Monday, 22 July 2013

The Sounds Of The Great Grey North

Over the past couple of years there's been a great resurgence in the underground music scene in Scotland. And don't give me this "it's always been there man, you just have to know where to look" pish because I've been looking, for fucking years, and I doubt there are many that'd argue with me that this is the healthiest the scene has been for a long time.

Heavy bands, of all genres, from all over the country, have never been so plentiful, and with this years' inaugural North Of The Wall featuring a 100% Scottish line-up, and the continued draw of Les-Fest, it seems that there are plenty of people out there who recognise how great a time it is for the Scottish underground.

Anyway, the idea of this ongoing blog post was to collate as many of these fucking brilliant bands in one place, and give people a resource if they're looking to check out Aberdeen's grindcore scene, or see if there are any stoner rock fuckups from Glasgow they'd like to listen to with bong in hand, or where the nastiest, most malignant black metal from Edinburgh can be heard. Hopefully this will provide a starting point. Here we fuckin' go:

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Wizard-worshipping doom metal from Edinburgh. Formed in the cold, harsh winter of 2012 over a common disdain for mankind, Atragon worship at the altar of the riff. They desire only to bring about your doom through the powers of distortion, tube amplification & heathen ritual. Volume I available from Witch Hunter Records. See them live on just about every heavy music bill in Scotland.

Of Spire & Throne
[ | Of Spire & Throne on Facebook | ]
Edinburgh's Of Spire & Throne specialise in expansive blackened sludge, which is right up my street. Their latest release 'Vagary' is 21 minutes of torturous, mournful noise that will ruin your day. Go succumb to the misery over at their bandcamp.

[ | Ommadon on Facebook | ]
Crushing doom with the impact of tectonic plates colliding. Two-headed dronebeast who record most of their output in isolation up in the Highlands.
All recordings (I-IV) available free through their bandcamp, as well as being collected into a discography tape available through Tartarus Records/Witches On Fire later this year, with new album V coming sometime in 2013.

Headless Kross
Psychedelic doom three-piece from Glasgow. Spacey, drawn-out stoner excursions with surprisingly harsh vocals. Recently released a split with Lazarus Blackstar on Head Of Crom which is well worth checking out. Stream it over at their bandcamp.

East Glasgow miserablists. Capable of producing a foul racket ranging from sludge to all out noise. One of my favourite local bands of recent times, they don't play anywhere near enough for my liking. Apparently recording new material this year, thank fuck, as I've been playing their Mammothian/Loud/Cult demo regularly for over 2 years now, and I'm fiending for new stuff. Gies a fix, eh guys?

Bacchus Baracus
[ | | New album streaming at Bandcamp ]
Glasgow's finest purveyors of whiskey-soaked barroom brawl anthems. Drummer/vocalist Qball manages to channel the hard-hitting groove of Clutch stickman JP Gaster as well as the erudite rasp of Neil Fallon. Catch them live and imbibe as many drinks as you can. New album available through Wasted State Records.

The Cosmic Dead
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All-out psychedelic warfare from Glasgow's most prolific band. In just a couple of years these guys have cemented themselves as one of the greatest exponents of Hawkwind/Amon Düül II worship, even securing a slot at this years Roadburn. If you dig long-form trips around the outer reaches of space, or if you just ingest a lot of substances and would like the ideal musical accompaniment, check out one of their squazillion releases right now.

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The crushing isolation of travailing an endless barren landscape, set to a soundtrack of expansive, reverberating dronedoom. They only have one track on their bandcamp at the moment, but if they continue down the same bleak path, they'll be ones to watch out for if you like a heavy dose of misery in your doom.

Holy Mountain
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I first saw these guys back when they were a duo that sounded like a feral lager-soaked High On Fire, though haven't managed to catch them live again since. I oughtta remedy that, as their latest release 'Earth Measures' (available through Chemikal Underground) is an absolute belter. If you don't believe me, either listen to it, or read this fucking hilarious review of it then listen to it.

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I just missed out on Bisongrass' last show around my parts, so I guess I'll just foam at the mouth until the next time they come back down from Aberdeen. Anyway, they play solid as fuck stoner rock

No Island
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I caught these guys when they opened for hardcore legends Negative Approach, and was suitable impressed with their intensity. I like my hardcore on the genuinely angry side with a wee bit of the old powerviolence thrown in, so these guys were right up my alley (at night, filled with big cunts that want to kick your head in). Get their EP Let Glasgow Perish off bandcamp and go about punching things.

