Picks: Blood Command, Life Of Agony, Hive

It’s only been a few days since we recommended a trio of new releases. But hey, it’s a bank holiday and we’ve been away, so we’re making up the lost week. The odd week here and there can fall by the wayside but rock’s been in a purple patch of late so we don’t want to let anything significant pass us by. Speaking of which…

Blood Command
Cult Drugs
Fysisk Format
[Spotify]

The third album from Bergen deathpop gang Blood Command delivers in a big way. They’ve taken a change of singer in their stride – creatively at least – and have followed up the critically acclaimed Funeral Beach with another chunk of irresistibly catchy bizarro-punk. Cult Drugs consists of ten ragers and a million ideas, somehow mangled into their unique but always coherent sound. This album is packed with songs designed to make you dance, but it wouldn’t be Blood Command without a razor-sharp edge and a few surprises, not least one of the riffs of the year (‘Gang Signs’, since you asked). Next time we see them live there will be more than ten people in the audience. This record deserves better. But then so did the one they were touring at the time.

Life Of Agony
A Place Where There’s No More Pain
Napalm Records
[Spotify]

A Place Where There’s No More Pain is the fifth studio album from Brooklyn alternative metal band Life Of Agony. It’s the first in twelve years and also the first since the gender reassignment of singer Mina Caputo. And it’s a bit of a stormer, if you ask us. There’s no foreplay here; ‘Meet My Maker’ opens the album and unleashes its crunchy riff within seconds. The second track, ‘Right This Wrong’, is cut from the same cloth and you’ll do well to spot a weakness in the eight songs that follow. These are riffy, catchy, beautifully crafted hard rock songs that provide the platform for a terrific vocal performance and some of the most undeniable choruses we’ve heard in a while. If it’s songwriting chops you’re after this week, look no further than this record.

Hive
Parasitic Twin
Crown & Throne Ltd.
[Spotify]

It’s fair to say that crust punk and d-beat can go either way. This odd blend of metallic, blackened hardcore exists within stringent parameters, often leaving it cold and predictable. To us, it lives and dies on its riffs and its deviations, and Parasitic Twin by Minneapolis quartet Hive are capable on both counts. ‘Low Hanging Fruit Of War’ and ‘Gated Community’ exhibit two booming riffs that are typical of the album. The slow opening of ‘Foot Binding’ and the pensive title track are the kind of passages – and there are a bunch of them – that give Hive enough creative variation to make those riffs stand loud and proud. Unlike this week’s other two records, this isn’t the finished article. But it oozes promise, and that gets us all tingly.

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