Pure Negative in the house! Well they should be in the house but if they were they would be squatting it as they have no home, no label willing to pick them up and give them some love and warmth, so they are very much out in the cold. In order to survive in the harsh world they have done what any self-respecting band with faith in what they do would have and released their debut album for free to anyone who wants it, putting two fingers up at the music business that has spurned them in the process. They are by no means the first band to do so and won’t be the last and they are up for any donations that anybody wants to give them but in a time where everyone seems to think it is their god damn given right to download and take others hard work for free it probably does not amount to much.
This lot have been around the block and know the score well though and are not afraid of taking some hard knocks on the way, musically they give them back in spades anyway. Forming around the London underground (not that one) of bands such as Dripback, Labrat, River Freshney, Damnas and As She Screams this lot are bruised and bloody although by no means broken veterans of da scene.
Starting with a symphonic ‘Overture’ it’s like a storm is coming and when it hits with the title track you better hold onto your hats. The band are a bit difficult to classify, some call them technical thrash and death metal, the band say simply ‘metal as fuck,’ others are going to cite a ‘core’ in there somewhere but boisterous and volatile are good descriptions as we are bounced around by pounding drums, jagged riffs and both throaty rasping vocals and lower growls. Tracks have a lot of substance and the 50 minute album can have them easily hitting the 8 minute mark with plenty going in them. Things are really chunky and the riffs come thick and fast and it is all pretty damn aggressive but with emphasis on keeping churning melody consistently in the mix. Just because you are getting this for free do not think that the production and mastering courtesy of Dan Foord and Russ Russell matches the cheapness, it is thick and packs a good old punch. I’m reminded a little of a much beefier Shadows Fall with some of the vocal delivery on ‘7th Empire,’ it could definitely get as good a pit going as the US heavyweights. There’s some momentous drumming, not quite a solo and not quite a beat-down on this too and it really hones in with the snarling vocals. Everything is a lot more focussed than the still impressive demo by them I first reviewed back in early 2010.
There’s quite a touch of NOLA influence about songs like ‘The Return,’ some harmonic clean vocal croons and some groove laden Southern guitar licks and as it twists and turns it’s a bit like being hit round the mush by a collision between Crowbar and Soilent Green. Grinding, winding riffs flail away in a heady stew on ‘Cider Complex’ like a stumbling tramp on white lightning and you realise that has been pretty much no let up since this started and here the tools are only downed momentarily for a well-placed shotgun blast. There might be plenty of negativity and nihilism on display by the time we get to last song ‘Your Misery’ but as far as the album is concerned I can only be purely positive over one of the fiercest albums that I have heard in a while.
Click the link, download and give em yer copper (then come back and give us some) If you are tight and skint just go listen and blow yer ears out; Safe!
(7/10 Pete Woods)