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Album Reviews Reviews Short Sharp Shock

Short Sharp Shock #47: From the Underground

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 have some real underground treats for you this edition of Short Sharp Shock, so make yourself a drink and get ready to sample what’s on offer below.

Draghkar - Beyond Despair, the Dawn of RebirthBand(s): Draghkar
Title: Beyond Despair, the Dawn of Rebirth
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 8 minutes
Release date: May 3, 2019

I’ve enjoyed watching Draghkar’s development over the years, and this new two-song demo simply reinforces the fact that the creative force behind the band has talent. Here it’s channeled into songs that have a renewed sense of vibrant energy, despite being cased in what is essentially old-school death metal. Yep, there’s no denying the obvious love and passion that the band have for their style.

With sickeningly disgusting growls, well-written riffs and structures, and some melodic leads that I wasn’t expecting, Beyond Despair, the Dawn of Rebirth hits the spot nicely.

As a taster for the band’s upcoming debut album, consider my appetite whetted.

Changing Tides - Changing TidesBand(s): Changing Tides
Title: Changing Tides
Style(s): Metalcore
Duration: 25 minutes
Release date: July 6, 2019

The debut EP from this Netherlands band features a modern mixture of metalcore and deathcore that leans towards the harsher side of the metalcore spectrum. If you imagine a band like Thy Art Is Murder and strip out the death metal influences, you’ll be in the right area that Changing Tides operate in.

Although the band do need some more time to develop and discover their own voice, this is still an enjoyable and promising trip into the style. I quite like in particular the band’s burgeoning sense of melody and atmosphere. The latter is currently only used sparingly, but the former is already deployed quite well in places. Hopefully, the band can successfully build on this for the future.

Oppress - OmnigasmBand(s): Oppress.
Title: Omnigasm
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 14 minutes
Release date: May 18, 2019

This one-man UK project’s demo is an aggressive and jagged affair, with the artist trying out a few different things to see how they fit. Grim, filthy, underground black metal is combined with elements of dissonance and dark death metal to produce three tracks of music that are barbed and unfriendly.

The songs mix old-school atypical influences, (think Mayhem), with more modern aspects of blackened delivery. Much like Changing Tides above, the artist behind Oppress. still has some development to do to find his own voice, but Omnigasm is a strong starting point; there are real hints of promise here amidst the Mayhem-worship. Last track ‘The Scraping of Bleached Bones’ is particularly good.

My Wooden Pillow - HiddenBand(s): My Wooden Pillow
Title: Hidden
Style(s): Groove/Thrash Metal
Duration: 20 minutes
Release date: October 5, 2019

My Wooden Pillow play a hybrid of metal and hardcore. The band take a diverse array of influences from the more popular end of the alternative/metal spectrum and use them to power their charismatic and colorful metal.

Mixing elements of thrash, groove, heavy, and alternative metal with some fundamentals of rock and roll, My Wooden Pillow throw a few different things into the pot and mostly come out with something tasty and satisfying. There’s heaviness here from an Arch Enemy/Dark Tranquillity perspective, but there’s also melody and grace that recalls something more popular and accessible like Lacuna Coil. Add to this elements of groove and nu-metal, and you have a release that covers a few different bases across its playing time.

Interestingly, all of the above comes from a surprisingly old-school perspective, rather than a modern one. This sounds like it is a product of the 90s, rather than the current age. This is no bad thing, and I look forward to seeing how My Wooden Pillow progress their sound in the future.

Grim Existence - Expansion of RealityBand(s): Grim Existence
Title: Expansion of Reality
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 9 minutes
Release date: June 4, 2019

Here we have a UK death metal band that features elements of hardcore and thrash in their sound. The promo blurb says Expansion of Reality is for fans of Entombed, Gatecreeper, Leeched, and Hang the Bastard, and that’s a good starting point for Grim Existence’s sound.

The music is full of belligerent attitude, filthy growls, and thick riffs. Primitive and old-school, the band’s different influences come together nicely on these three tracks, and the crusty death metal that the band produce is enjoyable and quite satisfying. I imagine it goes down a storm live, too.

Another quality UK metal band to keep an eye on. They seem to be breeding them quite effectively lately.

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