Sunday, 19 February 2012

Hard To Swallow - Protected By The Ejaculation Of Serpents

Hard To Swallow are a band that time seems to have largely forgotten about. An excellent mid-to-late 90's UK grind band, who released a handful of splits and one full length. In all honesty, the only reason that I've ever heard of them is because of Iron Monkey. What you may not know (how would you?) is that Iron Monkey are easily one of my favorite bands in the known universe. Hailing from Nottingham (around an hour from where I live, geography fans) they created a stoner influenced doom/sludge sledgehammer-of-hatred type sound. Truly abrasive and totally misanthropic, yet with the most amazing grooves. The late Johnny Morrow's vocals are out of this world. Literally! He sounds inhuman. I hated them the first time I heard them on a compilation CD, but something must have gripped me and years later at some hardcore all dayer somewhere around '99 - 2000 (probably), I saw their 2nd LP in a distro and picked it up on a whim. I was blown away, and still listen to it constantly. Anyway! Justin Greaves and Jim Rushby were in Hard To Swallow & Iron Monkey at sort of the same time. Also, Rushby was in Ironside in the early 90's, who you'll have probably heard in some form even if you don't know it, cause these dudes covered one of their songs. I'm in danger of losing my point here, in fact I may already have done so. Listening to HTS a few weeks ago, I was hit by a couple of realizations.

1) I do prefer the songs on the splits to the songs on the full length but the full length DOES feature Johnny Morrow on guest vocals.
2) It's still a brilliant, shambolic, brutal & relentlessly nasty LP that I don't own on vinyl and suddenly needed to.
3) Any band that uses The Wicker Man references is a band I'll listen to.

So I was surprised to find that, despite only 1000 copies of it being pressed back in 1999, the label still had some. Released by Household Name (now there's a label I had LONG forgotten about) and pressed on white. 

The tracks featured here were originally on a CD along with all of their songs from the splits and that was originally released in 1996, with different cover art. When it was pressed onto vinyl, just the new material made it across and with a bit of remastering.

One or some of the dudes from HTS went on to play in Dead Inside, who I saw play years ago upstairs in some crappy pub. In fact I think that the band I was in at the time possibly played that night too, which is why I was there. Anyways I bought a sticker from them and stuck it on my guitar where it still lives in a faded capacity. Loooooong after I even have any idea what they sounded like

Saturday, 18 February 2012

From the Isle Of Thanet

Well haven't they done well. A little over 6 months since Unhloly Majesty's debut tape vanished in the blink of a light detecting organ, they're Terrorizer's Band Of The Day, they're getting positive press from here, there and everywhere and now A389 have pressed the tracks from that tape on a run of vinyl. It's well deserved too, cause UnMaj are great. It's cool to see a UK band rise to prominence so quickly, I could almost get patriotic.

I wrote about the tape back here, but enough about me being an OG.

There are two pressings of this: clear out of 150, and a run on black too. A389 still have copies of both available. If you like Ringworm (you DO like Ringworm, don't you?!) then you'll like this. This will sell out.

A tidy little package. The Owl & The Serpent is one of the best songs of last year. Fact. This whole EP is up for free download here, and cause I love you, I'll embed the tracks below.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Integrity - Kingdom Of Heaven 7"

This new Integrity 7" features 3 old tracks, recorded 20 years ago. Released both as a 20th anniversary marker and in tribute to former drummer Dave Araca, present on these recordings before his untimely death. Even now, these tracks are unfuckwithable. Seriously. 'Kingdom Of Heaven'? Still sounds amazing. 'Rebirth'? I don't think they ever sounded more evil.  I listen to Den Of Iniquity a heck of a lot, mainly for those 2 tracks I just mentioned, so having these alternative takes (this 7" also includes 'Eighteen') on a cool limited pressing leads to good times all around.
I'm believe that the artwork on this is from Dwid. It looks excellent, is dark as hell and goes hand in hand with some of the other cover art he's done recently for Cape Of Bats (see below) and the new Sutekh Hexen LP.

You can just about see the Integ skull visible in the light there.

Similarly, the back cover shows off some invisible crosses when titled in the light

Released on A389, this white pressing limited to 150 and is now sold out. There was also a run on black, which is still available

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Cape Of Bats - Transylvania

I don't ever remember feeling scared of Vampires. They just never seemed to bother me. Werewolves? God yeah. I had sleepless night for days when I unwisely chose to watch American Werewolf In London against the BBFC's advisement. Never answer the door without the safety chain on kids, it could be werewolves in Nazi uniforms. Vampires nowadays seem even less bothersome. All I can think of is Robert Pattinson jumping from branch to branch like a fucking Marmoset looking like he's about to start crying about that miserable chick Bella. SHE'S NOT LOYAL TO YOU EDWARD!

Anyway, vinyl. Right.

Cape Of Bats bring the vampire with a seriousness with their new 7" released on Holy Terror. Entitled Transylvania and themed around the Irish vampiric myth of Abhartach, the alternatively claimed inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula by some historians. Stoker was Irish, so you can see where they're coming from I guess. Celtic myth and legend fascinate me, so tie that in with some seriously nasty sounding hardcore black metal punk and I'm all in. It's a brilliant story, a truly fascinating myth and just the sort of treatment the concept of vampires deserves. I can't help but hear Infest when I listen to the first track, the way it goes from mid-paced to fast and back again, raging all the way. Im loving everything I've heard from Cape Of Bats, and I want more.

Pressed on yellow, a run of 200. This was released in conjunction with another label called Grim Winds who are handling the black pressing, with the yellow being exclusive to Holy Terror. I think I'm right in saying that Grim Winds is the bands own label. They don't seem to have their copies for sale yet though, dunno what the deal is there.

Get some learning done with the insert, a recounting of the Abhartach legend.