La Dispute – Rooms of the House (2014)

La Dispute album

 

When I first heard “Such Small Hands” by the band La Dispute back in 2010, I was blown away by the eclectic blend of poetry-grade lyrics, their relatively heavy sound, and the emotionally-driven style of lead singer Jordan Dreyer’s vocals. That song and the rest of the album “Somewhere at the Bottom of the River between Vega and Altair”  are my favorite releases by the band. Now, the quintet from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is back with another full-length album. Released March of this year, “Rooms of the House” sufficiently separates the band from their first full-length release with a cleaner, more mature sound.

 
If you’re anything like me, you’re sad to see the sounds of “Somewhere at the Bottom” fade away. But the changes were evident even in the band’s second release “Wildlife”, which in my opinion, is a solid middle ground between the band’s first album and this latest one. Change, however, isn’t something to fear as La Dispute’s roots and defining characteristics are still there. The vocals are still emotional and passionate and they still have their critically acclaimed “un-categorizable sound” that fuses many influences of different heavier genres and even outside styles like blues and jazz on previous albums, along with their tension-building compositions–a La Dispute staple.

 

 

livedispute

 
While many that have already reviewed the album call it “mature”, I say that it is in fact just much more simple than their previous releases. More than in Wildlife, Rooms of the House loses some of the lucid symbolism that I thought was their best feature from Somewhere at the Bottom. Instead, the band replaces this with more straightforward emotional feedback and sheds its literary symbolism. Still, Dreyer is an excellent writer and this shows within the band’s lyrics as they compose songs with imagery and narrative, which can be seen clearly in the album’s opening song “Hudsonville, MI 1956” and another song titled “35” which also exhibits Dreyer’s spoken word style (dominant in the songs “Woman (in Mirror)” and “Objects in Space” too.) My personal favorites of the album are standouts “Mayor of Splitsville” and “Stay Happy Here” which is one of the album’s singles. It seems that, more in this album, the band unfortunately scaled back their out-wright heart wrenching preferences like in their past songs “King Park” and “Andria.”

 
Except for some songs like “Woman (in mirror)” and “Objects in Space”, the songs on this album are structured around a basic crescendo as most songs by La Dispute are. Listeners become familiar with the areas where tension builds by following the vocals and the band as they lead up to culminate in some emotional outburst—sort of like a pattern of calms before a strong storm—rather than relying on verse/chorus structures. On this album, there aren’t many gaudy riffs, that has never seemed to be the intention of the band on any of their albums anyway. The riffs and melodies in their songs always seem mainly foundational especially in this latest album where the band seems to take a more simplistic style. They rely more on strong rhythmic variations to capture their audience. There isn’t anything flashy to cling onto. Just pure and strong instrumental use and deep, emotional lyrics.

 
Even though it’s not the Somewhere at the Bottom of the River follow-up that I wished for over these last 4 years, Rooms of the House is still a great album that simply shows the evolving style of a very talented band that never disappoints.

 

 

La-Dispute-promo-crop

 

La Dispute on Facebook

La Dispute on BandCamp

– Alli G.

Gutslit – Skewered In The Sewer (2013)

cover

 

 

Brutal Death Metal is a bit of a self-parodying genre these days. The bands are either too “slammy” or too “technical,” with intelligent songwriting being put aside for either an over-abundance of slams, or pointless technical guitar wankery. There are pockets of scenes worldwide that still manage to hold down the crafty nature of the mid-90s til mid-2000s era of Brutal Death Metal – Indonesia certainly springs to mind – but the genre generally fails to keep the interest of the average metal fan these days. This is where Gutslit come into the picture. Hailing from Mumbai’s reputed metal scene that has spawned the likes of Exhumation, Albatross, Solar Deity, among others, Gutslit manage to do more than just casually grab the listener’s attention – they force him/her to take notice.

