Ghost Idols

Hundreds, probably thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people on this planet claim that they have seen a ghost in their lifetime. But despite footage and images suggesting there may indeed be paranormal activity in this world, the subject still very much stays open for debate. People make fortunes out of it, however sincere or exploitative they may be. The jury is out for me personally. Some claims look more authentic than others, but until I kinda see or experience it for myself, my guess is as good as yours. Hello fate, I didn’t see you there! But whether you want to dispute the authenticity of LA’s Ghost Idols however, you’d be entirely foolhardy to do so. They are an anomaly, but purely because their sound doesn’t fulfil a ticklist for given genre conventions. There are nuances of many sounds absorbed into their matter, perhaps so many that the original sources are all but unrecognisable. Here’s what I can tell you. At its truest centre, Ghost Idols are at best a super heavy indie band, at times pouring enough fuzz and distortion onto a guitar to drown out a building demolition, while keeping the poppy vocal melodies and harmonies present, injected with force straight into your brain. Every second of a Ghost Idols song never misses a beat, there is always something switching or shifting around to demand your attention. Take Heathens from their self-titled EP from 2013. There’s a tirade of thunderous drums, meshing together with roughened chords and optimistic vocal tones that would sit well in Bloc Party’s back pocket, later going into a hardcore style breakdown harbouring a infectious kick pedal pattern, full buckshot-impact sludge guitar accompanying it. There’s even a lovely, understated little solo atop both bass and drums going hell for leather And if they aren’t switching up the texture of the sound, then they constantly switch the time signatures too. Literally every note has meaning and purpose on an unprecedented level. Ghost Idols, unlike ghosts themselves, are something you should fully believe in, as their adventurous sound is so versatile and dynamic, they should be heightened from underground dwellings to mainstream music acceptance.

Their self-titled EP is currently available on a pay-what-you-want basis for a digital copy, or a reasonable sum for a physical copy, as well as their most recent single Monsoons which can be bought on vinyl, all on their Bandcamp page. These guys are also recording an album right now, so any money given to them will be appreciated. They have a killer sound, they deserve it.

https://www.facebook.com/GhostIdols?fref=ts

You Win Again Gravity

I’m an aficionado for a good quote or reference to popular culture, especially when said reference or quote reaches a level of obscurity that only somebody like me, stubbornly restricting myself to limited yet expansive sources, will understand. Conversations will start, and within five minutes, I likely have to explain what I have just said and where it comes from, because I can confuse anyone that quickly. But, to my absolute delight upon witnessing this Windsor post-hardcore mob’s name, I could revel in that I understood where it came from and that others also knew. Lifted from Futurama’s failed philanderer Zapp Brannigan, You Win Again Gravity are a hybrid, fused from a multitude of heavy and progressive forces into a unified juggernaut of monumental stopping power. These five gentlemen are such a well-oiled machine that the complexity of their music at times seems like second nature, and that alone is impressive enough to give them your attention. Skyline, from their late 2014 EP Let Go Lightly, ushers in a quiet series of triplets, before building into a Dillinger Escape Plan style barrage of off-kilter instrumentation into the main body of a strongly textured melodic hardcore anthem. The interchange between screams and singing compliments the progression that the music undertakes wonderfully, and is the crowning jewel in a treasure trove of unbelievably talented musicians. In line with the show their name comes from, this is thinking man’s hardcore, built to punch holes in mountains, but layered with an immense emotional depth and an impressive technical ability that even the most savage of mosh pits will take heed of. May gravity never slow them down.

The three EPs, Let Go Lightly, early 2014’s Brightly Coloured Landscapes and 2012’s Reflect The Change are all available from the band’s Bandcamp page for a respectable fee.

