Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal And Other Occasional Musics And Cultures

Short Sharp Shocks

Consider this a proving ground.
For the up and coming, a gauntlet to be run through.
For the established, the same.
A home for Demos and extremely short EPs.
Stringent rules must be adhered to (by me), still in formation, and to be shared once set in stone. Or not.
But you’ll figure it out. Or not.

ViOS – SlaveForm [EP]

While the words “progressive instrumental metal” often cause a nervous tic when first heard together, that’s what Steve Lewis is on about with his ViOS project. ‘Druj’ captivates from the start, as if NEVERMORE had made more use of keyboards, or PENAL COLONY had made more of guitars. TRIBE AFTER TRIBE percussion, and time signature leaps that actually make sense. More accessible on its face, ‘Abort’ is no less interesting, and the beauty of what’s on offer here is that it wasn’t written for vocals, enabling Lewis true free rein. ‘Saturation’ breathes out sonic cosmology, quite darkly alluring. I’m not […]

Cathari – It Will Hurt The Entire Time You Are Alive

‘Philadelphia’ is a steamroller bristling with railroad spikes and vitriol, while ‘It Will Hurt’ is the relentless rage of a parking lot fight. Where the track – and this quartet – wins overall, though, is the shifting from the band’s doomed roots into the jagged realm of Hydra Head Records and Tortuga Recordings ala KEELHAUL and THE GERSCH without losing themselves in the process. ‘Weight’ is neither catharsis nor purge, more a failed exorcism of the doubt and mistrust brought on my disappointment in self and others, yet somehow, it’s healing to know you’re not the only one. Noise as […]

Halcyon Way – Night Crawling [EP]

ProgPower USA hometown boys HALCYON WAY return with… Okay, I understand no one wants to hear another version of ‘Smoke On The Water’, but a MILEY CYRUS cover? ‘Night Crawling’ reeks of THEATRE OF TRAGEDY’s techno dreck, tossing in a bit of ‘White Wedding’ for extra tee hee hees. ‘Insufferable’ lives up to its name, everything from jumpdafucup moments to MOTLEY CRÜE’s Generation Swine to DRAGONFORCE-Lite (if you can believe that) gets a run-through. It’s only with ‘Stand For Something’ that the HALCYON WAY we know and appreciate allows us a glimmer of hope for upcoming material. Even for an […]

Di’Aul – EP II [EP]

‘Azazel’ is wrapped in the fuzz for which DI’AUL has been known, the band moving at a plod, yet managing to keep from walking so slowly as to fall on its face. The “solo” is less an actual solo than a few notes wrung out from the consistent rhythm-based riffs. Tasteful, minimalist, and fitting the song. Continuing the measured gait, ‘Golgotha’ hefts itself forward only by sheer force of will, but we find DI’AUL becoming more adept at using the open spaces that seemed to be filled with nothing in its early output. With as many EPs as full lengths […]

Slugcrust – Discharge(d) [EP]

When you consider that SLUGCRUST’s two EPs, full length album and split release with Floridians SWAMP clock in at under 1 hour, you know what you’re getting with Discharge(d). ‘The Antitrust’ is audio warfare ala PIG DESTROYER, pure and visceral. ‘Feral Natural’ stalks with menace, a giardia-infected WOORMS while ‘V4’ packs a bass-fueled fury, a band always existing in that split second before the whole thing implodes. It’s with the title track, though, that the band’s unfuckwithable knack for writing riffs and beats that chisel and pound their way into your skull comes to fruition. Ever wondered what the tines […]

Wolves Don’t Sleep – Fears & Fractures [EP]

A Nottingham Hot Topic has exploded! ‘House Of Glass’ ticks all the boxes of whatever happened in the early ‘00s that was trying to be metalcore, but without the metal. More breakdowns than the side of the M1, melody, obscenely down-tuned guitars and clean/screamed vox is what we find through ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Shame’, and it seems the sextet has a handful of go-tos that they pull out in every song. That these fellas aren’t trying to add anything of their own to the mix is the real failure here. WOLVES DON’T SLEEP and Fears & Fractures have the look/sound of […]

Wytch Hazel + Phantom Spell – ‘Ride On’ / ‘Palantiri’ [7″]

‘Ride On’ is classic WYTCH HAZEL, and yes, by now there is such a thing, so beholden are Colin Hendra and his troupe of travelers to the times which their sound evokes. Energizing and hope-affirming, these fellas are keepers of a faith too often mocked within heavy music, but one listen can make even the blackest heart open to the melodic message. More progressive from its start, PHANTOM SPELL’s ‘Palantiri’ recalls ARMAGEDDON, or a more rockin’ FIREBALLET (think ‘Centurion’ from Night On Bald Mountain) at times, harmony vocals and abundant keys lilting and lifting. At its heart, this little gem […]

Besotten + Funerelic – Abyssal Synodality

Damn, the older I get the more I’m loving these little one-off split releases. Maybe it’s memories of mixtapes traded that almost made shit sound nastier once you went down to 8th gen. There two Pacific pummelers seem to thrive in such realms, BESOTTEN early on locking into a mid-‘00s GRAVE groove in ‘Anothered’. ‘Subterranean Realms Of Excrutiation’ lives up to its name, plodding and pain-inducing. FUNERELIC’s ‘Tomb Of The Necrolith’ follows the same path, but adding good many sonic convulsions along the way, all welcome, all ominous in their love of the stench-ridden. Ending with ‘Devoured In Obsidian Flame’, […]

Nomura – The Silent Whisper [EP]

Right out the gate I’ve gotta worry about a djent band. Sorry, I’ve heard more than enough pissing and moaning about how I “just don’t get it”, but you know what? If releases like The Silent Whisper keep flatulating across my desk, I’m glad. NOMURA seems to revel in the masturbatory style of TESSERACT and MESHUGGAH, with no discernable tunes anywhere to be found amid the spend drying on the tissues and socks that must surely litter their space after “practice”. ‘Embrace The String’ and ‘Natural Revange’ jerk and jitter past like the band’s scared a song might actually catch […]

Obsidian Tongue – The Stone Heart [EP]

OBSIDIAN TONGUE weaves into ‘The Stone Heart’, and we, standing in a clearing while gazing toward the shimmering line of grey rain that falls steady, sure on the border with the surrounding forest. The storm shifts, turns inward, closer, then enters us, wreaking havoc. Suspended yet descending slowly, ‘Winter Child’ is ache and melancholia, yet a stark look at the flesh and eyes that gaze back at one from the mirror of truth – unfoolable and unforgiving. Amid the droning vocal harmonies and harsh howl, we bow, scrawling our destiny on frozen ground. Instrumental ‘Bear At The Tree Of Light’ […]