Culture Killer - Denial EP (2014)

Culture Killer is a new powerviolence/grind band out of Daytona Beach, FL. The band features member of Silence, Playing for Keeps and a few other well-known local bands. This is easily the heaviest music that any of these guys have ever created, and it could very well be a huge part of the Florida hardcore scene soon.

Denial starts off with a track called "White Plague," which opens with some blast beats then immediately explodes with vocalists Hunter Young and Adam Madsen trading off vocal parts. A little over halfway through the song, there's a break of just drumming and bass, and it truly adds a very Code Orange Kids vibe to this track. This song is easily one of the heaviest things I've heard come out of Florida in a very long time.

Track two is titled "The Overbearing," which starts off with a very slow – and extremely dark and heavy – guitar riff. About 40 seconds in, there's a break of nothing but guitar and a slow drum build up until the vocals come in and add a very angry element to this track. This track leads out with an awesome guitar solo in the background.

Track number three, the title track of Denial, is by far my favourite. It's the fastest, heaviest, darkest thing I've heard in a while. I have a feeling this track was heavily influenced by Nails, Full of Hell and bands of that sort. It starts off with some drums and some slight riffage; then, out of nowhere, a deep "OH" sets things off and it's a non-stop ride of blast beats and heaviness from there. The breakdown in this song is also extremely impressive; it's very slow and very heavy, and it's a great way to close out the barely two-minute song.

The fourth and final track, titled "Nothing," is the longest track, sitting at a hefty four minutes and 33 seconds. This track is a non-stop ride from beginning to end with a very slow break in the middle that transitions into an extremely heavy breakdown that made me want to get out of my chair and punch holes through all of my walls. The track ends with some cymbals being drawn out and a very slow guitar riff that fades into silence.

The Denial EP is a great start for Culture Killer; it's an intense ride of drums, guitar, dual vocal parts and stupidly heavy breakdowns that would make anyone lose their mind. This band could easily be a huge part of this scene in a matter of no time. Don't sleep on this band because, if you do, you will regret that decision immensely.

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Gallery: Pentimento/Bellwether (4/5/14)

Pentimento, fresh off a small run with Less Than Jake, made a stop at Gamechanger World in Howell, NJ., on April 5. This was the band's first headliner ever in New Jersey – and it was a show that Pentimento fans from the area had been hyping up for weeks. A solid amount of locals played, bringing a wide variety of music (from alternative to emo) to open up the night.

Bellwether acted as direct support to Pentimento and brought its light pop punk sound from Long Island. Lead singer Desmond Zantua brought not only his best dance moves to the stage but also his favourite fashionable jacket. All the controversy and accusations surrounding the band lately were forgotten about and Bellwether blasted through an impressive set. My first time hearing or seeing Bellwether was definitely a good one, and I look forward to keeping tabs on this band in the future.

Pentimento finished off the night by opening the last set with "Unless" then playing through 10 or so songs that covered all of the band's releases. The raw energy Pentimento brings is something that few bands can duplicate. The members are the kings of "Woahhhhh"s, as bassist Vinny Caito and drummer Mike Hansen compliment lead singer Jeramiah Pauly's vocal parts perfectly. Not to mention, Mike is one of the best drummers I've seen live; I don't recall hearing a single bad hit throughout the whole set – as he expertly blasted through quick and tricky fills. The crowd sent the energy right back at the band with a generous amount of finger pointing and sing-a-longs. Although there wasn't enough people to stage dive in the wide venue, everyone who was in attendance was having a great time – whether they knew the songs or not. Pentimento is definitely a band I'd suggest seeing live even if you're not familiar with the material; the energy and interaction brought to each show is something anyone can enjoy.

Check out some pictures below from the sets that Bellwether and Pentimento put on.



Links: Pentimento - Bellwether - Dieter Unrath Photography
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Firestarter - Forget the Past EP (2014)

A few months after forming in late 2012, Albany's Firestarter released its debut EP, New Beginnings. Later in 2013, the four-piece pop punk band released an EP featuring acoustic renditions of songs from New Beginnings, followed by a four-track split with Old Again. We covered two of those releases on MGR and we had a feeling that this band had a chance to be something special after getting another release or two under their belts. Now, with the release of Firestarter's third EP just over a month away, it's time to dig into Forget the Past.

Firestarter wastes no time setting the tone with the upbeat title track. "Forget the Past" is a great song that demonstrates the band's overall sound; fast-paced drumming drives the song in the verses and really makes you want to stage dive, while the chorus is slower and the catchiness of the vocals and instruments is accentuated. "Who You Used to Be" is an even catchier track that makes use of some very solid guitar parts and features a massive bridge that highlights vocalist/guitarist Matthew LaPerche's vocal abilities.

