Christopher Owens 🎵 with the 25th in his Predominance series.

“What are you trying to say, I'm crazy? /When I went to your schools, I went to your churches,

I went to your institutional learning facilities?!/So how can you say I'm crazy?” - Suicidal Tendencies

Horns Up

I’m currently buzzing as, not only has the year begun with some killer releases, but I finally got a chance to see a band very close to my heart: Black Flag. And it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Let’s keep this momentum going, people.


New Horizons 


Bruxa Maria – Build Yourself a Shrine and Pray

There’s no fucking around on this, the third full length from these London dwelling noise merchants. Going for more of a Melvins feel (plenty of hi-hat work, sludgy riffing, slower tempos, off kilter vocals) as well as incorporating plenty of hardcore/noise rock fury marks it out as an exciting, bludgeoning listen, with ‘Blind Side’ being the stand out due to the (dare I say) soulful singing.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Noisy Neighbours – Derailing the Hype Train

From San Antonio, Texas, these lads play grindcore the way it needs to be. This feels like it could have come out on Earache in 1989 not just because of it brevity (17 songs in 32 minutes) but because it’s a throwback to a time before death metal fully overtook the crust punk element within grindcore, with ‘Economy of Force’ being one of many such examples evident on the record.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Fire feat. Adrian Sherwood – s/t

An Italian act mixing jazz, exotica and dub with Adrian Sherwood at the mixing desk? Sounds like it’s going to be a winner, doesn’t it? And you’d be correct as tracks like ‘Sinnervision’ are exercises in off-kilter rhythms, trippy backgrounds and seductively alluring trumpets competing with each other, while ‘Skankification’ grooves like a bastard. Cannot recommend this enough.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Torso – A Crash Course in Terror

With Graham Bywater of the late Possessor in the driving seat, you know you’re in for something special. Torso specialise in pulverising rock that straddles the line between metal and noise rock, somewhere between ‘Meantime’ era Helmet and ‘Crack the Skye’ era Mastodon. A record for beer drinkers and hell raisers with their thinking caps on, and ‘Sinking Spell’ is utterly immense.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Isa Roseid – S.(E.)P.

Describing themselves as “trio noise-core marchigiano”, this release snuck out at the beginning of the month and deserves your attention. Encompassing the broodiness of post rock, the speed of hardcore and the off-kilter nature of indie, this is a unique EP. Songs like ‘Marsili’ start off with bass heavy landscapes before morphing into noisy indie rock which captures the sensation of drowning.

The EP can be streamed and purchased here.

Score – Cope

With the goal of creating something that melded the likes of Mott the Hoople, Patti Smith, CAN, Duane Eddy, Sly & The Family Stone together, Score set themselves lofty heights. Thankfully, the end result is a seamless body of music that has numerous standout tracks but still has the flow and cohesion needed for a killer LP. Oh, and ‘On the One’ grooves like a bastard.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

All the Heavens Were a Bell - A Wheel of Burning Eyes

A collaboration between James Watts (Plague Rider, Friend, Lovely Wife, Möbius) and Esmé Louise Newman (Penance Stare, Fashion Tips), this goes beyond most drone records and adds a kind of dirty, violent ambience to proceedings. ‘Usurper, Destroyer’ is the aural equivalent of being burnt at the stake, with the crackling sounds and voices of ghost beckoning you to join them in the afterlife.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Kitchen Cynics – Fractured Memories

The David Tibet of Aberdeen, Alan Davidson, is back with more freaked out music that draws from classical and medieval strands of folk music as well as the more esoteric end of industrial music. The end result is a strange, yet enchanting record that isn’t afraid to unsettle those who merely wish to hear the more pastoral. ‘Blue’ brings these differing elements together beautifully.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Golden Oldies 

Black Flag – My War

Although now seen as a precursor to grunge, critical reaction to ‘My War’ was muted upon release. The fools! Admittedly, the production on the more ‘traditional’ hardcore numbers lack the clarity and muscle of ‘Damaged’, but it all makes sense on the doomier songs, giving them an extra layer of claustrophobia and paranoia. Rollins never sounded better.



Black Flag – Slip it In

On this record, the band crossover into metal while managing to retain their unique, sloppy hardcore sound. While the title track raises eyebrows for the brain dead misogyny, it’s one of Ginn’s best solos and the bass run demonstrates why Kira Roessler was the best bassist in the band’s history. ‘Black Coffee’ rips, and ‘Rat’s Eyes’ is a slow grinding number that oozes tension.



Black Flag – Loose Nut

THE most metallic the Flag ever went, thanks to a brighter, top end heavy production that thickens Ginn’s guitar lines and tracks like ‘Annihilate This Week’ and ‘Best One Yet’ that seem to tap into the same vein as hair metal acts dominating Sunset Strip at that time. Regardless, it’s a thrilling listen that pumps the listener up to either face their demons or go out on the piss.


