Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A389 Recordings MMXII Digital Mixtape/Sampler

Many look forward to various religious holidays, birthdays etc. and cannot wait for them to come around. For those in the hardcore community, I'm sure this annual event is right up there with those events in terms of anticipation. That's right, A389 has once again released their annual digital mixtape upon the world, and once again it is completely free of charge. Better still, this is the best compilation they have put together yet! I thought I'd take a little time out of my busy schedule to help spread the word about this fantastic gift. Be prepared, this will be a long post.
So where to begin? This sampler contains such a plethora of tracks that writing the post seems a somewhat daunting task, but I suppose I'll just start from track 1, although I probably won't be able to individually review every single track (there are 52 of them you know).

Things start out with a new absolutely crushing track by Seven Sisters of Sleep, "Slower Downer". For the most part this is exactly what you would expect from this stunning band; "stoner jams for those with short attention spans". However, around the 3:20 mark there is a noticeable change of direction with the vocals, the usual desolate screams are replaced with a deathly growl. It still works fantastic of course. This has made me utterly stoked for the upcoming 7"/CD.
The pace is then drastically picked up as "Poster Children For Family Values" by Countdown to Oblivion starts to play. No time is wasted in getting straight into this song, within 5 seconds your ears are filled with fast pace guitars and screamed vocals that only leave you wanting more.
Ilsa are up next with their "Deadbeat's Ballad". I'm rather unfamiliar (or perhaps totally unfamiliar) with this band so have no previous work to compare this to. Anyway, this starts off with a real dirty sounding down-tuned riff which is continued for about the first two minutes. From here the pace is seriously dropped for a minute or so and is then picked back up.
"Leviathon" is exactly what you would expect from a Ringworm track; it's crazy fast and oh so angry. The highlight of this one is definitely the blistering guitar solo around 1:40.
Things really get crazy with "Worms and Dirt" by Homewrecker. What starts off as a fantastic powerviolence track quickly turns into a slow, heavy crusher of a track. Not bad to cover such a range considering it only lasts 48 seconds.
"Fire" by Like Rats slows things down a bit with a relatively mid-paced track. What really stands out here are the vocals, they are just about the most vicious sounding howls you'll hear for a while.
The next song is the first on here I knew of really well, "Desolate" by Children of God. This was released on the split with SSOS, and is an absolutely brilliant track. It starts with the usual Children of God brand of  chaos they are known for, but also takes time to develop a slower, heavier section to the track.
I'm not entirely sure what to say about this next song. It is called "Social Recall Rewind" by The Guilt Of... and is really something else. The track is some sort of electro beat overlayed with the nastiest sounding vocals you can imagine. I'm not sure if they other material out, but this has certainly grabbed my attention and I'd be interested to hear some more.
If there is one band that broadcasts the diversity of the A389 catalogue more than anyone, it is Anne. Their song "Virginal Plight" is the next track in this sampler, and is probably one of the better songs of Dream Punx, which was released earlier this year.
Pulling Teeth also make a quick appearance here (they had to really, didn't they?). Surprisingly, the track offered is "Lightning Strikes Twice", which appeared on their limited flexi released a wee while ago. I've already posted about how fantastic this track is, and for the guy who asked me about providing a download for this song, you're lucky day is finally here my friend.
How are we going? Still with me? Good.
Young And In The Way are up next with "Death Is Eager To Hold You". This is quite a dark sounding track and has obvious black-metal influences. I can't say this song blows me away, but hey, it is better than 99.999% of the trash people call "music" these days.
"Lt. Fury" is next on the agenda, a track from Junior Bruce. This is a lot more metal inspired, and sounds sorta like a song Thor would playing (or Thor's Teeth for that matter).
God's America play the next track, which is the shortest full length song on the entire sampler, clocking at just 22 seconds. As to be expected with a ridiculously short hardcore track, "Brain Numb" is more powerviolence than anything and consists almost entirely of drums that simply blast through your skull.
The next track is from Hatewaves, and isn't quite what you'd expect. I was thinking this'd be the usual insanely fast, quick track. In fact this is one of their longer songs, although still only 1:23 long. Granted, sections of it are usual Hatewaves, but slower sections still persist in the middle.
