On their ‘Crash’ EP from 2014, Mancunian alternative rock trio Hora Douse convey a sound that’s as familiar as it is ambitious; strands of math-rock collide with a more classic nineties sensibility, leaving behind three tracks that cover a huge array of influences and moods within what feels like a tiny fragment of time. These guys aren’t out to make noise for noise’s sake – even though there’s a time and a place for that. The three songs are angry, but not always confrontational, within their music – for those willing to invest the time – there’s a real sense of heart.
When Napalm Death appeared on the metal scene, they sounded like very little that had come before. Sure, death metal had already begun to establish itself by the mid eighties, but the scene’s earliest acts – such as the most literally named Death – combined their brutal speed with fretboard assaulting lead breaks and other elements most closely associated with the thrash and speed metal of the day. Birmingham’s Napalm Death were different: they took that speed and aggression and distilled it to its absolutely purest – and often shortest – essence. With the speed of death metal, but the suckerpunch delivery of hardcore punk, they laid the foundations for what became grindcore. Their earliest works were so frantic and intense that even the original band only stayed together for one side of an album. That LP – 1987’s ‘Scum’ – remains a landmark for the extreme metal/punk subgenre; with its twenty eight tracks delivered in approximately thirty three minutes (a duration bulked out by the title track stretching beyond two minutes), the album was the aural equivalent of being smacked repeatedly with a brick.
Since those days, grindcore has remained a much-loved – albeit marginal – genre among fans of extreme metal. Few have surpassed ‘Scum’ for intensity; even Napalm Death themselves sounded like they were recycling by the time it came to recording a follow-up. On their debut EP, Poland’s Struggle Manifesto come close to re-igniting the sparks of excitement first delivered by ‘Scum’, the vinyl release’s five bursts of sound filling a lightning-fast 3:39, all wrapped up in a Catholic-baiting sleeve.
As every music fan is aware by now, Record Store Day is held every April supposedly to encourage music buyers to visit their local independent store. In practice, this is a great idea – but the reality often means frustration for many. For every fan who seeks that special edition issued to mark the occasion, the event is often spoilt by chancers and dealers buying stuff up to hock on ebay later in the day. In some cases, these items appear on the world-famous internet auction site hours before the stores open, hours before the event has even begun, leading to the question of how many stores are even playing by the rules.
As blusterous as Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion yet accessible in their slide guitar fixated approach, The Dead Exs were just one of many blues duos to take the stage in the wake of The White Stripes’ popularity. Their debut release ‘Ressurection’ was raw yet focused…possessing power and groove, in short, everything garage blues should be. If The Dead Exs channelled the power and charm of the Blues Explosion’s classic work, then King Pizza signings ¡Vamanos! are almost the ugly Pussy Galore by default – their brand of garage blues making all but the very rawest noisemakers sound like major label puppets.