Rot In Hell continue to be one of the UK’s most clandestine hardcore bands, operating under a veil of ambiguity, misdirection and other big words that basically mean ‘mysterious and cool’. It’s been a good couple of years since I caught up with them and with rumours of a new record swirling around the cosmos (well, their ex-vocalist mentioned it to me on Twitter), I figured it was high time we found out the score. Read on for our no-holds-barred, exclusive interview with singer/guitarist/songwriter/miscreant/founding member POI.
TIGHT TO THE NAIL : Are you currently in the process of recording a new Rot In Hell release?
POI : Yes
TIGHT TO THE NAIL : Can you tell me any more information about that at this time?
POI : Sure
TIGHT TO THE NAIL : Will it feature loud guitars or acoustic guitars?
POI : Both
TIGHT TO THE NAIL : Do you like football?
TIGHT TO THE NAIL : Can you tell me when this new Rot In Hell record will be out?
You heard it here first, fans!
Follow POI on Twitter, if you like. Use your ears to listen to an old song below.
Even the most optimistic fan might not have been able to foresee the long-term vitality of Miles Davis’ posthumous catalog Turbochong. Thanks to multi-disc box sets thatYamabushi Recordings, whohave unearthed the studio sessions that went into iconic fusion albums such as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew recording this, their debut LP, Outrageous, the trumpeter-composer band have remained an ever-renewable resource.
On the whole, this feels appropriate, especially when the artist under consideration created and then ditched exciting new stylistic languages with Picasso-like abandontheir debut EP, Disrespectful. But a nagging question also hovers around each new deluxe set to come off the assembly line: How long can the party last?
Unlike “Bootleg Series”their debut EP, more easily understood, this four-discone tape volume strides through different decades of the DavisTurbochong story. So at the outset, we get crispfilthy,acoustic-instrumenthorrific performances of tunes like “‘Round Midnight” some songs, while at the far end of the boxtape, we’re delivered to the high-humidity atmospheres of the rock-tinged, experimental funk of Davis’ 1970s lineups.unsettlingly ignorant punk.
Are these early Davis appearances at NewportTurbochongsongsclassic? Of course. But in the main, the music on the first disc of this boxtapehas been available for a while is new. Moreover, while DavisTurbochongcertainly makes a point of getting his various groups to the Newport festival—both its U.S. and foreign-touring iterations sounding as vile as possible, there’s little sense that the destinationanything hasmuch influenced histheirfast-moving aesthetic development.
So instead of being wall-to-wall necessary, this Bootleg Series editiontapeis simply three-quarters-revelatory. But what is legitimately new here is as good as anything else in the Davis-rarityTurbochong series. The second disctape gives us multiple, intense songs by the trumpeter’s “second great quintet,”band ,which traveled to Newport somewhere in London, probably.in both 1966 and 1967. The back-to-back sequencing of these performances shows how fast Davis’Turbochong’s music wasis developing.
The powerhouse performance inonthe boxtape, however—a true drop-everything-and-call-your-friends-over-to-listen concert song, is a 47minute stretchsongon disc three near the end of the tape, which puts the spotlight on a 1973 Davis band that would later go on to form the core of the ensemble on the live album Dark Magus. has the lyric “SHE GOT MY COCK LOOKING LIKE A FUCKING CUCUMBER”
Out soon on Yamabusi Recordings. Click this. Sorry, Pitchfork, but not sorry.
Ithaca‘s new EP Trespassers, following on from their debut EP Narrow the Way released last year, is due to be released on my birthday, the 17th of July. Adhering to my strict personal criteria, this act alone, by default, qualifies it to be listed among the best of the year almost instantly. If they were to tick any of the other boxes on my list of qualifying points, such as (but not limited to) : having a shark on the cover, having an owl on the cover, having a shark and an owl on the cover, songs about runes, songs about sharks or songs featuring Mike Patton, then they would be issued the coveted Tight To The Nail Best Record of 2015, (and its corresponding trophy, carved from cosmic rocks) right now.
As it stands, they don’t feature any sharks or Mike Patton (maybe it’s not too late to change that, Ithaca) so I can’t jump to any conclusions about my 2015 awards, but what they do have, aside from an exceptional release date, is :
A Fucking Great EP
Now, if you were a regular reader of this website back when I was a regular writer of this website, you might remember me harping on about Ithaca. They are A) from London and B) have 5 members and C) in Djamila Azzouz have one of the most impressive vocalists in UK metal right now. Seriously, her lungs must be in ribbons. Narrow The Way had excellent cover art and excellent songs, but Trespassers has excellent-er cover art and even more excellent-er songs.
