Back again with the biggest metalcore album of the decade, new (old) Admiral Angry, maybe the best take at symphonic deathcore to date(?), plenty of noise rock, a defense of the new Bring Me the Horizon release, and more.

11 days ago

I found myself pondering what we did to bless the screamo gods with the insane amount of reunion shows and comeback albums from many of the genre's pioneers and torch-bearers in recent years. The latest of course has been the one and only Orchid, who I am still recovering from seeing over the past weekend play a sold-out show in Toronto to over 1300 people, on a wild bill as part of the new Prepare the Ground festival which featured openers from the likes of 90s Canadian cult-classic post-hardcore group North of America, TWIABP and fucking Tomb Mold. An fascinating coming-together of like-minded yet different fanbases, all for the love of out-there, abrasive music. 

Anyway, RTTC is back again with the biggest metalcore album of the decade, a formal release of a previously bootleg-only album from some math-sludge darlings, maybe the best take at symphonic deathcore to date(?), plenty of noise rock, Jimmy’s defense of a polarizing new Bring Me the Horizon release, a surprising amount of Finland, and more. 

I’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic passing of Magero after a battle with cancer, the mastermind behind progressive deathcore group Slice the Cake. A long-time internet friend, and friend of the blog. Their passion, talent and personality provided years of wonder and joy through the several brilliant releases under the STC name. They may be gone, but the riffs, the solos, and genius song-writing, will always live on. Jam one of the best pieces of progressive deathcore ever written.

-Trent Bos

The Wall of Death

Admiral Angry - Albania [re-release] (mathgrind, sludgecore) 

No, this is technically not a new Admiral Angry album. We’ll sadly have to keep waiting for that. But the next best thing might be the (re)surfacing of a previously bootleg-only version of their unreleased “debut” album from 2007, Albania. If you’re not familiar with Admiral Angry, their highly praised 2009 album Buster is truly a rare one-of-a-kind metal album. Fusing the putrid tones of heavy sludge metal with mathy rhythmic metalcore, and some of the most nihilistic, unhinged, and fittingly angry vocals and lyrics you can find. As a huge fan of this release, it was certainly a pleasant surprise to see the surfacing of this other album I didn’t even know existed. Thanks to the fine people at Silent Pendulum Records, it’s now on official streaming platforms and bandcamp. 

While you can certainly hear the roots of what they would grow into on Buster, this release is a bit of a different animal. You can tell it’s the same Admiral Angry, the metallic metalcore elements and manic vocals are still here, but much of that sludge influence is kicked up a notch into grindcore territory. It’s much more uptempo and relentless, and the track lengths are unsurprisingly short, with the whole thing spanning 21-tracks and a 37-minute runtime thanks to ten minutes of droney harsh noise as the album closer. On both releases, AA flirt with proto-djent grooves and riffs which pack a lot of punch with the crunchy-ass sludge tones they used. Here especially they offer an interesting dynamic contrast with the more breakneck paced grindcore. There are signs of this being a debut-demo of sorts however, with some of the ideas not feeling overly fleshed-out and a bit sporadically thrown together. 

Overall, this is still a refreshing listen for fans of anything grindy, sludgy, dissonant, and exceedingly rotten. Despite something of a resurgence of metallic hardcore and sludgecore, this extremely visceral and violent take at something metalcore-adjacent is getting depressingly rare. Say what you want about Omerta’s recent twitter rants on the topic of the decline of violent music, but this is the exact sort of thing they are clamoring for. Music that lives on the ragged edge, that’s meant to test your senses, make you uncomfortable, and challenge you. That is Admiral Angry.   

-TB

Knocked Loose - You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To (hardcore, metalcore)

Kentucky metalcore act Knocked Loose have quite handily earned the distinction of being the most widely hyped, critically celebrated, and purchased metal record of 2024 thus far, and it’s hard to imagine anything else topping it. I may be biased in favor of my fellow Kentuckians, but being caught up in the hype as a new fan has been exhilarating and well-earned. 

