Straight To The Point has usually been a catch up feature on reviews that we missed out on earlier in the year. Previous versions have been genre specific, hardcore or punk usually, featuring smaller reviews than our usually in depth ones, telling you all the important stuff. This year we are doing larger Straight To The Point features, it’s less genre specific and is ranging on various releases throughout the year. Part one was released in the summer and can be found here.
Release Date: 4th August 2017
TNSRecords / kibou records
‘Cherry Blossom Life’, the third album by East Anglian bruisers The Domestics, a release that sees the band drawing ever more on their Japanese, Swedish and USHC influences, integrating them further into an already ferocious sound. It’s a pissed off album, that delivers short, fast and aggressive songs that tough on personal topics, such as domestic violence. Within that, we get blasts of filthy distorted riffs and throat-tearing vocals layered on top of simplistic, hard-hitting beats; Don’t expect any mind-blowing technical prowess. This release is quite one dimensional; you hear the first track and you get a strong idea of what is to follow. The core values are very much the same throughout — a simple message of “fuck shit up”.
Download: Dead In The Dirt, Homegrown Violence, Death Trap
For the fans of: Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, Negative Approach, Casual Nausea
Release Date: 20th May 2017
What you get with Grand Collapse is a vast range of influences on display compared to most UK-based hardcore punk bands; the Cardiff-lads combine the upbeat intensity of skate punk with the emotion of melodic hardcore. The range of musical styles shift throughout ‘Along The Dew’; ‘Luciano Ponzetto’ is a 37-second blast of vigorous, thrashing riffage and ferocity, yet a track such as ‘Llygaid Gwyrrd’ showcases more rhythm and groove, demonstrating a youth crew hardcore style certain to trigger pit action. ‘Though Bloodshot and Blurry’ reveals more of the skate punk vibes, looking past the regular throaty shouts from Calvin Sewell in the verses, as we get the more upbeat guitar hooks and catchy clean vocals in the chorus. ‘Along The Dew’ is a solid release that reveals how good the DIY scene in UK punk is at the moment. The Welsh Lads can be proud of a release that does more than just create chaos like a lot of their peers, as musically its offers the hint of diversity needed to hook in more than just punk elitists.
Download: Though Bloodshot and Blurry, Luciano Ponzetto, Along the Dew
For the fans of: Darko, Riggots, Throwing Stuff, Pizzatramp
Release Date: 18th August 2017
Nuclear Blast Records
Deathcore feels like a sub-genre on its way out. In recent years, the bands that paved its way either don’t exist anymore, are not as popular as they once were or have moved in a different direction altogether. Aussie deathcore act Thy Art Is Murder falls into that latter category with their latest album, ‘Dear Desolation’. The five-piece built a name for itself as one of the hardest hitting acts in deathcore since releasing ‘Hate’ and ‘Holy War’. But now it looks like Thy Art’ is trying to separate itself away from the core suffix and edge towards fitting in better with the death metal scene. What hasn’t changed is the all-out, brutal savagery and the creation of an uneasy atmosphere, suggesting that the Aussies certainly know where their strengths lay. The album is still unapologetically heavy and we expected nothing less. We have a real shit-kicker on our hands, one that will create the nastiest of circle pits, the hardest moshes and make necks ache.
Download: Puppet Master, The Son of Misery, The Skin of the Serpent
For the fans of: Ingested, Carnifex, All Shall Perish
Release Date: 8th September 2017
Our most reviewed band has released their finest work yet. Hastings folk-punks, Matilda’s Scoundrels have finally released some recorded material that matches their buoyant live atmosphere. musically we get what we expect from the sextet, is a brand of aggro folk-punk that is fun and gritty, full of crunchy riffs and gruff dual vocals topped off by a plinky sounding mandolin, a tin whistle and an accordion, build that folk authenticity. The album closer, ‘Into the Fire’, showcases this at its true potential as each instrument really grabs your attention individually. The punkier side peaks through in ‘Shackles & Bones’, featuring some of Matilda’s Scoundrels most distorted riffs to date. ‘Godforsaken Sea’; it has a big sing-along segment of “Away, away, away we go to sea”, which is always enjoyable to join in and one of the most fun songs that band have ever written. We now have an album’s worth of songs that trumps older material completely with plenty of sing-along hooks and segments to rock out to.
