Human Defect


So when is a snow day not exactly a snow day?  When you’re already at home and just can’t be bothered to go out into the frozen wasteland?

I’ve been off work this week in what could be my last rota week for the company that I work for – or at the very least the penultimate rota week off – before we kind of move into the modern age and have a five day working week.  I quite like having a full week off every sixth week if they fall at a time where I have things to do, but at the same time I loath having to work on a Saturday as it just detracts from my weekends. 

I hadn’t realised that my last post was just after Valentines Day, when I had this lame cold that I’m still struggling to shake off almost a fortnight later.  I have ventured to one gig in the intervening time, a grind / power violence shindig in Manchester held within a venue that was the home of the Northern Soul club The Twisted Wheel from the 1970’s.  In turn though I discovered that the place was the third address to hold the name, so not quite as iconic a place as I had originally assumed. 

So far this week I have had no shows to go to, but that has been quite a blessing with the snowfall that we’ve had locally since Tuesday.  But Friday evening should see me heading to Satan’s Hollow, yet again in Manchester, to catch Slovenian deathcore band Within Destruction.  That show is more of a boredom replacement to take my mind off the fact that Netherlands Deathfest III is taking place in Tilburg this weekend and I won’t be there.  There are some great bands gracing the 013 stage over the weekend, just not enough over the three days to keep me interested enough to fly over.  Most of the few bands I want to see there are playing over here in the next few weeks, so it’s no great loss.  Hopefully 2019 will be a bit more to my liking?

Saturday could see me heading to a local gig for the album launch show for local hardcore band Of Legions and back to Manchester again on Sunday to see Reprisal supporting a comedian at the Rebellion Rock Bar, assuming some of the snow melts away and allows me to travel without worrying about getting back home.  Next weekend involves a ridiculously busy schedule and I’m sure there will be more about that over the next few days.

I’ve spent the last few days or so listening to the Slovenian’s via Spotify, their 2012 debut From the Depths and their last outing Void from 2016.  Deathwish will be their most recent release when it surfaces at the end of March. I was aware of the other three bands on tomorrows bill as I’ve seen them all before.  Gorehead were at last weekends Manchester show and Cranial Discharge were at the show prior to that one in the city.  This Is Turin are a band I’ve seen several times in recent years and reside not too far away in Cheshire, so I could claim them as local too?

I’m quite liking Within Destruction’s soild death metal sound, I’m just getting a bit bored of all the unintelligible squeals that is a part of the whole deathcore / slam thing. It won’t make up for the fact that I’ll be missing out on Broken Hope (on a proper stage unlike the last time I saw them!) who are playing tomorrow in Holland, but two of the other bands, Suffocation and Yacøpsæ, both play the country before the end of this month and I should at least be seeing one of the pair.   

The track Human Defect is taken from the about to be released Deathwish album via Rising Nemesis Records from Germany.  Based of the one track on offer here, there seems to be more of the squealing than on the last album that I just finished listening to.  Maybe they’re moving to a much more slam metal orientated sound on the new record?  At least I know I won’t miss the last train home if it’s too high pitched!

within dest


Rage (The Cost)

At times I feel the path in my near future is mapped well in advance. Take last weekend as an example. Metallica tickets were purchased probably the best part of twelve months ago. This week was booked off work as a holiday at the start of the year, so I’ve had a long time to prepare. I booked, cancelled and rebooked a hotel within the last month and train tickets a few weeks back. Everything from 11:45am on Sunday until 1410 yesterday has been (seemingly) pre determined for a while, even down to the conundrum of what shirts I was going to wear and buy. 

Sometimes I like the spontaneity of what the music world throws up. I’m off for the rest of this week and on the train home I perused Facebook to find shows to go to on the days I didn’t have anything planned. At noon yesterday I was planning on heading to the Star and Garter in Manchester to see The Raven Age. As noted previously in this blog I saw the band in Canada supporting Iron Maiden in the cavernous Air Canada Centre, so seeing them in the intimate surroundings of a ramshackle pub standing in the shadows of Piccadilly train station sounded like fun. 

That possibly changed late yesterday evening after ploughing through half a days worth of tweets. I saw several people mention the Make Them Suffer gig in London last night and how brutal opening band Cursed Earth were. A quick search on Spotify and YouTube piqued my interest for a band I’d never heard of previously. That was followed up with a Facebook search and low and behold the tour hits Manchester tonight. Well I was intending to head to the city today anyway, so why not experience Cursed Earth then head back towards Piccadilly and see The Raven Age? Sounds perfectly feasible to me. 

