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Weekly Roundup: March 6th
Featuring Svalbard, Drug Church, Underoath, and more.
A curated selection of cool shit for you to listen to.
Underoath – “Let Go”
Florida metalcore luminaries Underoath dropped their Voyeurist record a little over a year ago, and now we already have a taste of new material. Their latest single, and first for their new label MNRK Heavy, is the perfect balance of their heavy, aggressive tendencies and the catchy vocal interplay between duelling vocalists Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie. It’s also a little gritty and glitchy in places, too. So fingers crossed for a new album, which would be the band’s tenth studio album (!) when it eventuates. Listen to “Let Go” here.
Horsepower – Change of Heart Promo
Melbourne/Naarm hardcore bruisers Horsepower have been on my local radar for some time, and they’ve now come through with a head-knocking two-track promo for the good folks over at New Ethic Records. The title track, “Change of Heart,” has fierce, stomping riffs and the b-side “Angel” ups the tempo with quickfire rhythmic changes. It’s no-frills hardcore punk with a sneering attitude and a biting vocal delivery. Stream the two-track promo in full here (Spotify).
Piss Kitti – “Leather Forever”
Let’s talk about UK garage punks Piss Kitti. The quartet have announced their signing to Venn Records (run by members of Gallows), and, to celebrate, they’ve also released a shiny new two-track single. The Liverpool group are currently in the studio writing and recording their second EP, which we can expect to drop later this year. On the meaning behind the lead single, the band states:
“‘Leather Forever’ is about the feeling of being in a dark place, worrying about other people and feeling lost within yourself, not wanting to be here anymore, but then a switch flicks, and you realise everything is okay. Noticing beauty in all the things that you never stopped and took the time to appreciate."
Watch the video for “Leather Forever” below:
Enforced – War Remains
Virginian riff merchants Enforced are finally gearing up for the release of their sophomore LP. It's titled War Remains and drops on April 28th via Century Media. Guitarist Will Wagstaff describes the record as “furious,” adding: “If you aren’t in the mood to circle pit, head bang, disrupt the neighbours, etc., don’t put this thing on. From the second the needle touches the record, you are in for 32 minutes of non-stop, no-frills, indiscriminate ass-kicking.” Hell yeah. I reviewed their 2021 debut LP for New Noise magazine, calling it a “mighty thrash anthem complete with neck-injury riffs, pounding percussive breaks, and fist-pumping gang vocals.” Stream the LP’s pre-release singles here (Bandcamp/Spotify).
Drug Church – “Myopic”
Drug Church’s phenomenal fourth LP, Hygiene, was one of my favourite (and most played) records of last year. Well, the Albany, NY unit are already teasing its follow-up with the release of a banging new single. “Myopic” further refines their anthemic blend of shoegaze, grunge, and acerbic post-hardcore, with roaring riffs and an addictive chorus hook. On the meaning behind the track, frontman and lyrical genius Patrick Kindlon says, “In varying degrees, you can just let things go. You don’t gotta stay angry forever. Being bitter isn’t a virtue, and [the] people selling it as one aren’t very happy.” Listen to “Myopic” here.
Vamachara – No Roses on My Grave
Southern California’s Vamachara, who feature members of acts like Constrict, Momentum, Upon Stone, and Hands Of God, are dropping their sophomore full-length on April 28th through Closed Casket Activities. It’s called No Roses on My Grave and was produced by man-of-the-moment Taylor Young. Not much to add to this one, but I will say that if you’re after skull-crushing metallic hardcore that hits like a sledgehammer, then this is for you. Stream the LP’s pre-release singles here (Bandcamp/Spotify).
Svalbard – “Eternal Spirits”
I’ve been a massive supporter of Bristol metal exports Svalbard for years now. Their previous LPs, 2018’s It's Hard to Have Hope and 2020’s When I Die, Will I Get Better? are furious blasts of black metal, post-rock and hardcore d-beat, along with an outspoken, socially conscious lyrical focus. The quartet have now signed a worldwide deal with the iconic Nuclear Blast Records label, with a new album already in the can and on the way. According to guitarist/vocalist Serena Cherry:
“‘Eternal Spirits’ is one of the most tragic songs we have ever written, yet it is also a celebration of legacy and musical heritage. It is a song about late metal musicians who sadly passed away too soon and the loss we feel within the metal community without their presence... It's crushing when your heroes die, but with this song, we want to commemorate our late heroes’ glorious music and the legions of bands they have inspired. That inspiration will never die.”
Check out the clip for “Eternal Spirits” below:
R.U.B – DEMO
Melbourne/Naarm punk outfit R.U.B have finally released their demo online with their first batch of recorded material, and I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now. It’s three tracks of snarling, pissed-off punk rock with hardcore bite, focused through a righteous feminist lens. I’m really excited for this quartet to play more shows and get their name out there, so, hopefully, big things to come. Stream the demo in full here (Spotify).
Listen to all these tracks and more on the TPD 2023 CUTS playlist, updated weekly.
A closer, more in-depth look at a new record that ticks all my boxes.
ZULU – A New Tomorrow
If there’s a band in hardcore right now that’s received equal, if not more, amounts of hype than Sydney all-stars SPEED, it’s L.A. wrecking crew ZULU. Their debut full-length for Flatspot Records, A New Tomorrow, dropped last week, and the hype train has now well and truly left the station. Their uncompromising brand of black powerviolence and celebration of African sounds, culture and traditions has received a lot of attention recently, and for good reason.
Here’s a quick review summary: Kerrang described the LP as “a glorious celebration of black musical history and a powerful charge into its future.” Metal Hammer declared the LP to be "the first absolutely essential album of 2023.” For Bandcamp, “A New Tomorrow is Black as hell, beautiful and vital,” while Line of Best Fit said, “the heavy feels heavier, the light sounds positively ethereal: and you’re left with the impression there’s nothing ZULU can’t do.” And over at BrooklynVegan, Andrew Sacher said, "A New Tomorrow is the perfect name for this album; ZULU sound like the future.” Don’t sleep on this one.
On our latest guest episode of The Pitch pod, I had a great chat with No Echo founder Carlos Ramirez. I’ve been friends with Carlos for a little over a year now, and he’s given me the opportunity to write effusive praise for some of my favourite hardcore acts (of which I’m very appreciative). We talk about the daily business of running a hardcore-focused web publication and Carlos’ experience playing in bands of all different stripes before running through his expansive Hit List of iconic hardcore/metal touchstones from the 80s and 90s. Check it out: