Monday, May 28, 2012

New Muzik Monday (5/28/12): Memorial Day Mosh Edition

With May coming to a close, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge a few of this month's standout hardcore releases from Expire, Old Wounds and Raindance, as well as one of my most anticipated 2012 EPs that is due to come out next month, The Out Crowd Blues, by Florida's Vices.

Expire - Pendulum Swings

Bridge 9 newcomers, Expire, just put out their debut full length, Pendulum Swings, as a follow up to their 2011 Suffer the Cycle EP that was released through Six Feet Under Records. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisc., Expire play gimmick-free, bare bones, heavy hardcore much like that of contemporaries Backtrack and Trapped Under Ice.  From the immediately bitter vocals of "Just Fine" to the final chants in the title track's outro, the album pummels the listener with relentless guitar grooves, breakneck drumming, and memorable vocal breaks that hit even harder thanks to super-crisp and powerful production.  At just over 20 minutes, Pendulum Swings is a fun and direct take on hardcore that spares no aggression throughout its course.

Old Wounds - II

Many bands cater to a specific audience when they realize what people want to hear - Old Wounds is not one of those bands.  The New Jersey hardcore/crust act, if anything, have shown a progression to the less accessible side of the spectrum with each release, and they sound all the better for it.  The band's second EP of 2012, appropriately entitled II, shows an even further departure from clarity than their self-titled. II is grittier, sludgier and undoubtedly more evil than any of the band's previous work, but still features enough variety and distinguishable riffs to easily latch onto.  The EP shows Old Wounds branching out in the vocal department as well, with a wide range of screamed vocals tones as well as brief monotone, half-spoken Converge-like sections in both tracks.  As a band who clearly do not fear change, Old Wounds have intrigued me more and more with each release, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the band and what approach they decide to take on their first proper full length.

Stream the two tracks HERE and order a tape HERE!

Raindance - New Blood

Let me give you a few reasons as to why you should be listening to Raindance (formerly known as Outrage): they are named after a His Hero is Gone song, their bassist, Ryan Briggs, used to play in Have Heart, and they just recorded their new EP, New Blood, with Defeater's Jay Mass.  If the name dropping still does not have you convinced, then take into account the fact that New Blood is completely free - but it sounds a hell of a lot better than any free album should.  The New Bedford, Mass. quintet play an undeniably intelligent and interesting brand of hardcore that draws influence from metalcore bands such as Every Time I Die and Botch, especially in terms of guitar playing.  Vocalist Sean O'Brien mixes ominous speaking tones with hearty yells that capture an absolutely chaotic mood when combined with the band's incessant riffage and complex instrumentation.  The EP's six crushing tracks clock in at 20 minutes and hold up phenomenally well after repeated listens, revealing new intricacies with each spin.

Band-approved FREE download!

Vices - The Out Crowd Blues

Make way for one of 2012's most fun and unique hardcore releases of the year.  Florida's Vices (not to be confused with Ohio's VICE) play energetic and brief melodic hardcore songs that are infused with tasteful blues guitar solos, yet remain passionate and introspective.  Modern Life Is War is certainly a band that comes to mind when listening to The Out Crowd Blues, especially on the slow-burning EP closer, "Listen," which features poetic lyricism on top of swelling guitar riffs and drumming.  Though the EP is not going to be officially released until some time in June, it has been streaming on Toxicbreed's Funhouse for some weeks, and is certainly worth 10 minutes of your time.

Stream the EP!

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