Remarkably, the little but loud country I call home is still attached to the rest of the UK both politically and geographically. Yes, I know. No one has taken the impetus to physically remove us from our ties with England yet. I’ve been to the Borders before, we wouldn’t be missing much if we terraformed the land and created an actual border with dynamite and hard work. Putting nationalism aside for a second, it’s time for a reminder that the land of bards and Buckfast is always teeming with fresh music for heavier tastes. Noise, hardcore, metalcore, widdly prog… You name it, we’ve got it. Alba gu bràth, innit.
The (Prog) Rocky Horror Picture Show
First up on the, ahem, chopping block is the capital city’s power-prog riff-warlocks Tiberius. “Swansong” – the first single from their June releasing full-length A Peaceful Annihilation – is a wickedly playful run through the band’s box of tricks. The invisible orange clutching vocals do verge on theatrical in points but even when approaching falsetto there’s still a lot of heft behind them; none of that squeaky cracking on the high notes or shrill yarling. It’s probably a gamble for most prog-leaning metal bands, but Tiberius have the range and scope to incorporate it well into their surprisingly upbeat power-pop choruses.
The music video is a little darker than the vibe of the song gives off – landing somewhere between an episode of Dexter and a behind the scenes video of Ru Paul’s Drag Race – but it’s a nice pairing and I am a sucker for people shouting lyrics in each other’s faces. It’s music firmly outwith my regular scum but I enjoy the interplay between the guitars and the ever-present forward drive from the drums. Tiberius are probably tired of comparisons to Protest The Hero but I ain’t got one better, apologies. Gid stuff.
Toppling The System, One Groove At A Time
Birthed across the Internet and delivered with heaping spades of swaying choruses, online collaboration Surrender the Throne does an exemplary job of dropping the breakdown hammer in between the uplifting surge of a big ‘ole chorus. Though occasionally hampered by the limits of the programmed percussion – sometimes you just want to hear cymbals being absolutely fucking smashed – the thick, drop-tuned guitars have a really nice attack, paired with a pleasingly gurny bass tone. “Devilspeak” has all the fixings of a modern metalcore fan’s wildest dreams, including one of those choruses that sneaks up on you; purposefully implanting itself in your ear for days to come.
This self-titled EP has all the snap and crackle for those with a penchant for post-hardcore with a little more oomph. At times the sway of the choruses remind me of later era Devil Sold His Soul, a band firmly established as one of the great cross-genre purveyors, especially in the UK. It’s so easy for this kind of music to tip too far towards either the chunky attack or the saccharine sweetness, but Surrender the Throne as a whole pairs the two finely. Like a deep red and some baked Camembert. Smooth as heck.
Clyde Culture Killers
Full of young blood from the city of Four Corners, Glasgow’s Vent have a debut EP that’s equal parts righteous and riotous. It warms the Tennents tap chill on my heart knowing that Scotland’s next generation of musos and headbangers are just as up for riffs’n’spills as the last. Escape From Myself has the obligatory opening track titled after the band – a hard introduction to the world, if you will – and three more devilish bursts of thundering chugs and cantankerous two-steps. The sleek crossover appeal of metallic hardcore and thrash doesn’t come much fresher than on “Stuck” and “Reveal”; each track decidedly violent in the friendliest, pick-you-up-if-you-fall way.
Like Surrender the Throne above, it’s nice to hear the rolling, lyrical accent of my people in these tracks. Normally if there’s a Scottish accent on show, it’s too much; the haggis and heartbreak of Biffy Clyro or the karaoke humdrum of The Proclaimers has no place in the hallowed halls of ANY of my playlists. Not today. Vent have the inimitable buzz of a new act ready to throwdown on stages of any size, shape, or height. Looking forward to post-quarantine hardcore shows with bands like this on the bill.