Rotten To The Core – Add Several Heaped Spoons of Hate (Season Liberally)

Food and kitchen analogies are pretty rife in metal journalism and I’m definitely guilty of slopping cheap comparisons onto thinly sliced metaphors. Writing this now I’m just realising that the fucking title of this column could be one of these grub related gags too. Well, stick to what you know I guess. The first Rotten To The Core of 2020 is somewhat of a tasting menu for the kind of ‘core that you’ve learned to love with me – from the blackened to the anthemic with a taste of home and some of that good shit you have to scrape off the bottom of the pan to make your sauce really pop. See? It’s almost too easy and definitely too cheesy.

Sprinkle Some Spanish Fly On It

Madrid’s Crossing are quickly earning comparisons to some of hardcore and screamo’s top-shelf names for good reason – their new LP Barely Buried Love is a pissed off punk record like very few ‘core releases you’ll hear this year. Imagine it’s the turn of the century and metalcore is still to be bastardised by At The Gates parody and piss-thin clean choruses; Crossing would be one of the bands happy playing to five people at a floor show, giving everyone in attendance an absolutely hair-raising performance. The Spaniards shift between sombre moods and agitated aggression with a twisted, throwback vocal performance as the one steady element to their sound – never becoming one-note due to the variety of the music underneath. I feel the need to throw in yet another uncalled for reference but Barely Buried Love sounds like the meal you make from leftovers if the leftovers were all Nate Newton bands. If you don’t grasp that as a compliment then you need to get out of the fucking kitchen.

Flavour profile: sad, chaotic music for adults starved of the ‘core they grew up on

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Save The Whales, Eat The Rich Instead

While trying to cover the weird and warped hardcore and metalcore bands that slip through the cracks, you might not understand just how much I appreciate great American metallic hardcore. Enter Great American Ghost and their ridiculously addictive new LP Power Through Terror. Wearing their influences proudly on their sleeves (and scalps), the Boston band toe the line between snarling hardcore and chest-beating metal, resulting in the production of a great early contender for Thick’n’Chunky Breakdown Soup of the Year. With Will Putney sat behind the dials, GAG (great acronym, bee tee dub) employ some of the same scrapes, slides, and tumultuous double bass rolls as Gojira and Fit For An Autopsy while putting way more emphasis on the aggro than either of those bands. The chorus in opener “Rat King” and the opening salvo of the title track have been on repeat in Casa De MacLennan for days now and I can’t see them leaving regular rotation for the rest of the year.

Flavour profile: New Millenium Cyanide

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Drop-Tuned and Deep-Fried

You have to have huge, heaving baws to pull off the “band name as track title” game and my favourite city in my favourite country is home to one such band with five sets of said baws. Glasgow’s Revulsion march into battle in April with new full-length, Enough To Bleed and “Revulsion” is the first tasty delight cut from it; it might be hard to imagine getting much more primitive and pissed than this but it’s a safe bet this is one of the more tuneful numbers. Like a broken bottle of tonic in a crisp piece, the two-minute track is serrated and crunchy enough to make you shit teeth. There’s a bit of everything for fans of Hatebreed to Code Orange to those caveman riff death metal bands that everyone’s wearing longsleeves of right now. Easily the densest and nost delightful track I’ve heard from the band as yet. Buzzin’ for the new record.

Flavour profile: a wee bit tart, a wee bit terrifying, a wee bit of an ASBO on the way

Always Remember To Beat Your White Meat

As if I ever need an excuse to share playful and powerful hardcore that has a Klan member getting kidnapped, stabbed, and hanged. From what I gather as a quiet observer/masturbating voyeur, Portland is a city seemingly split in half between fash and anti-fash, with a strong membership of extremism on either side of the old political chasm. Maybe it doesn’t, I don’t fucking live there. I do know that Håte Øffering are from Portland and that their Red Fang meets Norma Jean (old shit) take on rowdy ‘core tickles me right in the giggle bone. A new split with Last Light is a great little two-track time but “Last Nail In The Coffin” is my favourite slice so far. Authentic and aurally satisfying with every snare hit and hammer-on/pull-off, it’s a shame the band aren’t out soundtracking the actual lynching of shite right-whiters for real.

Flavour profile: playful on the tongue yet increasingly tight around the neck

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The longer the note, the more dread