Drawing a comparison to Oathbreaker isn’t something that should be done lightly, but, shit, Ithaca more than deserve it; balancing passages of bruised quiet with enormous slabs of pummeling noise, all wrapped up in a crisp, frosty production courtesy of Sir Joe Clayton. We fucking love Joe Clayton. Anyway, there’s a lot to love here: the attention they pay to the gaps during a breakdown, cramming the silences with fiddles and fills; the way Azzouz delivers her lyrics with a battered fragility but somehow, at the same time, with a massive fuck you; or how, quite importantly, they manage to take the common influences which a million bands crib from but make them feel fresh and alive, unique and special. Specific mention must go to the climactic title track though, which, during its running time, manages to pack in everything that makes Ithaca so exciting, throws some violins in there for good measure and ends on the most outrageously heavy and obnoxiously bluesy beatdown that you’d be forgiven for shitting your pants on the train if the rest of the passengers knew what you were listening to.
As anyone who has ever bought a CD or read a review on Pitchfork will tell you, a review without a score is a total bag of bullshit. How are you, how are we, as fans of musical craftsmanship, supposed to know how good something is based purely on words? Without that number at the bottom, how on earth are we expected to be able to form an opinion? More importantly, how will Metacritic be able to take what we say and boil it down to some nonsensical average that nobody understands and everybody hates?! It’s a madness. This is why, starting from today, we will be implementing a numerical scoring system to any future reviews on Tight To The Nail. But this won’t be like any old regular numerical system. No. We will be attributing a score, marked out of a total of 5, using the value of Lars.
Before we begin : a note about decimal points
We won’t ever be adding a decimal point following a mark out of Lars because, frankly, what a load of fucking shit that is. When you can explain to us what causes a grindcore record to score a 7.4 instead of a 7.5, we will happily drink a pint of bleach and piss in celebration. Our Mark of Lars Scoring System, or MoLSS for short, should be strong enough in and of itself to never need to rely on a decimal point. Also, you can’t fracture Lars and distribute him by decimal amounts. He’s too powerful. And anyway, decimal points are for maths losers. Are you a maths loser?
THE NEW SYSTEM, EXPLAINED!
5 Lars out of 5
Top marks! Full House! The whole shebang! When a record is awarded the highly coveted 5 Lars out of 5, you know that it’s time you stopped your yabbering and slapped some money down straight away. At the very least you’ll want to open up uTorrent or see if some pleb has stuck it on Mediafire. This will be a record of such impeccable quality that it will quite literally change your life and the lives of the people around you. Things will never be the same again.
4 Lars out of 5
One less than 5 Lars out of 5. A record that reaches for greatness and almost touches it but somehow fucks up something so fundamental that it manages to tarnish the whole experience, a bit like when they don’t put salt on the fries in McDonalds. Tight To The Nail wishes to make it clear that we will happily accept monetary bribes in order to raise a score from a 4 Lars to the highly respected 5 Lars. Because good luck attaining any form of respect if you are anything less than perfect.
3 Lars out of 5
Erm… not really sure about this one. Kind of just … in the middle. For records that score this, maybe just pretend you’ve heard it and then tell people it’s shit / incredible depending on how many fav’s the tweet will get.
2 Lars out of 5
So close to the gutter that you can almost taste the filth, but at least we can tell that they’re trying. Usually applied as a pity score to generic powerviolence bands from Ohio and metalcore bands signed to BSM with names like Caution Horses, because somebody has to feel sorry for them. And if we can’t be bothered to write about them, who the heck will?
1 Lars out of 5
Genuinely offensive, but not in the good Profound Lore way, more in the Emmure please-fall-into-a-pit-of-human-shit-please-Frankie way. Integrity is at the forefront of the new TTTN review system, but with that said, and as with the 5 out of 5, we are open to financial contributions so that we award a band of your choosing with a 1 Lars so that you can tarnish the musical reputation of your enemies. Don’t ever expect to earn big $$$ once we’ve slapped you with a 1 Lars. Oh boy!
So there we go. A new revolutionary system, put into place to help you, the consumer. We hope that this clears everything up! See you on the other side, folks! That is, if the other side is where all the sweet reviews are!
Hello, dear reader. Thanks for continuing to come back here, despite the fact that fuck all is going on.
As you may have read, I won’t be updating this site with new features, reviews and recommendations. But I am still writing for a number of places like Cvlt Nation, Corehammer and Broken Amp. The easiest way to keep up with new stuff I done is to go to either of the following two places and like and/or follow. That way, you’ll see links to bullshit that I’ve coughed up onto the internet. Click those logos, babes.
If that’s not direct enough, here’s links to my archives on the sites that I just mentioned up there;
It’s entirely appropriate that the cover art of Seizures’ The Sanity Universal features an image of a densely populated galaxy. An infinite system of stars, bound by interstellar gases, held in place by gravity – that most humbling of forces. Gaze at it for too long, lose yourself in the sheer scale of it, and you can almost feel yourself being crushed under the immense weight. It’s a perfect allegory for Seizures’ second LP; a stunning piece of work that is incredibly vast, totally overpowering and almost impossible to quantify…..
