This week’s single slam features Behemoth, Mulberry Sky, Sugar Horse, In Flames, After Elmer, Vermilia, Ivory Skies, Reboot the System, Scarlet Dorn, MuddiBrooke and Clutch. You can read our thoughts about the latest singles from these bands below.
Behemoth – Off to War
Behemoth, Poland’s overlords of extreme metal have revealed another track taken from their forthcoming 12th studio album, Opvs Contra Natvram, which is set to arrive via Nuclear Blast on 16th September 2022. Latest single, ‘Off to War!’ is a mission statement, accompanied by yet another evocative official video.
Frontman and Behemoth visionary, Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski, comments:
Militant times bring militant music… we’re increasing the tempo with our new single, “Off To War!” – one of my personal favourites from the new record. This song has a killer punk section, one of the greatest Behemoth leads of all time, and a nice extreme metal twist at the end. A true sonic tornado in times of confrontation, enjoy it legions!!
A Behemoth on form. A Behemoth on blistering form. Off to War is that band at their snarling and sneering best. Albeit with the band’s modern penchant for elaboration and extravaganza. It’s an angry sounding track, highlighted by a ferocious end, but like all Behemoth tracks, is not a simple run through of extreme. That being said, the circle pit is going to be immense for this one.
Mulberry Sky – Asking for A Friend
Asking for A Friend will be the third and last of 3 singles from the album “WHO’S THERE?”, which will be released this summer, and will play on all major platforms, presenting listeners with another facet of Mulberry Sky: Punky, snotty and again with a message that makes you think: Aren’t we all wasting way too much time on this ominous internet?
It’s another classy single from the punk-rock groovers that is Mulberry Sky. Asking for A Friend is a track with so much pepe and bounce to its rhythm. Pure infectious joy, it is the epitome of rocking good fun with some really strong lyrical content. All with that slightly raw edge that makes Mulberry Sky their own thing. This new album is shaping up quite nicely! Check it out here.
Sugar Horse – Pictures of Dogs Having Sex
Mercurial Bristol rockers Sugar Horse have released their uniquely-titled new single ‘Pictures of Dogs Having Sex’. ‘PODHS’ is the first new material from the UK band following their acclaimed debut album, 2021’s The Live Long After.
Sugar Horse have made their name on their dynamic extremes. In their own words:
Going from comedically quiet to annoyingly loud is a fun trick and something that rarely fails to force some kind of excitement into a song that is, let’s face it, just the note A over and over and over again. We thought we’d try going completely the other way with ‘Pictures Of Dogs Having Sex’. We wanted it to be a giant slab that’s just on like a fire hose for five minutes at a time. Just a relentless brick wall from start to finish, that may differ texturally from section to section, but ultimately is just holding a hairdryer to your ear. In keeping with said hairdryer motif, we made an admittedly ill-advised decision to include almost no instrumental definition. Much like My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ or The Cure’s ‘Plainsong’, all the guitar, synth and bass layers merge into one giant wall of noise.
Lyrically ‘Pictures Of Dogs Having Sex’ revolves around ideas of genetic inheritance and genealogy. The idea of some degree of my destiny being controlled by the DNA of two people (who in my case at least I’ve never met) is slightly terrifying to me. Am I living this way because I am consciously choosing to, or because I’m genetically programmed to? Oddly specific I know, but these are the kind of semi-tedious thoughts that knock around in my giant head (thanks genetics) from time to time.
All together quite a commercial song for us….shame we destroyed any chance of said commerciality with the stupid title. Je ne regrette rien.
A band that consistently elates, constantly amazes and confidently surprises, Sugar Horse return with a gargantuan slice of shoegaze and post-metal. A track that is unrelentingly discordant and harsh, yet is layered with a haunting beauty that adds so much emotional depth. It’s fascinating, it’s challenging and most of all, it’s utterly brilliant. Sugar Horse are a gem in the ‘post’ scene and it’s because of tracks like this. Check it out here.
In Flames – State of Slow Decay
Re-signing with Nuclear Blast Records, the Gothenburg legends that is In Flames have released a crushing new single titled ‘State of Slow Decay’. The song, which was premiered live at Sweden Rock festival, comes accompanied by a video that features the band performing their new track on an unconventional stage.
Anders Fridén adds on ‘State of Slow Decay’:
We have always done our own thing without any pressure from the outside world, BUT being back with Nuclear Blast worldwide has for sure inspired us to write a host of new material that includes the past, the present and the future. ‘State of Slow Decay’ includes everything that In Flames are known for, but it’s more than just a song, it’s a fucking statement. I couldn’t be happier to release this as a taste of what’s to come.
This is interesting. Let’s be honest, we can all probably list off what we would expect from a modern In Flames track rather easily. That’s not to run them down, they have a sound and they stick to it, for better or worse. So, it’s certainly interesting to hear something that is predominantly focused on the heavier side of their melo-death sound. It’s downright aggressive musically and is certainly giving a nod to In Flames of old. So it turns out that In Flames can still surprise us.
After Elmer – Flip a Coin (Overthinking)
Indecisiveness and intuition are the two main themes on ‘Flip a Coin (Overthinking)’, the new single from Rotterdam-based poppunks After Elmer! The single comes after a long time of silence from the band, and on the song the band asks themselves what paths to take in life – and if they haven’t found that path already on instinct.
Taking the star award for the catchiest track heard this week, After Elmer’s Flip a Coin (Overthinking) is grin-inducing pop-punk. A sweet, heartfelt and super sing-along, there’s really nothing more to say than you should check this one out. Alright, it’s not going to win over any detractors of the pop-punk sound but who cares? Those people are missing out on bangers like this! Check it out here.
