Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Minaret - S/T

A while back I had reviewed the Minaret/Laeirs split.  Ever since then I was waiting for more Minaret material.  Finally that day has come.  Minaret absolutely kill it with these five songs.  At times this is blazing fast and other times it's slow and introspective. There's great use of dynamics.  The band always keeps things sounding melodic while desperate.

Production wise I'm very happy with the end result.  The vocals seem to have a tinge of distortion on them, emphasizing a more brutal nature.  I'm not sure if these drums have been tweaked or not, but I'm impressed with how well things stay together during the blast beats.  There's no loss of snare, just pure consistency the whole way.

The thing I love about Minaret is their ability to provide an epic nature to each song without stretching the run time over 2-3 minutes. While most bands have to provide a 7 minute opus to achieve this dynamic, Minaret pulls it off with ease in a more accessible package.

Check it out here.

Mudbeard - Literally Same

Mudbeard is a new band from New Jersey. I have to admit, living in New Jersey, there is a dry spell when it comes to forward thinking, technical hardcore.  Mudbeard are doing it right, taking influences from Botch, Bleeding Kansas and others of the like, but not without adding their own take on the style.

I miss hearing bands like this; bands more set on creating an interesting canvas and musical landscape while still maintaining a heavy sound, rather than just creating mosh riff after mosh riff for dudes in basketball jerseys to do underwhelming karate kicks along with. Mudbeard mix things up with off kilter time signatures, blast beats, d-beats and guitar parts that can sound like a cup of noodles.

Check it out here.

Navigator - Dreamscapes

This five song collection by Navigator is appropriately called "Dreamscapes".  The music is big, wide open and soothing.  Conjuring up the feeling of actual dream and sleep with tons of delay/reverb on the guitar, soothing violin and fluttering synth sounds, Navigator do a great job of creating some extremely nice compositions here.

Even the large, washy drums sound right in place on this and adding to the afformentioned soothing charactistic. Think Tristeza mixed with some of the instrumental work of old Zero 7 material. Want to reduce stress? Sit in a dark room and listen to this album twice. You'll be great in the morning.

Check it out here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Truman - Ikebana

Truman has their act together.  This band does an intense brand of screamy hardcore with precision and ease.  It flows extremely well as if they carefully mapped out each course and executed it perfectly.  If you're a fan of new bands like Under A Sky So Blue and Locktender but also like some older stuff like Textbook Traitors and Rats into Robots, then Truman will deliver the goods for you.

These 6 songs are a nice exercise in exciting tempo changes and creative song writing. Epic melodies are intertwined with some discordant chaos, as the band seems to be able to balance the two perfectly.  There's even a good deal of clean guitar work in here that doesn't sound out of place.  The production quality lends itself well and makes the band sound huge.  

Check it out here.

In Exile - Questions and Problems

This recent trend of bands with poppy sensibilities that opt for dirtier/raw production is something that has appealed to me. In Exile will instantly remind you of something you've heard before, but listen closely and you'll find some unique characteristics popping out here and there.

Check it out here.

Counter - Shallow Words Crashing Down On Deaf Ears

Counter takes the passionate lyrical style of 90's vegan straight edge hardcore and adapts it to some more modern and interesting song structures.  It's still heavy, still angry, but definitely more thought out and musically competent than your typical mosh metal band. There's a nice variety of time signatures and interesting guitar trade offs.

If you're a fan of newer bands like Axis and Discourse then Counter might strike your fancy.  The production is raw and pretty gritty.  Honestly, I think it works well in preserving the overall presentation.  If this band was recorded in super clear high end production it would probably not appeal to me quite as much.

Listen here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Blind Girls - Efflorescence

I don't hear about too many bands from Australia so I was happy to find out about Blind Girls. From start to finish I really like these 7 songs which put forth something akin to a more aggressive version of Funeral Diner or Coma Regalia.  The guitar and bass are bright and mid gain, but you can hear a heavy handed dig into the strings which adds more attack and dirtiness into the music.  This is capitalized on by some intense vocal work and frantic drumming.

The band seems to have a knack for songwriting as each track here flows really well.  The dynamics are well placed, giving you small spaces of quiet among the chaos.  There's a melodic element behind the whole thing, keeping a very introspective sound even when things are moving at high speeds.

Check it out here.