https://www.facebook.com/YouWinAgainGravity?fref=ts

Track of The Week: Autopsy Boys – Song For Deberra

Following my original article on Leeds electropunk outfit Autopsy Boys and my over excitement to share my words with them, they got in contact and they were impressed with my musings and tipped me off about the first preview of their forthcoming new album Return Of The Acid Casualty Auto Humans. So as you might expect, I was poised waiting, and a little over 24 hours later, here I am writing about that new song. Titled Song for Debbera, in tribute to B-movie legend and now music video curator, Debbie Rochon, is the beginning of a five-part narrative depicting a day of urban anarchy, in the style of the 80’s horror flicks they so cherish. The scene and the stage are set strongly, both the Queen of Scream introducing her illustrious career and the tale about to unfold, and the band start at pace with a subtly catchy guitar hook, whilst synth throbs like the Blob below. It’s really from this point onwards, you can really marvel at the lyricism at work, billowing with 80’s references that flow off the tongue like water bursting from a dam. There’s also not so much of a chorus of sorts,  but one particular moment that a well-informed crowd could harmonise with beautifully. Moments that recall a certain Mr. Gary Numan in his prime, then again, Tubeway Army were a punk band, just not in the strictest sense of the definition. As you expect, amplitude starts to ramp up and vocals cease to focus on instruments building tension, coinciding nicely with the on-screen imagery of a party dispersing from some sort of humanoid attack, as well as insane scientist back story in the process. Furious chords play out as synths turn haywire and drums keep that panic and hysteria constantly moving, culminating in the first person camera being thrown into the boot of a car. As an introduction to the work of Autopsy Boys, this could be no more perfect. As a fan, I can no doubt imagine that they already hunger for the next instalment, as well as more new music in tandem. On the basis of this first track alone, this Leeds four piece look set to continue and build upon the already stellar synthpunk slasher sound, and with visuals in tow, only confirm their status as one of the country’s most exciting under-the-radar bands around.

Song For Debbera is out now via all good music retailers, taken from their forthcoming new album expected sometime this year.

https://www.facebook.com/autopsyboys?fref=ts

Gaytheist

I mentioned a little while back that hardcore tends to be a very serious business, and a band’s prowess tends to be measured against the instigation of violence and how savagely you can play your instrument. All that raw, frenetic carnage is highly enjoyable at the best of times, but every now and again, the overbearing lust for bloodshed becomes too much. There’s very little laughter in between the roundhouse kicks and flailing fists. So I’ll reiterate again that when bands that tick most of the boxes for hardcore principles, but keep their tongues firmly in cheek, it makes the genre a little less like the display of machismo it’s pretty much portrayed as. After all, if you’re from Portland, Oregon and you name your band Gaytheist, you can’t expect to not raise eyebrows. Although they don’t so much as keep tongue in cheek, as swallow it trying. Let’s be honest here, when you pen rip-roaring stompers with such memorable titles like Elderly Assassin, I’m Procrastinate And I Vote and Poocano, it’s hard not to assume what you’re getting yourself in for. But what exactly are you getting yourself in for? A fiery punk buzzsaw built for speed, parts venomous, parts deranged, but everything defiant in the face of decency. Hold Me… But Not So Tight, their long player from 2013, speaks volumes for this sentiment, having an image of a pair of embracing lizards and one is suggestively licking the other. Anyway, to Manhattan, opening with a grinding bassline, that lurks underneath the build-up of pounding drums at pace, blazing guitar bathed in distortion and a mildly humorous yet mildly concerning social commentary on New York’s most densely populated district. Although, blink and you’ll miss it. You may argue that it just gets going, but they pack quality into those two minutes, that several visitations are required to soak in thoroughly. See, laughter is one of the keys to life, and if Gaytheist aren’t entertaining, then they are at least giving the stone-faced hardcore genre a permanent marker moustache whilst it’s unconscious.

Hold Me…, 2012 album Stealth Beats, a live album and some singles can be purchased from their Bandcamp page, from very reasonable prices. They also have some split EPs with a few other bands that are worth checking out, and I believe are somewhere in Bandcamp too.