Vermilia – Hautavajo
Finnish pagan metal artist Vermilia has released a new track called ‘Hautavajo’. The first single from her forthcoming full-length album ‘Ruska’, which will be released on 09.09.2022.
Vermilia comments about the song:
The song Hautavajo is my last composition for the album Ruska. The creation process started from a big emotion that I had to let out. First I composed the guitars for the song and slowly it started to take form.
The word Hautavajo comes from the word Hautavajoama(Rift valley) , which means a flat-bottomed, steep-edged, long valley in the seam of two diverging continental plates. Widening initially leads to the formation of narrow straits and later to the opening of entire oceans.
I think this describes very well how deep everything in life can go. People’s tears could form an ocean. We live in constant uncertainty and are moving too fast forward. At the same time, we are lonely and accept things too easily. We have to go ahead and things can’t stay where they are now, but I think we should choose another path than the direction we’re going now.
Coming out of the starting blocks hot, Vermilia brings forth a scathing assault of black metal but as so often with this immensely talented artist, the powerful melodic side begins to seep in. The paganistic vibes, the strong sense of atmosphere, and the ever deepening well of savagery and sweetness. It’s a tried and tested formula for Vermilia, yet the artist continues to surprise with every piece of new music. Hautavajo is no different and it will leave you feeling so many things come the end.
Ivory Skies – Bring Me Up
Ivory Skies, formed in 2019, are one of Blackpool’s most exciting indie bands. The quartet, who’ve supported artists such as Kyle Falconer from The View, The K’s and have recently joined The Illicits for several dates on their UK tour, are releasing their third single, Bring Me Up, on the 17th of June 2022.
Light and airy, but with a passionate display of rock, Ivory Skies make this indie-riffic track well worth hearing because of the simplicity of the rhythm. Something anyone can tap their foot too. Unoffensive and impossible to dislike, the infectious quality of the guitars and the sweet vocals, makes this a fairly memorable listen. Check it out here.
Reboot the System – Bloodshed
Gothenburg, Swedish, melodic death/thrash metal band Reboot the System are back with a brand-new single called Bloodshed.
The words that you might use to describe this track to the layman involves varying examples of ‘heavy’, ‘brutal’ and maybe even ‘crunchy’. Reboot the System have a lot of fire in their belly and it comes steaming out with a passion. The mix of melodic death and thrash makes for a blistering wave of noise that washes over you in quick fashion. It doesn’t take long before you’re spluttering for breath. It’s good to have them back. Check it out here.
Scarlet Dorn – Falling
German dark rock quintet Scarlet Dorn have revealed their new single/video ‘Falling’. ‘Falling’ is the first glimpse of the band’s new album, due Autumn 2022.
The elegance of the vocals is what stands out on this so-so dark rock track. Where a blend of melodrama meets radio-friendly rock and the power of the vocals overshadows just about everything. It’s not that it’s a bad track, it’s more that it lacks anything killer beyond, as already stated, the amazing vocals. Here’s hoping that Scarlet Dorn have a bit more oomph in the tank next time.
MuddiBrooke – You Don’t Own Me (Cover)
MuddiBrooke, who collectively have over 30 years experience of playing live and supporting artists such as The Beautiful South, Scouting For Girls, Luka Bloom and Dr and The Medics, are back with their own take on Lesley Gore’s iconic ‘You Don’t Own Me’. A song that has inspired songwriters and artists across the decades, since it first aired in the 1960s, now gets a grunge-fueled, heartfelt retelling from Derby’s all-female alternative rockers.
MuddiBrooke are talented group, proving that with their ‘Lunacy’ back in October 2021, so beyond butchering this track completely, it is a sure-fire winner. Of course, like any cover, how you feel about the original will affect how you feel about a cover. Yes, You Don’t Own Me is a iconic track but it’s also incredibly overplayed and heavily covered. Which does mean you have to break through the cringe barrier to begin with. Something that is easier than expected as MuddiBrooke’s harder, impassioned and grungy version hits just about right. The extra stank on the guitars and vocals make this a good cover that sounds like MuddiBrooke but doesn’t lose the essence of the original song. Check it out here.
Clutch – We Strive for Excellence
US groove rock masters Clutch have dropped a brand-new single called ‘We Strive for Excellence. A brand-new Clutch album is coming soon.
Frontman and lyrical wordsmith Neil Fallon shares:
We Strive for Excellence looks back fondly on childhood summers filled with grand plans gone awry, inexplicable bruises, untreated injuries, and of course, the timeless wisdom of Evel Knievel.
Clutch doing what Clutch do best. Delivering music that you can dance, groove and rock out too. We Strive for Excellence is the epitome of this band, from the riffs to the highly animated and gruff vocal style of Fallon, it’s Clutch through and through. Yet, that is so far from a complaint as Clutch deliver banger track after banger track and this is no different. Catchy, with some seriously strong groove to the guitars, it really gets jammed in the brain matter.
Behemoth, Mulberry Sky, Sugar Horse, In Flames, After Elmer, Vermilia, Ivory Skies, Reboot the System, Scarlet Dorn, MuddiBrooke and Clutch!
Behemoth – Off to War - 8.5/10
Mulberry Sky - Asking for A Friend - 8/10
Sugar Horse – Pictures of Dogs Having Sex - 9/10
In Flames – State of Slow Decay - 7/10
After Elmer – Flip a Coin (Overthinking) - 9/10
Vermilia – Hautavajo - 8.5/10
Ivory Skies – Bring Me Up - 7.5/10
Reboot the System – Bloodshed - 8/10
Scarlet Dorn – Falling - 6/10
MuddiBrooke – You Don’t Own Me (Cover) - 7/10
Clutch – We Strive for Excellence - 8/10