 

 

Starting off their debut full length album with a typical metal album intro, Gutslit get straight into the pummeling with the track “Pustulated Phallic Enthrallment.” The song gives a good window-view into the world of Gutslit. Catchy chunky riffs aligned with a truly inhuman rhythm section lead the way for the entirety of the proceedings. The rhythm section in particular needs to be given props – the drumming is truly barbaric, and the bass-playing is equally eloquent… a word that doesn’t pop up much for the bass-guitar in this genre of music. Immediate hints of Dying Fetus or Benighted can be caught by the average metal ear, and there’s a subtle Cryptopsy element in the name (“Slit Your Guts,” anyone?) that manifests in the technically strong bass-playing as well – but Gutslit is pretty much Gutslit most of the time. The song structures are fairly simple – keep it bulldozing through, keep the vocal patterns simple, add in the sudden little technical flair for variety, keep the music grooving no matter what, and then throw in an absolutely colossal breakdown. A perfect formula, when you get the riffs right – and the riffs here are ridiculously infectious, especially the well-placed breakdowns/slam parts that could rival even the best in Devourment‘s debut album. Speaking of breakdowns, the ones on “Offal Barter, “ and “Atrophic Cranial Disintegration” almost had me couch-moshing and charpai-jumping in my kurta and shalwar. As far as individual tracks go within terms of overall memorability, “Maze of Entrails” takes the entire bloody cake. That’s not to say the other tracks are overweight slouches. They’re all excellent and the replay value for this little album is immense. The fact that it’s just around 26 minutes means that it’s guaranteed repeated listens. If you find yourself blasting this album continuously, don’t be surprised. Gutslit combine individual skill with compact, aggressive and deliberately catchy songwriting in a manner that most metal fans probably haven’t seen since the early works of Gorerotted or Aborted.

 

 

I have no qualms with the production either. I’ve heard some criticism about it before, but it’s suitably clear and filthy at the same time for this kind of music. The mixing and sound-levels here are near-perfect, among the best kind of mix job I’ve heard in an Indian band to be honest. Though with this band, the quality shouldn’t just be compared to other Indian metal. Hell, with this level of technical proficiency and expert songwriting, replete with catchy and crunchy breakdowns – this band could easily be from anywhere in the planet. When you’re listening to music as good as this, location becomes secondary. The only thing that matters is the bludgeoning force of the music.

 

 

 

gutband

 

Gutslit on Facebook

Listen to Gutslit’s “Skewered in the Sewer” on Bandcamp.

“Unsilent Death” gig review

As you may know, Eternal Abhorrence recently tried to step out the confines of just being a webzine, and attempted to put on a show named after the Nails album. The show was a staggering success and honestly the best show I had put on in my 4 years of experience. Below is a review by one of the attendants of the concert, Hassan Altaf, who traveled all the way from Faisalabad to bang his head and mosh it out. Check out his review – we hope he continues to write for us in the future!

unsilent death

Faisalabad is the third largest city of Pakistan, with a population of about 8 million people. Mostly known for its high-end textile products, funny- bone, and general bigotry, so it would be strange for you to hear if not ridiculous that people appreciate metal here too and to extents as far as trying to play it. Now when me and my younger brother, first heard of a gig, that was going to take place at Lahore, we were over the moon. We got to know 6 days before the actual happening, and thence, the pressure and the urge to be there started mounting up. We wouldn’t shut up about it. Between making our beds, between meals, we’d either ask what shirts we were gonna wear, or what date it was.

 

 

Finally the day of reckoning came, it was morning of April 26th and what happens, my brother’s phones alarm doesn’t go off. Finally we made it to the realm of the awakened at 9 am, and we had to reach at the designated place at 1pm. Manageable, I wondered. Well far from it. Ever had to ask for the family car to be loaned to you from your dad? You know how it is!

 

 

“Well, the piston’s short”, he said while chewing on some toast while his eyes never moved from the newspaper.

“Stupid reconditioned Margalla” I thought inwardly.