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Did any of you go see Black Breath when they first played Glasgow? Naw ye fuckin' didnae, because me and the guys who play in Hush were the only cunts there. Considering they played to an almost empty room, they let rip with the full force of their set, delivering an intense set of angular hardcore in the vein of Cursed, Converge et al. Go give their Night Music release a listen over at their bandcamp.

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Crusty grind from Aberdeen. Haven't had the chance to see them play live yet, but I really dig their recent split (available through excellent Scottish noise/doom label At War With False Noise) with fellow grind bastards Sufferinfuck. Who I'll blather about now.

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Grindcore from West Lothian, these guys are fast as absolute fuck. Perhaps unsurprising for grindcore, I know, but there's a ferocity missing from so much modern grind that Sufferinfuck have in filthy spades, they eschew clinical precision in favour of just all out anger and aggression. Lovely stuff. Get their 'In Boredom' release for fuck all here.

Clocked Out
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Glasgow fastcore kings who have the most hyperactive frontman in the city. You really need to see this band live to get an idea of how manic their live show gets. They recently brought out a three-track 7" so go get that.

Skeleton Gong
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Skeleton Gong are fuckin' weirdos. I recently caught them live for the first time, and was met with an intimidating amount of amplification, a double drumkit setup, and a bunch of wild-eyed guys rocking a variety of interesting headgear choices; dreadlocks, cowboy hats, baldys, all cross-sections of mad bastards are represented in the Gong. They also fucking rule, their thick syrupy sludge hitting somewhere between Weedeater and Kylesa, with a more cosmic angle. However you want to try and describe it yourself, gie it a go and download their album 'Eskimo Wizards & The Louisiana Swamp Priests' for free from their bandcamp.

Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair
[ Wheelchair x4 on Facebook | ]
More mad bastards, with an almost impossible to google name, Wheelchairx4 specialise in fastcore/powerviolence. I'm sure I've seen them live at some point but I'll be damned if I can remember where, when or who they played with. They've got an album, 'Contraception', up for free download over at bandcamp.

This relatively new Edinburgh band may not have any releases to their name as yet, but their space-themed sludge offerings have managed to snag them a support slot to EyeHateGod. I'm excited as hell to finally get to see them live, and you should be too. Get down to the EHG gig and support your local sludge band!
Also, buy a t-shirt off them because I drew it for 'em. SHAMLESS PLUG.

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Homme-worshipping stoner grooves from the sun-kissed sandy wasteland of Dundee.

Cancerous Womb
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Edinburgh's Cancerous Womb play repugnant grind-inflected death metal. They're currently in the process of recording their debut full-length, but until that sees the light of day check out their Fritzl-tastic 'Austrian Basement' Ep on bandcamp.

Cerebral Bore
Perhaps best known for featuring youtube brutal vocal sensation Simone "Som" Pluijmers, who has now left the band, Glasgow's masters of brutality Cerebral Bore are signed to Earache records and have toured all over the world. Lucky cunts.

I'm not sure how much of a full-time proposition Skullwizard are, but when I saw them live recently, they scared the shite out of me. Whoever their vocalist is, she went from wind-whistling shrieks that just about split my skull to dancing around to Journey's 'More Than A Feeling' mere minutes after their set had finished. A truly terrifying proposition.

Jackal-Headed Guard Of The Dead
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Their own bio says it best: 'And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, for the earth had spat forth a most vile group of scum; borne loose with steely eyes and ravenous bellies. Their foul purpose is that most unnameable of horrors, the dark art in which even the most sinister backstreet necromancer in Cairo would not dare utter...doom metal. We are a doom band, who also like Lovecraft, weed, and films so raw they'll skullfuck your brain and leave you with a twitch. Enjoy, you cunts.'

Tommy Concrete And The Werewolves
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Lords of Bastard
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Self-styled psychedelic megariff dickheads from Edinburgh, the Lords Of Bastard play tightly-wound stoner weirdness that brings to mind Big Business or something equally as odd. Their drummer is tight as fuck. In depth review, eh? Give their latest album 'Cuddles' a blast and see for yourself, I can't do everything for you!

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I've seen Co-Exist live but I'm fucked if I can remember who it was with. I remember being impressed by them anyway. This is another of Qball's bands, and couldn't sound more different from Bacchus Baracus, seeing as Co-Exist specialise in furious bursts of grind/death metal. Stream their newest EP 'Skelf' over at their bandcamp.

Horrors That You've Seen
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I first checked these guys out because their vocalist has the same name as a guy I went to school with. Wisnae him though. In their own words:
'Hardcore band from Edinburgh that play more Sludge and Doom than we do hardcore. Hardcore for fans of longer songs and slower riffs. Hardcore to get high to.'
Go get their latest recording 'Smokin, Skatin, Satan' off bandcamp because it's good.