https://www.facebook.com/GaytheistPDX

DC Fallout

For some in the world, the prospect of a nuclear war was one of the most terrifying things imaginable. If you understand the science behind it and realise that the quickly destabilising political climate we find ourselves in, could still herald the near annihilation of the human race today, it is still very much a frightening time to be alive. So obviously you are going to have voices in the face of opposition, and history has found that a lot of those voices express their disgust and dissatisfaction through the brutally honest medium that is punk rock. While hailing from Los Angeles, DC Fallout suggests the aftermath of political suicide from the nation’s capital, and they voice their frustrations through breakneck bursts of seething melodic punk anthems. America is experiencing an existental crisis of sorts, and these four gentlemen know it, running barbed truth after truth on all aspects of social commentary through gung-ho guitar shredding that dives into some meaty breakdowns, consitently excellent rapid-fire delivery and an unmistakable voice of reason and righteousness you cannot ignore. Some of their songs have a decidedly more upbeat delivery, but Dominoes is one of their more serious calls for revolution, touching on a more melancholy beginning, before drums count in the full-speed force of mighty guitars and a message to inspire a generation. Punk in its purest form is protest, and DC Fallout are gifted in their ability to convey their opinions so poetically and with such speed, skill and impact, it seems criminal that they resonate with so many, yet so few not know of them.

Objector from 2013, the Serf’s Up EP from 2011 and Retreat! from 2010 are all available in physical and digital format from DC Fallout’s Bandcamp page, for a respectable asking price.

https://www.facebook.com/dcfallout?fref=ts

Since By Man

Music is one of the greatest forms of escapism, and often we experience that escapism in many different ways. Some as losing yourself in an otherworldly soundscape, some as forming an emotional connection with music and/or lyrics and some as motivation towards a goal or dream. If I was a betting man, I’d say the music of Since By Man more than likely falls into the latter category. That goal being the systematic destruction of your surroundings and anyone around you. This is not music for the nervous or for the faint of heart.  This is pure catharsis. Since By Man take their inspiration from the melodic post-hardcore antics of Glassjaw and At The Drive-In, known for their endless energy, intensely passionate performances and near-faultless musicianship, and run their own frenzied madness out from their footsteps. All through Since By Man’s life cycle, especially evident in their choice of band name (from the 46th movement of Handel’s Messiah: Since By Man Came Death) there seems to be a complete disregard for human life that erupts from the beginning of 2002’s We Sing The Body Electric to their timely demise in 2008. No other statement makes that clearer than Push The Panic, the first song of We Sing The Body Electric. From the very beginning, the weak are weeded out by a tirade of vitriolic screaming, acerbic guitar work designed to eviscerate and a technical but extreme drum mauling. If you survive that, you are treated to some lavish melodies still in the punk vein, but don’t have to fear for your life for a brief moment. But nothing, absolutely nothing hits harder than the scathing sociopathic statement at the song’s climax. There are songwriters at Since By Man’s core, honest, but they chose to invoke their escapism through enchanting melodies, sandwiched between nihilistic bombshells of hardcore.

We Sing The Body Electric, 2004’s A Love Hate Relationship EP and 2005’s Pictures From The Hotel Apocalypse can all be purchased at most respectable music retailers, at an affordable price.

https://www.facebook.com/sincebyman?fref=ts

Wild Zombie Blast Guide

Unless I missed a memo over the last few years or so, metalcore doesn’t really appear to be a thing any more. Well, at least from the thrash-influenced perspective, as more and more bands pile on from the hardcore bandwagon, some even evolving into the visceral deathcore movement. Metal has left me jaded nowadays, as the trend seems to emphasise brutality in your music, in guitar tones and how much venom and vengeance you can saturate your lyrics with, bores me. In my personal opinion, there’s very little innovation any more, as clones after clones emerge and dump themselves on top of the landfill. So when metal bands that are flashier, play faster and hark back to a time when proficiency on your instrument was key, it opens a window on a stagnant genre climate.Germany’s Wild Zombie Blast Guide are no doubt obsessed with the living dead and modern society, but they reinvigorate that spirit of thrash metal that many recent bands seem to be ignoring. There’s some interesting ideas such as backing samples and the inclusion of a banjo in one song, but then they also trope into a few modern cliches such that sub-bass explosion that seems to be the equivalent of the Black Plague. Yet there’s a healthy camaraderie and optimism in their message, despite their subject matter. The switching of vocal styles between hardcore superstar, guttural death metal frontman and gang chants in the same song is also refreshing to hear, as highlighted by Birds Of Prey. In between tasteful electronic gasps for breath, some killer guitar chops and an anthemic chorus, the song is a testament to skill-based guitar-orientated music, played at such a pace, it could rattle spinal discs out of place. 2014’s Salute The Commander is a celebration of all that is good about metal, and is life-affirming to boot musically and mentally.