 

 

So it was going to be the dreaded bus, but we would have hitch hiked if it were to come to that but we did manage to get a bus at about 10. You know how bus journeys are like? They are the worst form of travel, you fix the air conditioner a bit, and the whole bus starts fiddling with it. If by chance you get a good movie playing, then either the headphones are messed up or the guy in front of you is too damn tall, or he is just on his toes cause he does not want to miss that particular scene, which afterwards extends to the whole movie. There are old bastards that try to flirt with the hostess by asking her twice for the Pepsi and laughing their asses off, like they did something very daring. (You wanna know what’s daring? Weighing 140 pounds only, and thinking I can headbang all the way through the concert for about 4-5 hours)

 

 

Well, I slept through most of it and got the details from my lil bro. One more thing, when we were on the M2 just about to enter Lahore district, there was an army convoy, and there were army trucks, and toed to them were canons. I had a foreboding feeling seeing these things (being a Pakistani, another coupe or another war?) I made my concerns vocal, and my brother he said “of all the days they could chose to start a war, who told them that today was perfect? We have to get to that concert!!!” He looked determined, and I was determined.

 

 

We were in Lahore and did not know where the venue of our little gathering was actually located. I took out my phone, and typed in Beaconhouse National University, Tarogil campus. having located our destination, we looked for auto rickshaws to get there.

 

 

“We have to go to BNU” I said in Punjabi, trying to intimidate the guy into discounting our fare and not think of us as outsiders who did not know jackshit about where we were headed (which was all true).

“250 Rs” He said.

 

 

“Ok”, and we set off. Well BNU Tarogil is way out like thirteen and some kilometers out of Lahore, it’s like going to Jaranwala from Faisalabad. The landscape is dry, and surrounded by new developing sites. Couple that with heavy traffic and a rather non-agreeable road, you get the Raiwind Road. Well after a lot of head banging before even reaching the venue, owing to the unstable nature of rickshaws, and asking about a 13 people about BNU, we finally reached Beaconhouse National University, Tarogil campus. We were greeted by Syed Sadam, and Ramis, outside the gates, and so we entered the University while the day was high, and our blood pressures higher.

 

 

“This is going to be like all those concerts we saw on the computer” I said, beside myself, and as we were about to enter the enclosure, a rather jovial looking guard asked if we had cigarettes. “Yeah” said Jahanzaib and opened up his pack of cigs. The smile turned into a frown, and he asked us to leave the cigarettes outside.

“This is not gonna be like one of those concerts that we saw on the computer” I told Jahanzaib. Boy was I ever so wrong.

 

 

 

Wreckage

 beg

 

 

The enclosure was air-conditioned so thankfully we were relieved of our bus-lag, quite instantly, and thrown into the brutal yet pleasantly cool, metal gig. The fun started at about 3, 3-30 pm, with the first band “Wreckage” from Rawalpindi, started to bust some tunes. It was really exhilarating. They played their first song, which got us really going. Everything a startup performance should be. The music was the ideal kickstart to a metal gig. They sounded way better than they did in the sound check. Right from the first song, the crowd seemed to have hit the ground running, or headbanging. They did 3 songs, two originals (“Damage Returned” and “Vengeance”), and a Pantera cover (Walk) that was very good (how cool is that?). Plus the vocalist Waqar Ghayas was very involving, and full of energy. Running around growling like a beast from hell let loose, rolling his eyes, and all that.

 

 

foreskin1

foreskin2

 

 

After that was Foreskin, hardcore punk/thrash metal band from Lahore, took the stage, manned by Hassan Umer, with Sheraz Ahmed on lead guitar, Umair Ahmed on the bass, Hassaan Gul aka the ingenious Sam Morbid on drums, and Amar Ali on rhythm guitar in the Dead Kennedeys t-shirt, which was awesome. To start things off, they started with an unnerving riff, which heralded the start of my personal favorite from their songs, “How To Fight.” The lyrics stood out, which was a great thing for a metal newcomer like me, and I sang along, and when the lyrics stopped the brilliant solo ensued from the fingers of Sheraz Ahmed. Whenever this solo is on I just can’t help and admire the simplicity and the beauty of it, headbanging like mad, and I did not care if I had only seen it on screens before. The crowd was enjoying and seemed to be getting a taste of hardcore metal, right on their tongues. Heads rolled and not in the negative sense. Song after song, the grip of Foreskin, grew only stronger. “How To Fight” was followed by a staggering cover of the Gates of Ishtar classic, “Where the Winds of Darkness Blow,” again a crowd pleaser in all aspects, a little miscue but nothing unforgivable. After that they played “Hack N’ Slash,” another song with energy like an atomic fusion in a tin can. Then they played Celtic Frost‘s “Dethroned Emperor,” another good one in the mix. Ending their part with their single “Anger Management.” Another song that needs to be appreciated more.

