Calling this “Part 2” may imply that I intended to spend this weekend listening to music from Scottish bands, but instead, I’m just being my usual impulsive self. Yesterday, I combined music from four Scottish bands (and one South African one) in a post labeled with the unofficial Scottish national anthem penned by Robert Burns. Via our Facebook page and comments on that post, we got recommendations for other Scottish metal bands to check out. So I thought, what the hell, go for it!
Unlike yesterday’s post, where I featured bands I know and like, this one is more like what we publish in the MISCELLANY series — spotlighting bands whose music we’ve never heard before, not knowing what they will sound like or whether we’ll enjoy what they’re doing.
The bands I picked from yesterday’s recommendations are (in no particular order) Scordatura (Glasgow), Sufferinfuck (Livingston/West Lothian), Co-Exist (Glasgow), Threshold Sicks (Perth), and Zombie Militia (Inverness). I’ll tell you up-front that this is a divergent mix of metal, and it is all GOOD. So prepare for an underground roller-coaster ride.
I checked out this band (pictured above) based on a suggestion from Lisa Coverdale on our Facebook page. Scordatura have their own Facebook page here. They released a six-song debut EP in 2009 called Open Skies as well as a 2010 pre-production demo. When I visited their Facebook page, I discovered that they’re working on songs for a new album and released two of them last year in a promo that’s available for free download on Bandcamp. So I downloaded it (HERE) and listened.
Based on those songs, I would say that the Suffocation influence is strong with this band, which in my book is all to the good. The music is that Suffo brand of percussive death metal, the object of which is to leave you thoroughly pulped but with a crooked smile on your face. Rapid-fire de-tuned riffs ride roughshod while auto-weapon drumming cut the legs out from under you, and the vocals are a quite credible simulation of Frank Mullen in full-on tomahawk mode. There’s even an old-school breakdown on “Visceral Disembowelment”.
And on top of all that, these are songs you can actually remember after they’re finished. Especially for a young band, I thought these two tracks were damned impressive. Judge for yourselves:
“Back to Crack”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Scordatura-2011-Promo-Demo-01-Back-To-Crack.mp3|titles=Scordatura – Back To Crack]
“Visceral Disembowelment”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Scordatura-2011-Promo-Demo-02-Visceral-Disembowelment.mp3|titles=Scordatura – Visceral Disembowelment]
P.S. Per this interview, “scordatura” is Italian for “mis-tuned”. Also, Scordatura have a ReverbNation page HERE that includes for streaming and free download not only those two 2011 demo tunes but also recordings of two other songs that seem to be new (at least they’re not on any of the band’s releases that I could find), recorded live at the Dead Haggis Deathfest in Edinburgh last year.
Credit to Lisa Coverdale for this recommendation, too. But really, all she had to say was the band’s name, because really, how could you possibly go wrong with a band named Sufferinfuck? In fact, you could add “infuck” to the end of any word and have yourself a fine-ass band name, but adding it to “suffer” just says metal, doesn’t it?
Here’s what I discovered about Sufferinfuck: Last month Grindcore Karaoke, in cooperation with Grind To Death, released a new 10-song Sufferinfuck EP called In Boredom. You can get that mutha for free at Bandcamp HERE. The band also have their own blog HERE, where you can also download In Boredom in case the Bandcamp page exceeds its monthly download limit.
All 10 tracks on the EP add up to less than 8 minutes of music total, so I let all 10 songs run rampant through my head. This is one ultraviolent assault on the senses – explosive, hell-ripping, bloody, body-mangling music. By the time the non-stop distortion of “Stagnant” was finished, I thought I was, too — and I was only half-way through.
Here’s the stream of all 10 tracks on In Boredom, and for a more thorough review, I recommend this one at Grind to Death.
