Dead In The Dirt have been one of my current favorite heavy bands since I heard their excellent debut EP Void a few years ago, as well as witnessing their intense live show. The band's intense combination of grindcore, powerviolence and crust on Void reeled me in the second I heard it and I've been hooked ever since. Their follow up 7 inch Fear was a huge step in sound, and unsurprisingly, their debut LP The Blind Hole is an even greater record than its predecessors. Even saying that, I can't say I was quite prepared for how incredible this debut LP is.
In roughly under 24 minutes, the band tears through 22 songs with a white knuckle intensity rare in most bands. Drawing from influences such as Dropdead, His Hero Is Gone and Left For Dead, the band has honed their craft to perfection, going from short and unbelievably satisfying grindcore to crushing sludge in the drop of a hat."Suffer" opens the album with a furious punk riff before spilling into an intense grindcore section and is over before you know it, while following tracks "The Blaring Eye" and "Swelling" are even more of a blink and you'll miss it affair. It's on the 4th track "Strength Through Restraint" when you are hit with an unbelievably crushing feedback filled sludge riff that you realize the band is clearly at the top of their game on all levels and expanding their sound into different and slower paced territories to great success. This is readily apparent in the lengthier tracks on the record such as "Will Is The War" and "The Pit Of Me" and ridiculously heavy closing song "Halo Crown", the latter reaching an almost Khanate/Sunn level of slow paced sludge that closes out the album in perfect form.The recording (provided by Andy Nelson of the also excellent Weekend Nachos) is also outstanding, precise and clear while still capturing the raw intensity of the band's vicious live show. The only real let down is having to wait until I get a physical copy of the LP to read the lyrics. Dead In The Dirt has always had a strong vegan, straight edge and atheist stance lyrically, and from what I can make out from my initial listens this looks to be the case once again with The Blind Hole, and I can't wait to read along while listening when my physical copy hits my mailbox. I am always a huge fan of bands with something genuine and sincere to say, and Dead In The Dirt lyrically are about as sincere as extreme music gets.
All and all, Dead In The Dirt have crafted an triumphant display of extreme music with The Blind Hole. It's an emotionally intense and wholly bleak record that contains what will undoubtfully end up being some of the outright heaviest and vicious material released by any heavy band this year. It's a record that has continued to hit me as hard as it did the first time even after dozens and dozens of repeated listens over the past week, and I'm sure there are many to come. This is a record that will turn the heads of even the most jaded extreme music fans, and proves itself an essential listen. Expect to see it on my (and most likely many others) top ten list when the year finishes out.
As far as all star bands go, it's hard to top the pedigree on display in All Pigs Must Die. Consisting of the vocalist known for his work in hardcore staple The Hope Conspiracy and Bars, as well as the drummer from the almighty Converge and the guitarist and bassist of sludge powerhouse Bloodhorse, it's hard not to get incredible excited about the forces coming together here, and frankly unwise. After a stellar EP in 2010 and their crushing full length debut God Is War a year later, the band has returned with their second LP on Southern Lord entitled Nothing Violates This Nature, and it serves as a continuation of the bloody rampage the band has been on from their inception with no signs of slowing down in sight.
For those unfamiliar with the band, All Pigs Must Die play a brand of crust influenced metallic hardcore that is unrelenting and vicious to say the very least. Nothing Violates This Nature continues that tradition in kind, crashing right out the gate with opening track Chaos Arise and not letting up in intensity through it's 10 song duration. Vocalist Kevin Baker's vocals are again top notch and relentless in their intensity, and they perfectly match the assault the expert execution provided by the rhythm section. Again, as with their last full length God Is War, the band really hits a sweet spot with me on their slower songs/sections. Album standout "Bloodlines" opens with haunting clean guitar before moving into a vicious mid-paced section that is sure to rile up any crowd to the point of nuclear warfare. Following track "Of Suffering" , the lengthiest song and slow paced midpoint of the record, anchors a crushing sludge section on a surprisingly melodic riff that seethes and also builds into a incredibly intense ending, something this band is especially great at. Things mostly stay on the faster end of the spectrum for the rest of the record, and there are plenty of memorable moments to be found. Once again recording with Kurt Ballou of God City Studios/Converge fame, the band again attains the perfect recording to match their unbridled intensity.
Once again, All Pigs Must Die have delivered a scathing full length of intense metallic hardcore that further cements their presence as one of the top tier bands in extreme metal. Nothing Violates This Nature falls in line with the band's previous releases and when your a band churning out some of the best metallic hardcore there is to offer, you'll see no complaints from me. Fans of the band have no doubt already been anticipating this release with fever pitch, and if you haven't heard the band yet, now is the perfect time to start paying attention. Kudos to Southern Lord Records for releasing yet another outstanding hardcore/metal release.
Well, holy hell. No sooner did I think the Texas crossover assault of 2013 was over and done with with the release of the outstanding new Power Trip LP Manifest Decimation that I open up my email inbox to a review copy of one of the most anticipated LP's of the year, Mammoth Grinder's immaculate new 10 song LP Underworlds. Underworlds has been a long time coming and the wait was worth every single second. These 10 songs are the heaviest and most dynamic material the band has served up to date. It serves as a culmination of all of the sounds the band has explored previously in their past releases, from the raging hardcore punk fury of Rage and Ruin and No Results to the punishing straight up death metal of Extinction Of Humanity and their split with fellow Texas powerhouse Hatred Surge. It is in this focused and developed sound that Mammoth Grinder have really hit their stride: These songs are likely to incite just as much hard moshing as headbanging and everything inbetween.
Storming right out the gate with the opening title track from the album, the band constructs a sound that takes the metallic hardcore of Leeway, the crusty d-beat fury of Discharge and the hardened death metal attack of bands such as Entombed and turns it into a dynamic listening experience that is immediately gripping and impossible to ignore. Devoid of any interludes, sound samples or other needless filler, the band serves up a seemingly unlimited number of amazing riffs that will be stuck with you for days on end. The vocals are heavily distorted and soaked in reverb, a perfect combination that helps to set the raw and atmospheric tone of the record. Mammoth Grinder are a true bastion of the school of no gimmicks and no bullshit: The band simply serves 10 of the best metal/hardcore songs heard in recent memory and rips through them like they were born to do it. In fact, this is obviously a record made by a band in their prime, and the pure determination and focus at which they weave their craft is something to be truely admired.
It's been a long, almost agonizing wait for Underworlds, but the wait will soon be over for the general public and I am hear to tell you that it's been more than worth it. It took me a while to come up with the exact words to describe how good this record is but like with many things, it's just something that you need to hear for yourself to understand. Texas has always had a stronghold on crossover/metallic hardcore and it seems that crown will remain for some time to come. Underworlds will be dropping July 23rd on CD/LP/Digital Download via 20 Buck Spin Records.
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