Written by Ellis Heasley
Welcome to the first ever edition of Please Sir, I Want Some Core (yes we’re actually calling it that) – a chance to spotlight some awesome releases from across the ‘core’ spectrum which may have flown under the radar a little in the year so far. The intention here is to focus on bands it seems less people are talking about, and who haven’t already been covered on the site. Some of these are obviously bigger than others, and of course this is by no means an exhaustive list, but the hope is that you might hear and love a few records you would’ve otherwise missed. Aside from some potentially quite arbitrary/snobby lines drawn where things become almost exclusively metal, I’ve tried to cast the ‘core’ net as wide as possible here, so hopefully there’s something in this list for everyone.
Moralslip – Know Your Place
Released January 11th 2021
If you’re looking for chunky, well-produced metallic hardcore, Know Your Place is the one for you. The third EP from the Stoke-based five-piece Moralslip is arguably the most ‘modern’ sounding hardcore release on this list. It sits comfortably alongside some of the most exciting bands in the scene today, including Vein, Knocked Loose and 156/Silence. The riffs are huge, the breakdowns even bigger, and there’s a decent helping of nu-metal bounce thrown in for good measure. Highlights definitely include the record’s third track “Husk”, as well the gut-punch of a title track which follows directly after it.
Silenus – The Garden Is Burning
Released February 5th 2021
Hailing from Long Island, New York, Silenus show absolutely no mercy on their latest EP, The Garden Is Burning. Each of its four tracks are equally violent and dissonant, and all are full to the brim with earth-shattering riffs and beatdowns. There are definitely comparisons to be made to a band like END here – both musically and aesthetically – and there’s even a somewhat tribal quality in the band’s repeated use of chants and gang vocals. Clocking in at just 13 and a half minutes, every second drips with a combination of punishing heaviness and an unsettling sense of atmosphere.
Whispers – Narok Bon Din
Released February 6th 2021
Narok Bon Din (‘Hell On Earth’ in English) is the debut EP from the Thai hardcore five-piece Whispers. It’s a record with a decidedly old-school sound, harking back in particular to the no-frills, chug-heavy metallic hardcore of 90s legends like Kickback and Earth Crisis. The aggro here is ridiculous in the best possible way, especially from the band’s unrelentingly furious vocalist. Throw in some equally gripping thrash-tinged riffing, as well as the odd flashes of death metal in the record’s moments of dissonance and lead guitar work, and the result is a solid 21 minutes of hell on earth indeed.
Porcupine – The Sibyl
Released February 26th 2021
Everything about The Sibyl by Porcupine feels dark. Even the artwork is the stuff of nightmares. The latest EP from the Chicago-based four-piece comprises six tracks, and makes for seriously deranged listening. The first five of these tracks are an all-out sonic assault, mixing the feral savagery of Jane Doe-era Converge with the band’s own torturous sense of experimentation. Once these are done, the record is brought to a weighty, gloomy close with “The Kingdom Of Heaven” – a near six-minute piece which has far more in common with genres like post-punk, noise and doom than it does with anything particularly ‘hardcore.’
Knoll – Interstice
Released February 26th 2021
Even on a list with some seriously heavy and abrasive records, Interstice by Knoll surely has to take the cake. There’s definitely a lot of metal on this one, with both blackened and OSDM elements, but it still feels fair to include it due to its viciously grindy edge. Armed with three guitarists and an impressively versatile vocalist, the debut full-length from this Tennessee-based six-piece is an oppressive, sadistic listen. Produced to suffocating perfection by the legendary Kurt Ballou, and accentuated by some more experimental leanings, this record’s perfect for fans of bands like Full Of Hell and The Secret.
Thirdface – Do It With A Smile
Released March 5th 2021
It’s been said many times before, but hardcore is meant to be political. This is something Nashville’s Thirdface grasp brilliantly on their debut LP Do It With A Smile. Capitalism, racism, performative wokeness – all these and more find themselves in the band’s crosshairs over the record’s 22 minute runtime. It features a particularly bile-filled performance from vocalist Kathryn Edwards, who’s backed by a bracing concoction of diverse, noisy and chaotic hardcore with metallic and grind influences. Seventh track “Villains” makes for a definite highlight, with scathing lyrics like (“Clock in, clock out/For the elite/For the bourgeois/For a small fee”).
Blue Ox – Holy Vore
Released April 2nd 2021
Holy Vore is Blue Ox’s first full-length in a full decade, and an album that does everything to live up to the Minnesotan five-piece’s Facebook slogan of ‘Harder Not Smarter’. Opener “It Doesn’t Work” launches us into fifth gear from the word go, and that’s very much where things stay throughout the record’s 20-minute runtime. With raging D-beats, Entombed-style buzzsaw guitars, and a particularly tortured performance from vocalist Dennis Hanson, this is an unrelentingly savage listen perfect for fans of the likes of Converge, Pig Destroyer and All Pigs Must Die.
Wasted Death – Ugly As Hell
Released April 9th 2021
Ugly As Hell pretty much nails it for this record. Featuring members of Beggar, Petbrick and USA Nails, there’s nothing pretty about Wasted Death. Described as “a lockdown baby,” this five-track EP is a raw and scuzzy listen which asks for just 12 and a half minutes of your time. In these, the band mix a typical metallic hardcore chaoticism with the primal D-beat of a band like Disfear, as well as elements of 90s noise rock. Charlie Davis makes for a rabid vocalist throughout, with second track “Spat Out” standing out as a firm highlight.
Block Out The Sun – Block Out The Sun
Released April 16th 2021
Between them, the five members of Block Out The Sun boast experience in the UK tech-metal, thrash, death metal, metalcore, punk and indie scenes. Their debut EP doesn’t have much to do with any of these though. Instead, it takes the form of a raging heavy hardcore record with a significant 90s and early 00s influence. All five tracks are solid, but the sheer beef of opener “Against The Ropes” and third track “Our Modern Coliseum” make both of these firm stand-outs. Definitely check this one out if you’re into bands like Sick Of It All and Wisdom In Chains.
Bone Cutter – Bone Cutter
Released April 23rd 2021
Formed from the “scattered pieces” of California-based mathcore quintet heavyheavylowlow, the self-titled debut EP from Bone Cutter is the shortest record on this list and almost certainly the most batshit crazy. If you like those records that seem to hit you with a new idea every five seconds – Pupil Slicer’s Mirrors from earlier this year being a prime example – then you’re guaranteed to love this. Manic and deranged in all the right ways, it’s a bewildering six and a half minute mix of mathcore, grindcore, screamo, noise and more that’s sure to leave listeners hoping for a full-length follow-up very soon.