Download: Shackles & Bones, Into the Fire, Godforsaken Sea
For the fans of: The Lagan, Mick O’Toole, Roughneck Riot
Release Date: 5th February 2017
Just Say Nay’s ‘Shit Out of Luck’ is definitely one of my top discoveries of the year. What you can expect from the band is infectiously catchy anthems, poppy melodies and fun sing-alongs, all with the added grittiness of ska-core done the United Kingdom way. The songwriting is so joyful. There is a proper basement show vibe to the quality of this EP; you can tell that this is a band in the early stages of their career, and not quite matching the polished sound of many of their peers just yet, but the songwriting is fantastic. This is one of those EPs that gets better as it progresses. ‘Bouncer’ comes in with a chirpy bass-line, swiftly followed by many voices shouting “na–na–na–na-na”, and much like on the opener, ‘Tempted’ the ska nature of the track grabs your attention with the upstroke rhythms coming across in an energetic manner, and the horn section seeming a lot more intricate in terms of its melodies, too. The chorus is extremely catchy, a pure ska-punk anthem, which is then blown out of the water by the final song, ‘Low Blow’, with its “da-da-da” sing-along segment. Both tracks have become two of my favourites in ska for 2017.
Download: Bouncer, Low Blow
For the fans of: Skaciety, Lead Shot Hazard, Call Me Malcolm
Release Date: 20th October 2017
Just eight months following ‘Shit Out Of Luck’, Just Say Nay came out with ‘Logistical Nightmares’, which feels like part two to the predecessor because the songwriting is so similar, which is expected witch two releases so close together. ‘Pass Me A Cloud’, which drives us straight into those infectious brass melodies and skank worthy upstroke rhythms; Your feet will be moving instantly. The opener is rather intense like ‘Bouncer’ was on the previous EP, yet the follow-up, ‘Jiggy Bean’ is a lot slower and less full of angst for the most part. The track is more reggae based; there is a hint of King Blues meets ‘Kill All The White Man’ by NOFX. The production of the release is an improvement on the predecessor, mildly. You still get that vibe that this band has some way to go to sound polished, but that takes nothing away from the fact these are still very enjoyable songs. These four tracks are very fun, perfect to get a crowd moving.
Download: Pass Me A Cloud, KPSD
For The Fans Of: Streetlight Manifesto, Lead Shot Hazard, Call Me Malcolm, King Punch
Release Date: 5th May 2017
At one point, Ghouls could have been considered the “next big thing to come” in the UK ska scene. Though it seems that the London based act is slowly ditching that sound and pushing towards something that is more pop-punk based. The new album, ‘Run’, kicks off with ‘Seasonal Affective’, a track that opens with fuzzy guitar chords and chunky bass-lines that better fit in with old Kings of Leon. This is nothing like what we’ve been used to on previous releases from Ghouls. ‘Autophobia’ however is closer to that old Ghouls sound, with much-missed brass melodies for a ska-infused pop-punk anthem full of catchy hooks. ‘Run’ is a solid release, full of catchy anthems and stunning musicianship. The album is a lot more melodic instead of hard-hitting like previous material. This feels like it is a focus on appealing to a larger audience for sure. Perhaps we did see this coming, as quite a few of these songs could have easily gone on ‘Great Expectations, Pt.2’.
Download: Oxytocin, Expect Greater Things, Autophobia
For the fans of: Yellowcard, Neck Deep, Millie Manders
Release Date: 29th September 2017
Combining members from Swingin’ Utters, Nothington, Western Addiction and Cobra Skulls, Sciatic Nerve comes in as the latest ‘supergroup’ within the Californian hardcore punk scene to provide the raw sound that their generation grew up listening to. This a nice blend of skate punk and hardcore; The eponymous first track opens with the sound of screechy feedback and distorted vocals, before crunchy riffs and up-tempo beats topped off by ferocious shouts kick in. It’s a punchy start to the. ‘Buy a Horse’ follows up with something a lot more fun and melodic in comparison; the angst is there but there are some strong, catchy skate-punk undertones in the uplifting riffs and hooking vocal melodies. Within three minutes, two songs are down and we have the core vibes of Sciatic Nerve set in stone. This album is a fun find and excellent for those that like anything off the Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph Records repertoires.
