CULT BURIAL – Oblivion EP

On their self titled album from 2020, London’s Cult Burial served up an interesting mix of extreme metal sounds. Tracks like ‘Abyss’ and ‘Chaos’ assaulted the audience with a take on doom metal that injected the slowness with elements of blackened death and thrash, whilst the (relatively speaking) more melodic ‘Forever’ presented an ambitious hybrid of post-hardcore, thrash and black metal which pretty much sounded like no-one else. It seemed to be the kind of album where – assuming you could brace yourself for its onslaught and manage to absorb more than two songs at a time – it was possible to actually pick out different musical flourishes with each listen. Impressive, considering that on first hearing the whole thing seemed like a relentless outpouring of anger. One thing was for certain: their arrival had challenged Allfather and Kurokuma for the crown of “Britain’s Heaviest Band”.

Barely nine months on, the band began to hint at a follow up. It was to be a timely return; the UK had started to make their way out of a pandemic hell and the live music scene had started to gain some tentative traction. Massive riffs were certainly needed, and although their new EP would arrive too late to soundtrack the summer for a Bloodstock Festival crowd, Cult Burial were in time to hammer a new season into the advertised ‘Oblivion’.

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TURN COLD – Break Your Faith EP

Turn Cold’s blend of thrash and hardcore draws a heavy influence from the both styles’ late eighties and early nineties glory years, creating a sound that has a timeless appeal. Their debut EP ‘Break Your Faith’ is by no means an easy nostalgia trip, though: its core sound also carries more of a contemporary edge through even heavier breakdowns and a socially conscious set of lyrics. During three intense numbers, the Atlanta based band share themes of inner strength and dealing with mental health issues, spurred on by the ongoing pandemic lockdown in which the demo material was recorded. The end result is an uncompromising musical statement.

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TOMMY STEWART’S DYERWULF – Doomsday Deferred

Ever since the release of their debut LP in 2017, Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf have been committed to taking doom metal in a more experimental direction, but none of their work has ever felt quite as important as their 2021 release, ‘Doomsday Deferred’. The origins of the album date back as far as 2018, at which time the world looked very different, but as the material began to take shape, a global pandemic swept the world, allowing Stewart even more time to get creative during a time of isolation. The resulting album is heavy, but it’s also a cut above the obvious sludgy tones of the debut. In fact, with a minimalist set up of just bass, drums and occasional cello, combined with a willingness to experiment, the final release could be the crowning achievement of Stewart’s career to date.

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MOJO DINGO – Mojo Dingo

As has been said many times, there’s a whole universe of Australian rock and pop bands that have never really made a great impact outside of their home country. Obviously, sites like Bandcamp and streaming services – love ’em or hate ’em – have really helped in getting some of the more underground talents into people’s ears, but all too often, so many Aussie bands have had to rely on a domestic fanbase. As it is with rock, there’s an Australian blues scene that’s barely made a blip on the UK and US record buyers’ radar, with performers like Ray Beadle, The Chris Mawer Band and Kara Grainger helping to fly the flag for the most timeless of genre sounds.

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LOBSTERBOMB – Go! Go! Go!

Formed in Germany during the Coronavirus lockdown of 2020, Lobsterbomb have an intense sound and positive spirit that combats the negative vibe of the time in which their first songs were written. By combining the lower budget end of the early Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound and the unrestrained yelping of Katie Jane Garside, they hit upon a classic garage punk sound, and after releasing a trio of digital singles in fairly quick succession during the first quarter of 2021, they connected with an audience of like-minded DIY music fans. Although there wasn’t necessarily much in the way of originality in the sound itself, in terms of rousing an energy and an ability to deliver a lyric or two that seemed more self-aware than most, these recordings more than hit the mark.

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