Sangharsha – Bayou
Album of the year. When Kshitiz, my old bandmate and current Sangharsha riffmeister, told me they’d be recording with Converge’s Kurt Ballou, I knew something special was brewing. But I didn’t expect the album to be this damn good! For those who came in late, Sangharsha is a New York based hardcore band, with members who all hail from Nepal. Apart from a song or two, all their lyrics are in Nepali.
The S/T EP Sangharsha recorded with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations in 2012 was great, but this one took it up a few notches. I can’t even describe the sound here. Besides the hardcore/sludge that they’ve made their base, there are elements of death,black, and even post-metal. Heavy, introspective, and peppered with absolutely beautiful moments.
The album takes a turn during the second half of the second last song, Aseena. In a way, it brought to mind what Pulling Teeth did with Funerary. Knowing Kshitiz’s love for PT, it might have even been deliberate.
AlertaAntifascista Records from Germany released the vinyl version of Bayou a few months ago; you can stream and order a copy at http://bayou1.bandcamp.com
ffo – Bands on the Deathwish roster, Russian Circles, etc.
Ringworm – Hammer Of The Witch
Ringworm is one of my all-time favorite hardcore bands. Even if HOTWhad sucked, it would still have made it to my top five. But it doesn’t.
Bane – Don’t Wait Up
Bane is one of two bands (the other being Shai Hulud) that can choke me up. There’s just something about Aaron Bedard’s lyrics and vocal delivery that can transform me into a naive kid, the way I used to be before things went to shit. Haha. Don’t Wait Upwas an even more emotional affair than usual because it’s the last Bane album. It has some terrific guest spots (Calling Hours) and possibly some of Bedard’s darkest lyrics (Wrong Planet). And I must confess, I did get teary eyed when I first heard Final Backward Glance.
Code Orange – I Am King
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the new Code Orange. I didn’t really understand the hype around them when they still had the Kids suffix, and I wasn’t too fond of their old material. But holy shit, I Am King was something else. Definitely one of the most intense albums of 2014. They even sound like they’d fit right in with the Victory Records roster of the 90s (my favorite era in hardcore) a lot of the time.
Eyehategod – Eyehategod
I don’t believe I even need to elaborate. It’s no Take As Needed For Pain or Dopesick, but it’s still top stuff.
Other albums that ruled – Today Is The Day – Animal Mother, Skinfather – None Will Mourn, Crowbar – Symmetry In Black, Comeback Kid – Die Knowing, Full Of Hell &Merzbow – Full Of Hell & Merzbow, New Found Glory – Resurrection, Hang The Bastard – Sex In The Seventh Circle, Sumeru – Holy Lands, Homewrecker – Circle Of Death, Hollow Earth – Silent Graves, Generation Of Vipers – Coffin Wisdom, Pharaoh – Negative Everything, Rot In Hell – Ruined Empire, The Banner – Greying, Baptists – Bloodmines, Young And In The Way – When Life Comes To Death, Yautja – Songs Of Descent, Indian – From All Purity, Nothing – Guilty Of Everything
Torn – Demo 2014
Spirit-Filled hardcore fronted by the singer of Advent and other Christian hardcore bands. Catchy and heavy, with lyrics that have a lot of thought put behind them, this demo should appeal to anyone with a love for 90s metallic hardcore. There are parts that sound like Turmoil and others that wouldn’t be out of place on a Buried Alive record. Don’t let the “Spirit-Filled” tag put you off, there’s nothing preachy here.
Gatecreeper – Gatecreeper
Swedish death metal (or DM influenced hardcore) from Arizona. One listen was all it took to get me hooked, in a manner similar to what Skinfather did with Atheos a few years ago. Members of Gatecreeper also play in Territory.
ffo – Dismember, Grave, Entombed, Unleashed, Black Breath, Skinfather
Keeper – MMXIV
So damn heavy!
ffo – Burning Witch, Grief, Meth Drinker, Moloch
Forced Order – Eternal War / God’s Hate – Divine Injustice
Forced Order and God’s Hate belong to the vibrant Southern California hardcore scene, and, if I’m not mistaken, both bands recorded at The Pit with Taylor Young. Forced Order features members of Twitching Tongues, Harness, Soul Search and Disgrace; their sound is a throwback to 90s Cleveland hardcore. Think old Integrity and In Cold Blood. God’s Hate has members of Twitching Tongues and Skinfather, and probably a few other bands. Divine Injustice is Troycore-worship at its finest (the band’s even named after a Dying Breed song).
Xibalba/Suburban Scum – Split
Nothing much to say.Both bands just keep getting better, although I’m more partial to the Xibalba tracks.
Others that ruled: New Lows – Abhorrent Endings, Blistered – Soul Erosion, Jagged Visions – Beyond The Serpent’s Touch, Annulment – Celestial Mother Of The Handless Path, Graves At Sea – This Place Is Poison, Of Feather And Bone – Adorned In Decay/False Healer, Incitement – Hyena, Converge – Live At The BBC, Benchpress/Martyr’s Tongue, Soul Search/Minus, Graves At Sea/Sourvein, Primitive Man/Xaphan, Whirr/Nothing
(we’d like to thank Vishal for this write-up. you can check out Vishal’s own Hardcore/Metal band Jugaa here)