Download: Sleep, Buy a Horse, Things I Can Look at
For the fans of: Kid Dynamite,The Bronx, Trash Talk, Refused
Release Date: 23rd June 2017
It’s hard to exactly place Conveyer’s exact sound; I’m suggesting metallic hardcore or ’90s roots metalcore would probably be the closest description as they pull in the aggression and groove from the likes of Comeback Kid, yet also produce the emotion of Being As An Ocean and the raw ferocity of Reign Supreme. It’s a wicked blend. ‘Carrier’ brings quirky little catchy elements and cleanly sung vocals, yet the track is dominated by its chaotic nature, it is balanced out with epic melodic segments. All the while, the follow-up, ‘Drift’, kicks off with up-tempo rhythms, monstrous crunchy riffs and dominant roars that remind me of Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain. The disappointing thing about this album is that while there is variety is great, it’s still quite the blur when you listen to the album in full. The songs flow by and you just don’t notice, yet when heard individually, the tracks are nearly always solid.
Download: Carrier, No Future, The Whetstone
For the fans of: Comeback Kid, Being As An Ocean, Underoath, Reign Supreme
Release Date: 15th September 2017
Hoof & Horn Records
The Crash Mats have unleashed an amusing album, one that feels rather a novelty piece, but it’s a nice distraction from the serious topics that more punk bands unload with lately. ’69 Peruvian Panpipes Classics’ sounds like three mates having fun singing songs about not wanting to go to grandma’s house, and takeaways in Oldham. The ska come out for a track such as ‘Watchmen’, the upstroke rhythms and simple 1-2 beat makes you want to dance along with the chirpy brass melody. Another skanktastic hit comes in the form of ‘Party At Lou’s Place’, which is a nod to the Australian TV Soap Neighbours. This is one of many references to pop culture, another example would ‘Terry Funk Forever’ as The Crash Mats show their love for the hardcore wrestling legend. This is one of the most joyful releases of the year and would a listen if you want some fun.
Download: Oldham’s National Anthem, Watchmen, Party At Lou’s Place
For The Fans Of: Wonk Unit, The Liabilities, Asbo Retards
Release Date: 13th Oct 2017
Russian crossover act Siberian Meat Grinder’s new album, ‘Metal Bear Stomp’, has been a long time coming, ever since releasing the single ‘Face the Clan’ last year. The tone of this album is set right from the start with the opening track, ‘Ruder Than Thou’; we are treated to shredding riffs, high-tempo beats, vocals that are rougher than sandpaper, and a delivery that is crammed full of intense energy. It’s the sort of track to trigger mass circle pits and huge sing-alongs. ‘Metal Bear Stomp’ is a fun release with tracks that are more designed for the live experience than to sit and listen to at home. Each track has the intention to get your blood pumping, to get you rocking and losing your voice to the numerous shout-outs. The quality of the songwriting and the production has improved since the previous releases, as expected, and the album is heavier and more aggressive than past material, while it still remains incredibly hooking.
Download: Face the Clan, Style, Ruder Than Thou
For the fans of: Municipal Waste, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer
Release Date: 1st September 2017
‘Silence Isn’t Golden’ — a four-track EP from Figure It Out, which picks up where their last EP left off; with energetic, high-tempo tracks that nonetheless incorporate bigger and more powerful elements, too. The release kicks off with ‘Second Best’ — a bright and bubbly pop-punk hit with bouncy beats, chirpy rhythms, and ever-so-catchy segments; from the ”na-na-na” chants throughout the song to the infectious vocal melody and lyricism in the chorus. This EP consists of only four tracks, so It’s over pretty quickly. But you do get a taste of what the Arizona-lads have to offer, from the happy-go-lucky opener to the touching closer; for a pop-punk release, it has a bit of everything. It’s a decent listen, and especially the catchier opener really grabs your attention, so more of that on following releases would be a good thing. Still, it’s nice that not all tracks on the effort sound the same.
Download: Second Best, Silence Isn’t Golden
For the fans of: Sum 41, State Champs, Blink-182
Release Date: 13th January 2017
Demons Run Amok Entertainment
German hardcore outfit Miozan were once part of the old school elite that tore up Europe in the early 90s, having toured with high calibre bands such as Agnostic Front in their heyday. Miozan to reform with no intentions to make it permanent, yet the success of one show in 2014 ignited the fire in the band to make this a true comeback and release their first album in seventeen years, ‘Surrender Denied’. The theme for the album came from the bassist, Frank’s fight with cancer and how he didn’t surrender to it. The title track, is a huge anthem for the album, with great crunchy riffs, fast beats and countless sing-along hooks. ‘Reach Out’ is more of a raw hardcore punk hit, it’s gritty and the gang vocals in the intro give you the idea that this will be incredibly fun to sing along to live. ‘4 Chord Truth’ stands out about as punk as it gets on the album, with Pennywise style guitar rhythms that stick in your head, dirty distortion and gravelly shouts topped off with a relentless energy that makes it a stand out track. The core sound stands out like a sore thumb compared to the likes of genre leaders Terror in terms of lacking real vicious intent like most modern hardcore bands, but at the same time, these pioneers of European hardcore still fit in right at home with the rest. They have not lost their hunger in the slightest.
