Welcome to the latest edition of Short Sharp Shock, where we take a look at some of the shorter metal releases that are out there.
Today we have five varied releases, any one of which should be able to fill a hole in your life with quality tunes when you need it to.
Band(s): Withered Fist
Title: This Is My Mountain
Duration: 27 minutes
Release date: January 1, 2019
This is Irish stoner/doom, played with confidence and clear talent. The songs show an obvious skill in songwriting, and the clean vocals are effortlessly moreish and enjoyable. The music is slow and engaging, mixing stoner metal presence with a classic rock sensibility and doom metal charisma. Heavy, melodic, and dripping with emotion, This Is My Mountain is a very striking and impressive collection of songs.
This is a very strong debut for this band, and I can easily imagine this becoming somewhat of a cult underground hit for many.
This Is My Mountain has already been covered on this site once, but this release is so damn good it deserves another chance in the spotlight.
Band(s): Snake Tongue
Title: No Escape No Excuse
Duration: 12 minutes
Release date: February 15, 2019
Having really enjoyed Snake Tongue’s 2015 album Raptor’s Breath, this new EP finds them in rawer, dirtier form. This is vicious, violent hardcore, but with also a certain nuance and diversity that belies its apparent savagery, (at least within its punk/hardcore framework). Elements of punk, hardcore, metal, and a dash of grind collide in four gritty songs that are brutal and unforgiving. Owing a certain stylistic debt to Converge, Snake Tongue incorporate a few of these different sub-genres into their music and then inject it with their own charismatic take on the style. Chaotic and abrasive, these songs are clearly rooted in punk but expand from there.
Harsh and punishing, but not without depth and variety, Snake Tongue manage to pack a good amount of ideas and creative flourishes into such a short playing time.
Band(s): Crematory Stench
Title: Grotesque Deformities
Style(s): Old-School Death Metal
Duration: 20 minutes
Release date: February 15, 2019
This is the second EP from this US death metal band. I really enjoyed their self-titled debut release, and now I really enjoy this one too. Starting the EP with a track named ‘Interlude’ is an interesting choice; I choose to believe it allows this release to link back and connect to its predecessor, but I have no idea if that is the intention or not.
Either way, the band have refreshed their sound a bit, delving deeper into darkness and ugly aggression. The promo blurb helpfully points out that if their debut was rooted more in the 80s, then this EP is rooted more in the 90s. I don’t disagree. The music has changed like the band’s logo has; older, rotten, sicker.
I look forward to where their path will take them next after this.
Style(s): Heavy Metal
Duration: 10 minutes
Release date: December 25, 2018
This short EP contains two songs and an outro and is essentially classic heavy metal in style and substance while being updated for the present day. Both the songwriting and delivery are good, and I definitely like what the band are offering. I find the downfall of a lot of bands attempting to play this sort of thing is a substandard singer, but that’s not the case here.
As well as its more standard influences, Albedo reminds me of a mix of bands like Tad Morose and Angel Dust, and for this alone it should be commended. Add to this the good songwriting and professional sound, and there’s a ton of promise here. More please!
Title: Horrors from Aeons Past
Style(s): Black/Thrash Metal
Duration: 32 minutes
Release date: January 4, 2019
The first 23 minutes of this release consists of the Horrors from Aeons Past EP itself, and the remaining 8 minutes or so – the last two tracks – are from the band’s 2008 demo.
Azator’s underground brand of blackened blasphemy is well-written and knows a decent riff when it vomits one. I particularly enjoy the decent melodic solo in the first track too. The vocals are raw rasps, as you would want from something like this, and the delivery of both the vocals and music is well-judged. This EP is more black metal than thrash, but thrash definitely has a place in the band’s dark hearts, that much is clear.
I really like a bit of black/thrash now and again, especially as Horrors from Aeons Past leans to the former more than the latter, (final cut of the EP proper ‘Ritual of Blood’ is pure atmospheric second wave majesty), and this hits the spot nicely.
(As for the demo tracks from 2008 – very tasty stuff. Almost like a different band though – more of a modern black metal proposition, (with some thrash), mixed with a few death metal elements).