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Album Reviews Reviews Short Sharp Shock

Short Sharp Shock #50: Better Late Than Never

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.

Well, you know what they say – better late than never. Yes, it’s been a long time since the last Short Sharp Shock, but, y’know, life happens. So anyway, let’s get right down back to it, with five short metal releases for you to wrap your listening holes around. Also, 50th edition! Hurrah!

Abyssal Crypt - IIBand(s): Abyssal Crypt
Title: II
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 11 minutes
Release date: July 25, 2019

Abyssal Crypt’s debut demo was a top-quality exemplar of filthy, underground UK death metal, and this new EP is their next evolution. On II the quality levels seem to have been improved even further. The band have fleshed out their sound a bit more, with increased attention paid to compositional structuring and use of melodic extras.

‘Condemned to the Crypt’ seems to have some old Amorphis influences in it, which gives it an increased melodic might. It’s a different direction for Abyssal Crypt when compared to their demo, but it works well for them. ‘Dominated’ is more primitive and more in line with the band’s previous work. Even this has a few new tricks that it shows off, however, involving a confident rhythmic swagger, and engaging leads when they’re used.

Another strong outing for Abyssal Crypt.

Eye Flys - ContextBand(s): Eye Flys
Title: Context
Style(s): Hardcore
Duration: 14 minutes
Release date: September 13, 2019

Featuring a member of Full of Hell, and with a sound based on bands such as Unsane and The Melvins, this is a hardcore/sludge/noise rock hybrid that emphasizes short songs, sludgy groove, and raging anger. Underlying melodies and sharp songwriting propel this to greater heights than you might expect from my simplistic description, however, and Context has plenty of replay value because of this. The songs are catchy and well-written, and they’re delivered with plenty of character. I really enjoyed this; let’s hope there’s a full-length album waiting in the wings somewhere.

Abyss Above - DoomboundBand(s): Abyss Above
Title: Doombound
Style(s): Deathcore
Duration: 21 minutes
Release date: August 25, 2019

Here we have a Slovakian deathcore band playing a very heavy and aggressive version of the music they clearly love. This is well-written and well-recorded and sounds appropriately huge. Although it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does use the base deathcore template very well and provides some solid entertainment value from its thick riffs and guttural growls. The band know enough to add in moments of melody and atmosphere, however, so the fact that this isn’t just about its colossal breakdowns immediately elevates this above a lot of dreary deathcore. Very promising and very enjoyable. Fans of Within Destruction and Martyr Defiled should love this.

Daughters of Saint Crispin - Daughters of Saint CrispinBand(s): Daughters of Saint Crispin
Title: Daughters of Saint Crispin
Style(s): Doom/Hardcore
Duration: 21 minutes
Release date: August 27, 2019

Daughters of Saint Crispin play minimalist post-hardcore, which essentially falls somewhere between doom and hardcore – very slow hardcore, in essence, I suppose. Whatever you call it, I like it. The music crawls along with easy attitude, dragged along by the bass guitar and drums (which are surprisingly percussive in places). The guitars are sparsely used, usually providing soaring melodies or Isis-esque underlying rhythms. The vocals are mainly sludgy and harsh, while still portraying admirable character, (although some cleaner singing does appear too). Atmospheric and enjoyable, Daughters of Saint Crispin’s debut EP is well-formed and readily immersive.

Derange - SensesBand(s): Derange
Title: Senses Part One
Style(s): Technical Metal
Duration: 20 minutes
Release date: November 1, 2019

Derange are a UK band that play a modern brand of technical metal, but one that focuses on a song-first approach rather than being overly complex for the sake of it. The songs on this release are full of catchiness and hooks, down in no small part to their impressive singer. She has a great range, from powerful cleans to piercing screams. The rest of the band don’t let the side down, however, and overall the songs are well-constructed and well-pieced-together. With the right backing, a bright future awaits for Derange, I’m sure.

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