Words: Simon Opie
This sporadic column will feature music from the outer edges and will try to find interesting stuff from beyond the range of comfortable listening. This time we feature three new releases by emerging bands from across the United Kingdom, each of which puts the case for a renewed vigor in the UK hardcore music scene. For more on Pulled Apart By Horses, Lantern For A Gale and Last Witness, keep reading.
First up, Pulled Apart By Horses follow their acclaimed debut album with an even better sophomore effort. That in itself is an unusual event these days, but 'Tough Love' really has taken their sound to a new level, filling it out without sapping its energy. PABH are from Leeds and have the almost retro edginess of others from the area like Gentleman’s Pistols but with a bit more bark and bite.
Opener and lead single 'V.E.N.O.M.' is a snappy, almost commercial slice but nuggets like 'Epic Myth', 'Romance Ain’t Dead' and 'Degeneration Game' lurk within. Overall, it’s a very strong offer and already one of the likely albums of the year. 8.0/10
Next come Lantern For A Gale from Northern Ireland and their eponymous debut EP, which has just recently been made free to download after a CD release. Only four tracks but this ringing hardcore with a Celtic touch makes for a grippingly breathless seventeen minutes – imagine Prong crossed with The Undertones. 'A Song For Heavy' is probably my favourite track but all four tracks are good, exciting stuff with an original touch. This is a young band very much on the up and it’ll be fun to see where they can go from here. For now, this is a terrific start. 7.5/10
Finally, Last Witness, who seem to have returned from the brink of extinction (and that is exceptionally good news) have produced their sophomore album, 'Mourning After'. With a distinctly London sound, the album is pure metalcore and as such probably not for the uninitiated. It’s tremendously well played and picks up where debut album 'An Unfinished Life' left off.
The drumming is particularly solid and the riffing precise and jagged. Strong, urgent vocals complete the line-up and this is an accomplished and challenging album that deserves to find an audience – although I doubt lead-off single 'The Void' will disturb the Top 40. With 'Mourning After', Last Witness really confirm their place in the front rank of new and emerging British hardcore. 8.5/10
So there you are – three great albums by new bands to watch out for. Why not buy them all and support your local hardcore?