Towards the back of the Vault, just past Reese’s cell, there’s a small staircase that leads to a hidden subterranean chamber where we keep the real underground shit. These are the obscure releases and rare finds that will get you points with the cool kids.
Welcome to Beneath the Vault, a column in which we take a brief look at the many review requests we get from bands that aren’t always fortunate enough to afford a promotional campaign or the backing of a big record label. Whether you like your music like you like your coffee or prefer listening to groovy tunes with headphones and some smoke, we’ve got you covered with these underground treasures. If you’re a band and would like a review or a spot in this column, click here to put in a request.
Three of Swords
Live at Berry Street Records
Released May 19th, 2018
Typically, all the entries in this column come from bands that have asked for a review, but in this case I said “fuck it!” I’ve been following Three of Swords since they went under the moniker Hellhawk a couple of years ago, and felt like they deserved a little recognition. The group from Fort Wayne plays sludgy and bluesy metal that’s raw and unapologetic, and they’ve got a new live album, recorded at Berry Street Records in Fort Wayne. Check ‘em out. If any of our local promoters read this, let’s get them a date in Indianapolis ASAP! Highly recommended for fans of all things heavy.
By the Grace of Blood and Guts
Genre: Noise Rock/Hardcore/Punk
Released August 10th, 2018
Regardless of your preference of genre, you’ll find a lot to dig with HAAN’s sophomore album By the Grace of Blood of Guts. For me, it was the strong vocal performance from Chuck Berrett coupled with the horde of chaotic riffs from guitarist Jordan Melkin. It’s just a really good loud-and-heavy album. It’s fucking catchy too! If you like noise rock with that signature NYC sound or just music in general, you can’t go wrong with his one. I bet these guys put on one hell of a show.
The Longest Hall
Genre: Punk / Thrash
Released: July 21st, 2018
Initially I didn’t think this was something that I’d be into. But after a follow-up from the group about their request for a review, I decided to give it a spin, and I’m glad I did. Florida three-piece The Longest Hall have put together a notable album full of anthemic choruses and infectious riff. There’s a really strong focus on songwriting and it pays off with a sound that’s polished, but still hits hard. Some of the songs are reminiscent of Pennywise and early Avenged Sevenfold, and the change up the song structure with each one making it a unique and fun listen. Surprisingly I got through it in one sitting, which is very rare for me. But every time I’d think about pausing it for a sec, they’d mix it up again. These guys have talent, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them blow up soon and reach a larger audience. Just remember that you heard them here first folks!
Released: March 1st, 2018
I was really blown away with this one. On their second album Hidden Twin, Italian trio Lorø sets a tone that I’m dubbing cyber-nihilism (probably already taken) and adds notable influences from the sludge and post-metal genres. All the pieces come together well from the audio clips and synths to the distorted guitars and snarling vocals. It’s also refreshing to hear the use of synths in modern music more reminiscent of Ministry rather than the recent wave of Pertubator clones.
Released: July 23rd, 2018
When I saw these guys were from Charleston, SC, which also happens to be my favorite tourist spot in South Carolina, I had to give them a listen. I mean it’s only fifteen minutes, so what did I have to lose. Plus, I’d often wondered what kind of bands the area held and what their music scene was like, but I never got the chance to explore it while I was there. Thankfully, the guys from Timesplitter were cool enough to reach out to us. Their self-titled album is rough and loose, but the two piece powerviolence band holds it together remarkably well thanks to their talented rhythm section. Surprisingly, you can hear nods to The Melvins on a few tracks too. All-in-all, it makes me really want to visit again just so I can hit up one of the city’s dive bar to check them out. Highly recommended!
For We Are Not Beast
Released: July 31st, 2018
Wow! A Southern Indiana Christian grindcore band from husband and wife duo David and Courtney Napier, with the latter also being an elementary school teacher. What a world we live in! They’re pretty prolific too, having put out 10 EPs since 2015, with more on this horizon including a black metal split, a Christmas Present Crisis comedy song, and a new full length in January. While the obvious religious undertones might deter some folks from listening, I urge you to give it a spin. The production is solid and the songs are inventive, tight, and brutal with tons of influences. Never judge a book by its cover kids.