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.
More music! More! Can one really, ever get enough of heavy, guitar-oriented music? I don’t think so. There’s always something else to discover and enjoy, from bands both old and new. Let’s see what we have for you this time then…
Title: Stone of the Hapless
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 13 minutes
Release date: May 25, 2019
I love little releases like this. Across a very listenable 13 minutes, we get treated to raw, old-school black metal mixed in with some dungeon synth/dark ambient. The grim darkness of the lo-fi blackened harshness is enhanced by these ambient inclusions, be this as an isolated track, or as part of the songs themselves. Combined with the band’s sense of melody, Stone of the Hapless is effortlessly digestible and enjoyable for those with a taste for underground blackness.
Band(s): The Carnival Rejects/The Parasitic Twins
Title: The Parasitic Rejects – Split
Duration: 13 minutes
Release date: May 29, 2019
Both bands offer three songs on this split. The Carnival Rejects open up with their charismatic punk rock. It’s full of personality and lively energy and gives off old-school vibes that are uncommon these days. Parts of the third song “To the Bone” play around with some heavier elements and harsher vocals that are borrowed from hardcore’s nastier toolbox. It reminds me of some of Boys Night Out’s material in a way, with its combination of harsher and poppier aspects.
The Parasitic Twins play sludge that mixes elements of doom and punk, and offer two original tracks and a cover of Babylon Zoo’s “Spaceman.” Of the two original songs; this is harsher, unfriendlier music than that of The Carnival Rejects, and delivers music that’s less instantly appealing, yet has more longevity and promise because of this. The music feels both loose and coherent at the same time, lending it an almost experimental air. The cover is decent enough, but I do prefer the originals.
Check this out.
Band(s): King of None
Title: Weightless Waters
Style(s): Stoner Rock
Duration: 33 minutes
Release date: April 28, 2019
Billed as an EP despite its length, this is the Finnish stoner rocker’s third EP and also incorporates elements of hard, psychedelic, and progressive rock into its material. I like that King of None are not overly reliant on the usual stoner riffs and overall shtick. This is largely due to the inclusion of the aforementioned other styles and allows the band’s own collective personalities and idiosyncrasies to form into something greater than the sum of its parts. These songs are enjoyable, well-written affairs, with plenty of hooks and many memorable parts.
Weightless Waters has a lot to recommend it, so make sure you give this one a spin.
Title: Don’t Give In
Duration: 6 minutes
Release date: June 28, 2019
This history of Cro-Mags is long and tangled, but this version of the band have just released a new EP – the first official material since 2000 – and it’s all about the music. These new songs are as authentically old-school and honest in their delivery as you would expect. Driving beats and gang shouts are included in just the right ways, and the main vocals sound pissed off and like the singer is chewing rocks.
A solid comeback release if ever there was one.
Band(s): Obscura Qalma
Title: From the Sheol to the Apeiron
Style(s): Blackened Death Metal
Duration: 18 minutes
Release date: April 5, 2019
Apparently, Obscura Qalma are inspired by Septic Flesh and Behemoth to produce symphonic blackened death metal. Well, these influences seem to have rubbed off nicely on the band’s debut EP, and they serve as good a way to introduce Obscura Qalma’s style as any. I was worried, I’ll confess, that these rather specific and individual influences might leave little room for the band’s own personalities. Thankfully, although you can certainly hear these influences in Obscura Qalma’s sound, there’s more here than just hero worship, I’m pleased to report.
The band have a good ear for songwriting, and the music fuses together well over these songs. Opener ‘Misanthropic Perception’ is quite striking in its combination of aggressive tension and atmospheric brutality. “Apokalepse” shares these qualities only ramps up the epic power inherent to this style. “Roots of Evil” is a bit slower and more restrained, yet no less effective, and closer “Haze of Reason” brings the band’s rhythmic qualities to the foreground, while also delivering on their atmospheric side.
I’m more impressed with this than I thought I would be. Obscura Qalma have shown bucketloads of promise on this EP, and I only hope that their future output builds on it effectively.