So what have I learnt from the inter web in the last twelve hours or so about the band? They hail from Perth, Australia. Formed in 2013 and they play ferocious, pummelling hardcore with a huge injection of metal. I’ve seen comparisons in remarks and reviews to Code Orange and Nails (bands I’m not overly familiar with so I can’t really agree or disagree) and Venom Prison, who to me are more death metal orientated than Cursed Earth, but I can see the comparisons. My first thoughts when I listened to War March via YouTube last night was it reminded me of Power Trip.  

Who ever they are comparable to, Jazmine Lunders venomous, rasping vocals are ably supported by the rest of her band with their metallic stomp and copious amounts of break downs, so no doubt the legion of Manchester’s “finest” kick boxing dancers will be in the Rebellion club early tonight. For me that is one of the negatives for this evening, mainly because the venues layout offers little respite for those there to see a band or three and wanting to stand and enjoy an alcoholic beverage without a sized 11 Vans clad foot heading towards an unsuspecting chest or head. 

I’ve made an opinion on fellow Australian headliners Make Them Suffer based on half a song on YouTube, so I’m unlikely to be there for the duration, but I have all day to discover them and the third band on the bill, Novelists from Paris then I can decide which venue the bulk of my time will be spent in. 

Rage (The Cost) is taken from the all too brief release Cycles of Grief, Vol 2: Decay released last month. Six songs clocking in around the fourteen minute mark, so it’s flashed by before you know it. Well worth a listen if you like you metal tinged beatdown hardcore. 

Bullet & A Badge

Another week and another Long Island band rolls through the Potteries. Metalcore quartet Stray From The Path arrive in town on Tuesday evening to play the Underground after performing as part of the humongous Slam Dunk Festival over the three days prior to hitting Stoke. 

Last week had been pretty weird overall. I went to bed on Monday with news circulating around social media about a speaker exploding at a concert in Manchester earlier in the evening. I awoke on Tuesday to the news that 19 people had died – later to rise to 22. Rather than a speaker failing it turned out to be a suicide bomber. 

Work has been unusually hectic for this time of year and for the weather that encompassed the UK over the tail end of last week. I just couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to catch gigs on Thursday and Friday and I missed a matinee show in Stoke Town on Saturday.  

The sole show of the weekend has been the Sheer Attack show in a pizza shop up in Liverpool. Four bands for a fiver in a tiny room. DIY shows still have an element of charm even after all these years. 

Today is a bank holiday here which means a bonus day off work, but it’s back to the grind stone at 5am tomorrow, but it’s half term over locallt, which in a nutshell means the kids are off school and traffic is non existent until noon when they all seem to head towards the shopping centres and I can, in theory, get my job done in less time and stress. 

If the theory goes to plan I can get home earlier than usual and partake in a power nap before I head out to the metal show. I’m not a dyed in the wool metalcore diehard and I’ve not heard a great deal by Stray From The Path and I’ve heard even less than that by the other three bands on the bill (Black Coast, Empires and Cale Lane). 

It’s a local show and I like to do my bit as much as I can for local shows, so in my eyes handing over whatever the entrance fee is on the night keeps a steady flow of bands coming to the city. At 43 years young though I’ll be very surprised if there are many more people in the Underground older than I. 

Considering metalcore is a relatively new offshoot of the hardcore scene that I’ve been “involved” with since the early 90’s I’m was sorely tempted to buy a shirt I saw online a while back. The back print bore the legend “hardcore was better when I was your age” and as a bitter and twisted pensioner, I’d have to agree whole heartedly with it. There was a time when it felt a so much more inclusive and welcoming scene. Twenty years on it seems like a massive clique. 

Thomas Williams has fronted the band since 2001, and is the only original member left. The album that Badge & a Bullet is from (Anonymous) is their sixth album and their last album surfaced in 2015. 

The Sadist Nation

Gig wise this weekend has all gone to pot. I couldn’t get a power nap on Friday and I was in bed before 8pm, pretty much the same time that I should’ve been in Manchester viewing Black Spiders or locally at the Freebird watching Iron Maiden tribute band Iron Ed. 

Yesterday went pretty much along the same lines. A late finish at work then unable to get some sleep before I departed for Leeds. Another stumbling block was the fee for a hardcore show where I was only going to be see four or five bands. It was £35 in advance so I reckon closer to £40 on the door. 

The weekend in Norwich for Thrashersarus, in hindsight, was the better option – £15 for the weekend. I spent a while weighing up taking to the road, or rails, for today’s instalment. Yet again costs have made the decision for me. Train was going to cost me the best part of a hundred quid but on top of either option a hotel close to the venue was in excess of £100. Something cheaper by half was the other side of the city and the taxis I’ve had over the last two years there haven’t been cheap. 