Their third full-length You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To is a clear high water mark for the band, with their blend of elements from beatdown hardcore, deathcore, and metalcore making for a punishingly heavy and cathartic record that’s propelled by some truly remarkable production and songwriting pushing the band above their peers. There’s a handful of reasons why the song “Suffocate” briefly leapt past Taylor Swift in the viral music charts, and it’s because of some inspired casting with Poppy’s intense harsh vocal performance and a deliciously indulgent reggaeton-inspired breakdown. Beyond the hit singles, the album is simply paced incredibly well, with each song having identifiable hooks or gimmicks while contributing to a consistent high quality album experience. 

One could be forgiven for being dismissive of this album and its general disregard for technicality and refined musicianship. Vocalist Bryan Garris is easily memed on, and I mean, how diverse is the beatdown hardcore scene anyway? But Knocked Loose just works. When Bryan howls “I dream of a cleansing wave, set me free” on “Don’t Reach For Me,” my soul leaves my body before an earth shattering groove snaps me back into place. Whether you get it or not, Knocked Loose are undeniably doing something right, as they’re seeing a success we’ve not seen in the genre since 2021’s Glow On

-Jimmy Rowe

Lower Automation - Welcome to My Deathbed (noise rock/experimental rock)

Lower Automation are no strangers to Heavy Blog is Heavy as we have premiered new music from the band on a number of occasions. But the band’s anxiety-inducing amalgamated style of noise rock, mathcore, and post-punk first grabbed my own panic-stricken attention when I heard 2022’s Strobe Light Shadow Play

Strobe Light Shadow Play’s frenetic, fractured tracks showcased deranged guitar work that quickly cycled through post-punk revival melodicism, mathcore pyrotechnics, and seemingly outright improvised noise. If it weren’t for the tightly wound rhythm section of drummer Andy (whose family name was impossible to find) and bassist Brian Sutton, one might expect the songs to spiral out into utter chaos at any moment. As a result, what the album does so well on an emotional level is encapsulate the existential anxiety that we carry with us like leaden weights as we navigate an increasingly uncertain and fragmented modern world.

Whereas that sense was captured on Strobe Light Shadow Play in a frantic and deranged manner, the band’s new EP Welcome to My Deathbed takes an altogether subtler yet still unsettling approach to capture that feeling. According to the Bandcamp page for the EP, the band added “layers of distorted tracks and heavily contrasting dynamics” to the release’s tracks. This is most apparent in tracks such as “Mercaptan”, in which the climax features swirling, densely layered guitars and vocals that are dizzying as much as they are melancholic. For the majority of its runtime, “Noisedive” lurches rhythmically forward as warbly guitars seem to have a call-and-response with electronic noises that can be compared to the rubbing of crystal glasses. The whole composition conjures the imagery of being lost in a dark, nightmarish, and highly-pixelated digital forest.

What adds to this subtler, darker style is vocalist/guitarist Derek Allen’s throaty howl, which is more reminiscent of coldwave/darkwave bands than the high-register sassy shouts that were more prevalent on Strobe Light Shadow Play and the band’s releases that preceded it. Allen’s newfound vocal style is most prevalent on “Nosedive”, where Allen’s voice bears a striking resemblance to that of Robert Smith in his early work with The Cure. There is a quality to Allen’s voice that is genuinely forlorn via the legato phrasing that he employs on tracks such as the aforementioned “Nosedive” and opener “...is Violence”.

Each Lower Automation release presents a band that is unafraid of experimentation and exploration of new musical territory. But Lower Automation’s sense of sonic adventure does not detract from the palpable modern malaise they capture so effortlessly throughout all of their releases. With its mournful, unsettling mood, Welcome to My Deathbed is yet another illustration of this ability.