Things then get a little less than typical hardcore with "Buyer's Remorse" by The Love Below. This track is from their recently released LP and is purely fantastic. You've got to love the vocals from this band, they really bring something different to the table.
"Untitled" is up next by Empire Of Rats. I can sum up this track in one simple word; Heavy. From the get go, right the way to the end, heavy is all I can think as I play this track.
When I played this next song, I instantly knew it was by Shin to Shin. There is something about their guitar sound that really stands out to me. This track, "Don't Lose Your Way" continues the elements seen in the few other Shin to Shin tracks A389 has released. I don't think they have released a proper record by themselves yet, so the LP that this is from will definitely be something to look out for.
Sick Fix are another band I have no prior knowledge of, but "Boudica" is definitely a good first song to hear.  It is not ground breaking or anything, but is just the sort of fast anger someone is looking for with this kind of compilation.
It is a pity that this next track is only an excerpt. It is the now classic "Dead End America" by Kill Life with Mike IX, from the limited flexi released last year. I suppose the excerpt may be to give those a taste of the band, without damaging the mystery of the group.
"All I Am" is next from Enforcers. This is good and has a real 90's hardcore feel.
The direction is changed again with the next track, "All I Ever Loved" by Pleasant Living. Instead of the usual metallic inspired hardcore, this takes a more melodic hardcore approach, and ends up sounding not unlike various NYHC bands. The group singing in the chorus is a nice break before we start the next beast.
Here we have "Death Knell" from Gravehill. This isn't a new track, but definitely deserves to be on this sampler. Again, I've already posted about this LP, but for those who don't know, this is classic death metal from the same minds that brought you Gehenna.
Cyanrae are a fairly new A389 band, and provide the track "Prescribed Burn". I can't really make my mind up about this one, so I'll just leave it to you to decide for yourself.
"Child Thief" by Triac sounds somewhat similar to a Children of God track. Once again, the boundaries between music and chaos are being utterly blurred for a full minute and a half.
This is probably the next most obscure track on the sampler, "Ekstasis" from Thee High Priestess. It is a rather experimental noise track with spoken word layed over the top. SHE is about to release some more material fairly soon, so keep your eyes good and peeled.
NOTHING is the name of the next band, and they play a song called "Downward Years to Come". It is safe to say they are more like Anne than anything else on the sampler, and are certainly not playing the usual metallic-hardcore. Of course this is another great song, be sure to check it out.
The next few songs are some of my favourites throughout the sampler, the first of which is "Heraclitus" by Rot In Hell. This was previously released on the Omega Sessions with Horders, and showcases the shear diversity of this mammoth band. This is a completely acoustic song and took me off-guard when I first heard it. Of course Rot In Hell play fantastic hardcore tracks, but I'll always have a soft spot for songs like this one.
Another prominent UK band features next, Unholy Majesty. "Age Of Affliction" was released only a while ago on vinyl (and longer ago on cassette) as part of a three-track demo for the band. If you don't enjoy this track then what are you doing here?
"Kingdom of Heaven" should need no introduction, and if you don't know who this is by by now, you really need to do your homework.
Continuing the HT theme, we have "Disciple In My Own Image" by Gehenna. I know when I originally posted about the record this track is from I said I wasn't too sure about it. Who knows what was going through my mind, this track is awesome. I do feel it is a rather different Gehenna track though. It is hard to explain really, you'll have to hear it for yourself to see if you agree.
Low Places are up next with "Struggle To Exist". This song has ridiculously harsh sounding vocals, and like quite a few songs on here, it starts out guns blazing in the beginning, but progresses into a slower droning section towards the end. Diversity within a track is always welcomed though.
Since hearing their 7", I've been wanting to hear more from Pharaoh. That time is now. "This House Is Doomed" seems to pick up right from where "I Murderer, I" left off, so you know it's good. All I can say is bring on the rest of the new material Dom!
Another short and sharp powerviolence track succeeds this from Full of Hell. "The Lonely Path Of The Cestoda" is insanely fast and has two distinct vocals sharing the load. It also ends with a high-pitched screaming that brings to mind Converge's "Jane Doe".
Next Vilipend play one of the longer songs on the sampler, just topping 5 minutes. "Cutting Heartstrings" explores many musical elements; at times sounding similar to The Love Below, but also slowing things down to play much heavier sections.
