The Round Up Tapes // Volume XIV

Couch Slut – Contempt

Couch Slut aren’t taking any prisoners on their follow up to 2014s My Life as a Woman and on Contempt they continue to mine the terrifying real situations the band members have found themselves in. On first glance their music is a mind-melding mesh of noise, old school hardcore and even some nods to second wave black metal, but Couch Slut introduce increasingly off-kilter moments to create an atmosphere of dread and unnerving fury. Front-person Megan Osztrosits wraps her harsh, visceral tones around opener “Funeral Dyke” and its bizarre segues from raging punk to weirdo black metal and even a subtly beautiful riff that soars suddenly over all before fading into groove-laden guitar and screams.

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The Round Up Tapes // Volume VIII

Bleak Metal turns five years old today. What?!? Where does the time go? Time flies….etc etc…. But honestly, five years is a long time and also no time at all.

I’ve chosen to talk about three bands that are shaping the future of metal (one them has been doing so for as long as I’ve been listening to metal) and will continue to do so. They are bands that push forward, bands that are passionate and bands that create music that speaks to all aspects of the human condition. Two are bands releasing their debut records and one is a band on their seventh (and probably the most “mainstream” album you’ll ever see on here). Here goes….

Ancst – Moloch

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Ancst have been making music for a number of years (they were reviewed here way back in 2013) yet Moloch is their first official full length. That’s not to say that the band have been taking it easy, oh no, this is a project that have no concept of taking it easy and the time since their inception has been coloured with EPs, splits, compilations and a rigorous touring schedule. Moloch is the sum of all that effort and is a record that speaks of despair, darkness, inner turmoil and social awareness. It’s furious for the most part but there are small shining moments that are shaded with sadness and regret and pack an emotional heft that is all too real.

Ancst talk of the huge problems we face as a collective society and Moloch is their manifesto; the album allows them to vocalise their concerns and the result is a furious, deadly record that has no room for breath. It’s fast and moves with an impressive speed, opener “Moloch” setting the pace immediately. “Behold Thy Servants” incorporates a gorgeous guitar line that works against the harsh, punishing vocals and creates a varied harmony that settles under the skin before blowing all semblance of peace away with a ramped up section that leaves you winded. Ancst are terrifying in their ability and the melding of black metal and hardcore works entirely in their favour. There’s room for intensity and sadness in equal measure and Moloch holds both close to its core. The album is an emotional journey and truly a step up for the band. They have so much to say that ten tracks doesn’t seem like anywhere near enough time, but for a band so prolific, finding the time to voice their opinions won’t be difficult at all.

Check Ancst’s bandcamp for information on buying Moloch and their back catalogue.

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The Round Up Tapes // Volume VII

Wow. It’s been some time, huh? There’s a myriad of reasons but none of them are very exciting and the problem of being in way too much pain to sit at the laptop and type for hours has been the biggest issue. But! There’s plans afoot and a procedure is booked for the end of April. Cool! I’d like to say that that will fix the issue of me just not being very productive…..but who knows? We’ll see.

Anyway, lots of great music has been released and lots of great music is on the way so to get back to regular programming here are some records that are wonderful and worth some attention. Plus, here are some links to other sites where I have talked about Oranssi Pazuzu’s latest and Wolvserpent’s new EP.

Cobalt – Slow Forever

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Cobalt have had a much publicised, troubled history of late, with founding member Erik Wunder removing collaborator Phil McSorley from the line-up soon after discovering his heinous antics on the world wide web (it’s been documented countless times so far be it fro me to get back into such a shitty experience). After a lot of talk of new music, it was touch and go for the band and moving forward seemed a long way off. Yet, Wunder drafted in vocalist Charlie Fell (also going through a public break up with Lord Mantis) to add to his musical palette. Wunder is a delirious musician; he has crafted a stunning and epic double album and allowed Fell to explore his voice in much more scope than he has previously.

Cobalt tread a much different path than they have in the past, leaving many semblances of their black metal past firmly with 2009s Gin (the last time we heard anything from the band). Slow Forever instead incorporates other subtle influences – from the Americana style of the opening lines of “Hunt the Buffalo” to the bass driven punk of “Cold Breaker” to the sludgy howls of “Slow Forever” and the amped up dissonance of album closer “Siege.” It’s a varied and dynamic work that is filled with passion, despair, new-found drive and the occasional breath of beauty. The aforementioned track suddenly gives way to gorgeous, soaring guitars that move against the horror preceding it and allows a little spark of light to filter through. Of course, such serenity isn’t built to last and soon the song falls back into furious beats and pained screams. A devastating reminder that there is always a calm before a tumultuous storm.

Slow Forever can be streamed and purchased here.

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The Memory Remains. 2015 in review.