Set Astray
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Hardcore created by angry young men from Stirling. Check them out if you like the NYHC sound and punching folk in the face. New EP available from Glasgow-based label Thanks For Nothing, you can grab a free download here.

Man Must Die
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Man Must Die hail from Glasgow and play crushing tech death that sounds like getting your head stuck in a concrete mixer filled with nails and broken glass. So, y'know, pretty good. They're currently recording a new album, and judging by the in-the-studio videos they're posting, it's gonna be fucking awesome when it's done.

Fifteen Dead
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Fifteen Dead are from all over the shop, but get together to create a raging blackened crust racket reminiscent of Martyrdöd, Skitsystem and the rest of them manky Scando d-beat lot. The whole blackened crust thing is getting pretty big these days, and Fifteen Dead are defnitely in the upper echelons of that scene. Their stuff is available for pay-what-you-want download over at their bandcamp. I highly recommend you go chuck 'em a few pennies in exchange for their stuff.

Ablach might be the only gaelic grindcore band in existence, but if I'm wrong and thereare more out there, please correct me as soon as fuckin' possible because Ablach are incredible. Hailing from Aberdeen, and taking their name from the gaelic for 'Mangled Corpse', they play fast, furious crusty grind with many not-so-subtle nods to their forefathers, both historical and musical.
You can get their album Aon from Moshpit Tragedy and Dha from Grindcore Karaoke. Those recordings feature covers of grind originators Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Terrorizer and Phobia strewn throughout the band's original material that has a mainly historical subject matter.

[ | Bonesaw on Facebook | ]
Why did no-one tell me about this band sooner? I mean, a quick trawl back through the archives of my blog will reveal I'm a total sucker for ugly primitive death/doom, and these guys deliver it in spades full of putrid gravedirt. Their facebook saws 'think Autopsy on a budget' and I'd say that's about right. Anyway, these decrepit bastards come from up Aberdeen way, so I think I'll be venturing up for a wee bit of death metal tourism next time they play. Fuckin' Bonesaw man... lovely stuff.

Easy Bake Oven
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Easy Bake Oven are a self-described 'Blackened Stoner/Doom' band from Glasgow. I caught them as local support at the Bison b.c./Black Cobra gig a few weeks back and was pretty fucking impressed with their disgusting sludge. Their EP 'Stoner Wisdom' is available for fuck-all over at bandcamp, so what are you waiting for? Get it!

Dog Tired
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Dog Tired are four-piece groove metal from Edinburgh. Think Pantera/Machine Head/Lamb Of God, with a sort of mid-90s Corrosion Of Conformity swagger. Check out their new album 'Titan', available on itunes/spotify.

Roll On Three
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Edinburgh bluesy stoners Roll On Three sound like Houdini-era Melvins with guest vocals by Phil Anselmo. At least that's the first impression I get listening to the recordings they have upon their bandcamp, though you should go download it for yourself and tell me I'm talking shite.
In fact, I'll tell myself; the Melvins weirdness is only present in opening track 'My Lost Way', the rest is a bastard hybrid of Down/Superjoint Ritual. So good, basically.

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I first got into Zillah because their old guitarist Andrew Yates was proprietor/meat wizard at my favourite Glasgow food emporium Where The Monkey Sleeps. He's since left both Zillah and the Monkey, and now crafts towers of flesh in the kitchen of Nice N Sleazy. Go sink your teeth into the fucking best burgers in Scotland.
Anyway, enough of the food pimping, Zillah play scorching technical death-tinged metalcore, reminiscent of bands like Burnt By The Sun, which is a very good thing. All of their releases are available for free over at bandcamp, and I recommend their 'Substitute For A Catastrophe' album wholeheartedly. Get into it!

War Charge
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Edinburgh's War Charge play pissed off hardcore. You can stream their latest recording 'New World Justice' over at their bandcamp, and order it from Purgatory Records if it tickles your angry bone.

Prelude To The Hunt
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Prelude To The Hunt play some of the foulest racket I've heard come out of Aberdeen since the accent. They recently released a split with Manchester's Esoteric Youth on Church Of Fuck, and deserve to be making as many waves as their Manc counterparts. Said split features a blistering cover of Cursed's 'Reparations', if that gives you a idea where they're coming from. I fucking love Cursed, so PTTH get an automatic thumbs up from me.

