HEATHEN HEARTS – Heathen Hearts EP

Hailing from Finland, Heathen Hearts play an absolutely crushing brand of hardcore. On this debut EP, their sound takes the guts of bands like H2O and Agnostic Front and applies a huge metallic crunch. The result is a sound that’s sometimes blisteringly fast but always oppressively heavy – a musical sledgehammer where the riff is king, and the guttural roars clear everything in their path. It’s the kind of introduction that’s both unsubtle and brilliant.

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ILLA – The Body Keeps The Score EP

Formed by Tan (the ex-frontman for death metal band By The Patient) and Martin (the ex-vocalist for Danish black metal act Lupus), Illa presents something of a departure for both musicians. Combining a groove metal heart with some serious hardcore/metal crossover chops, this EP retains the kind of intensities you’d expect from both men, but uses their talents in a very different – and more accessible – way. Their four track debut is a riff heavy affair that’ll pretty much appeal to anyone with any interests in hardcore and crossover sounds, since its four tracks are a sharp reminder of why the metal infused influences from bands like Strife and Earth Crisis never seem to go out of fashion.

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AL PACINOS SISTER – Trained In Karate EP

When a punk release gets likened to classic Circle Jerks and early Black Flag, it’s almost certainly worth checking out. There’s something timeless about those early American hardcore records, and bands that take influence from them often manage to be thrilling, no matter how many years pass since the release of works like ‘Group Sex’, Germs’ ‘GI’, and the Adolescents’ debut.

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SHOOTING DAGGERS – Manic Pixie Dream Girl / Missandra

Describing themselves as a queercore/feminist hardcore band and taking huge cues from the 90s riot grrrl movement and classic hardcore, Shooting Daggers pull no punches. Initially, their work seems to present something of a sidestep for the New Heavy Sounds label, whose main stock has previously tended to veer towards the doomy, but it really doesn’t take long to realise why they’ve signed this act. On this two track release, their riffs are massively intense; their personal views are as direct and important as the riffs themselves and the messages cannot be – and should not be – ignored. This is a burst of pure, necessary anger; a release that ups the ante for the style, and for the UK hardcore scene as a whole.

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