Download: 4 Chord Truth, Light Up The Stake, Surrender Denied
For The Fans Of: Wisdom In Chains, All For Nothing, No Turning Back
Release Date: 1st December 2017
It’s been a while since Sumerian Records’ flagship band, The Faceless have released new material. In the five-year gap since the release of ‘Autotheism’, there have been comments suggesting that The Faceless is just another Tool, and people questioned whether there will be another album from the extreme metal outfit. ‘Digging the Grave’ launches right into an onslaught of blast beats, crunchy riffs and menacing lead guitar licks that just ooze dread. It is taken further towards every embodiment of extreme by monstrous vocals that soon break through. Yet throughout the album a level of technical brilliance and progressive melodies balances out the sincere brutality. A track like ‘Cup of Mephistopheles’ keeps the theatrical side going with anthemic synth segments delicately balancing out the industrial influenced extreme death metal. It’s a fascinating release that grabs your attention with all the added dramatic elements and entertains with the sheer quality of the delivery of epic metal. It’s just as ambitious as previous work, and maybe a little crisper with it.
Download: The Spiraling Void, I Am, Black Star
For The Fans Of: Fleshgod Apocalypse, Necrophagis, Becoming the Archetype, Psycroptic
Release Date: 11th August 2017
Nuclear Blast Records
“The whole reason we call it Venom Inc. is so that people realize we aren’t just Venom II or anything like that,” says Tony Dolan. “We’re incorporating everything we do in our music including our Venom history, and that’s the idea behind the band.” Venom Inc consists of three former members of the original Venom band. This trio started performing together in early 2015, more as a celebration of the early Venom tracks that they used to play and really just a bit of fun that then escalated into receiving a mass array of booking requests. What we get from ‘Avé’ is proper old-school heavy metal that makes a nod toward Venom’s earlier dabbling with speed metal, while incorporating influences of death, thrash and black metal into the mix as well. The album feels like it has a real blend of metal’s ‘80s and ‘90s era styles, becoming particularly clear via the groove/thrash metal combo in a track like ‘War’. It sounds like Pantera-meets-Metallica as if the band had put Phil Anselmo’s antagonistic shouts on top of James Hetfield’s monster riffage. However, in retrospect, it’s more likely that Venom would have been influential to both of those bands.
Download: War, Metal We Bleed, Time to Die, Dein Fleisch
For the fans of: Motörhead, Pantera, Sodom, Venom
Release Date: 14th July 2017
Usually, when we think of Irish punk, the first thing that pops to mind is folk punk quirkiness with banjos, violins and tin whistles. However, Audible Joes, do not sound like your typical Irish punk band. Swapping out bagpipes for gritty guitars and heavily melodic hooks. The album starts with, an up-tempo song with a street punk rawness to it. The opening title track is laden with a rough distortion, chunky basslines and coarse, throaty vocals that make frontman Michael Stone sound as if he has been swallowing gravel, it’s very reminiscent of The Casualties. the trio of ‘I Wanna Be Affected’ followed by ‘Speaker Submission’ then ‘Majority Rule’ is my favourite section on the release. The former is more of a gruff punk anthem, it’s catchy yet really raw sounding in the process, while ‘Speaker Submission’ is much more of a skate punk, like a grittier Bad Religion. This album is nostalgia, just for bands that Audible Joes sound like. A lot of these songs feel like they could have been written by other bands, I.E The Distillers, Motorhead, Pennywise, The Burnt Tapes and Bad Religion as just a few that stuck out. At the same time, there is a variety in that mix of bands, and Audible Joes brings a darker edge to their styles.
Download: I Wanna Be Affected, Speaker Submission, Majority Rule
For The Fans Of: The Casualties, The Distillers, Bad Religion