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.
Rejoice! The new Short Sharp Shock is here! Open your mouth wide and drink of the metallic delights we have for you this time…
Band(s): Cut the Architect’s Hand/Diseased Earth
Title: No Quarter for Cowards and Traitors – Split
Style(s): Thrash Metal/Sludge Metal
Duration: 26 minutes
Release date: May 3, 2019
Cut the Architect’s Hand are a blackened thrash metal band, and they open up this split release with furious pounding and biting riffs. The band are rough and raw, and the three harsh songs here hit the spot quite nicely. Cut the Architect’s Hand’s music approaches blackened thrash from a hardcore perspective, but although this can be heard in the music to a degree, this is basically metal through and through.
I like the meaty riffs and energy that “Escape Hatch” has, but the next song – “Severance” – finds the band stretching out their normally briefer songs to just over seven minutes, and shows that they have the skill to use such a duration wisely. The closer “Termites Holding Hands” is, by contrast, the shortest here, and rips and tears its way into the airwaves with wild abandon.
I wasn’t familiar with Diseased Earth prior to hearing them here, and it turns out they play angry, nasty sludge metal, the likes of which hits the spot quite nicely. ‘Vermin King’ rumbles along with a combination of phat riffs and pseudo-thrash belligerence, while the sickening vocals scream and growl across the top of it. The band also seem quite adept at adopting a hard rocking swagger, particularly when it comes to melodic breaks or guitar solos. “Lungs of Sulfur, Eyes of Coal” throws some Southern rock into the mix, revealing another side to the band’s sludge mixture. The band ends with “A Voiceless Grave,” which brings their various influences together and is probably the strongest track here.
A top split. Check it out for underground nasty goodness.
Band(s): Le Menhir
Duration: 12 minutes
Release date: June 21, 2019
I enjoy Le Menhir’s work. A solo artist from the UK, this is his second EP and finds his latest music continuing to evolve the sound showcased on his debut demo and first EP. The artist behind Le Menhir has a knack for combining the sort of emotive traditional doom metal that bands like Warning and Pallbearer do so well, with post-metal ideas and structuring. These new songs take this a level further than previously, (diluting the traditional doom side of the sound), with the vocals, in particular, showing a large improvement and taking on a more prominent position in the mix.
“Nocturne” demonstrates this nicely, and has a particular epic quality that recalls a mix of bands such as Insomnium and Bathory. After a relaxing instrumental, “Silice,” we end with “Fossile,” an atmospheric exploration of sound with a nice progressive rock feel to it.
I wonder what Le Menhir will do next?
Band(s): Time Lurker/Cepheide
Style(s): Atmospheric Black Metal
Duration: 33 minutes
Release date: May 3, 2019
This is a split between two atmospheric black metal bands from France. Time Lurker offer two songs lasting 13 minutes, while Cepheide provide a single 19-minute track.
Time Lurker’s contribution is dark and atmospheric, and not afraid to use melody in its worldbuilding. Both tracks are engaging and biting, combining malevolent atmosphere with aggressive bite. I already rated Time Lurker’s music quite highly after the artist’s 2017 debut album, but it seems that this new material can easily compete with that.
Cepheide’s track is expansive and textured, mixing cold aggression with ambient stretches and dark introspection. The music has the intensity of a storm, with the calm moments serving only to prepare you for the raging torments to come. Theirs is an atmospheric battering, however, which fits the analogy nicely; Cepheide, like Time Lurker, deals in atmospheric soundscapes seemingly torn from the earth and given form via aural fury. It’s quality stuff.
This is a very generous and engrossing split release. Both bands do themselves proud.
Title: Of Worms
Style(s): Death/Doom Metal
Duration: 27 minutes
Release date: November 11, 2018 / May 24, 2019
The two dates above indicate that although this was originally released at the end of last year, it’s recently had a new lease of life through Chaos Records.
The band are aptly named, as this is death/doom most foul. Dripping with old-school darkness and writhing around in the maggots and rotten carcasses that it clearly lives in, come four horrendously ugly tracks of hybridized death and doom misery. The death growls are utterly sickening and inhuman.
Well-written and gruesomely performed, this is raw and nasty, and absolutely deserves to be found by underground metal fans who will surely welcome its fetid charms, assuming they’ve had their shots.
Band(s): Berthold City
Title: What Time Takes
Duration: 7 minutes
Release date: June 14, 2019
This relatively new straightedge hardcore band, (featuring a member of Strife), don’t waste their time on this new EP. Passionate and old-school in flavor, this is good old-fashioned hardcore with an anthemic streak and a riotous energy. All four songs here are high-octane ragers designed for the pit and have classic arrangements and structures that instantly bring to mind legends like Agnostic Front and Sick of It All. I think my favorite track might be the third song ‘Beware the Snakes’ with its pile-driving riffs and busy drums, but all four cuts here are strong ones.