RUNNING THE GAUNTLET: EXPANDER, WOUNDVAC, KEITZER, THE DEVIL WANTS HER SWAGGER BACK
We usually begin Sundays here on our metallic island with a REARVIEW MIRROR post, but I decided this week I’d rather use the time to spread around some more new music — even though I did a shitload of that yesterday.
I was also motivated by the fact that the music of the following four bands — three of whom I discovered in the last 48 hours — seemed like it would all go together pretty well, because they’ve all got varying degrees of punk or hardcore in their DNA (though they’re all metal as hell, too). By the time you get to the end of this post, you’ll be smiling through broken teeth.
First up is Expander. They’re ensconced in my old hometown of Austin, Texas. I paused in my musical explorations to check out some music from their new album Endless Computer when I spotted the very recognizable artwork of Luca Carey on the cover. The fact that the album is being released (on May 16th) by Nuclear War Now! was an added inducement, and another nail in the coffin came when I saw that the album was engineered by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Joel Grind.
But I should add that I’ve also written about Expander before, reviewing their debut EP Laws of Power and then writing about their two-song, self-titled EP they released in 2015 (also produced by Kurt Ballou). And both of those releases were so damned good that I would have checked this out regardless of anything else.
You can hear both of the tracks that are now up on Bandcamp by letting the player below continue to run. And what you’ll hear is a pair of explosive fireballs, physically mauling affairs that pack enough punch to take your head off, but laced with highly addictive melodies that seem to arrive on earth from some distant solar system, or maybe our own future time, when all order has dissolved and vipers have become the dominant life form.
Let me come at a different way: Yes, this is rampaging barbarity (the vocals alone will put a road burn on your skin), but man, it’s really interesting, too. There’s a lot to be said for a band capable of rupturing your spleen and re-wiring the neuron clusters in your head at the same time.
Now we come to Woundvac from Phoenix, Arizona, and their new 7″ EP Infamy. This isn’t the band’s first release — I spot six others on their Bandcamp page — but it’s the first one I’ve heard. It won’t be the last.
In a nutshell, this EP is a total blast. Unless you’ve recently been mummified, sitting still while listening to it is an impossibility. The seven songs on Infamy (which include two bonus tracks, one of which is a berserker cover of a Pantera song) brawl and bruise their way through your skull in the space of about 19 minutes, and that’s 19 minutes of massively headbangable, viscerally powerful, maniacally violent music.
These songs romp and rampage with turbocharged energy, the vocals a howling fury, the rhythm section a finely tuned yet merciless weapon, and the savage riffs and frenzied guitar leads constructed to sink their hooks in damned fast and then tear your head apart. The music makes you feel vibrantly alive, and might make you want to kill a motherfucker too.
Infamy was released on February 17th and it’s available on Bandcamp as a “name your price” download and as a reasonably priced vinyl.
Germany’s Keitzer have been shredding and blasting since 1999, with six albums to their credit, yet I’m only now finding out about them. Their latest album is Ascension, which came out last October. I haven’t yet listened to all of it, just the three tracks that are streaming on Bandcamp.
Those three tracks are absolutely incinerating, lashing together ingredients from death metal, grind, and crust in a way that burns like a flamethrower and has the wild, furious, lethal energy of a piranha swarm attacking a breathing land-dweller that’s had the misfortune of falling into their domain.
The seething tremolo riffs in the song are as poisonous as cobra venom, the drumming is off the chain, and the vocalist sounds possessed by demons. But apart from the sheer electrifying violence of the music, the pulsating and swirling melodies in the songs are as immediately addictive as they are disturbing.
There’s truly excellent songwriting and instrumental execution on display here, the kind of craft that reflects experience as well as a high level of skill. It’s the kind of rampant savagery that shoots bolts of electricity from your banging and windmilling head straight down the spine.
THE DEVIL WANTS HER SWAGGER BACK
Interesting name this Dublin band chose for themselves, and although I have my doubts about the devil needing any more swagger, these dudes have plenty to spare.
On Friday they premiered a video (via Overdrive) for a song called “End Game” from their next EP, Contempt. I was impressed when I saw that the band are donating all proceeds from the track’s download to the Samaritans charity organization, which deals with cases of attempted suicide and people affected by suicide. Lyrically, the song addresses the same subjects. Contempt will be their second EP, following on the heels of last year’s Malice.
I’ll admit that there’s some nostalgia for the hey-day of metalcore in my affection for this song, but that’s only part of the explanation. It’s an invigorating piece of battering, with hard-slugging grooves and throat-ripping vocal fury, accented with eerie wisps of shimmering spectral melody. I’m hooked.
The video was made by Angel Croitor, and it very effectively captures the energy of the band, and the song. Contempt is still in production, but is projected for release by the middle of this year.
Download the new single here, and you’ll do some good with your money for people besides yourself:
TDWHSB on Facebook:
good stuff here. Keitzer is the shit. TDWHSB was define toy a grower. I was really enjoying the track by the end.
Glad you’re liking those. Keitzer is indeed the shit, and I had the same reaction to TDWHSB — was really into it by the end.
Keitzer’ is power. Reminiscent of Ares Kingdom at a few places. I think Give Praise is doing a vinyl release of the record this year.