CATHARI – It Will Hurt The Entire Time You’re Alive EP

Cathari’s 2023 release ‘In God’s Infinite Silence’ presented six tracks of wonderful bleakness. On that record’s best tunes, the band’s doom metal influenced sound centred around a clean vocal and clean guitar, which often resulted in its oppressive feel coming from a gothic perspective. Going a little deeper, an intermittent concession to cold post-metal, as opposed to recycled Sabbath-isms, gave the band a strong sense of identity. When reaching for further extremes, passages where doom collided with abrasive black metal influences suggested Cathari were already drawing from a bigger well of intensity than most. Overall, the record left the feeling that the band might deliver something even more intense going forward.

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LIFESICK – Love And Other Lies EP

Danish band Lifesick mightn’t have reached a household name status by the beginning of 2024, but they’d definitely marked out a place as one of the cult acts within the European underground. Four releases into their career, they’d already become somewhat of a fixture on the Scandinavian festival circuit, had associations with the legendary Southern Lord label (sometime home of Boris, Goatsnake, Mondo Generator and others), and already shown a great gift for brutalist hardcore riffs.

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LASSITERS – The Charred Remains Of Gusso The Clown

London based band Lassiters aren’t doing things by halves on their second release ‘The Charred Remains of Gusso The Clown’. In ten songs and approximately half an hour, the three piece band whip up a brilliant musical storm where the tunes are noisy, and the lyrics sometimes knowingly silly, but there’s always a real focus within their hardcore stance.

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WYOMING YOUNG AND STRONG – Wicked Upon You EP

Recorded and mixed by Bloodhag’s Jeff McNulty and mastered by the legendary Tad Doyle, this EP from Seattle stoners Wyoming Young and Strong has a huge, live in the studio sound that makes similar works by renowned producer Jack Endino seem half-arsed. Presenting a wall of distortion coupled with sludge/hardcore riffs that sound like early Tad battling with ‘Ozma’ period Melvins, the band take the stoner metal sound from their earlier ‘Black Wire’ LP and ramp everything up about three fold. The results are absolutely devastating.

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ADVERSE96 – Clear The Lane

Adverse96 have worked hard to build a following since their formation in 2012. Extensive live work has seen them trek across Europe, sharing stages with 90s legends Dog Eat Dog, ska band The Interrupters and cult punks Against Me. The fact that they’ve managed to support such musically differing rock bands is testament to their huge crossover sound. Their 2023 full length ‘Clear The Lane’ takes in a swathe of melodic hardcore influences, a smidgeon of rap metal and even a few cues from US inspired melodic punk. This huge melting pot of sound often centres around melodic hardcore breakdowns to give the overall sound a common thread, but in terms of whipping up some familiar sounding (and often retro) excitement, it’s clear that this Belgian band know, almost instinctively, how to push all of the right buttons.

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