 

 

irritum1

irritum2

 

 

 

Act three of the show was taken hold by Irritum, based in Lahore too, with a few common members from the other Lahore-based bands on the show. The ensemble consisted of Ahsan Shahid, and Farid Munir, both wonderful artists, on guitars along with Sheraz Ahmed, the drums were played by Sam Morbid, and the vocals were the responsibility of another amazing talent, Ahmed Malik. The band is a funeral doom band, and has that melancholy tinge to it that makes it click. The first song they played was a cover of the song “In Silence Enshrined” by Katatonia, I know a huge undertaking, but executed, I can say being a live witness, pretty damn well. Next they played their own track, “Treading the Lands Unknown” which again was a doomy track, and might have raised a few demon heads in hell too.

 

 

MxCx

 

 

Multinational Corporations was the next band to perform, with killer vocals from Hassan Umer, partnered by Sheraz Ahmed, Adnan Gillani, and Umair Ahmed on the guitars, with Amar Ali doing justice to the drums in he background. The first song to come around was L.P.C. named after the #trending short form of Lun Pe Charh (which just means flipping you off in other words). MxCx is the kind of band that takes the gig to another level. Hassan Umer’s cool performance antics seemed to breathe new life into the aching necks of the honorable members of the moshpit. They looked like they had forgotten their pains and were ready for another round on the metal trail. LPC was followed by Jamat-al-Maut, a satirical work of art in my humble opinion, that portrays the Pakistani youths frustration rightfully directed at the self-exploding Taliban. The track is full of emotion and zeal, and truly portrays the inner monologue of every sensible youth of Pakistan. True to its agenda the next track to be played was Stratum Slave, a shout out to the capitalist oligarchs in their castles of sand and chalk, that they were soon to crumble.

 

 

The next song was cover of a band called Inquisition, which the connoisseurs of metal tell me was awesome. The ritualistic “Empire of Luciferian Race” featured an ‘all-star’ lineup of members from different bands on the show with Ahsan Shahid and Sheraz Ahmed sharing guitar duties, Adnan Gillani on bass and Sam Morbid yet again on drums.

 

 

foreskin3

 

 

After that when everything was near its end, just one song away we were told that people all the way from Gujrat, as far from Lahore as Faisalabad, known for its fan industry, had arrived. Them being there albeit later in the piece, proved that ceiling fans were not the only fans made in Gujrat, they made pretty dedicated music fans too. This inspired us all to welcome them and Foreskin was ushered to the stage again for an encore performance. The weird thing was that Foreskin, still found the energy in them to play two tracks again, and with the same pomp and circumstance.”How To Fight” was played in the encore aong with “Dethroned Emperor” cover. To end it all up, there was a little surprise lined up for all those present and all those who have feelings for Dionysus, no not the Tyrion Lannister of Greek mythology, the local favorite Lahore band that could not play due to original member Waleed being in Karachi. Their anthem “Bathing In Unholy Blood” was played with Ahmed Malik doing a great job on vocals, with original Dionysus members, Sheraz Ahmed and Umair Ahmed, with Hassan Gul.

 

 

To tell you the truth, by the end of this gig, I was unable to even complete simple tasks of common courtesy, like the good bye wave and the handshake, and when I approached a certain Ramis, he was lying on the floor, and lying there he extended his hand, saying, “I am afraid I can’t get up” to which I replied extending my hand in reply “I am afraid, I can’t sit”. On that meeting halfway note, we set off for home. It was an experience of a lifetime.

 

 

mosh

 

 

 

Foreskin

Multinational Corporations

Irritum

Wreckage

All picture credits go to Zeeshan Malick. Except the Wreckage ones, which go to Sheraz Ahmed.

Homicide – Annihilation Pit (2013)

CoverHOM

 

 

The South Asian extreme music circuit has been growing as of late, with new bands coming up with actual releases and further expanding the kind of styles that can be found here. Within the context of the Bangladeshi Metal scene, where most acts are either of an old school death or thrash style, Homicide bring to the table a much-needed fresh perspective. This is their debut EP “Annihilation Pit” which saw a release by an Aussie label Infinite Regress Records last year.