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Dirtdrinker are fucking disgusting. Coming across like a twistier Unsane with spazzy discordance ramped up to the max, this Aberdeen two-piece create the sort of noise that burrows their way nto your cranial cavity with their writhing, sludgey earworms. Absolutely horrible. I love them.

The Colour Pink Is Gay
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Guaranteed to anger the PC brigade with a name like that, Glasgow-based tech metal motherfuckers TCPiG are a total heidfuck. I don't know how people can listen to this band without wanting to put a screwdriver into their ear canal just to make it stop. If the sound of Japanese cartoon themesongs played by mental patients through warfare grade amplification is your thing, these guys might be your thing. Remember the wonderfully absurd Take A Worm For A Walk Week? Aye, like that maybe.

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Scordatura play modern tech-y death metal. These Glasgow deviants will be supporting Fleshgod Apocalypse on their UK tour, so get down to Ivory Blacks in October and support your local brutalists. Until then, shred your fuckin' face off listening to their new album 'Torment Of The Weak'.

Exile The Traitor
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Glasgow's Exile The Traitor play Swedeath-influenced metal that folk who dig Carcass' 'Heartwork' and At The Gates will be right into. They don't have much available for streaming at the moment, but what they do have is solid as fuck. Check them out on bandcamp.

Bleed From Within
These guys are from my hometown and are probably one of the best-known bands on this list. Who'da thunk a band from Hamilton of all shiteholes would get signed to Century Media and tour the world? If I'd known that, I would joined a band and gotten outta there fuckin' years ago. Ah well. Fair play to the Bleed From Within lads for doing so well. Musically they play tight, technical death-y metalcore, so give 'em a listen if that's yer bag!

Agonised Deformity
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These guys are from Carluke/Wishaw, two of the biggest shiteholes on the planet. I've seen Eastern European retirement homes with more life in them than those places. So it's only appropriate that Agonised Deformity play brutal, eardrum-obliterating, slam-worthy death metal, that ought to liven ol' Pishy Wishy up a bit! Stream their racket over at their bandcamp and mosh yer way down Wishy 'high street'.

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Edinburgh's Acatalepsy play proggy, weird death metal with occasional pretty intricate bits. So like Opeth, but not really. Their erratic staccato chugging takes a bit to wrap your head around if you're a braindead plodding sludge maniac like me, but they're definitely worth a listen. Do so at the usual place. You'd think bandcamp was fucking paying me to promote them, eh? I can only dream.

[ | Maelstrom on Facebook | ]
Remember Akercocke? The black metal band who played sweaty, Satan-conjuring shows decked out in the finery of Savile Row? Maelstrom sure do, adopting a similar aesthetic for their own gigs.
Scotland's metal gentlemen's blackened death has some symphonic elements, but don't let that put you off, they're not naff and overblown like so many bands who attempt a bit of keyboard noodling.


There's pretty much nothing available online to prove these guys even exist. Pretty sure members of Clocked Out are involved, I've definitely seen them play a show together anyway. They were good. Get it together ya cunts.

[ | stream 'Illiad' at Soundcloud ]
Edinburgh's Eagletomb play hypnotic doom. I'm pretty excited to get to see them play in a couple of weeks. Not much more to say than that, check them out if you like Sleep. Because who doesn't like Sleep?

Party Cannon
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'Party Slam' from Dunfermline that basically sounds like the sort of thing you'd dance to at Obscene Extreme if you'd ingested the wrong cocktail of substances that day. Blastbeats and vodka and vocals that sound like hangover farts all in one band, how can you resist!?

Throne O Diablo
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Another band I saw supporting Black Breath a couple of years ago that I haven't really followed too closely, despite them being absolutely hilarious live. Are they meant to be? I don't know, but between the double-necked guitar and generally bizarre stage presence, I was laughing my arse off at them. But then I was also very very drunk.

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Okay technically these guys hail from New Zealand, but seeing as they are currently based out of Edinburgh, they get included. Barshasketh play wintry black metal, so they should feel right at home up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Yes, I know NZ gets winter too, but I couldn't think of anything cleverer to say. Check them out if you like it frostbitten.

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Scotland's Achren produce a crushingly heavy and uncompromising brand of metal. Raw, razor sharp riffs; death metal growls; black metal screams and dark, brutally driving melody combine to create a unique and commandeering sound which has gained the name ‘Blood Metal.’


  1. Laceration, Party Cannon, Agonised Deformity, Iniquitous Savagery pls

  2. Scotland has done itself proud, loads of excellent bands here!! I remember Achren, Co Exist and Maelstrom from way back, Snowblood too (before Ommadon), bring on the festival! Great post!