Sunday, 30 March 2014

Unit Togo - Demo Tape

Unit Togo was the biological division of the Japanese army in World War II. Their activities included vivisection, food and water deprivation, germ warfare studies as well as burying people alive. Overall pretty horrific stuff, but it does also show the kind of no-nonsense that this new band is about. 
Consisting of members from quite an eclectic group of bands (Heksed, Martyr's Tongue and Malware), Unit Togo have recently released a fantastic demo comprising of three tracks that show off the band's diverse skill set. The demo starts out with "Nuclear Cleansing", a harsh electronic track filled with distant noise samples, drones and white noise. This then leads into the ripping track, "ABC Warfare". This is a blistering metal punk track filled with amazing riffs, solos and incredibly harsh vocals. This stops very abruptly to lead into "Rivers of Blood", a very ominous electronic track with the same twisted vocals.
The tape release has been handled by Bezerker records, a label I am fairly new too but so far am impressed with. They also handled the release of the limited Integrity tape, which I will post about before too long. The tape comes with some killer artwork that pretty much epitomises the three tracks perfectly. I did also receive a copy of Relentless Aproach's Two Birds and a Stone, a great bonus when you have only ordered one item. The tape is limited to just 50 copies.
I think the tape is still available, so do yourself a favour and get a copy before it is too late. If you really just want to hear the tracks, the band has also put them online for free download.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Integrity - Beyond the Realm of the VVitch 7"

I've managed to stay away from an Integrity post for a few weeks now, but thought it time to unleash their latest 7" - 7th Revelation: Beyond the Realm of the VVitch. This was released by A389 records a little while ago, and it shows the band is really just as strong as ever, and in more ways than one.
As part of the recent A389 anniversary bash, the classic Systems Overload era band members reunited for a special show. To commemorate the occasion, they recorded this one track 7", which serves as the first recording from this line-up in almost 20 years! The different line up certainly shows too, the track is quite a bit different to Integrity of late. Some of the rawness that +Orr has brought to the table recently has gone, and has been replaced with some incredibly heavy guitars. The classic A2 solo is a great addition too.
Once again I really like the packaging this record came along with. The artwork has an obvious witch silhouette with just a little something interesting towards the bottom right corner. The now standard Integrity UV ink hides the band logo, Integrity skull and two four fingered hand prints. On the back the ink has been used to an even greater extent, and in the light the lyrics reveal themselves.
As seems to be the norm these days, several versions have already been released. In my opinion, the best was released alongside a special re-release of Systems Overload as part of a special Xmas deal. That version was glow in the dark, with the same pattern seen on the centre label in the first photo. Sadly I haven't got that version, but I have the next best thing - the pre-order version of the standalone 7". This is on blue vinyl, and comes with an etched Integrity skull on the B-side. Besides this there is also a pink/blue, a yellow and an orange that I've seen out there.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Bellicose Minds - The Buzz or Howl Sessions 10"

One of the great things about A389 records is the diversity of releases they put out. Most of the time the records are more hardcore/metal oriented, but on the odd occasion they release a gem that is something a bit different. One of those gems is The Bellicose Minds, who have much more of an 80's post-punk vibe.
 This record is technically a re-release, as the tracks were on the band's original self-released cassette back in 2010. A couple of songs were also re-recorded for "The Spine". It is hard to say which versions I prefer, but I think I'm leaning ever so slightly towards these earlier recordings. My definite favourite on the 10" is "Hammer of Ice" which has some deliciously dark lyrics and is still catchy as hell.

A389 produced this record in two colour variants, clear and black. I'm going to assume the clear is the more limited, but I have no idea of the pressing information. Based on that assumption I opted for the clear and it looks great. Sometimes a bit of colour gets smeared in from the other variants, but this thing is as clear as can be.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Shin to Shin - S/T 12'

 This 12" has been such a long time coming it is almost hard to believe it is finally here. Shin to Shin first surfaced all the way back in 2009 with a great split with Pulling Teeth. Straight away the song caught the attention of many and since then a couple of tracks have made their may onto A389 samplers. Rumours started to crop up of an LP, but for a long time nothing happened. Towards the end of last year it was officially announced, and released a few weeks ago.
S2S is (almost) the sole work of A2, from the early Integrity years. Over the few tracks I had heard up until this LP, I felt that Shin to Shin had quickly made a unique sound that was instantly attributable to the band. That has been carried across the rest of the album, which is pretty fantastic. Each song is catchy, with a distinctly harsh vocal sound that is filled with A2's signature style of guitar solo. All except the last track of course, Maia, which changes direction entirely. Instead of the typical hardcore track you would expect, Maia is a soft instrumental acoustic track which helps you to re-equilibrate your energy back to a normal level.
  The release was handled by A389, who have of course done their usual terrific job. With artwork and design by the infamous Szymon Siech, the choice of bloodsplatter or red/white vinyl and a lyrics with some very intricate artwork, it is overall top notch. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 5 years for more S2S.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Broken Cross - Secret Destruction 7"

Broken Cross is a band that has kept my interest ever since their first demo tape back in 2012. They have since seen another 7", a feature on the "Thee Compilation" LP and a track on a Cvltnation mixtape. All releases have been great, and now a brand new 7" has been unleashed, "Secret Destruction".
Four brand new tracks have been released on this EP, reaching just over 13 minutes. They follow on very well from earlier releases, keeping to the same lo-fi metal punk sound that is now very distinctly Broken Cross. The vocals are just as distorted as before, and there are the same blistering solos throughout the whole thing. However, the third track, "Assassin's Anthem", does take a slightly different approach to the work I have heard before. The tempo is quite a bit slower, with drums that are almost hypnotic.
The previous 7" was released on Holy Terror records, where I felt it fit in perfectly. This one however is a self-release on the Apocalyptic Visions label, the same as the original demo tape. This may be the second release under the label, but the packaging is top-notch. The whole thing comes in a great glossy outer sleeve with artwork by Dwid Hellion. Of course I felt it necessary to pick up one of the more limited versions, which comes with some cool bonus parts too.
This version is just out of 33 copies, and comes on the limited blue vinyl. It's a bit different to the blue that I normally see on transparent records, more of a royal blue, that has turned out looking great. This version also has the luxury of a stamped inner sleeve, with mine being copy number 9, a Broken Cross sticker and button. Overall it is a great record and package, and I'm glad to see this one man band continuing to put out music.