Guess what? Another Lisa recommendation (on the heels of a message from the band themselves). Co-Exist are the longest-running band among those covered in this post, having been active since 1998. Their latest album, Violent Intentions Begin With Slow Incisions, was released in 2010. It includes such delectably titled tunes as “A Skinning of People You Hate” (a fantasy of mine) and “Grind You Fuckers To Dust”. The album is available on iTunes and at no charge on Death Metal Invasion, and almost all of the tracks can be streamed and downloaded individually (at no charge) at the band’s ReverbNation page.
From perusing the Co-Exist Facebook page (HERE), I learned that the band are recording a new EP called SKELF, but with no music from that yet available, I decided to listen to those two songs from the last album whose titles I found so appealing, plus a track called “A Violent Process”, because it features Joe McGlynn from Glasgow’s Man Must Die as a guest vocalist.
The music turns out not to be quite as easy to categorize as I thought it would be. Yes, at its core it’s grindcore (or more accurately death/grind), with a big tip of the hat to Napalm Death, but there are surprises. The low end is a titanic tank attack, and the guitars are distorted and down-tuned and eviscerating. The music slams and jars and gets your neck snapping while it kicks the crap out of your guts. The vocals veer from maniacal shrieking to cavernous roaring — but (stunningly) there are also punk-style clean vocals and demented melodic scales in the mix, too (on that song about skinning).
This is distinctive, memorable, heavy-caliber, high-energy blasting. Check it out:
“A Violent Process”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/03-A-VIOLENT-PROCESS-Feat-Joe-from-Man-must-die.mp3|titles=Co-Exist – A Violent Process]
“A Skinning of People You Hate”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/02-A-SKINNING-OF-PEOPLE-YOU-HATE.mp3|titles=Co-Exist – A Skinning of People You Hate]
“Grind You Fuckers To Dust”
[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/05-GRIND-YOU-FUCKERS-TO-DUST.mp3|titles=Co-Exist – Grind You Fuckers To Dust]
This band was one whose name appeared in the comments to yesterday’s post. Last year, they self-released their debut album, The Scorpion Ensemble (great name), and they’re already at work on songs for the next one, based on what I read on their Facebook page. Three tracks from the album are available for free download on the Threshold Sicks Bandcamp page, and I listened to all of those for this post.
There’s nothing subtle about the music — its rough and raw, just one concussive head-butt after another with some rapid kidney punches thrown in for good measure. It’s generally fast, packed with distorted grooves and demented drum assualts, jammed with hammering riffs and squalling solos, and busting out with throat-bursting vocals. It’s kind of a workable fusion of gutter thrash, death metal, groove metal, and sludge. The rough, muddy production enhances the tear-shit-up quality of the music. I really like it.
Here are the three Threshold Sick tracks I listened to for this post:
Zombie Militia is another band recommended through a comment on yesterday’s post. They have an official web page at this location. In 2011, they were voted the best metal band in Scotland at the 2011 Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) and they were also the winners of the Scottish Metal 2 The Masses contest, which got them a set at Bloodstock Open Air last year.
Their members identify themselves as Burns, Hando, Garr, Huggy, and Soapy. This sounds like the steps of a sex act and its aftermath, in that order. Naturally, I wondered what kind of music would be produced by a band named Zombie Militia with members called Huggy and Soapy.
Though the band have an EP in the works, I was only able to find one song that’s currently available, though it can be downloaded for free via the band’s Facebook page and their ReverbNation page. It’s a live version of a song called “Pandemic”, and it’s true to the influences identified by the band — Sepultura, early Slipknot, and Lamb of God — with beefy riffs, heavy grooves, and scraped-larynx vocals. You know what I mean — it’s prime headbang music.
“Pandemic (Live at The Ironworks)”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Zombie-Militia-Pandemic-Live-at-The-Ironworks.mp3|titles=Zombie Militia-Pandemic (Live at The Ironworks)]
I also found this video of the band performing the song “Destructive Rituals” at the same venue where “Pandemic” was recorded. This fucking thing explodes like a mortar attack and escalates from there. The imperfection in the audio quality actually enhances the completely destructive impact of the song, including a bass tone that comes off like a human meat grinder. Sadly, the video ends before the song does. Damn this is fun!