Welcome back to Rotten to the Core, where much like the inexorable pressure of our late-stage capitalist hellworld clamoring to squeeze everything back into a state of blissfully hypnagogic consumerism post-pandemic, we like things heavy and unsubtle. We hope you’re all staying safe, getting your appointments for vaccination lined up (if you haven’t already!) and continuing to mosh responsibly until we can all spit on each other again. You know we’ve got the best of the best from the past month lined up, but first, Nate sat down with Taylor Young about the new God’s Hate!

Calder Dougherty


Hey Taylor! This is Nate from Heavy Blog is Heavy. Do you mind introducing yourself and telling me briefly what bands you have played in and about your recording studio?

Hey Nate. I’m Taylor Young, producer and engineer at The Pit Recording Studio. I’ve played in a bunch of bands, namely Twitching Tongues, God’s Hate, Criminal Instinct and formerly NAILS. I run the studio out of my house and record mostly metal and hardcore bands with the occasional indie stuff, which I really enjoy. 

The new God’s Hate is out! You produced it and played on it alongside your brother? How was the recording and writing process?

Yes! My brother is the main writer of the band, where I mostly tweaked things in production, added a couple riffs, wrote the solos and wrote a few of the songs lyrically. It was a long process, spread out over about a year. The instruments were recorded quickly in August 2019 except for guitar solos which were the last things I laid down. Brody, the singer, finally had a period where wrestling slowed down around January 2020 so we could crack down on the vocals. After that I tracked solos and mixed the record and then we did all the fun art stuff. 

Are there any plans to tour on the record if/when possible?

Some light touring maybe but definitely some shows. 

What made you all sit down and write a new record? Was this planned?

Yeah Brody lit a fire under Colin’s ass to write after the band did a really cool tour with Terror, and it took a few years but it’s worth the wait in my opinion. 

What was the goal behind this new record? Message wise or just to write something fun.

Both. There is no point in this type of music without a message, but writing music is just about the most satisfying thing out there for us. 

You used a lot of clips from movies, it works so well in the context of each song. Was that intentional or did you add that after the fact?

The band has always had poignant sound clips, but these were probably the most obviously relevant ones. 

What other projects are you working on currently, either producing or writing wise?

I’ve got a few records in the can that I just finished tracking but can’t really share too much info. I will say the new LP from Age of Apocalypse that I just worked on is a real monster, and the album from the death metal band Apparition will crush a lot of skulls. 

Thank you for your time!

Nate Johnson


The Wall of Death

Blindfolded and Led to the Woods – Nightmare Withdrawals (mathcore, progressive death metal)

There is a specific sound and feeling I’m always hunting for, and it’s been very difficult to recapture since it was introduced to me. War From A Harlots Mouth’s swan song record Voyeur shook me to my core when it was released in 2011; it didn’t quite sound like anything I’d heard before, and I meshed with that sonic palette so well I just itched for more. It became a part of me, this weirdo brand of post-Myspace-deathcore dissonant mathgrind that was as heavy as it was fast, as haunting as it was aggressive, and technically jarring as it was raw. Plenty of other artists have stricken similar chords since, but none have come so close as Blindfolded and Led to the Woods have done on their third full length, Nightmare Withdrawals.

The New Zealanders knock you over the head with their chops and songwriting capability right away with the blackened, menacing riffs of “The Inevitable Fate of the Universe” twisting and pumping through grooves and runs that keep you on the edge of your seat. The rest of the record never lets up, where lumbering grindcore breakdowns lurch like krakens cresting stormy seas to capsize the unsuspecting listener before dragging you full-speed to the depths with no hope for breath, just the pressure of the plunge pounding in your ears. It’s easy to get lost in. The production is clean enough to highlight their flair without sacrificing the punch or delirium of their dissonance, which is something missing on a lot of records these days.

This one’s going straight to the year-end review list, no questions asked. It’s smart, calculated, and vicious, teetering on the verge of madness at all times without going overboard or overstaying its welcome. We need more of this sound in the world yesterday.

CD

Brand of Sacrifice – Lifeblood (epic brutal deathcore)

Brand of Sacrifice’s blend of deathcore and brutal death metal on their debut, God Hand (2019), was already pretty impressive, but its swift follow-up Lifeblood is a whole new level (of confidence and pow-uh!). Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more extreme, the Toronto quintet managed to find a way to turn up not only the brutality, but every aspect of their sound as well. Brand of Sacrifice built their reputation on brutality, but they’re a much more interesting and effective outfit for having introduced some more variation into their sound, while firmly putting their competitors on notice in the process.

