The new A Short Fanzine About Rocking is back from the printers this week and Nick was kind enough to send over the reviews of Atonement releases in advance. Have to say, pretty happy we is so siked on what it is that Atonement does.
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BELOW – ‘Demo 2013’
‘Featuring members of Broken Teeth and Survival’ you say? Well, with that in mind there was never any doubt this was going to be awesome, and so it proves as this North West mob serve up a punishing brand of metallic-edged hardcore that, while having shades of their ‘day jobs’, also shows them doing something different. The opening title track leads off with an ominous intro before Survival front-man Tom delivers the first of the vein-popping vocals that show he’s really pushing things to the next level for this band, and his confrontational delivery perfectly suits the hyper-aggressive up-front chug that’s on offer here. ‘Ill Decisions’ is an energetic, punchy number keeps things hard-as-nails, although the quiet outro to the track shows that this is a million miles away from angry bluster, as do the technical flourishes and dynamic time changes that are in evidence throughout. Of course, while I can – and should – praise the musicianship and song-structures, the over-riding emotion this EP conjures up in the listener is an urgent need to punch walls: I challenge you to listen to the breakdowns on ‘Altar of Mendacity’ and ‘Iganvus Incarnate’ and not want to fight the world. Below are a band I need to see live – albeit possibly while standing a safe distance from the pit.
BLEAK REALITY – ‘Demo 2013’
If you’ve picked up any of the recent issues of ASFAR, you’ll have seen me raving about Nottingham’s Bleak Reality being one of the best new bands on the UK hardcore scene, and this three-track demo, dropping on the consistently-great Atonement Records, reinforces my view. The two original tracks on here – ‘Sleep Tight’ and ‘Fake Friends’ – are fast, punchy slices of heavy hardcore that should have fans of Trapped Under Ice drooling, while their expertly-executed cover of Crown Of Thornz ‘Love Sick’ is a handy reminder of the influence the NYHC scene has had on their sound. For some reason, Bleak Reality haven’t received anywhere near the amount of attention some of their UKHC peers have been lavished with but this demo shows that, away from the limelight, they’re developing into something pretty damn special.
C£M£NT – ‘This Is Not A Demo’
While I’m loathe to call C£M£NT a joke band, it’s safe to say they’re not playing things entirely seriously on this five-track effort – as song titles like ‘Breaking Edge Is Never Easy I Know But I Have To Go’ and ‘If Life Is Like A Computer Game Then Yours Is Going To End Up A Bit Dead Souls In That You're Going To Die A Lot’ immediately show. They do, however, feature former and current members of the likes of Deal With It and Moat, which meant this was always likely to be a cut above your average knock-about having-a-laugh-in-the-studio effort. Taking things to the next level of ludicrousness after his vocal histrionics in Natural Order, Mike Carver delivers a frenzied vocal assault here, with an X-rated blend of growls, vitriolic snarls and guttural grunts, served up atop big juddering, jarring riffs that would put many a po-faced mosh metal band to shame. Hard-as-nails and decidedly unhinged – ‘This Is Not A Demo’ is off-the-wall but a blast from start to finish. I dread to think how insane they’ll be live.
RENOUNCED – ‘Conditioned From Birth’
Occasionally a release reminds me metalcore is a genre that can still excite me. ‘Conditioned From Birth’ is one of those all-too-rare records. The fact that it’s coming out on Atonement is almost a guarantee of quality in itself, and the presence of ex-Abolition/Bird Calls riff merchant Sam Knight in the band line-up means the musicianship is guaranteed to be top notch, but even taking those factors into account, I don’t think I was expecting something this good. Unashamedly worshipping at the altar of late-90’s/early-00’s metalcore means Renounced serve up a powerful blend of juddering riffs, technical guitar-work, harsh vocals and melodic flourishes that makes me get all dewy eyed about an era before the genre became associated with pig squeals and sketchy synth breakdowns. Indeed, ‘Conditioned From Birth’s backward-looking-ness and reluctance to acknowledge current trends actually helps to make numbers like ‘Empty’ and the absolutely storming ‘Nothing’ sound fresh and exciting when juxtaposed against some of the hackneyed tripe masquerading as metalcore these days. With Sam now living in Japan, I have no idea when we’ll see more live shows from this lot to build on the handful they played before he departed, but even if this is their sole output Renounced have still delivered on of 2013’s best debut releases.