After almost 4 years of writing content for Tight To The Nail, it’s with a heavy heart that I announce a hiatus. There’s various reasons, none of which I’ll bore you with, but for the foreseeable future I’m drawing the curtain on my little corner of the Internet. The existing content won’t be going anywhere, there’ll just be nothing new added.
It’s been excellent. I met some awesome people, made some great friends and encountered a fair few dickheads too. Just like real life.
I’ll still be about on Twitter and Instagram and all that stuff, so that aspect of TTTN won’t change. But until next time, PEACE.
CORRUPT MORAL ALTAR – MECHANICAL TIDES (Season Of Mist)
It takes a grind band with balls the size of planets to slow things down in the middle of their debut LP and belt out a slow paced, clean sung ballad. But clearly, Liverpool’s Corrupt Moral Altar do not give one single fuck and proceed to do just that; the majestic, monolithic ‘Admit Defeat’ seeing them take a break from pummeling at your head and instead taking aim for your heart. And, in what’s perhaps the first instance of a grindcore band achieving something genuinely touching, by God: it works. Oh, did I mention that it’s grind legend Mitch Harris on vocal duties for this track?
Yes, Corrupt Moral Altar are far from lacking in ambition with Mechanical Tides, their latest installment of devastating ferocity following two EP’s in the space of a year since their formation. The progressive melodic elements captured on ‘Admit Defeat’ are really just the icing on a super-heavy cake; these madmen from Merseyside pull no punches and deliver a densely layered, immaculately constructed and forward-thinking lesson in razor-sharp grind and serrating metallic brutality. From the unsettling insectoid synths that bubble behind the anti-anthem of ‘Blood Harmony’ to the Jane Doe-esque headbanger of ‘Garland Greene’ and out through the city-levelling bluster as finale ‘Insect Politicians’ closes out, it’s a record that constantly surpises, impresses and destroys in equal measure. Really quite phenomenal.
Around 90 seconds into opening track ‘Lied To’, Idylls have already cranked the intensity to such a level that it’s hard to imagine where they’ll take it from there. Given that there’s still just under 6 minutes to go until they’re done with the opening salvo to their second LP Prayer For Terrene, it’s no small feat that they continually build the anxiety and the volume to the point where it feels like your skull will cave in and your brain/eyes/hair will leak out through your slack jaw in a congealed mess. And you’re still only at the 4 minute mark.
Yes, as you may have gathered: Idylls are exhaustingly rapacious and, yes, it’s tempting to go on and just list the ways: (how ‘Sow Control’ bursts into life and smears your nose across your face, how the absurdly elastic bass line of ‘Pay With Youth’ rearranges your motor skills, how ‘Crashing Boar’ sounds like a schizophrenic cover of ‘Surfin’ Bird’) but hopefully all I’ll need to say is that listening to this record is about as pleasant as holding your genitals against the spinning wheels of a dirtbike and you’ll run off and buy it and torture your ears into oblivion. Astonishingly ferocious stuff, and completely brilliant.
It’s interesting that while Enthroned ride the second wave (ir)religiously, Emptiness, who share two members with this Flemish horde, look to the inky-black void of the abstract for impetus.
That’s not to say Emptiness’s fourth full-length and second consecutive album for Dark Descent, ‘Nothing But the Whole’, is so challenging that you will float aimlessly while trying to find a foothold, however. ‘Nothing But the Whole’, while expressing non-linear ideas throughout its seven songs, is centred by its coiled yet characteristic structures and compelling song-craft, all of which circumvent the confines of death and black metal to spawn something special in the process.
The use of tension and unexpected release is paramount to the album’s uniqueness, but so too are other nuances, such as the band’s keen use of repetition and expansive textures and atmosphere. Absorb all of this together and once an understanding begins to manifest, only then does Emptiness’s philosophy for perverting conventions fully proclaim itself.
And so the proliferation of honest, no-frills, homegrown hardcore continues. Dublin’s Obstacle offer up a rigorous powerviolence clobbering, but it’s not just their solidly strict adherence to formula that marks them out as a band worth your time, it’s the little tweaks and smart touches they sprinkle throughout that grants them that distinction.
Borrowing elements from the both the east and west coasts of America (Boston’s guttural Mind Eraser and LA’s grim Despise You are both owed a debt) as well as featruing a traditional post millenium UKHC stomp (think Dirty Money), Obstacle wear their influences clearly for all to see, but they’re not afraid to add their own spin to things. ‘Nothing’ is a short, atmospheric reprieve, and it’s uncommon for a young HC band to allow themselves the room to breathe out and add such dynamics to a debut release. Props to them, because it works; injecting a sense of despair and misery that elevates (or rather, sinks) their material.
It’s not too often that a HC band can find enough to say spread across a full length, but if this debut EP is anything to go on, and if Obstacle can refine and fully develop their talent for creating an atmosphere, then hearing them play about with that with more running time and a bit more experience under their belt is a tantalizing prospect indeed.