As the large majority of Heavy Bloginators are American, you may or may not know/care, but this week in the United Kingdom marks the Diamond Jubilee — celebrating 60 years of tyranny from our reptilian lord and war master Queen Elizabeth II. Festivities will occur and the blood of our enemies will be spilled upon our tracksuits as we spend 4 glorious days in a drug-fueled orgy of human sacrifice and extensive cannibalism, as is tradition. However, most importantly, it means you can start drinking at mid-day and no one will bat an eyelid. So what better to celebrate than by highlighting some of the best underground UK bands around — those bands that work tirelessly to make the UK scene a better place and help hold the standards set by the countless number of classic metal acts that were spawned here.
From the unlikely home of Taunton, Somerset, Flayed Disciple bring the gore, in an old-school and uncompromising way. This is pure, thrash-y death metal, influenced by early Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation and Bolt Thrower and doing with all the eloquence you would expect from a band with track titles such as ‘Ejaculate While Killing‘, ‘Torsofucked‘ and, my personal favourite, ‘The Westboro Massacre‘. But it’s so well written, it’s such a tight and refined performance, that it’s impossible to dislike. If you like your death metal to transport you back directly the beginning of the 1990’s, look no further than this slab of raw and dirty death metal. For a much better review of their debut album Death Hammer, check out the Iron Sandwich series, put together by Dom Lawson of Metal Hammer magazine.
Back, for one night only; it’s Best of British! To be quite frank, searching for two awesome new British bands every week got tiring, and results were hard to come by. You’d think, with a population of almost 62 million people that you’d have at least 12 million bands (based on 5 per band) but noooo, apparently everyone would rather stay in and watch Eastenders than form a kick-ass metal band, so I kinda…stopped.
That being said, I’ve had these guys on my radar for a while, and it’s only been the lack of online media to show you that has stayed my hand.
Birmingham-based three piece Shapes seem like a truly lovely bunch of lads. They recently recorded their first full-length at Tonteknik Studios in Umea, Sweden with Eskil Lovstrom, who was responsible for producing Refused‘s seminal The Shape of Punk to Come, as well as working with Poison the Well and Hell Is For Heroes to boot.
I had to bring this particular song – an older one called “You Butcher” – to your attention, because it’s a sublime piece of post-hardcore, but you can listen to that entire record The Pasture, The Oilhere.
The aforementioned piece of Swedish-produced awesome is already out, entitled Monotony Chic (get it here). Git sum.
Anyone familiar with the British literary classic Watership Down will probably already have their spider sense tingling at the name; Efrafa being the name of the warren controlled by the tyrannical General Woundwort (yes, bunny rabbits can also be tyrannical) that is ultimately destroyed.
The band’s concept actually followed the fictional lore further than just the name, and before they broke up (awwww) created a trilogy of records known as ‘The Warren of Snares': Owsla (guardian), Elil (enemy) and Inlé (death). Their musical influences were more varied, but no less awesome: you can definitely hear bits of Neurosis, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Emperor. As you can imagine, that incorporates quite a range of styles, but ones that gel together well.
The following track, “Dominion Theology” is from Elil. There’s so much more to this band than you’re likely to read about here, but if it interests you then there’s a more detailed bio on their last.fm page, which goes more into their themes, politics and ethic, and is WELL worth a read.
When these guys posted a link to our wall earlier this week, I had to double check wether they were British or not; sorry guys, but I have honestly never heard of Thanet, which is in Kent apparently. It’s right on the coast, which leads me to believe that it has actually crept up on the British Isles only recently and attached itself whilst I wasn’t looking. I’M ON TO YOU THANET!
Regardless, this somewhat Atlantean town has bred the likes of Foreboding Ether, a five-piece slice of technical death metal-flavoured pie.
If this interests you, they’ve got an EP called Beyond Conjecture coming out fairly soon, and I reckon it’ll definitely be worth a looksee.
Yet again we return to my home town of Worcester with the mighty Kailin. This is honestly news to me, but it was a pleasant surprise to find they are contemporaries of such Midlands greats as Mother Dirt, AZWAI and Chronographs.
They also list such other British bands as Volumes, Devil Sold His Soul, Architects and The Arusha Accord as influences: keeping it in the family – we like this!
There’s also definitely a djenty tone to them, but I can definitely hear some God Is An Astronaut-tinged soaring guitar lines in this track too:
Being that I am forgetful, I took it upon myself to compile a list of awesome, if not slightly un-metal backups to include in this column, should I ever pull a today and balls up my responsibilities.
As a result, I present to you the marvellous, the enigmatic, and the downright hairy Frank Turner! Former frontman of Million Dead (who we featured on For Whom The Bell Tolls back in September), Frank has taken his very British take on political punk and stripped it back to the basics. I know 4/4 isn’t something we tend to get excited about around these parts, but this is really good stuff.
He also does swears sometimes, which is always fun.
As I did with Hero In Error the other week, I’m plumbing the depths of the Republic of Ireland’s scene to bring you long time favourites of our bros The Number of the Blog, the fantastically-monikered I’ll Eat Your Face.
Just two crazy (seriously) guys based in Cork, playing some sort of instrumental bollocks that I find hard to pigeonhole – in a good way. I can’t really do them any sort of justice more than Pappa Grover of TNOTB, who in naming their free album Irritant his album of the year, said this:
“Somewhere along the line, Irritant entered my consciousness, and like a stubborn house-guest, refused to leave, instead choosing to eat all of my food and put its dirty boots up on my couch. However, this particular house-guest happens to be a unicorn that farts rainbows and poops adorable kittens, and its mere presence fills your days with love and magic as it ejaculates pure awesomeness all over the house. What the fuck does that mean? I have no idea. But to say that I love Irritant is a great understatement, and in the end it deserves to be my album of the year because I still can’t stop fucking listening to it.”
He’s right. Irritant is fantastic. And did I mention free? Yeah, free. As if you need any more encouragement, you can listen to the whole damn album here:
Leeds. Well shit, what is it about that place? I seem to be mentioning it a lot in this column: Red Stars Parade. Mishkin. Tree of Sores. Diascorium. Hawk Eyes. So it should be no great surprise to learn that today’s offering, Canaya, are from this fine city (even if they did give us Kaiser Chiefs and Mel B too).
Combining a voice with the caustic power of Norma Jean-era Josh Scogin with some seriously Mastodon-esque riffs, Canaya’s Alignment of Dying Planets EP is a violent twenty-minute pole-axe to the temple, and for the measly sum of three and a half English pounds (about $5.73) it can be yours from their bandcamp!
Morning chaps and chapesses. Today’s chirpy offering are 40 Watt Sun, from our fair capital. They sound a bit dim, and tonally they are, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of doom from these three gentlemen.
The tone is crunchy, the vocals are soaring, and the pace tardier as drawn out as one of your mother’s killer blowjobs. Phwoar.
They’ve been around a couple of years, and put out their debut full-length The Inside Room but a couple of months ago! Tasty.
Throne of Nero hail from sunny Leicester, and are a five piece (shock horror) who, in their own words, “combine intricate riffs, bouncy grooves, melodic sections and heavy beatdowns to create a sound that is truly their own.”
They’ve been trying to generate some press over the past few days – I’ve seen them pop up on the walls of various Facebook pages I frequent – so here we are doing our bit. Although only an instrumental demonstration (they also have a vocalist), the following track “Reduced to a Pawn” promises great things from their forthcoming EP.
This video is super British too – filmed in what looks like a conservatory to me. Conservatories are very British. Hats off, lads. Looking forward to the EP! Make sure you support them if you like them, so they aren’t reduced to pawning off their guitars (sorry, had to do it).