Burn In Hell’s white knuckle ride of a debut record Disavowal of the Creator God is one of the standout political bullets-to-the-head of this year. Their shade of claustrophobic hardcore is so utterly frenzied at the state of Australian society, it honestly sounds like the whole thing is about to combust at any moment. If you hadn’t already guessed, Burn In Hell predominantly rail against the Christian majority in their country and the sway it has on almost every aspect of social life, despite the separation of church and state outlined in the Australian constitution. “BOUND” comments on the way women continue to suffer inequality down to the Christian favouring of male domination, “BLEACH” is a scathing attack on the white supremacy at the heart of the Australian justice system, and the lamentful yet apoplectic “ARMAGEDDON” wishes death on the white oppressors that have, and continue to, tear the life out of the aboriginal people that have called Australia home for millennia. As you might expect from a band this pissed off at their political establishment and pulsating with noise and terror, their influences straddle politically-minded hardcore punk, anthemic metalcore and of course, Slipknot.
United Nations – United Nations (2008)
This was a super pivotal time for me discovering new music and delving deeper into heavier alternative music. United Nations were a band that pushed my understanding and appreciation of politics in music, as well feeding my need for overly aggressive and chaotically droning music.
I read about the controversies surrounding this record before hearing the music and it really intrigued me. Having multiple lawsuits against United Nations and cease and desists over their politicised branding and artwork immediately made me want to listen to their music and made me obsess over their lyrics. The infusing of that early 00’s screamo powerviolence sound along with the insane vocal delivery and writing of Thursday‘s Geoff Rickly always sat in my subconscious while exploring other sounds and genre’s of metal and hardcore.
While Burn In Hell doesn’t necessarily replicate the sounds of United Nations, this record changed my perspective and what I want my creative and musical output to look like, using the limited voice we have to speak for what matters and not just be another band singing about how cool demons and Satan are.
The Forest – The Forest (2007)
I was one of maybe three Asian kids in a very white high school, trying to assimilate into the surfy coastal small town culture while negotiating the polarity of my Filipino heritage; never really finding comfort within my worlds. An awkward, bulky Asian girl, listening to Australian punk and hardcore, especially local bands who all looked and sounded exactly the same, I felt numb in multiple spaces that were not meant for me.
I don’t remember the first time I heard or saw The Forest but fourteen years later the feelings stirred in the sounds of waves crashing in the opening track “The Ocean,” remains the same. The dissonance, chaos and ambience captured in the seventeen minutes of this EP turned my world upside down. Still to this day I have not heard anything that has shaken me like this record has. It opened up concepts that music can be honest, passionate, messy and disorganised, and that being okay; revolutionary in a time when I was deeply aware of my otherness.
This record continues to inspire me to create music that is dynamic and surprising, that carries meaning and message. I find that listening to this record front to back is still a really liberating experience, as we broker a sense of place in a broken world.
Harm’s Way – Isolation (2011)
This record came out when Tom and I were playing in a melodic hardcore band (actually, most of us were in melodic HC bands at the time). It was the hardest record out, and really informed how I approached writing and playing music from then on.
Aesthetically it is a very in your face record and I think that’s how records from an “in your face” genre of music should be. The whole band including vocals is used as a rhythm section which lends a massive gravity to the whole sound. Add in heavily distorted bass, evil single note riffs, noise and the Boss Heavy Metal pedal and you have one of the best metallic hardcore sounds ever.
Since this record was released, I have always kept some kind of distortion and delay pedal on my pedalboard. Check out the breakdown at the end of ‘Breeding Grounds’, god damn.
August Burns Red – Messengers (2007)
Growing up in the church, you already know August Burns Red are gonna be influential in some way. I think I first heard this record in 2009. A friend of ours gave me a USB with a whole bunch of music on it like La Dispute, As Cities Burn etc. He told me to listen to a song called “Back Burner” by August Burns Red – “it’s got sick breakdowns!” And of course it did, and I thought it was the sickest. They were rhythmically a bit technical and the China tone was sooooo shit which just made it that much better. But from start to finish the whole record was just fast, powerful, full of blast beats and breakdowns with some melodic parts and it just blew my mind. Twelve years later and this record still slaps and still has a huge influence in the way I play and write music. ABR FOREVER BABY!
Slipknot – Slipknot (1999)
I was roughly thirteen years old when I was introduced to the metal world, namely through a mix CD my cousin made for me for a birthday one year. It had the likes of Korn, Trivium, Hawthorne Heights and, yup, Slipknot. This was the first time I’d ever heard things like double kicks, blast beats and yelling and I was enthralled.
I remember one night after sleep walking through my house, my parents thought I was on drugs because I had massive pupils and wasn’t very responsive, and after finding out I wasn’t high, blamed my weird sleep walking to the “screamo” music I was listening to, and actually told me to stop. I didn’t. If anything it pushed me further down the heavy music road. I remember ignorantly listening to this stuff on the bus to and from school without headphones on my phone or MP3 player, pissing off and getting weird looks from the other kids, I didn’t care though. This then opened the door to me getting into things like hardcore, metalcore, punk, melodic hardcore and starting bands and going to shows like this, making the friends I have today. For that I’m grateful.
In regards to how this influenced my writing as a guitar player, I’ve never really considered myself a great guitarist because I could never play this stuff, which I think is what piqued my interest in the production/engineering world, which is what I do for work now. However, with Burn in Hell’s new record, we decided to push our envelope outside of the normal tropes of heavy hardcore and a bit more on the heavy/weird side of metal (I.e. Converge, Cult Leader etc.), you can hear in “Bound” the stomp-y two step section that goes into a four on the floor beat over the same riff, which I think was definitely inspired by Slipknot.