⏩ 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 25

Christopher Owens 🎵 with the 25th in his Predominance series.

“What are you trying to say, I'm crazy? /When I went to your schools, I went to your churches,

I went to your institutional learning facilities?!/So how can you say I'm crazy?” - Suicidal Tendencies

Horns Up

I’m currently buzzing as, not only has the year begun with some killer releases, but I finally got a chance to see a band very close to my heart: Black Flag. And it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Let’s keep this momentum going, people.


New Horizons 


Bruxa Maria – Build Yourself a Shrine and Pray

There’s no fucking around on this, the third full length from these London dwelling noise merchants. Going for more of a Melvins feel (plenty of hi-hat work, sludgy riffing, slower tempos, off kilter vocals) as well as incorporating plenty of hardcore/noise rock fury marks it out as an exciting, bludgeoning listen, with ‘Blind Side’ being the stand out due to the (dare I say) soulful singing.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Noisy Neighbours – Derailing the Hype Train

From San Antonio, Texas, these lads play grindcore the way it needs to be. This feels like it could have come out on Earache in 1989 not just because of it brevity (17 songs in 32 minutes) but because it’s a throwback to a time before death metal fully overtook the crust punk element within grindcore, with ‘Economy of Force’ being one of many such examples evident on the record.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Fire feat. Adrian Sherwood – s/t

An Italian act mixing jazz, exotica and dub with Adrian Sherwood at the mixing desk? Sounds like it’s going to be a winner, doesn’t it? And you’d be correct as tracks like ‘Sinnervision’ are exercises in off-kilter rhythms, trippy backgrounds and seductively alluring trumpets competing with each other, while ‘Skankification’ grooves like a bastard. Cannot recommend this enough.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Torso – A Crash Course in Terror

With Graham Bywater of the late Possessor in the driving seat, you know you’re in for something special. Torso specialise in pulverising rock that straddles the line between metal and noise rock, somewhere between ‘Meantime’ era Helmet and ‘Crack the Skye’ era Mastodon. A record for beer drinkers and hell raisers with their thinking caps on, and ‘Sinking Spell’ is utterly immense.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Isa Roseid – S.(E.)P.

Describing themselves as “trio noise-core marchigiano”, this release snuck out at the beginning of the month and deserves your attention. Encompassing the broodiness of post rock, the speed of hardcore and the off-kilter nature of indie, this is a unique EP. Songs like ‘Marsili’ start off with bass heavy landscapes before morphing into noisy indie rock which captures the sensation of drowning.

The EP can be streamed and purchased here.

Score – Cope

With the goal of creating something that melded the likes of Mott the Hoople, Patti Smith, CAN, Duane Eddy, Sly & The Family Stone together, Score set themselves lofty heights. Thankfully, the end result is a seamless body of music that has numerous standout tracks but still has the flow and cohesion needed for a killer LP. Oh, and ‘On the One’ grooves like a bastard.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

All the Heavens Were a Bell - A Wheel of Burning Eyes

A collaboration between James Watts (Plague Rider, Friend, Lovely Wife, Möbius) and Esmé Louise Newman (Penance Stare, Fashion Tips), this goes beyond most drone records and adds a kind of dirty, violent ambience to proceedings. ‘Usurper, Destroyer’ is the aural equivalent of being burnt at the stake, with the crackling sounds and voices of ghost beckoning you to join them in the afterlife.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Kitchen Cynics – Fractured Memories

The David Tibet of Aberdeen, Alan Davidson, is back with more freaked out music that draws from classical and medieval strands of folk music as well as the more esoteric end of industrial music. The end result is a strange, yet enchanting record that isn’t afraid to unsettle those who merely wish to hear the more pastoral. ‘Blue’ brings these differing elements together beautifully.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Golden Oldies 

Black Flag – My War

Although now seen as a precursor to grunge, critical reaction to ‘My War’ was muted upon release. The fools! Admittedly, the production on the more ‘traditional’ hardcore numbers lack the clarity and muscle of ‘Damaged’, but it all makes sense on the doomier songs, giving them an extra layer of claustrophobia and paranoia. Rollins never sounded better.



Black Flag – Slip it In

On this record, the band crossover into metal while managing to retain their unique, sloppy hardcore sound. While the title track raises eyebrows for the brain dead misogyny, it’s one of Ginn’s best solos and the bass run demonstrates why Kira Roessler was the best bassist in the band’s history. ‘Black Coffee’ rips, and ‘Rat’s Eyes’ is a slow grinding number that oozes tension.



Black Flag – Loose Nut

THE most metallic the Flag ever went, thanks to a brighter, top end heavy production that thickens Ginn’s guitar lines and tracks like ‘Annihilate This Week’ and ‘Best One Yet’ that seem to tap into the same vein as hair metal acts dominating Sunset Strip at that time. Regardless, it’s a thrilling listen that pumps the listener up to either face their demons or go out on the piss.


⏩ 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.

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