Wednesday, 15 August 2018

UNION OF URANUS

BandUNION OF URANUS aka Uranus
GenresPunk / Metallic Hardcore / Black-Metal / Screamo / Grindcore
Related artistsHis Hero Is GoneTragedyChokeholdBrutal Knights, Career Suicide, Hacksaw, Hassler, RammerDouble Think, Speedy Huffler Kings, Dead Man's Right Hand and Valley Boys.
CountryOttawa, Ontario CANADA
Years Active1993-1997
Song: "Circumstance"
Album: "Disaster by Design"
Year: 1995
For fans ofRorschachAcme, Carol, One Eyed God Prophecy, The Flying WorkerSystral, Mörser, His Hero Is Gone, Buried Inside, Zann, Protestant, Orchid, June Paik, Never Better, Converge, Lamantide, Knut, Resurrectionists and Drift aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): The Great American Steak Religion / Doomsday Machine Records / Daybreak / Re-Education / Farewell Records / Stonehenge Records / Ugly Pop Records
This post's artist is from the August 2018 Mix. This is track #4.
You can download: the August 2018 Mix#8 right here or get the new September 2018 Mix#9 here.

As you may have noticed, I've been getting hard into mid-90s German (Bremen, specifically) hardcore with recent reviews of Carol and Acme, with more coming from Mörser and Systral, at the very least. Somehow at that exact moment in time, all the way across the world in Canada, most notably with UNION OF URANUS, One Eyed God Prophecy and Drift.

UNION OF URANUS' demo cassette is titled 'Backhand' was originally released in 1993 on tape before being used again in 1997 for their split 12" with His Hero Is Gone. Opener and title track "Backhand" is unrelenting in its barrage of metallic hardcore laced with thick, acidic and destroyed screams. The driving nature of the instrumentals as they let single notes ring out and then provide a nice fill to count the next note hold. "One Eye Strengthens" is even darker and chaotic than the opener, and some truly mortifying vocals, "Weight of Tomorrow" is fucking ferocious, "Equilibrate" definitely reminds me of Acme and Carol and is a raging good time, while the closer "Pressure" is a Negative Approach cover.

The following year (1994) the released a huge track 5:32 in length titled "Believer" on a split 7" with fellow French Canucks Immoral Squad. This thing truly is massive, includes dual vocals and even bares some resemblance to Belleville, Ontario's Shotmaker in its jarring, discordant approach.

1995 saw the final new output from URANUS (they had lost a member and were going by the shortened name at this point) with a 2x7"LP called 'Disaster By Design'. Housing five volatile and highly influential hardcore jams, with a bit more focus on dual vocals and some higher-pitched, screamier stuff from Geoff. Opener "Circumstance" goes full-fucking-tilt with some insane drumming and empties the tank by 2:10, making it one of my favourite songs by the band. "Face Value" isn't much longer but is definitely slower, darker and more powerful than its predecessor, and that stop/start thing they've got going on at the 60-second mark is amazing. "Panacea" has a slow, droning intro that lasts two minutes before the remaining three tears the listener to shreds. "Pedestal" isn't too different but skips the lengthy intro and seems to blow by all too quickly, while the closer and final URANUS song "Revolve" surpasses the five-minute mark and strangles the listener with those smothering guitars.

In 2004 a retrospective cd was released, but for some reason the 'Backhand'/'His Hero Is Gone split' tracks are lumped together as three instead of the proper five tracks. For this reason I have included the discography cd as well as the original releases so you don't have these silly double-tracks - UNION OF URANUS' only real mistake 😏

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DISCOGRAPHY
Click )==>here<==( to download the band's complete discography in mp3 form.