"If You Ain't First, You're Last" starts off similar to "Forget the Past," but the extremely up-tempo drumming remains a consistent part of this song from the first second until the end. "If You Ain't First, You're Last" also features an impressive solo that continues on into the outro. Up next is "Tiny Bandages." The instrumental aspect of the song is very catchy and the vocals work exceptionally well, especially near the end of the song.

"Woodlawn" slows things down and is reminiscent of Real Friends' "I've Given Up On You." This is, by far, the slowest song on the EP – and one that sees the members of Firestarter step a bit out of their comfort zone; it's very different for the band, but it still sounds great. "Lost & Found" is definitely the catchiest track – as well as my personal favourite – on Forget the Past. The chorus is one that is sure to get drilled into your head after just one playthrough of the song. "Lost & Found" brings the release to a close on a high note with a lengthy gang vocal segment that has a very end-of-the-record feel to it.

Now that Firestarter has been together for about a year and a half and has released three EPs and a split, I think it's safe to assume the band's next release will be a full length. If that's the case, I'm hoping that at least one song that is similar to "Woodlawn" makes the cut; it really shows that the band has the ability to slow things down and experiment a little bit. Firestarter has slightly improved with each release, and I'm excited (and hoping) to finally hear a full length from these guys.

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Gallery: Neck Deep/Knuckle Puck/Light Years (3/31/14)

After Neck Deep's US tour got canned last year before it even got off the ground, the "Neck Deep Do America" tour was an overdue sigh of relief for fans of the British pop punk group.

The scene for this particular show was the new Gamechanger World in Howell, NJ. With a capacity of 800 people, this venue featured an impressive light/fog system, efficient staff, a tasty snack bar – and even a room with 10-15 video game consoles available to play at any time.

Light Years was the first band to play from the tour package. The band's solid pop punk sound set a nice tone for the rest of the night and gave some kids their warm up stage dives. The quickly blowing up Knuckle Puck was next. I didn't know what I expected from this band's set, but the room exploded as soon as the first notes of "Everything Must Go" were hit. Seeing a ton of kids go crazy for a band that played a small house show the last time it was in New Jersey was impressive and it showed just how far Knuckle Puck has come – and how far the band will continue to go. Neck Deep finished off the night with 12 songs that fairly covered both of the band's EPs and the new full length, Wishful Thinking. The massive amount of stage dives and mic grabs was standard fare for the band, although the members were taken aback by the massive air cannons that shot fog, giving parts of their set a rave vibe.

Check out some photos from the show below.

Light Years

Knuckle Puck

Neck Deep

Links: Neck Deep - Knuckle Puck - Light Years - Dieter Unrath Photography
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Blistered - Soul Erosion EP (2014)

Blistered is a hardcore band out of Tampa, FL., that has been a non-stop force with their style of metallic hardcore since forming in the summer of 2012. After self releasing its first EP, Reject Their Shame, the band was quickly picked up by 6131 Records and are now set to release a new EP entitled Soul Erosion.

The EP opens with lead single "Rusted" with the opening line "I'll wipe my mind of the memories / I will destroy your legacy." This is a very fast and hard hitting track to open with, and it sets the stage of how insane the rest of this record is. The second track, "Life Does Not Satisfy," opens with a low bass line and immediately builds up, blowing up into a great riff, and then builds up again and explodes with vocals and a few awesome breakdowns that had me bobbing my head along while simply just listening to it – which doesn't happen very often.

The third track, "Retribution," doesn't take too long getting to the point; it's a fast one at only a minute and 45 seconds. With a few short breakdowns and a few extremely short verses, the song closes out with vocalist Lennon Livesay yelling out, "I'll watch you fucking burn." The fourth track, and my personal favourite off this record, "Coldest Blood," is a banger from the start. The instrumentals on this song are my favourite of the entire record and everything about this song is incredible. Towards the end, there's a break in which Livesay starts speaking and says, "Slash my wrists to drain myself of the blood that bonds us / I choose death over a life shackled to your name."

The final track, "Soul Erosion," is easily my second favourite off this record. It's an explosive barrage through the entire song with amazing riffs and breakdowns that had me losing my mind. This track was the best way to close out this EP.

Blistered, a great addition to 6131 Records, is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore world within the next few years. I'm very excited to see what this band has in store for a full length and touring in the near future.

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