Tag: Post-hardcore


Review: Svalbard Album

Svalbard album coverSvalbard – One Day All This Will End, Album Review

This may be their debut album but you know you’re listening to a band already totally in control of their sound,  elements of post-hardcore, post-rock, metal and doomier genres combine seemlesly with fantastic melodies and classic structres meant to draw you in.  The result is a poweful and positive record which is easy to connect with and come back to.

A listen to the band’s earlier EPs reveals a leaning more towards post-hardcore, a route they could easily have gone down and still been a great band, but they have gradually edged into more interesting territory.  So, by the time their split with Pariso came out last year, their sound was much more complex and rewarding and they were poised to hit us with this beautiful beast.

There was no doubt this record was going to be huge, but it is also dreamily epic and for such a heavy album, very uplifting.  Take the opener, Perspective, the melody running underneath soars and takes you with it, all the while those aggressive vocals add edge. Mid-way a slower section reigns you back in before the build towards the horizon.  Yes, yes yes.

Svalbard know how to work their listening audience, wringing out goosebumps and closed eyes and pounding fists. Disparity is richly layered and addictive, the kind of track you want to put on repeat. There are moments of post-rock beauty like measured and melancholy track The Vanishing Point and more straightforwardly hardcore moments like The Damage Done but all are bound in that unmistakable Svalbard feel.  This is the record we’ve been hoping they would release and it doesn’t disappoint, put it on your christmas wishlist.

The record is out now through Holy Roar Records.

Review: Caravels/Octaves Split EP

Octaves Caravels Split EPReleased via Topshelf/Bridge 9 Records on 27th January, this looks to the be last release from Caravels as they have just announced they are to split; it’s a shame as I haven’t checked them out before and I like what I’ve heard from them here. The two tracks they put forward are beautiful dreamy post-hardcore; shouted vocals (reminiscent of mewithoutYou) over soaring, crystal clear guitars; the tracks have a sadness to them but at the same time the earnest feel is counteracted by the organic and dream-like structures and production, this is goosebump territory.

Octaves are as always punchy, intense and backed by some great technical riffage – compared to their Bridge 9 debut back last year these tracks feel more enthusiastic, embued with a renewed energy, and (cleaner production aside) reminding me more of their fantastic debut album Greener Pastures. The opening moments of Tom Petty Cash build exquisitely to a beautiful riff before the drums pound out their takeover and the vocals power in; great start. The track itself plays out with an almost prog-rock structure; little interludes and heavier sections woven together, along with changes of key and pace. Can’t get enough of it.  AM Traffic Control is darker with soaring guitars, more discordant and with a fantastic sax (?) freaking out in one section, this track is layered with powerful riffs creating an intense wall of sound.

With quality tracks from both bands this is an EP I haven’t been able to stop listening to since the stream came my way, it’s also a solid starting point for Octaves if you haven’t previously checked them out.  I’ll be picking up a copy come payday.

Looking Forward – Upcoming In 2015

I love the optimism of a fresh new year and there are already some great releases to look forward to in the first quarter of 2015.

Octaves Caravels Split EP
Octaves /Caravels – Split EP

Not long to wait for this first one,  a split from Octaves and Caravels which has an expected release date of 20/01/15 through Bridge 9/Topshelf; one for the post-hardcore mob. Check out the Octaves track Tom Petty Cash, taken from the EP below.



Swell-drug-church-520x520Drug Church – Swell EP
An expected release of 10/02/15 for this excellent new five track record from one of my favourite bands of 2013. The EP continues on where the album finished – husky vocals, playful lyrics, great melodies, heavy hit drums and rich well-rounded guitars. Opener But Does It Work? is a corker, closely followed by Ghost Dad, but again, the whole record is a great package of memorable and addictive tunes with no duds.


Pelican The Cliff
Pelican – The Cliff EP

Released on 23rd February, this is essentially a remix EP, reimagining The Cliff, a track from their 2013 release Forever Becoming. I’m not normally a fan of remixes but this one has piqued my interest with the addition of vocals and names like Justin Broadrick and Aaron Harris attached. The EP includes one new track too.

Also upcoming are new releases from MINE who have a new EP to be released but no date for this one yet and the debut full-length from Svalbard, both of which already have me salivating.

Up River – Undertow Review

Up River – Undertow Album Review

Up River - Undertow
The first thing you notice about this new record from Brighton post-hardcore four piece Up River is the excellent production, it brings out every nuance, making for a crunchy and raw sound but it also makes the record sound huge rather than minimal – it’s spot on.  Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect from the cover art, but as soon as you put the album on you are hit with the rich guitars pumping out hooky riffage and emotive yet controlled vocal screams – this is hardcore done very well and it makes you remember what you love about it.

