Christopher Owens ♯ “And the fire that drives us overcomes all pain/And all of our struggles never been in vain/Spark of life, eternal spring - everlasting flame/Gain to lose, lose to gain - utterly enflamed/Marching into the mire - Together we shall honour the fire”.

Killing Joke

Half the year is now gone, we’re opening up again and there’s a new strain of COVID doing the rounds. Brilliant. Anyway, here’s some music to take your mind off things.

New Horizons

Amenra – De Doorn

Enlightening and terrorizing audiences since 1999, these Belgian masters of post-metal deliver a record that retains the power and vitality they are known for, while adding a little extra sonic clarity. Opener ‘Ogentroost’ is terrifying, akin to being alone in a forest while hearing voices behind you, while ‘Het Gloren’ has a riff that makes you feel like a Norse god, hollering at the sea. One that will really soundtrack the autumn/winter period perfectly.

The record can be streamed and purchased here.

Throat – Smile Less

Although I was disappointed with their debut LP, the subsequent years have obviously led Throat to not only harden their sound but also to add post-punk elements as well. As a result, ‘Smile Less’ is an utter triumph. Fantastic bass sound, thumping drums, baritone vocals and guitars that can properly soundscape and be heavy at the same time. Listen to ‘Home is Where Your Hurt Is’ as an encapsulation of the record and marvel at its power. Brilliant cover as well.

The record can be streamed and purchased here.

Part Chimp – Drool

One of the most eagerly anticipated releases in the underground this year, and for good reason. Although previous releases were patchy, ‘Drool’ is a tight, bludgeoning record that blurs the line between stoner rock and noise rock, and the end result is a gloriously unhinged piece of filth that simply rocks. The title track, ‘It’s True Man’ and ‘One in the Eye’ are personal favourites, with the guitar pushed up in the mix and overwhelming the listener. Another great cover as well.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

FACS – Present Tense

Alongside The Body and Uniform, FACS are my favourite American band of the last few years. Embodying the post-punk ethos of experimentation within the confines of a conventional rock format, each record they’ve produced takes me on a journey with them. This new release is a little spacier, a little dubbier, but still taking chances like on the nine minutes of ‘Alone Without’ where the groove and repetition keeps you hooked throughout.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Diamanda Galas – Deformation

Since coming to attention with 1982’s utterly terrifying ‘The Litanies of Satan’ (used by Cathedral as intro music in their early days), Diamanda Galas has been mesmerising and petrifying audiences whose terrain stretches from classical, metal and the avant garde. This, an instrumental record, focuses on her piano playing and is designed to soundtrack a march to the hospital during the First World War. Her intricate playing conjures up atmospheres that her voice would normally do. Terrifying and compelling.

The record can be streamed and purchased here.

Golden Oldies

Discharge – End of Days

Signing to a prominent metal label and having ex Wasted Life singer JJ replace Rat saw them being recognised as a current band with something to offer, as opposed to a nostalgia act for the mutually assured destruction generation. The production is clear and concise, everyone is on fire and JJ’s vocals cut through with the atonal, deranged and passionate howl of protest that is needed for this band. If Bones hadn’t left in 1982 and used ideas that wound up on the first few Broken Bones album in the context of Discharge, I think it would have sounded like what we have now.



Rotten Sound – Abuse to Suffer

Marking their seventh full album, Rotten Sound once again deliver a combustive, short, furious, and satisfying release. The Finnish group deliver their own brand of Grind-cum-Death, and they know exactly how much to give the listener. At 32 minutes, it never feels like it’s overstaying it’s welcome. It comes in, makes it’s point while punching you repeatedly and then stage dives, looking for another victim. And it’s never tiring, just invigorating. Another killer release from an often-overlooked act.



Publicist UK – Forgive Yourself

Made up of members of Municipal Waste, Discordance Axis and Burnt by the Sun, ‘Forgive Yourself’ is a genuinely enjoyable record which takes the trademarks normally associated with post punk but beefs them up to give the songs power and panache. Nothing out of the ordinary of course, but there’s a feel to it that many others miss. Maybe it’s the little bass throb before the drums kick in. But it’s an indication that this will be good. When the power chords appear, it feels like Amebix circa ‘Sonic Mass’, like standing in front of a gale force wind while a preacher calmly reads you the last rites.



Bad Brains – Into the Future

Recently reissued, this is an album that showcases the wide musical palate that the Bad Brains have drawn influence from. What separates it from the misfire of previous LP ‘Build a Nation’ is the focus of the band to do their legacy proud and H.R making a bigger effort in the vocal booth. His days of delivering lyrics in the style of a sugar-fuelled teenager (listen to ‘Pay to Cum’) are over, but there’s enough here to suggest he can still deliver, when he can be bothered. Short review: aul lads make good album “shocker.”



Power Trip – Manifest Decimation

From Dallas, Power Trip recently suffered the loss of singer Riley Gale to the toxic effects of fentanyl. What they do next will be interesting. For the meantime, going back to their debut LP for Southern Lord is such a glorious experience. The mix of Cro-Mags, Nuclear Assault, Exhumer and Crumbsuckers are evident in the riffs, but the production is reminiscent of ‘Ride the Lightning’ in parts due to the amount of reverb used, especially on the drums, adding a certain power and atmosphere to the record that you wouldn’t get on a (say) SSS record.



⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist. 

