Fresh Hell Vol 1.
Here at Manchester Rocks we get sent tonnes of new music everyday, from local band's EPs to big name, stadium filling acts and everything in between. In this first edition of Fresh Hell we've put together some of the highlights we've recently discovered that we think are worth shouting about into bite size reviews.
Hellrad - Things Never Change
Self-described as 'Philadelphia fear metal' this is the kind of deranged and contorted music that really is in dire need of a bath, but its lack of cleanliness is where its oddly seductive qualities prowl. Street Zombies kicks opens things with a splutter of slow, dank and oppressive riffs, but little flits are peppered beneath the war cry vocals which give it a more unique character.
To compare them to one of Manchester's own, they bare a similarity to the sluggish rumbles of Nomad, only with these vocals reaching high octaves; a screech more than a bellow.
They work hard to add diversity and excitement across the seven track EP, all the while staying within their established sound. Fuck Up explodes late on, a crawling pace ignites into a riff-driven sprint with a real power.
The highlight though, is the excellently titled Dopefiend Jesus. There's a hint of Down in their groove during a song which bounces between full on decibel raping and clean (if you can call it that, it's still filthier than a raz mag) interludes which only add more impetus to their crescendos.
Stand out tracks: Dopefiend Jesus, Fuck Up Link: https://hellrad1.bandcamp.com/releases
OHHMS - Cold
Not only are Cantebury progressive doom act OHHMS masters of concocting atmospheric soundscapes, rich in imagery and graced with psychedelia, but they know how to move you. Their music is emotive, playing the right chord, knowing when to inject a specific uplift or downturn within their elegantly wrung out notes. It's almost imprisoning the way they do it, playing with your mood like a puppeteer and you get the feeling they love watching you dance.
Cold consists of two tracks, the whole clocking in at over half an hour. They take their doom based template and run with it; this is expansive, ambitious and ultimately grandiose. Last year's debut offering Bloom earned them a place at the recent Temples Festival in Bristol. It was a release which also saw them hogging the airwaves of BBC Radio 1 for a whole fifteen minutes - I mean, how fucking cool is that?!
Repetition here is scarce, they just keep pushing forwards, crafting new phantasmal auras in your imagination, they continue sweeping you away into a stark reverie. Cold is compelling. Like Inter Arma recently did with their continuous one track 45 minute EP, its dreamy like qualities manage to take hold of you in a way where conventional, reiterated phrases are no longer a necessity to tie things together and if there were some structural recycling here it would only undermine the pure adventurousness of what they set out to achieve in the first place.
Take a deep breath. Come get lost.
Stand out tracks: The Anchor, Dawn of the Swarm Link: https://ohhms.bandcamp.com/
Nuclear - Formula For Anarchy
South America isn't exactly notorious for it's metal bands, but when they do emerge from their sun-kissed nations to grace ears on our rainier shores, they more often than not deliver the goods. Thrash act Nuclear are no exception to that and while they offer little in terms of ingenuity to tried, tested and time worn blueprint - punk pace and metal ferocity - that familiarity falls onto your ears nicely. If you like thrash, namely here Slayer, Exodus and Testament, then this is definitely an album worth devouring.
Their 2010 effort Jehovirus, mastered in the UK by engineer Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, Evile), was enough to bring them to the attention of Candlelight Records who they signed a deal with in 2014.
In all, Formula For Anarchy is an album of ten tracks, most short, cocaine fuelled fast and amass with lurching, shouted vocals about death, war and an all round lack of mercy, a fuck tonne of riffs and those messy (in the best way) Jeff Hanneman style solos. The standard is high and very consistent. A great record.
Stand out tracks: Offender, Killing Spree Link: http://www.nuclear.cl/
Sons of Huns – While Sleeping Stay Awake
The second album from this Portland trio, thematically it centres around matters such as Raja Yoga, meditation, Egyptian magic, the occult and Hermetic philosophy, all inspired by singer and guitarist Pete Hughes’ battle with Lyme Disease when he was just 16 years old. It left him with deep, burning questions about this life we all lead and it is within these outlets he sook comfort, physical and metal peace.
The fun thing however, is the disparity between those deep topics and the hip-swinging, no-holds-barred rock n' roll that they enrobe them in.
“We’re a heavy rock band, no frills, we turn up and let it rip,” Hughes states. “Playing this music is cathartic, and we hope this album captured that.” It is then, in those wah lathered grooves, inherent with rock n’ roll’s blues based swagger and bolstered by a nastily abrasive fuzz tone that the real catharsis takes place: A triumphant record that’s as fun and soulful as it is aggressive and heavy.
Osiris Slain and An Evil Unseen are all about driving rhythms and spinning riffs with plenty of free-wheeling lead work interspersed acutely throughout, the whole force of their sound driven by a part Sabbath plod, part punk rock menace. There’s moments of Deep Purple, thumping elemental doom and more at play here, with deft harmonies and vocals that sit comfortably on the fence between clean and melodic and dirty and whisky soaked. A band with a broad appeal heightened by the cohesive mish mash of their sound.
Oh, and Philosopher’s Stone sounds like an evil Goldfrapp.
Stand out tracks: Osiris Slain, Philosopher’s Stone Link: http://sonsofhuns.com/
Words: Phil Weller