2015 is over and 2016 looms, full of promise and optimism but, in all likelihood it’s going to be much the same as the year before it and the year before that and the year before that……etc etc…. Every year I try not to have too many expectations about what the following twelve months will hold and instead try to take one day at a time and hope that through some kind of cosmic circumstance, that things will be OK. That my family will stay well and that they will be happy and that the struggles they face will become less.

2015 was, on the whole, a good year. My day job went well and continues to do so. For the most part my family are doing great and I saw my little brother get married in the summer, which was incredible despite having to sit in a church for that length of time. Writing took a little bit of a back seat and I found myself struggling to get as excited about it as I used to. It turned into a chore and I thought it best to allow myself some time to regain the joy in writing. I still get paid a little for some work and I continued to do that, but this blog and other online outlets suffered as a result.

I found myself not listening to as much music as I could have and usually do. That I wasn’t listening to a record unless I was writing about it (which as you can see from above, I didn’t do too much of) and so my pleasurable listening came from the occasional musical crush – you don’t want to know how many times I’ve listened to Enthrone Darkness Triumphant in the last six weeks.

As well as that, I have a physical ailment (it’s a super gross ganglion on my right wrist) that is preventing typing for extended periods of time and I finally went to see my GP about it. Fingers crossed that during the beginning of this year I get some news on when it can be operated on. The recovery is a month or more, so I’m not sure how things will go from there but it will save a lifetime of pain and medication.

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OBLIVIONIZED//OLD SKIN//LET IT DIE//GREY WIDOW//KRAWWL

Oblivionized and Old Skin are heading out on mini tour across the weekend of June 6. In association with The Bloated Corpse Of Punk, Bleak Metal is helping put on the London date at Power Lunches in trendy East London on Friday 6 June.

Both Oblivionized and Old Skin are incredible forces live and joining them for this London show will be Let It Die, Grey Widow and KRAWWL. The mix of musical styles is quite varied but rest assured, the whole evening will be tied together with that misanthropic glare that each act contains within.

The doors for Power Lunches open at 6, with bands due to start around 7.30. We have the venue until 2am so bring yourself, your cool friends, £5 to gain entry and the capacity to party until the early hours.

Event information can be found here.

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Bleak Metal Presents: Caïna X Church Of Fuck

Bleak Metal is extremely honoured to present Caïna live as a full band for the very first time in their ten year history. Usually a solo project, Caïna is doing something incredibly special for the ten year anniversary of the band which will be taking place at Camden’s Black Heart on Saturday July 5.

Supporting at this event will be the Manchester based groups Esoteric Youth and Old Skin, both label mates on cult imprint Church Of Fuck and both absolutely fantastic. In addition to playing these sets, members from both acts will be a part of the live Caïna experience giving Andy Curtis-Brignell’s back catalogue the kind of atmosphere that it hasn’t been able to suffer under as yet.

The latest addition to the line up is the wonderful chaps of Harrowed who have kindly agreed to lend their frenetic energy to the evening.

Caïna X Church Of Fuck // designed by http://rdmvisuals.tumblr.com/
Caïna X Church Of Fuck // designed by Ross D McKendrick

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Vestiges+Panopticon – Split LP

It’s no secret that I have a personal love and appreciation for the one man project of A. Lunn – Panopticon – so please allow me to harp on about this band one more time. It’s unlikely it’ll be the last time I talk about Panopticon so you’ll just have to deal with it. After 2011s searing Social Disservices and 2012s more melodic affair, Kentucky, Panopticon is back – this time with a split from another favourite of mine, Vestiges.

Vestiges side of the split nicely follows their debut The Descent of Man and their split with Ghaust in 2011 by naming the tracks contained here in a continuation of the songs found on those releases. “VII” and “VIII” deftly progress the sound that Vestiges created on their debut whilst bringing a new sense of coherence and a world of agony into these new works. Pantopicon meanwhile, evokes the landscapes we heard on Kentucky with two new compositions – “A Letter” and “Eulogy” – as well as a furious cover of Suicide Nation’s “Collapse and Die.”
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Vestiges: Top secret guys. Panopticon: A. Lunn

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The Catalyst – Voyager

Following hot on the heels of the recently reviewed Unholy Thoughts, comes another Virginia based Forcefield Records band (is there something in the water there?) – a group going by the name of The Catalyst – who have Voyager to offer the world and also the universe. These guys are kinda wonky and definitely enjoy the odd trip or two (take that phrase however you like) into the outer reaches. Evidently this is the first records sans a second drummer – you thought Kylesa had the monopoly on that? Think again. But that loss does no harm to the sound The Catalyst manage to produce over the forty minute running time. Throwing in punk influences, touches of sludge and even the odd dual vocal, The Catalyst are pretty darn devastating considering.

1. (The Final Voyage Of The) Spaceship Catalyst
2. King of Swords
3. Square Waves
4. Occult Blood
5. Septagon
6. Jupiter Brain
7. Breathers
8. Big Bend
9. Open High
10. Voyager

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