for when alien hatchlings burst from your chest cavity.
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Label: Eastbreath Records
Favorite Tracks: “Extraterrestrial” and “The Future Planet”
For Fans Of: Brain Drill, Ion Dissonance and Viraemia
Marriage + Cancer – BRO
Portland’s Marriage + Cancer meld seasick rhythms with disfigured, atonal instrumentation on their new 7″ single, BRO. Following hot on the heels of their self-titled full-length released earlier in 2018, BRO continues to explore the band’s unique take on the noise rock genre. Falling somewhere between Confusion is Sex-era Sonic Youth, Teenage Jesus and Amphetamine Reptile, the two tracks featured on BRO will appease fans of all things noisy, disorienting and gross. The eponymous track kicks things off with a nauseating, repetitive groove that is eventually overtaken by dissonant chords and gritty bass lines. The guitars gradually become more unhinged and layered as the song progresses, eventually ending in a tinnitus-inducing climax of jagged riffs and screeching guitar noise. Much like “BRO”, the b-side “TRIGGERED” also latches onto a particularly off-kilter, sinister groove that subtly shifts into more obtuse shapes. The guitars soon unleash an assault of pummeling, angular chords intertwined with bending, decrepit leads as the drumming becomes more fierce. By the end of this short release, listeners should be properly discombobulated and eager to dive right back in.
Release Date: January 4, 2019
Label: Self Sabotage Records
For Fans Of: Sonic Youth, Daughters, The Jesus Lizard and Virus
Creep Diets – 2018 Demo
Melbourne-based sludge outfit Creep Diets offer up a raw, stripped-down, and punchy debut demo. Drawing influence from the likes of Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Buzzoven, and the like, Creep Diets adopts and faithfully executes a classic sludge metal sound to their advantage. Booming bass lines stomp hand-in-hand with massive, caustic grooves that are spearheaded by gruff vocal performances. The huge guitar riffs slam and groan through walls of feedback and rampage atop throttling drum work. Moments of filth-ridden, d-beat hardcore spawn unpredictably from the sludgy mass throughout the record as well, as heard in the tracks “Abstract Insect” and “Blood Slug Sandwich”. Of course a sludge record of this ilk wouldn’t be complete without one longer, slower, city-leveling tune, and “Eyehateyourguts” fills that role. Creep Diets definitely wear their influences on their sleeves and it would have been interesting to see them break away from the tried and true formula, but the demo definitely works for what it is.
Release Date: February 21, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Big Head” and “Blood Slug Sandwich”
For fans of: Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Buzzoven and Fudge Tunnel