Predominance 6

Christopher Owens ♯ “And the fire that drives us overcomes all pain/And all of our struggles never been in vain/Spark of life, eternal spring - everlasting flame/Gain to lose, lose to gain - utterly enflamed/Marching into the mire - Together we shall honour the fire”.

Killing Joke

Half the year is now gone, we’re opening up again and there’s a new strain of COVID doing the rounds. Brilliant. Anyway, here’s some music to take your mind off things.

New Horizons

Amenra – De Doorn

Enlightening and terrorizing audiences since 1999, these Belgian masters of post-metal deliver a record that retains the power and vitality they are known for, while adding a little extra sonic clarity. Opener ‘Ogentroost’ is terrifying, akin to being alone in a forest while hearing voices behind you, while ‘Het Gloren’ has a riff that makes you feel like a Norse god, hollering at the sea. One that will really soundtrack the autumn/winter period perfectly.

The record can be streamed and purchased here.

Throat – Smile Less

Although I was disappointed with their debut LP, the subsequent years have obviously led Throat to not only harden their sound but also to add post-punk elements as well. As a result, ‘Smile Less’ is an utter triumph. Fantastic bass sound, thumping drums, baritone vocals and guitars that can properly soundscape and be heavy at the same time. Listen to ‘Home is Where Your Hurt Is’ as an encapsulation of the record and marvel at its power. Brilliant cover as well.

The record can be streamed and purchased here.

Part Chimp – Drool

One of the most eagerly anticipated releases in the underground this year, and for good reason. Although previous releases were patchy, ‘Drool’ is a tight, bludgeoning record that blurs the line between stoner rock and noise rock, and the end result is a gloriously unhinged piece of filth that simply rocks. The title track, ‘It’s True Man’ and ‘One in the Eye’ are personal favourites, with the guitar pushed up in the mix and overwhelming the listener. Another great cover as well.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

FACS – Present Tense

Alongside The Body and Uniform, FACS are my favourite American band of the last few years. Embodying the post-punk ethos of experimentation within the confines of a conventional rock format, each record they’ve produced takes me on a journey with them. This new release is a little spacier, a little dubbier, but still taking chances like on the nine minutes of ‘Alone Without’ where the groove and repetition keeps you hooked throughout.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Diamanda Galas – Deformation

Since coming to attention with 1982’s utterly terrifying ‘The Litanies of Satan’ (used by Cathedral as intro music in their early days), Diamanda Galas has been mesmerising and petrifying audiences whose terrain stretches from classical, metal and the avant garde. This, an instrumental record, focuses on her piano playing and is designed to soundtrack a march to the hospital during the First World War. Her intricate playing conjures up atmospheres that her voice would normally do. Terrifying and compelling.

The record can be streamed and purchased here.

Golden Oldies

Discharge – End of Days

Signing to a prominent metal label and having ex Wasted Life singer JJ replace Rat saw them being recognised as a current band with something to offer, as opposed to a nostalgia act for the mutually assured destruction generation. The production is clear and concise, everyone is on fire and JJ’s vocals cut through with the atonal, deranged and passionate howl of protest that is needed for this band. If Bones hadn’t left in 1982 and used ideas that wound up on the first few Broken Bones album in the context of Discharge, I think it would have sounded like what we have now.



Rotten Sound – Abuse to Suffer

Marking their seventh full album, Rotten Sound once again deliver a combustive, short, furious, and satisfying release. The Finnish group deliver their own brand of Grind-cum-Death, and they know exactly how much to give the listener. At 32 minutes, it never feels like it’s overstaying it’s welcome. It comes in, makes it’s point while punching you repeatedly and then stage dives, looking for another victim. And it’s never tiring, just invigorating. Another killer release from an often-overlooked act.



Publicist UK – Forgive Yourself

Made up of members of Municipal Waste, Discordance Axis and Burnt by the Sun, ‘Forgive Yourself’ is a genuinely enjoyable record which takes the trademarks normally associated with post punk but beefs them up to give the songs power and panache. Nothing out of the ordinary of course, but there’s a feel to it that many others miss. Maybe it’s the little bass throb before the drums kick in. But it’s an indication that this will be good. When the power chords appear, it feels like Amebix circa ‘Sonic Mass’, like standing in front of a gale force wind while a preacher calmly reads you the last rites.



Bad Brains – Into the Future

Recently reissued, this is an album that showcases the wide musical palate that the Bad Brains have drawn influence from. What separates it from the misfire of previous LP ‘Build a Nation’ is the focus of the band to do their legacy proud and H.R making a bigger effort in the vocal booth. His days of delivering lyrics in the style of a sugar-fuelled teenager (listen to ‘Pay to Cum’) are over, but there’s enough here to suggest he can still deliver, when he can be bothered. Short review: aul lads make good album “shocker.”



Power Trip – Manifest Decimation

From Dallas, Power Trip recently suffered the loss of singer Riley Gale to the toxic effects of fentanyl. What they do next will be interesting. For the meantime, going back to their debut LP for Southern Lord is such a glorious experience. The mix of Cro-Mags, Nuclear Assault, Exhumer and Crumbsuckers are evident in the riffs, but the production is reminiscent of ‘Ride the Lightning’ in parts due to the amount of reverb used, especially on the drums, adding a certain power and atmosphere to the record that you wouldn’t get on a (say) SSS record.



⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm rather delighted to actually know a few of these Christopher but as always the majority are new to me and I'll definately be giving them a go 👍

    ReplyDelete