So onto this evening. The only gig I’ve actually paid out money for is the Darkest Hour doss in Birmingham this evening. 

This Washington DC melodic death metal band have been going for over twenty years and released nine albums to date. I first heard the band when they were on a Victory Records sampler CD in 2003 with Freya. I only got that disc was due to Freya having Earth Crisis members within their ranks. The only two albums I’ve heard have been Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation – also from 2003 – and this years offering (and the award for strangest album title of 2017 goes to…) Godless Prophet and the Migrant Flora. 

They’ve played an absolute slew of British shows with the likes of Machine Head and Bleeding Through going right back to 2004, but this will be my first time seeing them. Five of those nine albums were released via Victory Records but it was at a time where the label seemed to be experimenting a bit too much in my eyes and distancing themselves from the hardcore sound that ultimately put them on the map.  

The biggest draw for tonight has to be one of Britain’s brightest lights in the death metal scene Venom Prison from South Wales. I think I’ll be on the train later with the last one home just before 11pm, but hopefully I’ll get a decent slice of Darkest Hour before I have to bid auf wiedersehen. 

The video for The Sadist Nation was originally on their 2003 album and at a time when they were a melting pot of all their influences. Pick it apart and you’ll hear some death metal, thrash and hardcore thrown together. 



Now that I’ve lowered the tone a bit and reminisced about days of old it’s time to get a bit more up to date and have a look at some of the upcoming gigs that I may, or may not, be attending over the next couple of weeks. 

First up it’s possible that I could be inside Mama Roux’s in Birmingham for the Trap Them show. Until last night I’d not heard anything by the band and I’m still trying to figure out if the music I know to travel time ratio is worth the effort. My main reason for going was to catch South Wales heavyweights Venom Prison for the third time this year. 

I stumbled upon the band during the Rituals Festival in Leeds earlier this year. They just finished their sound check and launched into a blistering death metal and hardcore hybrid. Besides Grave who were my main reason for going over the Pennines, I didn’t know many of the other bands on the line up and thanks to a hold up on the motorway, a bit of car trouble, some blustery snow on the high ground and the obligatory getting lost in Leeds I managed to miss those bands. 

They supported Renounced in the Star & Garter a month or so ago and it was another no nonsense blitzkrieg on the Manchester crowd. They played their set with zero interaction with the audience then promptly walked off the rickety stage. Job done. 

Debut album Animus hit the shelves last Friday via the Prosthetic label and I’m yet to snag a copy. But if the two live performances are any indication of what to expect then there with be plenty of death metal with some hardcore style slow bits  with growls and screeches supplied by Larissa Stupar in abundance. Imagine a much more unforgiving and brutal Arch Enemy mixed with Walls of Jericho – but better on both counts – and you wouldn’t be too far off. 

It’s so weird seeing bands like this that transverse genres and scenes effortlessly. The hardcore kids love them as much as the death metal brethren do. Unlike some of the more hardcore sounding metal core bands, Venom Prison sit in the death metal camp much more easily. Pummelling death metal punctuated with hardcore breakdowns – and it works. 

It’s 50/50 at the moment if I’m in Birmingham on Wednesday evening, but if I am I’m witnessing a shining light of the future within the UK musical scene. They’ve only been together for a few years and already getting rave reviews in the major metal magazines. 



As you might have gathered I have a bit of an obsession with attending gigs, not as bad as some people I am aware of, but bad compared to a regular joe. 

As I’m in Amsterdam for a few days either side of my day trip to Eindhoven I had to have a look at who else was playing while I was in the city. Our trip fall between the two stools of Between The Buried And Me who play when I’m in Eindhoven and Bad Religion who play two days after I get home. Both are playing the Melkweg and according to the venues website Japanese band Nocturnal Bloodlust are playing on Sunday evening. 

I’ve never heard the band but with a title like that it has to be some brutal death metal band. On closer investigation with the ever faithful Spotify they are a melodic death core band. From the limited songs I’ve heard they probably owe their sound more to Trivium or Bring Me The Horizon rather than Cannibal Corpse or Obituary. The few songs I heard sound alright, nothing exactly ground breaking, but it might give me a reason to cross the Melkweg off my imaginary venue bucket list. A bit steep at nearly €30, so I’ll see how the mood takes me. 

Genesis is one of the top hits on YouTube and is here for no other reason than that. Apparently it’s taken from their 2014 release The Omnigod.