 

Hailing from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Homicide play a variant of technical death metal that proliferated most during the middle and latter parts of the 2000s – the Willowtip Records style, if you will – but for some reason trailed off by the time the 2010’s rolled around. Never shy to show the listener their mastery over the instruments, the songwriting is dictated by one hard-hitting brutal section after the other – perpetually numbing the senses by the end of the EP’s 13 minute duration. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing should be judged by people who are well-acquainted with the nuances of this style of death metal, rather than elitists and naysayers. Personally I loved the battering onslaught of the percussion in harmony with the exploits of the four and six string instruments – though the band’s relative immaturity does rear its head on a few occasions. All the tracks here start off with immense promise, though trail off with forgettable endings, like a warrior exhausted at the end of a battle. This is by no means a jab at the band – they appear to be incredibly talented and I cannot find a mediocre riff here, but some stronger direction and a bit more intelligent song-structuring is needed for this warrior to roar triumphantly.

 

The production here is not the kind of glossy over-produced stuff that we are used to hearing from the main propagators of technical death metal in this day and age. Though that is by no means a flaw here. Me being a part of a school of thought that preaches that a little bit of imperfection is needed to have a unique identity, found the production a joy to listen to. The guitar tone is scathing and rawer than what Origin or Psycroptic listeners may be accustomed to, the vocals maintain a raspy sound that was once a hallmark of several mid-90s Canadian tech-death, and the drum tone isn’t your overproduced American studio product… but it all fits well in the overall context of the EP. In conclusion,  it goes without saying that these boys are talented and understand their genre well – I certainly enjoyed it. The EP demands at least a few listens, and the band can logically only improve further.

 

homicidebadn

 

Homicide on Facebook

Listen/Buy the EP on Bandcamp

Multinational Corporations – Jamat-al-Maut (2014)

mxcx art

 

 

South Asia has a surprisingly small punk scene, considering the social and political condition of the countries in this side of the world. Multinational Corporations – a duo comprised of Hassan and Sheraz, who also happen to be members of several metal bands in Pakistan – are among the handful of grindcore bands in South Asia who understand the roots and the original intention of this genre of music.

 
On their debut EP, Jamat-al-Maut, MxCx play the most unadulterated form of grindcore, drenched with undeniable crust punk riffs along with deathgrind tendencies, akin to Terrorizer. Even though grindcore is known for its spontaneous style of songwriting, with bands mostly being content with rather mindless, simplistic style of playing as long as it serves the purpose, this is not the case here. The songs are espcially crafted to be catchy and memorable which makes Jamat-al-Maut less isotropic than From Enslavement to Obliteration. Musically, this is very competent crust punk/grindcore, however, the duo never intended Multinational Corporations to merely be a “grindcore band that plays brutal and catchy riffs”. The theme and content here are of utmost importance, as with any punk release. The lyrical content of the songs deal with several social and political issues plaguing the country including but not limited to the acts committed by taliban, the endless race for more money, naivity and hypocrisy of so called upper class “communists” and general hatred and misanthropy. The aforementioned is vocalized in a growled fashion, very similar to that of Assuck and Brutal Truth.

 
Unfortunately, Jamat-al-Maut is only 13 minutes long, which is short even for a crust/grind release. This is not a complaint, however, since even in the short span of 14 minutes, the EP is very satisfying, especially with the closing track which is similar to some of the darker neocrust/hardcore songs from the 90s. A very competent and enjoyable release which any fan of the genre will enjoy.

 

 

mxcx lineup

 

 

Multinational Corporations on Facebook

Multinational Corporations on Bandcamp

 

 

 

– Rohit Chaoji

Absolut – Punk Survival (2014)

coverasbso

 

 

Nice to see absolutely crazy, rancid and noisy d-beat laden Hardcore Punk make a little return to people’s play-lists in the last 2 years. May be the new “flavor of the month” or become the next “trend” but let’s face it – as long as the music is hard hitting and awesome, who gives a fuck if a shitload of new bands start doing the same thing?