-JD

The Crowdkillers

Bring Me The Horizon - Post Human: NeX GEn (melodic metalcore, emo pop, alternative metal) 

One could argue that Bring Me The Horizon are THE metalcore band, depending on which album cycle you catch them on. Their 2020 EP Post Human: Survival Horror was perhaps the most critically celebrated release of their career, which featured a welcome return to metalcore after their divisive pop foray amo, so hopes were high for the next step in the Post Human era. Four years later, through a six month delay and a tumultuous lineup change seeing longtime key member Jordan Fish leaving the band, the next chapter of Bring Me The Horizon sees an open-armed embrace of the emo revival, packed with nods and cues from all of your 2000’s pop-punk, emo pop, nu metal, post-hardcore, and metalcore colliding with industrial and hyperpop impulses that you’ll either love or hate. As a millennial who didn’t allow himself the pleasures of bands like Paramore and My Chemical Romance during those pivotal teen years and only now has experienced a latent appreciation for the genre, Post Human: NeX GEn is offering a fresh take on the aesthetic that’s so exciting and unbelievably catchy that the juvenile nature of the lyrics and some goofy missteps (you could easily cut two or three songs here for the better, and let’s start with “Die4u” and the OST transition tracks) could easily be overlooked on subsequent listens. 

-JR

Demersal - Demersal (screamo)

In 2023 Telos released Delude, and it was one of the best albums of the year. Then in 2024 they decided to suddenly call it quits. Done. Gone. Over. To say I was gutted would be an understatement. “How bloody dare they!!” I screamed, whilst angrily shaking my fist in the air. Luckily, Telos’s members ply their masterful trade in various other bands, one of them being the blackened screamo outfit Demersal

You’ll certainly find some of the chaotic energy of Telos present and correct in Demersal, but the overarching traits being transferred are class and quality. This is an intensely eclectic project, and their self-titled sophomore album throws everything and the kitchen sink at you in its epic yet fleeting 35 minutes and 49 seconds. 

In amongst the ferocious screams, blast beats, and buzzsaw guitars you’ll find piano, trumpet, flute, cello and more melodic flourishes than you’ll be able to keep up with. Unlike some less accomplished screamo bands, these tuneful elements are not crowbarred in for the sake of it, they manage to integrate them intelligently into every track.  

You probably won’t hear a better sub-two-minute song than “lys i natten” anywhere this year. Off kilter staccato bursts of nastiness, a catchy punk-fuelled hook backed up by searing trumpets with a dual vocal attack. I keep hitting repeat to check what I might have missed. 

The whole album continues in this vein, freely mixing the feral with the refined as though it’s second nature. Whilst there are some elements of Birds In Row, Regarding Ambiguity and Infant Island, these Danish maestros are definitely carving their own path, and if Demersal doesn’t put them on the map I don’t know what will. This is most definitely not a replacement for Telos (there probably never will be), but it is one of the years stand out screamo albums so far.  

-PK

RATS WILL FEAST - Hellhole (metalcore, chaotic hardcore)

Finland’s RATS WILL FEAST play the sort of rip-roaring balls-to-the-wall brand of metalcore more interested in abrasive chaos and violent riffs. Growing from their roots as a hardcore punk band dating back to their beginnings in the early 2010’s, that punk ethos is still very much a part of their identity. It just evolved into something much heavier, darker, and laced with razor blades. There’s bouts of mathcore technicality, but it isn’t the driving force here, lending it to getting that elusive ‘chaotic hardcore’ tag often attached to bands such as Every Time I Die. A fitting comparison, as this does carry a similar bouncy energy that’s just damn fun to listen to. What elevates this further however, is contrasting that energy with some of the virulent anger of metallic hardcore acts like Converge, or Burner. Not to mention the up-tempo riffing here just goes blisteringly hard. Yet they even slow things down, as “Tourmaline’s” dramatic instrumental contemplative tones are reminiscent of the great new Glassing album in it’s post-metal meeting emotive screamo tones. If you need to break a few things and have a good time while doing it, it’s hard to pick a better soundtrack to it this year than Rats Will Feast’s Hellhole.

