Naming themselves after a Gallows song, it should come as no surprise that Denver’s Victim Culture hone a sound that owes a great debt to that much loved UK/Canadian hardcore outfit. This debut album is tough and raw; it’s overall sound carrying the brickbats of a stomping hardcore sound that fuses a metallic chug with rousing street punk choruses.
There have only been a few tracks released by London based singer-songwriter Stella Angelika since 2017, but each one has shown a different side to the artist, suggesting a somewhat restless spirit.
Her 2017 single ‘Sleep’ saw her working in a jazz format on a laid back track that very much focused on her voice. 2018’s ‘I Got You’ moved into contemporary pop territory, taking a soulful sound and boosting it with a sunny, upbeat melody. Her current single ‘Denouement’ shows a further musical shift.
Slide guitar player Jack Broadbent’s fourth release ‘Portrait’ was a fantastic slab of retro blues. His purist style breathed life into the genre simply by being raw. His straightforward approach was very welcome since, at that point, everyone else seemed to be playing rock with a blues influence and trying to pass that off as “the blues”. Seriously, why listen to Joe Bonamassa when you can listen to something with more more heart and – more importantly – a much greater understanding of the genre? Broadbent’s love of tradition came like a lightning bolt and ‘Portrait’ was an album that deserved a much bigger audience. Over the next couple of years, Jack busied himself upon the gig circuit and released a no-frills live document ‘One Night Stand’ which gave listeners an even better insight as to why he should’ve be considered the most important figure in the UK blues scene at that time.
2019’s ‘Moonshine Blue’ is a fantastic record, but it’s also one that marks a change in style. Perhaps Broadbent thought that the stripped back slide guitar blues – although raw and exciting – could also be limiting, and so, on his fifth album he fuses a couple of subtler elements of his previously explored work with a quieter, folkier mood. The results are often lovely, but creates more of a singer-songwriter’s work. This is also a record that’ll draw in a new audience, which – let’s face it – is something that every good musician wants.
Byzanthian Neckbeard broke a five year hiatus at the beginning of summer 2019 when they re-emerged with ‘Extinxtion’, a heavy as hell three tracker that raised the bar for uncompromising sludge metal sounds. Expecting the band to go back into hibernation after wearing everyone down with a set of absolutely crushing riffs, it came as a surprise when the Guernsey based trio released a full length album just a couple of months later.
‘Minaton’ is everything ‘Extinction’ promised…and more. The band’s trademark heavy, sludgebeast of a sound is firmly in place throughout. This is an album that starts somewhere around 8/11 on the heaviness scale, but somehow manages to increase its sledgehammer-like presence as it goes. Some of the material seems a little more intensive on the death metal inflected vocals than before, but for lovers of a sludgy riff or six, it’s the kind of album that’ll tick so many of the right boxes.
Following 2018’s ‘Posterity’s Sake’, Protected Left’s 2019 EP ‘Fossil’ combines fierce riffs with personal commentary to create a five tracker that should appeal to fans of Propagandi and of the noisiest end of Strike Anywhere catalogue. In terms of thrash oriented punk, it feels a little generic but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when played as well as it is here.