Vermin Womb: Decline

Vermin Womb’s moniker is the perfect match for the band’s virulent sound. The trio’s music is an incensed breeding ground for pestilence and animus, and the band’s debut full-length, Decline, is a whirlwind of hate-fuelled intensity. None of that is a huge surprise though. Because Vermin Womb were born from the demise of Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire: a band who described their music as, “total fucking dissonant anti-life funeral... Read More

Fistula: Longing for Infection

Back in the early 90s, I worked in a medical laboratory where every imaginable sample that can be scrapped or siphoned off a human being ended up for testing. My job wasn’t on the diagnostic end of the spectrum, I was the hapless guy unpacking endless boxes of ooze in the lab’s basement. Every so often, a toe, nose, ear, eye, finger, testicle, or breast –– or, on one memorable day, an entire arm –– would arrive in a box. But while it... Read More

Bloodnut: Blues from the Red Sons

Rock ’n’ roll is a very broad church. We get to enjoy stony-faced sermons from pious kvlt kids. But we also get to revel in histrionic hymns from bands that make merry like friar fucking Tuck. It’s those latter bands that gleefully celebrate rock ’n’ roll’s over-the-top theatrics while maintaining a healthy sense of humour. And Auckland, New Zealand trio Bloodnut definitely fall into that category. Bloodnut’s full-length debut, Blues... Read More

Stone Angels: Live E​.​P 2015

The prevailing narrative of most tragedies suggests that pain and adversity are things we need to work our way through until our suffering is exorcised, and lessons are duly learned. However, as we all know, that narrative is frequently little more than a comforting lie. Because life is often far more complex and cruel than that. While many of us do pick ourselves up and carry on after a calamity, our physical or emotional scars often don’t heal.... Read More

Shallow Grave — S/T

Shallow Grave – S/T New Zealand has a twisted heart filled with endless wrath and frustration. That’s ably reflected in the country’s most ill-omened metal, and the self-titled debut from Shallow Grave captures that anger and unease flawlessly. The Auckland-based four-piece amplifies the malevolence that skulks beneath the façade of society in an unsettling, premonitory form—and does so with a substantial amount of spiteful exuberance. All... Read More


Titan—Burn Acrophobia is the fear of heights, and Burn, the debut full-length from sludgy hardcore behemoths Titan, fills me with just such dread. Colossal walls of riffs are to be found on Burn. Built on a foundation of hardcore, they’re monoliths of sound, piercing doom-laden skies and towering into a blazing aether. From up on top, the transition between movements can feel like a lurching drop. As lofty heights are ascended, you become transfixed... Read More

Old Loaves—Bad Rides 7″/Drowser LP.

Old Loaves—Bad Rides 7″/Drowser LP. June 2012 has to go down as a damn near perfect month for Old Loaves. The band released their debut full-length, Drowser, on Bandcamp on the 21st, and watched it shoot to the top of the bestseller list. Available in varying formats, Drowser is a formidable debut (I secured a copy of the Bad Rides 7″/Drowser combo deal, and I’ll be reviewing both). The band may well be tagged on Bandcamp as “alternative... Read More

High on Fire—De Vermis Mysteriis

High on Fire—De Vermis Mysteriis (eonemusic, 2012) High on Fire’s sixth album, De Vermis Mysteriis, is the Oakland, California trio’s best work yet. A spectacularly convoluted conceptual gambol, it draws from the esoteric works of H.P. Lovecraft, and marries those references to frontman and famed guitarist Matt Pike’s ponderings about Jesus having an unborn time-traveling twin. It all makes for a complicated narrative arc.... Read More

Stone Angels—Within the Witch

Stone Angels—Within the Witch We all lean on music in troubled times. And I think we can all agree that heavy metal provides the perfect forum to vent life’s frustrations. But it’s one thing to listen to music as a means of escape; it’s a whole other scenario to create music as a means to understand the legacy of unforeseen tragedy. Stone Angels are from Christchurch, New Zealand, a city that was left devastated by two huge earthquakes—with... Read More

Wizard Rifle—Speak Loud Say Nothing

Wizard Rifle–Speak Loud Say Nothing Wizard Rifle are an extraordinary, two-piece, ruckus-making outfit from Portland, Oregon. The band is signed to infallible label Seventh Rule, and their debut, Speak Loud Say Nothing, is a rollercoaster ride of non-stop riotous shred-fests. Equal parts Amp-Rep pandemonium, quarrelsome tech-metal, and grinding noise tumults, Wizard Rifle’s genus might be vaguely familiar, but they have all the attributes... Read More

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