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Album Reviews Reviews Short Sharp Shock

Short Sharp Shock #34: Easily Digested Chunks

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.

We’ve got some really nice stuff for you this edition. A mix of bigger bands and smaller bands, all served up for you in easily digested chunks. Dig in.

Suffering Hour - DwellBand(s): Suffering Hour
Title: Dwell
Style(s): Blackened Death Metal
Duration: 18 minutes
Release date: April 5, 2019

Suffering Hour’s latest release offers us a rare treat – this is a single 18-minute track that builds on the already considerable strengths that the band developed on their 2017 debut album In Passing AscensionDwell is both more focused and expanded, allowing the band’s blackened death metal to flourish and thrive in a longer, wider environment, while simultaneously being kept in check by the band’s rigorous quality control procedures.

The band have a gift for riffs, and there are some really unusual dark gems on here. All of the instruments shine through, to be honest, (as well as the singer), and the structure, flow, and dynamics of this hefty track are all well-written, arranged, and realised.

Suffering Hour’s newest EP is a grimly majestic slab of foul beauty.

1349 - DødskampBand(s): 1349
Title: Dødskamp
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 12 minutes
Release date: April 5, 2019

The last 1349 I heard was 2005’s Hellfire, so I was very interested in catching up with the band on this short EP. Consisting of one new song and a live track, the powers that be tell us that Dødskamp “…is part of a collection of four tracks spanning multiple genres commissioned by the Munch Museum in conjunction with Innovasjon Norge and Visit Norway. The aim is to have each musical artist give their sonic interpretation of an Edvard Munch work that they were free to select. Dødskamp is thus directly inspired by Munch’s art piece of the same name.” So now you know.

The title track is not quite what I was expecting; it’s far more emotive and melodic than I’m used to from the band, while still having the heart of cold black metal I’m more familiar with. Overall it’s a solid and enjoyable piece that bodes well for the band’s upcoming album. The live track is well-recorded and does what live tracks do, which is no bad thing.

I’ve enjoyed this brief reintroduction to the harsh world of 1349, and look forward to more in the future.

Hamferð - ÓdnBand(s): Hamferð
Title: Ódn
Style(s): Doom Metal
Duration: 15 minutes
Release date: April 12, 2019

This is a two-track live EP from this highly acclaimed band. The first and title track is a previously unreleased song dating from the band’s earliest days, but I’m glad it has now seen the light of day as it’s a classic Hamferð song. Well-written, structured, and with an easy flow between sections, ‘Ódn’ is a long-hidden testament to the band’s talents. The second track is taken from the band’s 2013 album Evst and is a stripped-back and emotive journey into folky waters.

An intriguing little release, one which fans of the band will surely want to check out.

Nighnacht - ChristophilaBand(s): Nighnacht
Title: Christophila
Style(s): Black/Death Metal
Duration: 12 minutes
Release date: April 26, 2019

Now here’s some nasty stuff from the guy behind Nunslaughter. This is a grim and nasty take on underground black and death metal. The songs are short and raw, and absolutely not the type of thing to listen to if you like polished commercial metal. If your tastes run to the more extreme and foul, however, then there are some choice cuts on here. The title track is one of my favourites, for example, doing a good job of channeling a blackened version of early grinding Exhumed and thundering, stomping Autopsy. It packs a surprising amount into two and a half minutes. Crippled Traitor has more of a punk Darkthrone vibe, however, and vomits itself forth like a shambling possessed ghoul. Each song has its own dark charms though, and each track is well-differentiated against the others. There’s no filler here.

Very good.

99% Cobra - Programmed to CoalesceBand(s): 99% Cobra
Title: Programmed to Coalesce
Style(s): Hardcore/Mathcore
Duration: 14 minutes
Release date: April 19, 2019

On their debut EP this UK band offer up a diverse mix of Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sick of It All, and Association Area influences, (among others – I also hear bits of Botch here and there, for example). Yep, this is atypical, spiky hardcore played with clear passion, energy, and a certain amount of skill. The music can change from energetic aggression to atmospheric distortion at the drop of a hat, but the overall song structure is not lost as the band go about their work. I really liked Programmed to Coalesce and definitely want to hear more. This nicely-recorded EP shows lots of promise and reveals 99% Cobra to be ones to watch for sure. Impressive.

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