Salute The Commander and their 2012 self-titled debut can only be found on their Bandcamp page for a reasonable asking price.

https://www.facebook.com/wildzombieblastguide?fref=ts

Autopsy Boys

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MUSIC VIDEO MAY NOT ENTIRELY BE SAFE FOR WORK. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Let me ask you a question. If given the choice to live on a diet of popular culture in the 1980’s, could you be persuaded? Bearing in mind this is the same decade that popularised video games, cartoons, comic books and slasher flicks. Doctors advise that living on such a diet may cause frequent outbursts of electronic-infused punk rock, with an explosive tendency to cleverly inject this experience into lyrics at every given moment, pen choruses with melodies that writhe like parasites in your grey matter and an obsession with snuff film themed music videos. If you answered yes, you’re either in, or will most likely enjoy the work of, Leeds’ Autopsy Boys. Already a sensation from their chaotic live performances across the country and superb horror homages, these gentlemen are deservedly garnering acclaim for putting literal blood and sweat back into punk. No Ambition, a guaranteed contender for one of my songs of the year (despite being out for at least a year or so already), is the culmination of a super-violent fight sequence and a fiery, no-prisoners-taken hardcore clinic, oozing with delicious synth undertones that urges replay after replay. I implore you to seep deeper into their self-proclaimed suburban nightmare of a world, Autopsy Boys may come across as psychopathic in nature, but their heart is truly in the right place. On the floor. In front of you.

Everything Autopsy Boys can be found on their website, or singles can be found at most respectable music retailers, all for a reasonable fee.

Whitedevilwhitedevil

There aren’t that many bands in the world that are named from a line in a Jim Carrey film (Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls if you didn’t know), and for that matter, there probably never will be. Not that Carrey isn’t great at writing memorable words and phrases, but you give him the task of making a band name out of his entire filmography, you can bet this wasn’t his first choice. Medway, UK based cacophonists Whitedevilwhitedevil nonetheless channel the same breed of likable insanity into brutal downtuned sludge fight anthems, downed in enough sound to burst river banks. Whilst their recorded material is scattered across the shallows of Bandcamp, every song brings urgency and brute force into a two pronged guitar attack, and drums while grainy and amplified far louder than they should, smash and clatter well with them. Sometimes, a slight edge of pedal experimentalism leaks into their work, but do seem to be blue-moon natured occurrences. Fight Milk, a shorter tune in their arsenal from the A New Low EP, lays down a power house performance of crushing guitar blasts whilst drums go hell for leather, orchestrating the sheer chaos that unfolds. Oh, don’t forget those shouts. Instigating violence at its finest. These three gentlemen have a lot to look forward to in the future.

As already divulged, Whitedevilwhitedevil have all their recorded output on Bandcamp, just not all in one location, but EPs, demos and even a collection of Christmas covers are all available for a small fee. A New Low can be found here.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whitedevilwhitedevil/310977112361937?fref=ts

Arms & The Man

Regardless of what you think of hardcore nowadays, it seems needless to say that it’s all rather angry and violent. So when you have bands that take a lighter approach, yet still maintain that exceptional intensity and that unwavering devotion and passion to the craft, it deserves the same spotlight as any other hardcore band before and after. Hitchin’s Arms & The Man, are very much in that bracket. While their repetoire boasted a blazing array of bruising hardcore throwdowns, with an impressive hard rock flair and showmanship, their lyrics, well tales, are far more tongue-in-cheek. I’ll openly admit, at a local music festival I attended around five years ago, one of my fondest memories of that festival was this five piece screaming the immortal words, ‘I punched a wolf in the face, mate.’ Four, five years later, that glorious phrase from signature track Wolfpuncher has emerged in recorded format for the world to hear. Hi-jinx aside, these guys were the real deal. Unflinching, uncompromising, and all with a grin in tow, Arms & The Man serves as a reminder that no matter how seriously you take pride in your work, you gotta step back and laugh sometimes.

Sad fact: These gentlemen split up on my birthday this year, 26th February. Your punching of wolves in the face lives on in my heart. For this song, and occasionally as silly song titles, head on over to their Bandcamp, where you can purchase a couple of EPs and singles they’ve released over the years.

https://www.facebook.com/armsandthemanuk?fref=ts