1993 - Backhand cassetteEP
1994 - Immoral Squad split 7"EP

1995 - Disaster By Design 2x7"/12"LP

1997 - His Hero Is Gone split 12"EP (same as 'Backhand' EP)

2004 - To This Bearer Of Truth cd compilation

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(1994) UNION OF URANUS - "Backhand" (from 'Backhand')

(1994) UNION OF URANUS - "Equilibrate" (from 'Backhand')

(1994) UNION OF URANUS - "Believer" (from 'Immoral Squad' split)

(1995) UNION OF URANUS - "Circumstance" (from 'Disaster By Design')

(1995) UNION OF URANUS - "Face Value" (from 'Disaster By Design')

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UNION OF URANUS out of print mp3 discography download

(download here)
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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

PACK SOUNDS

BandPACK SOUNDS
GenresPunk / Rock / Emo
Related artistsLocktender, Men As Trees, The Reptilian, Bike Tuff, Guppy and Shoto.
CountryKalamazoo, Michigan U.S.A.
Years Active2014-present
Song: "Falls Risk"
Album: "Bold Statements"
Year: 2018
For fans ofHot Water Music, Sport, Crash Of Rhinos, Restorations, Small Brown Bike, Shels, Appleseed Cast, The Lawrence Arms, Castavet, I Love Your Lifestyle, The Weakerthans, Locktender, The Reptilian, Guppy and Algernon Cadwallader.
Label(s): I.Corrupt.Records / Skeletal Lightning
This post's artist is from the August 2018 Mix. This is track #7.
You can download: the August 2018 Mix#8 right here or get the new September 2018 Mix#9 here.

PACK SOUNDS has been jamming in Kalamazoo, Michigan since 2014 when a bunch of members of other awesome bands got together and decided to slow things down and focus on singing. After four years of writing they unveiled their debut full length earlier in 2018 and it's a wonderful piece of work. Essentially I think PACK SOUNDS songs fall into one of two categories, some are playful and a bit silly and others are fleshed out and serious. Playful jams include 2, 3, 6 and 7 while serious tracks are 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

On 'Bold Statements', the huge, 7+ minute opener "902 Nights" rolls into a two-minute playful punk tune about drinking "Circling". "To Your Health" has a strong resemblance the The Weakerthans and even brushes up against some country-sounding stuff. You've got your super chills on "Equal Signs" or the epic and amazing "Falls Risk". The latter is about Andrew's heart surgery that was performed back in early 2016 and without a doubt the highlight of the record for me. If you know Andrew you know he likes beer, so there's more than one song about alcohol on here and it's the very honest "I'm Never Drinking Again". "Game Over, Man" is just 1:37 and pays homage to my favourite movie of all time, Aliens, all whilst sounding like Attack In Black on speed. "The Long Ride Home" is another lengthy number, this one is a bit more like Locktender-lite than anything, and soars in very epic fashion with a sick bass riff that leads over the three-minute mark. "Glued" features Andrew's awesome daughter Averie (I met her, and she's definitely awesome) and closer "Libations" shows the band at their most somber and peaceful.

It seems that this band is going pretty hard right now and I wouldn't be surprised if we see stuff from them before Locktender.

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DISCOGRAPHY

2018 - Bold Statements cd/cassette/12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

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(2018) PACK SOUNDS - "Falls Risk" (from 'Bold Statements')

(2018) PACK SOUNDS - "Circling" (from 'Bold Statements') official music video

(2018) PACK SOUNDS - "The Long Ride Home" (from 'Bold Statements')



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PACK SOUNDS additional links
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Monday, 13 August 2018

HEX LARIAT

BandHEX LARIAT
GenresPunk / Hardcore / Screamo / Skramz / Emo-violence / Noise
Related artists: Wrinkle, Glitter Pills, American Haiku, Untold Want, Colors, Orphans, Coma Regalia, The Longer We Stray From The LightNever Better, Ache/Emelie, Gorgon Sans Seer, Regret, John Q Public, Dance & Destroy, Kaki.O.Badi, It Kills Me, Body Of Wasps and Plaguewalker.
CountryIndiana/Colorado U.S.A.
Years Active2016-present
Song: "XVII"
Album: "Empyrean"
Year: 2018
For fans of: TentaclesUnited Nations, Untold Want, This Land Is Now Dead, Welcome The Plague Year, Truman, Coma Regalia, Curtains, Beau Navire, (early) Examination Of The..., Frail Hands, Council Of Rats, Ostraca, Perfect Blue, The Pax Cecilia, Minaret, Saligia, Guidelines, Komarov, Clancy Six and Déraciné aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): Middle Man Records
This post's artist is from the August 2018 Mix. This is track #3.
You can download: the August 2018 Mix#8 right here or get the new September 2018 Mix#9 here.