Lifeblood is punishing in its assault of beatdowns and bounce-riffs, but it’s the persistent doses of melody and expertly deployed symphonics that elevate it above anyone else trying their hand at this style in 2021. Is there such thing as “epic deathcore”? If so, then this is definitely it, and if not, then Brand of Sacrifice may have stumbled upon something truly special. There’s a lineage to be drawn to the likes of Winds of Plague and contemporaries like Shadow of Intent and fellow Anime-enthusiast Anna Pest, but Brand of Sacrifice have easily done the best job of harnessing symphonic and choral elements to support their sound so far. Indeed, the 1-2 pairing of the serene “Corridor of Dreams” and the closing title track might just be the single best example of epic/symphonic deathcore to date.

That isn’t at all to suggest Lifeblood is a softer or more subdued record than its predecessor. Quite the opposite, in fact. This album goes harder than any other I’ve heard this year, and most of those from the last couple as well. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the better parts of its subject matter (i.e., the grimdark hyperviolence and cosmic, eldritch horror, rather than the rampant sexism and repetitive rape exploitation). We get about one great deathcore album a year these days and, this year, it’s come early.

Joshua Bulleid

SlopeStreet Heat (melodic hardcore, funk)

I love how music is just constantly evolving and trying to reinvent itself. Let’s be real for a second, hardcore doesn’t have a TON of room to expand upon. At its “core” (see what I did there?) it’s punk rock with riffs, but somehow Slope have managed to defy those odds and write my current album of the year. There is no denying that this is hardcore, with the closest comparison being drawn to Baltimore based hardcore band Turnstile, right down to the vocals – but there is so much more going on here. Let me see if I can sum it up: elements of funk, hip hop, groove, surf rock and youth crew. Other bands they share comparisons to include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Stray From the Path and Higher Power. Still confused? That is the beauty of this record, though! It’s just a fun ride through so many genres and never loses your attention for a second. It has been on constant rotation since its release and there is no slowing down. This is just a fun, feel-good album that puts a smile on my face every time I put it on and it just makes me want to dance around the room. 

Lyrically the band tackle topics of internet addiction, politics and internal struggles within themselves, but do so in a clever way and with a bit of tongue-in-cheek attitude. Many times hardcore can be so in your face with the message or sound, this is a breath of fresh air. Production wise, the band harkens back to the 90’s and it fits their sound perfectly. 

The saddest part? The band is from Germany and are probably not big enough to make it to the states unless they make a festival appearance. My fingers are crossed though, because I imagine this band would be WILD live. 

NJ

Pupil Slicer – Mirrors (mathcore, metalcore)

It seems modern mathcore can generally be split into two camps: the zany, white-belt, neon-band-shirt-nostalgia side, and the esoteric, fucking evil and grindy side. While not totally neglecting the value of that nostalgia, Pupil Slicer, as their name might suggest, falls emphatically to the latter. Mirrors is one of the stand-out -core releases of the year so far and I’ll be impressed if another mathcore album tops it. It has the menacing, ominous nature of a Fawn Limbs with it’s dark grindcore influence, yet some of the youthful creativity and Dillinger-isms of The Callous Daoboys.

Speaking of the Daoboys, their vocalist Carson is one of several guest vocalists on this album, appearing on one of Mirrors’ standout tracks “L’apple du vide”. The track starts off with a relentless death-grind like intro with a frantic polyrhythmic riff broken up by panic chord (are the kids still calling them that?) squeals. The track gets more and more chaotic as some haunting backing vocals come in, raising the psychological mindfuckery even further. “Husk” is another strong track where we get a further taste of their song-writing versatility. After kicking it off with a fun crossover thrash riff, you soon get the first taste of their ability to slow it down. At first it’s a mid-paced hardcore sludge type chug, and then they slow it down it further. I’m talking slow-snare-hit-people-in-the-pit-looking-around-in-fear type breakdown.

The power of Kate Davies’ vocals cannot be understated, they match the pained intensity of the music perfectly in both the frantic tempos that she operates in, and the tone of her delivery. They pace masterfully along with the complex rhythms very much like another guitar in the mix, often changing up her delivery slightly to harmonize with the riffs depending on their range. It’s wicked how many of my favourite bands in this scene are fronted by women these days as we’re approaching the rightful place where their inclusion is expected rather than surprising.

Instrumentally, Mirrors is nothing to sneeze at either. These aren’t just your cliche myspace metalcore riffs; there is some serious hyper-technicality at play here like the dazzlingly noisy Frontierer-like riffs of “Worthless.” It helps that the album is produced by Pedram Valiani himself, who has mastered dialing in that chaos tone. Perhaps saving the best for last, my personal favourite track is the album closer “Collective Unconscious”, one of the more progressive songs on the album. It’s generally slower paced, with some sludgy bass-riffs playing a prominent role among a unique use of clean-toned guitar. This builds into a cascading almost black metal lead guitar riff that’s bursting with emotion and Svalbardian sensibility.