-TB

Synestia & Disembodied Tyrant - The Poetic Edda (symphonic deathcore, neo-classical metal)

Few deathcore releases have come out of nowhere to receive such dramatic praise from fans as the new collaboration between Finnish two-piece Synestia and American group Disembodied Tyrant, titled The Poetic Edda. From “saving symphonic deathcore'' to “the greatest deathcore EP of all time” this new 4-track release has certainly left its mark on fans of the genre, but is this just reactionary hyperbole? As someone who grew up with Winds of Plague “on that 2008 shit” this niche sub-genre has come a long way, arguably peaking in popularity this decade with the rise of Lorna Shore, thanks largely to new vocalist Will Ramos, as one of the biggest bands in deathcore. With this four-track EP, Synestia & Disembodied Tyrant essentially take every part of Lorna Shore other than the vocals, and dial it up to eleven. 

Unlike the fist-pumping bro-iness of Wings of Plague, this is more interested in the sophistication of classical music, for better or worse. The symphonic or orchestral elements, which are obviously all synthetic, are really at the forefront here, not too unlike bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse. They even finish things off with a cover of Vivaldi’s highly recognizable piece, “Winter”.  The precision staccato strings, the grandiose, epic atmosphere, this is arguably more of a symphonic metal album than a deathcore album from that standpoint, but they do shove it in your face with some very forceful breakdowns, and your fairly standard deathcore vocals. Aside from the end of the title track, I don’t know how much the breakdowns here actually add to the music however, they don’t feel incredibly built up to or earned in that sense, and just act as sort of a bridge between the more interesting technical riffing and dramatic baroque classical sections. Yet, it does feel safe to say this is easily some of the best incorporation of symphonic and neo-classical elements that deathcore has ever seen, and it’s earned its praise on that merit alone. The deathcore side of things here unfortunately just feels a little lacking to the point it struggles to be more than the sum of its parts. There’s a difficult balance to be struck between all of these elements, and for some it’s evidently landed it emphatically, so give this a shot and see where you stand.  

-TB

Gradience - Ironsight EP

(metalcore, rap metal, post-black metal)

Now for something that certainly won't be for everyone, as Gradience chose to answer the question that no one asked, "what if you combined modern metalcore with post-black metal, and... rapping?" In the post-nu-metal world, rap metal has not particularly thrived. The djent-rap fusions from Hacktivist and DVSR saw some success, and some of the new nu-metalcore revival going on has dabbled with it a bit, but Gradience feels like a truly novel approach that can be appreciated on that alone. The well-produced post-black metal riffing and vocals, borrowing from the likes of Gaerea and Numenorean offers a totally new dynamic to this nu-metalcore sound that felt immediately captivating. 

The rapping on its own unfortunately isn’t the strongest point, with a monotone flow that's lacking in charisma. However the simplicity of it does allow it to fit very neatly into the mid-to-downtempo riffs and drumming and as a build-up before breakdowns. If you listen to any track off this, make it "Love Me and Lie" where the rapping grows into a sung chorus with some alt-gaze influence that's quite reminiscent of Loathe. Gradience have caught my attention with this debut EP, and while not perfect, there's a lot of potential here and room to grow and I'm excited to see where they take things next.

-TB

The Circle Pit (Best of the Rest)

Shellac - To All Trains (post-hardcore, noise rock)

God Mother - Sinneseld (metallic hardcore, sludgecore)

Contention - Artillery (metalcore, crossover)

Half Empty Glasshouse - The Exit is Over There! (noise rock/art punk/avant-prog)

Like Moths to Flames - The Cycles of Trying to Cope (metalcore)

Ephemera - Part II (screamo)Lip Critic - Hex Dealer (synth punk, digital hardcore)

Ancst - Culture of Brutality (blackened crust, metalcore)

The Korea - Мёд (djent, prog metalcore)Shokran - Duat (prog metalcore, djent)

The Last of Lucy - Godform (tech deathcore)

Extinguish - One Last Enemy (metallic hardcore)

Raised By Owls - Vol.3: (The Satirical Verses) (deathgrind)

Reia Cibele - Reia Cibele (emoviolence, sasscore)

Niboowin - Giving In (screamo, blackgaze) 

Gossip - Coals of Jupiter (screamo)

Usurp Synapse - Polite Grotesqueries (sasscore, noise rock) 

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Published 11 days ago