I think I may have checked out HEX LARIAT in late 2016 when 'Subaqueous' was released but, for shame, they fell off of my radar immediately. Luckily in mid-2018 the two-piece collaboration project released 'Empyrean' and the band immediately caught my attention to the max. They play a very diverse concoction of punk, hardcore, screamo, black metal and post-hardcore. Some songs rip through in 30 seconds while others slowly traverse through five-plus minutes of ambient yet still hard hitting hardcore. Out of everything awesome here, the vocals are probably my favourite things. Top notch, says I. The screams are nightmarish in their delivery, like a less feline sounding Johnny Whitney - harsh, sharp and venomous. Holy bujeesus, those things shred. I personally find myself enjoying the better recording and thicker sound of the screams on the new LP, but the first LP is still very piercing. Let's take a look at that disco, shall we?

'Subaqueous' was released in December of 2016, and was automatically partially lost in the shuffle of me compiling a year end list, as releases in that month, especially later, so often are. This debut album also features Shawn's partner Lauren on violin, which gives some of the songs a bit of a Loom and Sinking Steps, Rising Eyes, only much more urgent and cathartic. Opener "I" is a sludgy, dark and lo-fi romp through both dirty and beautiful hardcore, including a gorgeous midsection that brings instrumental giants Omega Massif to mind. "II" is a much shorter endeavor, only just cracking three minutes, and is more in line with the average HEX LARIAT song length. The vocals here sound like they were recorded through a broken megaphone, giving them an ominous, raw feel, and they really mesh with the chugs and mammoth crashing of the drums. A few seconds into "III" and you'll think this is a split, as it starts extremely light-hearted with those guitars, but soon the vocals come in and you're reminded that this is still, in fact, HEX LARIAT. The subsequent build with the bass is very Moss Rose and might be the highlight of the record for me. "IV" is a short and violent precursor to what Under Glass sounds like, "V" is much more vast, taking the time and space to expand and adapt to its environment, although the last half is pretty darn dense and intense. The closer and by this point very obviously titled "VI" is another relatively slow, subterranean, eerie and ominous trek that exhausts itself by 2:41.

This year's LP is fucking sick, plain and simple. It features artwork by non other than elite screamo artist Connie Sgarbossa and houses twice as many songs as the debut. 'Empyrean' is all over the map, but I don't mean that in a disorganized and disjointed kind of way, it actually flows really well, just don't expect any obvious shifts or generic song structures. It opens with the raging continuation of the previous EP, titled "VII", which after a brief, quiet introduction, proceeds to tear shit up with an additional hook of subtle melodies and outright wildfire from one minute onward. "IX" is only 32 seconds but it's another rager with exceptional vocals, as is "X". "XI" opens in crushing fashion with deep and dark growlss before moving into fast and shrieky emo-violence. Besides the fast, chaotic stuff, you've also got your breezy "VIII", an interlude at "XII", the chill "XV" which gives off a warm, ambient light and the cavernous and brooding opening of "XIII" reminds me of Welcome The Plague Year, Corea and OsoLuna. "XIV" somehow manages to mix scorching. screamy hardcore with some Desaparecidos-esque singing, and goddamn it works really fuckin' well with those playful guitars. "XV" walks a very graceful line between claustrophobic hardcore and experimental post-hardcore/rock. "XVI" follows and is another slow and atmospheric song, but this is much darker, depressing and is constantly threatening to go ballistic, although it never quite gets there. The dual vocals in "XVII" are fantastic and make the song epic as fuck. I especially dig the calm, serenading outro that wraps it all up, while "XVIII" wraps up the LP in fine form as it will annihilate any hope you have of resisting how awesome this release is.

I don't know when this project will release again, but good goddamn I'm gonna be all over it!

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DISCOGRAPHY

2016 - Subaqueous cassetteLP (stream/donate/download here)

2018 - Empyrean cassetteLP (stream/donate/download here)

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(2018) HEX LARIAT - "XVII" (from 'Empyrean')

(2018) HEX LARIAT - "XIV" (from 'Empyrean')

(2018) HEX LARIAT - "XI" (from 'Empyrean')

(2016) HEX LARIAT - "III" (from 'Subaqueous')

(2016) HEX LARIAT - "V" (from 'Subaqueous')

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HEX LARIAT additional links

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