 
Absolut’s “Punk Survival” is an aptly named release as it primarily serves to keep the core values of the original Hardcore Punk template alive. While they are not the first band to do so – hundreds of d-beat laden old school hardcore bands have existed all over the world since the 90’s, especially in Sweden and Japan – Absolut manage to carve out an identity of their own. They do that by not only following the set-in-stone codes of what proper raw crust/hardcore punk should contain but by upping the ante in several regards. The riffs hit harder and deadlier than most of the bands I’ve heard trying to revive this style, armed with a dangerous guitar tone that would make even a weak riff sound heavy. Thankfully every riff here is some badass shit and the occasional noisy guitar lead makes you want to peel away at your skin – now THAT’S some sensation I don’t get much from ‘old school revival’ acts. Screechy, ear-piercing vocals are bellowed over one catchy riff after another with wild abandon. Not a line can be understood due to the insane amount of incoherency and reverb/echo but the vocal patterns themselves are catchy enough for them to hang around in your ear like unwanted wax. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that these guys are just here to make some noise and have a good time doing it – simultaneously worshiping and burning their idols one riff at a time. Credit must be given to the producer for crafting a sound that’s unbearable yet easy on the ears at the same time – a nice little balance to have for these sort of records. You want the mix to sound as chaotic as possible, but the master shouldn’t hurt your listening senses either. Along with a warm production value that would sound absolutely gorgeous on vinyl/tape make this a very vintage sounding little release.

 
The filthy, primitive essence of the likes of GISM, Anti-Cimex, Terveet Kadet is tapped into but taken a step further while remaining confined within their self-imposed boundaries. A little Proto-Black Metal influence can also be spotted here with the Hellhammer-esque vocals and the early Bathory style lead-work. If I was to make a comparison I’d say they have a bit of a Dishammer kind of thing going for them, but strictly Punk (with a few metal concessions) rather than a clear metal/punk hybrid. I really dig their style and if you at all are into extreme music you will love this. Get it from Electric Assault Records on the 19th of April.

 

 

absolut

 

 

Listen to it on Bandcamp

Electric Assault Records on Facebook

– Hassan Dozakhi

HospitalxBomber – Demo (2013)

cover

 

One thing I am always on the look-out for is music that is hard-as-fucking-concrete, while also being faster than a hijabi running away from loud music on a Friday evening. Pissed off fucken hardcore is my jam at the end of the day, and if you suffer from the same addiction to angry and heavy shit then you might want to check this shit out.

 

To put it simple, HospitalxBomber basically straddle the line between dirty high speed punk, and crunchy fucking beatdown hardcore. It’s 5 songs and under 8 minutes of straight up hatred and negativity, with the vocal attack not hesitating to even throw in some Black Metal touches. The slight vocal influence aside, this is pure fast and angry hardcore with some mean ass breakdowns. If I was to compare to any bands, this is the bastard child of Iron Lung and Harness, and that becomes quite clear to the unsuspecting listener the second he/she puts it on. Instinctively abrasive riffs,  and a kit-destroying drum performance coalesce to create a wall-of-sound that absolutely drips with venom and oozes hatred – reviewing stuff like this is basically why I called this blog “Eternal Abhorrence” in the first place. The mix is put together nicely to, giving the demo a very fuzzed out and absolutely vile sound that makes you want to stab the first person you see. Through both the fast and slower parts, the general aural violence never lets up, and though the fast parts are fun to run around to, it’s the gargantuan breakdowns where HospitalxBomber live up to their equally vicious name. The tracks “Faux News” and “Blackwater” are obvious highlights here for that particular reason. Purists who don’t like chuggy breakdowns better stay clear, but people who like to get down to some heavy shit will love the fuck outta this.

 

These guys should seriously drop some new stuff soon – 8 minutes ain’t nearly enough, considering the riffs these guys have on the table, and the maniac performance on the drumkit. More often than once I wondered if one of the cymbals fell over (then I realized that kits in America are obviously better than the crap we have in Pakistan hahah). Lots of replay value on this, get it if you’re looking for heavy hardcore that isn’t afraid to jump into powerviolence territory.

 

 

1381208_447143085406089_85651244_n

 

HospitalxBomber on Facebook

HospitalxBomber on Bandcamp