At under 20 minutes the eight tracks zip past in a heady blur, leaving you wanting more, but there seems to be something new every time you listen to those miniature epics.  Happily there aren’t any off moments (there’s hardly time for that) but special mention to opening track Youth which sets the mood nicely with echo-bathed riffs and angst-filled vocals. The album as a whole has a lovely richness to it that has you immediately invested.  Growing Pains is another corker –  perfectly describing in words and sounds the painful isolation of trying to figure out your place in the world.  The almost melodic The Weight also makes an impression – dark and moody but instant and memorable and Confide swings between meaty and delicate in its execution; dreamy sections entwined with bits you can go nuts to – very well judged.

This is a satisfying album; an addictive combination of angst and fantastic riffs and vocals makes it easy to recommend it for fans of Touché Amoré and Goodtime Boys. Undertow was released on 28th April through Independent label Holy Roar Records, find out more here.

Back To The Future

I recently acquired a new turntable:

Rega Turntable

I’m not going to do some huge advert for it, however it’s about a million times better than my old one – I hadn’t realised how muddy the sound was on it until I cranked up this one. The result of this new depth of sound has had me dragging out old albums again. This probably should come as no surprise if you’ve been to this blog before as I am given to harking back to the past anyway, but I’ve remembered why I love vinyl so much and how vast the difference is between it and the sound of my ipod (even with decent headphones).

This1988 album by Bastro:

Bastro Cover Image

Rode Hard And Put Up Wet sounds superb again – it brings back memories of me listening to it at 17 with the door to my tiny box room shut having a sneaky cigarette next to the open window, I loved this record and played it to death on my old hand-me-down system (which incidentally was still better than the one i just consigned to dusty under bed ‘storage’).

This is a real post-hardcore gem, although at the time I probably would have called it American Hardcore, and I recall buying it because of the Albini connection (he engineered the album) and they used a drum machine so it had that Big Black feel to it. They have interesting time signatures and fantastic discordant horns which I remembered instantly this week when I was listening to the new Svin record (read my Roomthirteen review here) and I immediately pulled this six track mini album out of the stack to get stuck back into.

I’m sure there will be more nostalgic waffling on old records to come soon. I’m even considering digging out my old Ride and Slowdive stuff although I fear they may not have aged so well.

Louder Than Bombs And Quicksand News

Louder Than BombsDetroit punk-rockers Louder Than Bombs has just signed to South Division Records who will be putting out their new album What Resonates in April. In the meantime i’ve been enjoying listening to their last 6 track record on Bandcamp which is full of great melodies, gruff shouting, sing along vocals and bouncy rhythms. Top stuff. You can also listen to a new track at the South Division website – it sounds like the new album is shaping up nicely.


Quicksand - Manic Compression
Also of interest today is the news that SRC Vinyl will be releasing Quicksand’s classic 1995 post-hardcore album Manic Compression in a gatefold vinyl LP format and in 4 colours no less! The album comes out on 26th February and can be ordered from this link.




Photo Blog – Gig Tickets #4

Another installment of my gig tickets photo blog where I take a trip down memory lane. This time we start in June 2005 with…

Reggie and the Full Effect at the Barfly in Cardiff, it says  on the ticket that My Awesome Compilation supported but honestly I have to admit I don’t remember them at all. July 2005 and Rammstein at the CIA. This was a memorable gig, oddly they didn’t have any support but this may be due to the set up of the stage show which involved a huge cauldron and lots of pyrotechnics which you could feel from half way back in the venue, other props included a bloody butchers apron and a meat cleaver. Also notable as I stood on James Dean Bradfield’s foot in the crowd – he looked really pissed at me actually!
Funeral For a Friend, we went as Gratitude supported but now I don’t remember this gig AT ALL, obviously a bit of a non-event. Compass Point was at Coopers Field in the castle grounds in Cardiff. We went because Million Dead were playing and sat about in a field drinking beer. I remember chatting to Julia Ruzica by the fence to the backstage area for a while and Million Dead were really, really good. There were a few decent bands on that day including Biffy Clyro and Queen Adreena.

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Photo Blog – Gig Tickets #2

Round two of the gig tickets photo blog, satisfying my need for a trip down memory lane.

December 2003 to February 2004 – McLusky at Clwb supported by Sammo Hung, I remember Sammo being pretty decent. I do miss McLusky even though they never seemed that please to see us! We went to see Modey Lemon as Distophia were supporting, I have no memory of the the headliners but Distophia were as I recall, rather good. I think this was the second time we’d see Death Cab but we made it to Bristol this time and it was worth the trip and this was the first time I saw Coheed headline in the now closed down TJs, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many people singing along to a band.

March and April 2004 – I still have a soft spot for Thrice, they are always solid live (but it might also have something to do with Teppei Teranishi…), this was another TJs gig.  Hundred Reasons at The Great Hall was another really good night, Sparta supported and were excellent (my main reason for being there) but HR were also on form and the place was packed. At this Futureheads gig Bloc Party were first on, we’d never heard of them and when we went to talk to them after they were like rabbits caught in the headlights! Yet another Biffy gig, I’m not sure how many times we saw them but we kept going back because you were guaranteed to have a good time.

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