Pupil Slicer have graced us with a potential modern mathcore classic. An album that feels like an honest reflection of both the world around us, and the evolving metalcore scene. Reigning terror with grace and an uncomfortably calming allure, Mirrors is a must listen for anyone craving that chaotic catharsis. 

Trent Bos


The Crowdkillers

Starve – Nausea (hardcore, nu-metalcore)

Australia is never going to give us a break with the young heavy bands, is it? The sophomore EP from Melbourne’s Starve is a can-crushing, gut-punching row through the core scene down under, where the circle pits go backwards and the riffs just hit harder somehow. With a feature from Left Behind’s Zach Hatfield and a quick 6 song run, Nausea is pure, relentless mosh fodder certain to chop you up for shark chum. There’s not a single track that doesn’t pull its weight or leave you climbing the toprope for a championship splash into the pit.

It’s getting hard to find a bad band coming out of the Aussie scene these days. Whatever they’ve got going on down there, it’s working. Keep up the good work lads – the rest of the world is watching, and we love it.

CD

Wolf King – The Path of Wrath (blackened metallic hardcore)

California’s Wolf King are one of the bands that really caught my attention a few years ago and brought me back into the fold. The current wave of metallic hardcore bands blurring the lines between hardcore, death metal, thrash, and crust have united all walks of riff-lovers into a singular cohesive headbanging army, and their latest release plants Wolf King firmly at the head of the pack.

Bleak, epic, and filthy, The Path of Wrath rides along at a sinister gait with swagger and confidence. Eager to please, tracks like “The Oath” teeter gleefully between boiling blackened grinding and big, open stoner doom chords to great effect before dropping you right back into the sidecar of the riffcycle. This is required listening for anyone keeping an ear on the sounds driving the world of underground metal the past few years.

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God’s HateGod’s Hate (beatdown hardcore)

To those unfamiliar, this band is a supergroup of sorts with members coming from Twitching Tongues, Constrict and ex-Nails. Front-man Brody King is a professional wrestler and yeah — that resume screams about as hard a band as any I have heard. The group draws comparisons to acts such as Merauder, Hatebreed, All Out War and Stigmata, to give you an idea of what you are up against. The band’s name is nothing to read into, as their first couple of EP’s covered anti-religious topics and the title track on this record does the same. 

Let’s get this out of the way: this record is most likely going to be THE hardest of the year. After an intro that is an absolute riff fest that would get any person moving, the band doesn’t waste any time with the face melting Be Harder, the lead single from the record. The whole album just GOES from beginning to end, with possibly the only moment of breathing room being in the track “Six Feet Deep” where we get to hear Colin Young sing cleans alongside Brody only to fade away as quickly as it came. 

I was able to speak with Taylor Young, who not only played on the record but produced it as well. He said their intent was just to have fun and go all out, and they definitely nailed it in that respect. I love the movie tie-ins to most of the tracks which essentially introduce what you are about to dive into. Any band that references one of my favorite TV shows, Yellowstone, gets a thumbs up in my book. I am a sucker for gang vocals and the record has them aplenty with hardcore veterans Scott Vogel and Nick Jett of Terror lending a hand.

I hope the band decides to tour on this record, because I assume Brody will go back to his day job when things start to go back to normal. I’ll be front and center singing along, because this is one of my favorite hardcore releases of the year and it is just plain fun! 

NJ

LANDMVRKS – Lost in the Waves (metalcore, melodic hardcore)

While I was hesitant to check out this band at first because of their name, I’m very glad I did. One of my first thoughts after finishing it was that this is the sort of sound I wish Architects had grown into instead. Take the bouncy hardcore punk influence of Stray From the Path, with the emotional melodic hardcore of older Counterparts. Tying all of that together are impassioned and catchy clean choruses that feel very Sam Carter inspired. On the surface it’s a pretty standard modern metalcore album, offering much of the gimmicks and expected fanfare. But some of the little details such as range of writing styles from the more melodic post-hardcore moments to straight djent, and their vocalist’s hip-hop like delivery and his impressive vocal range, (not to mention an actual feature from a French rapper) have kept me coming back more than I expected. 

TB


The Circle Pit

Eternal VoidSerenity in the Black (progressive metalcore)

As Everything UnfoldsWithin Each Lies The Other (metalcore)

WallcreeperSmall Talk Is Bullshit (hardcore punk, powerviolence)

Bound in FearEternal (beatdown hardcore)

DistantDusk of Anguish (deathcore)

The HellTHE GREATEST HARDCORE BAND OF ALL TIME (comedic metalcore)

DomainPersevere Through Suffering (hardcore)

Shining WizardStrong Style Grindcore (grindcore, hardcore punk)

ExaminateLuminous (blackened metalcore)

Weeping HollowDeath Gaze (deathcore, thall) 

NursingSelf Care (blackened mathcore)

CloserWithin One Stem (screamo, post-hardcore)

The Drowned GodPale Home (dark post-hardcore, post-metal)

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