Blood Cabana hail from Chico, California and play a very stark, brutalistic brand of Death Metal infused Hardcore Punk. Despite having been around since 2011 “Hell is Paradise” is their début release. They are obviously not novices when it comes to imbuing their music with purpose, as it is full of highly motivating riffage. In fact, although this record does not sound disposable, its main function seems to be as a calling card for their live performance; which, if these riffs are anything to go by, must be incendiary.
When Blood Cabana flex they present their show of strength in unified form. Shifting syncopation and pacing with such single minded determination that to not be inspired to action by this music, would be the sole preserve of the nervous or weak willed.
They know their way around various modes of breakdown and applying them in ways that are both traditional and expressive. It is their Death metal tendencies which give B.C such an intriguing edge to their music. They blend the ‘core and the pure together in a highly effective fashion. Some moments are reminiscent of Arsonists Get All the Girls, while others they sound somewhat akin to Weekend Nachos; neither comparison being intended as anything remotely approaching an insult.
In short if you like your Hardcore pared down and informed by the most direct and effective of maxims then you could do far worse than delving into Hell is paradise. But as I said previously, although it sounds pretty good on record I’m certain that no one leaves a Blood Cabana show without some kind of injury.
So from the traditional and unadorned, we veer slightly towards the ludicrous, manifested in the shape of Dutch 4 piece Man As Plague. Their music is slightly more up-tempo and drenched in the kind of reverb that one only experiences while outrageously high listening to Dub-Reggae. Indeed it is this almost outrageous approach to sound which gives “Aftermath” such a filthy feel. If you are a purest and a student of either studio engineering or hardcore, it might piss you off. But coming at it from a neutral viewpoint I felt it provided a distinct and decidedly hench unique selling point.
Aftermath reminds me of what existed before the genesis of Metalcore. You had metallic hardcore which allowed for varied areas of metallic influence; so bands might take black, death or thrash metal inspiration for their crossover project. Here M.A.P have taken adoomy black metal as their source of influence. And well does it suit them. The sludge and the slice mix together in a way that is both felicitous and furious in its success.
Their use of breakdowns is not as blunt and formulist as Blood Cabana, which is perhaps indicative of their European roots. However when they do employ them, they make them serious and severe, but are not afraid to modulate them with melodic lines and rhythmic complexity.
So, while not as direct and narrowly satisfying as Blood Cabana, Man As Plague cover substantially more ground and provide the listener with more to contemplate. But since they both make music that is designed to instigate the most primal reactions, I’m not too sure just how much thinking this music will generate. However, I highly recommend fans of Hardcore and Metalcore checking out both of these releases.
– John Whitmore