"Sinking Ships" is one of the more classic A389 releases from Ancient Shores. This is a really straight up hardcore track, with beautifully harsh vocals and pounding drums throughout.
Another real highlight of this sampler is brand new material from the mighty Pale Creation! This track, dubbed "Beauty Destruct" is classic Pale Creation and such is utterly perfect. It's all over the place, while driving forward all at the same time. You can't get enough of Nick Fictions's vocals anyway.
"Blood Stained In White Lace" is something different all again. This song is by a band called Chappelle Des Morts, which I know absolutely nothing of. I'm actually having a hard time thinking of what to write about this one, but it is definitely worth taking some time to listen to this one.
Next we have the epic "Nail Of Dicara" from Virgin Witch. Once again this was already released a while ago, and serves as a polar contrast to the other blazing track on that fantastic EP.
Pick Your Side is next to take the stage with "New War". This was only recently released by A389 and features some of the coolest looking artwork I've seen in a while. This is very much in vain of Hatewaves; basic fast and pissed-off HC that doesn't mess around.
"Demoralizing Banter" is next, and is from Eddie Brock who recently joined the A389 family. This is another Über fast powerviolence track that doesn't stay around for very long. It certainly gets to the point though.
"Perpetual 80's" by Penetration panthers is next up, and I've already expressed how much I love this song. For those into classic punk and wanting something to skate to, look no further than this (as well as the other tracks from the EP).
A surprising track pops up next from Day Of Mourning. "Bitter Taste Of Every Murder" is a really great song, and is classic DOM. Endless genres get too annoying, but for those in need I guess this would be a cross between hardcore and death metal. I could be wrong, but whatever. I was unaware, but a DOM discography will soon be released. I'll be keeping an eye out for that one too.
Withdrawal are up next with "Shapeshifter". If you've ever listened to any Withdrawal, this track will not take you by surprise at all. It is still a good track, but nothing exactly ground breaking.
"Death Clock Ticking" is next from Trapped Under Ice. I know many people are rather fond of this band, I've just never been super keen on them. I just don't see they bring anything new to the table to be honest. Although it does tick all the boxes for a classic hardcore track.
Next to fill my speakers is "Straight Flush" by In Cold Blood. This dabbles in quite a few elements also, at times sounding typical hardcore, but there are definitely some death metal elements desperately seeking their way out and into my ears.
A while ago, Ringworm teamed up with an Ozzie band, Mindsnare, to release a split 7". "Gather to Decompose" is directly from this split. I haven't actually got this split, but from what I've heard, the mindsnare track is pretty fantastic. Listening to it here, I can see why people think so highly of it. These guys play stupidly fast hardcore, and those vocals sound ever so twisted.
A band called Astronomer play the next song, titled "Mud Witch". This actually resembles a song by Moutheater, only with harsher vocals. They'll be releasing a 10" soon, that could be something worth looking out for.
Masaraki next play a song called "Fight Back", originally written by Discharge. This is quite a good cover, although I feel the vocals aren't quite as perfect as they could be. Good effort from these guys though.
Mighty Sphincter mix things up again with their classic gothic sound on "Holy Unholy". This is one of the other highlights on this sampler, I just love who delightfully creepy the vocals are from this band.
Second to last we have a song called "Something Wicked" by Earthride. For the most part this is slow droning track with sung vocals that occasionally delve into howls. Around the 3 minute mark the pace is picked up and is sounds almost like a Black Sabbath track.
Lastly, we have a track from the almighty Vermapyre. "Return Of The Sorcerer" is featured from their debut 7" split with parasite. This sounds so much like an Integrity track it is uncanny (although not at all surprising right?). It's also the perfect way to end the sampler.
What do you know, I did manage to (briefly) discuss every single track. But I've probably talked about this long enough by now. I know you really just want the link right? Download it and listen to your hearts content, you won't be disappointed. Oh, and if you enjoy this sampler, feel free to support this phenomenal record label. I know they'll appreciate it.

Thank you A389.


  1. Great job man, I just posted mine too!

    1. Cheers. You've done a great job too, although I'd swear it was 52 tracks, not 51...

  2. Shit you're right. Man, after proof reading it like a million times, there's still mistakes. Haha.

    1. haha these things happen. I've actually quite a few mistakes in mine too, lucky nobody else was reading it too scrupulously