Featuring a stacked lineup (including yours truly as Ophelia Drowning), art by Jamie Christ, and nearly five and a half hours of music (yes, you read that correctly), Hope Vs. Hate does not disappoint on their first charity-raising compilation. Is it worth your money? Yes. I don't know why you need to ask that--even if it wasn't going to a damn good cause (which it absolutely is), you have new tracks from some of the brightest faces in leftist and anti-fascist extreme music, old favorites from the shining stars, and an entire shelf's worth of new records that you should be buying from the up-and-coming faces.
I received the press packet for this long before I received the album itself, and while I wanted to write something up to promote the project (which we did anyways, playing Everson Poe's track on last week's episode of The Forest At Night), I decided to wait until I had the project in my hands to write anything about it--and once it was, I popped it in. A few days later listening to this thing on repeat, and I'm back to tell you about it. While I could sit here and give you the gist of the project, I'd rather give you my highlights. So, here are my top 15 picks, in no particular order, from this monolithic juggernaut.
Combining my favorite aspects of the experimental acts that got me into metal in the first place--the opening section sounds borderline Arsonists Get All The Girls-inspired, and the chorus shouts and pulsing tom and snare beats slap you across the face with the unnervingly unevenness of early 2010s experimental--and the sure-footed smoothness that acts like Deafheaven and Ashbringer bring to the world of post-metal, M0L puts forth everything one could hope for in shoegazy, post-metally experimentation. FFO: Ashbringer, AGATG, Deafheaven
Kaddish : Throw Out Thoughts
Who doesn't love a good swinging guitar riff? Kadish comes through with something pulled straight from the Midwest's deepest depression, and anguished, forlorn hardcore punk style screams pull you deep into your feelings. Emotional hardcore done right--need I say more? FFO: A Pregnant Light, Defeater, La Dispute
GEIST: Western Medicine
Do you like D-beat? Powerviolence? Metallic hardcore? No? Go home, sit in the corner, and think about what you've done. FFO: Converge, Norma Jean, kicking your ass clear up the curb
Unreqvited : Deadmoon
Nothing puts the listener on edge quite like a repeated, ominous, gentle riff with some good, old-fashioned chugs randomly thrown in, and the off-kilter time signatures don't hurt either. This piece just keeps building and building until the heart bursts open at around the two-minute mark, with a soaring requiem and a riff worthy of a bird taking flight. FFO: vvilderness, Harakiri For The Sky, Fallujah
CHRISTWVRKS : The Black Swan
Haunting sirens and fuzz-addled noise start this banger of an industrial powerhouse, and it doesn't let up from there--cymbals destroyed by distortion, a driving tom, and a violent explosion of what I can only describe as pure, unadulterated rage at the one-minute mark christens Mr. Jaime Christ as one of the reigning kings of industrial noise. This track will murder you. FFO: Altar Of Plagues, Author And Punisher, L'eclipse Nue
Heretoir : Golden Dust
It's rare to hear drums applied with a level of precision that could be called loving, and it may be difficult to envision what that may sound like in an extreme music context, but as the words "raindrops fall/the blood in my veins/is filled with golden dust" and the smooth, passionate arpeggio of the nearly harp-like guitar plays against the pitter-patter of the double-kick, you'll understand exactly what I mean. FFO: Alcest, Crown Of Asteria, Wolves In The Throne Room
Dreichmere : Scenery
Flowing in and out of unique time signatures and in and out of keys and rhythms, Dreichmere crawls through musical marshes and ruins with a fluidity and grace that I haven't seen since early Mastodon. It's difficult to keep a riff this tight going for ten minutes, but by gods, these sludgy animals hold the line, and with such smoothness that had they not broken the piece up with some uneasy-listening clean guitars around the four minute mark I wouldn't be entirely sure they were playing more than one insane, complex riff. FFO: Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa
Kakihara : Violence // Dweller
There may be no love in your violence, but there is absolutely love in this reviewer's heart for this inane cavalcade of kitchen sinks being tossed at your skull with the rest of the kitchen busy trying to crowd-kill you. FFO: The Chariot, seeyouspacecowboy, Code Orange
Everson Poe : The Beast (TRACK PREMIERE)
This is the track we picked to play on the show, and for good reason--Everson Poe is quickly becoming one of my favorite voices in the world of emotive metal. Combining doomy, finality-laden riffage with a loving vocal lead, Everson pens themself a score for a dirge and an anthem to light a cigar and stare down the pouring rain to. FFO: A Dying Light, Swallow The Sun, Ahab
life - Iluvia
Shoegazy post-black at its finest and most precisely executed. The drums fade in from what seems like the other room, and the guitar playes through what sounds like a tiny speaker, evoking the feeling of being on the outside of a party you weren't invited to--until the riff sits in, the vocals careen off course, and the torrent of reverb-soaked dualing cleans and gutturals washes over you like a cathartic tidal wave. FFO: Old Grey, Oathbreaker, Cult Of Luna
bornwithhair : Pawiak
Everything I love in avant-garde, in one philosophy- and praxis-heavy track. Filled with vocals that don't match worth a damn layered on top of each other, inordinately distorted garbled voices, and a high hat from what I can only assume is a Korg Volca Beats, among other, even more fun things. Do I know what I'm hearing? Absolutely not. Do I love it? You're goddamn right I do. FFO: Moody Black, Big Black, Marilyn Manson; preferably simultaneously, and in a blender.
OF WOLVES : Mens Rea (Izaguf)
Sweet christ, these vocals. Put your sanity in a plastic baggie from your local Kroger, hop onto a Harley with a 500CC engine strapped inside, and take that puppy for a spin, and you'll still have a tigher grip on your sanity than this vocalist cares to. Driving guitars and an even more driving beat makes for the kind of music to get into fistfights with at the local punk dive. FFO: The Melvins, KEN Mode, Jello Biafra
...And finally, I'm going to spare you all a "For Fans Of" list for the next three tracks, for one simple reason: the answer to "what is this similar to" is literally "my show". You like my show? Good. Give these three a listen.
S H R I E K I N G : I Shall Know No Fear
It's new SHRIEKING. Y'all know I love SHRIEKING. Experimental slamming black metal filled with horror movie quotes, distorted noise, and enough viciousness to kill a walrus on meth. If you haven't bought everything they've ever made, I don't know what to tell you except to get on it.
Settle For Shadows : Automated Existence
It's Settle For Shadows. Read the first two sentences for my review for SHRIEKING and more or less copy it word for word. You listen to the show. You know GODDAMN well this is my jam. Wonky, glitched-out drums, synths that sound like buzzsaws, and a beat that Richard Cunningham would drool at the thought of setting to video.
Dark Habits : The Milk
An HNW intro laden with feedback, blast beats, gutturals, D-beat.....This is Sarah Bait. First time I've heard these fine folks, and I'm in love. I highly recommend you pick up these guys's first EP. Oh, and everything else they have out. Hell, I did.
You can pick up the comp here.
--<3 MAMA SARAH