It’s been less than a year since Strange Majik released their politically charged ‘Channel T’ album, but the ever-prolific David Pattillo and his crew are back with new material.
A year on from Redbait’s debut EP ‘Red Tape’, their follow-up release ‘Cages’ presents the St. Louis hardcore band in an especially confronting mood. Given the state of the world at the time of release that’s hardly surprising, but even so, the EP’s opening number ‘Capital Gains’ is particularly sharp and aggressive even by their previous standards. In a seventy five second howl of rage, the band move through several aggressive styles, each one clearly showing a band that’s not to be messed with…and certainly not about to take things lying down. A huge buzz of bass feedback instantly signifies something great is afoot and within seconds, the track explodes into a slab of crust-punk fury with a message that’s particularly pointed as the band calls for a “working class liberation” for “all ages, all races, all genders and all wage earners”. This is hard to gauge without a trusty lyric sheet, of course, but between a furious vocal performance that mixes hardcore shouts and black metal inflections seamlessly, a brief instrumental breakdown leaning towards more of a metal sound and a huge climax featuring male and female voices absolutely screeching, this is a powerful opening statement for fans and first-timers alike.
After the release of I Am The Law’s second EP. 2018’s ‘Hymn of The Vulture’, the band saw their fan base grow and they confirmed their place as one of the best metal bands to break out of the US in recent years. Seemingly primed to hit listeners with a full forty minute riff fest on a follow up, in some ways it comes as a disappointment that ‘Dance of The Southern Witch’ is just a two track, digital only release. However, the songs are far better than mere place-holders or stopgap material – both are fantastic, heavy as hell affairs that really build upon the skills I Am The Law have shown on their past EPs.
Basic Bitches began as a band in 2014 but it would be another four years until a stable line up was established. That line up featuring Naomi Scott (gtr/vox) and Krystal Grow (drums) entered the recording studio soon after and the resulting EP ‘Relatable Content’ was released to an unsuspecting world in the Spring of 2019.
Its four numbers offer the finest in hard garage rock sounds, recorded in such a way that the loud end of the drums and the fuzz from the guitar give off a very natural and live sound. Unlike some similar bands you might come across in your quests for relatively lo-fi goodness, though, there’s just enough polish to ensure Basic Bitches don’t ever sound like they’ve been recorded on a portable cassette deck from the far end of the room.
It took New York’s sludge metal heroes False Gods a full two years to release a follow up for their ‘Reports From Oblivion’ EP. In that time, fans probably suspected the band to re-emerge, all guns blazing with a devastatingly heavy full length album…but it wasn’t to be. It may still verge upon being devastatingly heavy in a few places, but their 2019 EP ‘The Serpent & The Ladder’ presents just two new songs.
Whether this is an EP – as advertised – or a single that unleashes two lengthy workouts is something very much up for debate. The band’s commitment to a riff, on the other hand goes without question. A concept piece, of sorts, the two numbers concern both of the titular objects, but a gruff vocal and very intense sound means that the finer points of the narrative are lost behind some weighty riffs. Let’s be fair, though, if you’re drawn to a band like False Gods for anything other than those riffs, you’ve sort of missed the point.