By Monk

For many years, the EP – or ‘Extended Player’, to give it its full title – was a criminally overlooked format. But, in recent years, it has made something of a deserved comeback, as bands face the challenge of continually producing new material but often not being able to commit to the cost of, or time to, recording full-length albums.

It’s a format which Über Rock has long championed: hell, we have a ‘Top Five EPs’ category in our annual end-of-year writers’ poll – but, as a busy website, it is often difficult to justify devoting space to the more miniature format. So, in the return of our occasional feature – and what will probably (with our reputation) be an irregular one – I gave a listen to some of the EPs that have crossed my desk in recent weeks. So, without further ado, let’s see what recent and forthcoming releases are lying around ÜRHQ, shall we?

Cassidy Paris – ‘Flirt’ (Self-Released)

We first came across teenage sensation – not a term we use lightly, believe us – last year, when she shared her rock ‘n’ roll love all the way from the land down under and barnstormed her way onto one of our Singles Club playlists. Eighteen months later and she’s once again flirting (sic) with our cortexes. Despite her tender years, young Miss Paris (are we allowed to call her that in these pronoun-fixated times?) produces a very mature sound, which sits somewhere between the power pop joy of Paramore, the crunch of The Pretty Reckless and old-school melodic rock powerhouses such as Lita Ford and Pat Benatar. Young Cassidy is aided in her mission by the ever-busy Paul Laine, who wrote lead single ‘Give Me Your L O V E’ and produced this five-track offering, and the equally fertile Steve Janevski (as well as his fellow members of Wicked Smile on the two live tracks included here). This is definitely one young lady with a very bright future ahead of her.

  • ‘Flirt’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

King Of The Dead – ‘The Summoning’ (Self-Released)

Hailing from parts unnamed somewhere in the darkest recesses of the Über Kingdom, KOTD set us up neatly for the forthcoming Halloween season with their brand of horror-infused alt-rock, which bubbles and broils like a witch’s cauldron after the bat wings have been added to the brew… While lacking the gothic theatricality of the likes of Ward XVI, they nevertheless succeed in delivering layers of atmospherics mixed with some neat earworm hooks, such as on ‘Destroy My Name’ and ‘Running Out Of Time’, both of which emphasize the very 30STM/Muse vibe which pervades their sound.

  • ‘The Summoning’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Maudits – ‘Angle Mort’ (Klonosphere Records)

This new EP, featuring two new songs and three reworked versions of earlier material, all recorded under stringent French lockdown conditions, and just a few months after the release of their debut album sees Maudits once again producing a rich soundscape that combines ambient electronica with dense yet laconic soundscapes that veer between avant-garde post-metal and the same strain of modern jazz with affluence and fluidity. I’ve said many times before that I’m not a massive fan of instrumental music, but there is a cohesion here that is hypnotic and helps this EP to serve as more than background music but a soundtrack in its own right, especially during Raphaël Verguin’s haunting cello parts, which raise the likes of ‘Verdoemd’ to the levels of classical excellence.

  • ‘Angle Mort’ is released on 5 November. You can get your copy HERE.

Mors Verum – ‘The Living’ (Self-Released)

Written and recorded against the initial backdrop that 2021 might well have provided us with a brighter vista than its predecessor, Canadian blackened DM-ers Mors Verum certainly live up to their name, which roughly translates as “real death”, on this, their second EP and third release in total. There is nothing pleasant about what is presented here: it is uncompromising, brutal, dissonant deathcore at its most depressive and anguished. The song titles, quite cleverly, create the sentence “Inside Death’s Womb Purge The Living”, which the band say is a statement reflecting their observations of conscious existence: it is also a clear indicator of what to expect, and the band live up to that expectation with a piercing stab into the heart of darkness and an eloquent dissertation on the deathcore ethos.

  • ‘The Living’ is released on 5 November. You can get your copy HERE.

MuddiBrooke – ‘Lunacy’ (Self-Released)

This Derby alt-rock trio had the possibly perceived misfortune to come together just before the world became extremely Covidicated, and the title of this, their debut five-tracker, is therefore perhaps an apt description of the situation with which they found themselves faced so early in their career. The first thing that strikes you on lead single ‘Devil’ is Brooke’s voice, which is equal parts fragility and strength, which is mirrored by the musical backing, which is primarily made up of staccato, post-punk style stabbing riffs, with huge gaps in the rhythmic framework adding to the ethereal feel of this highly atmospheric and incisive debut, which exemplifies once again that it is often what you leave out which is more impressive than what you put in, resulting in a breathtakingly beautiful audio experience.

  • ‘Lunacy’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Night Thieves – ‘Spiral’ (Self-Released)

This London trio, fronted by the distinctive vocals of Jess Moyle, plough what might seem as a somewhat unusual musical furrow between the commercially sensitive power pop of the likes of Paramore, the alt-rock innovation of Garbage and darker prog-rock sensibilities of Incubus and, again, Muse. Coupling heavy ended bass rhythms with guitars that seem to be more often absent than they are present – although that is a positive aspect, as it adds to the main driving force of the likes of ‘Off The Wire’ – ‘Spiral’ hopefully will see these three Thieves taking an upward one…

  • ‘Spiral’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Stockhausen & The Amplified Riot – ‘Have We Lost Our Mind or Have We Found Our Soul?’ (Artificial Head)

Initially formed as a trio in the early days of the pandemic and setting out to fulfil the axiom of “three chords good, two chords better, one chord best”, Stock&TAR have now sort of met that ambition, in terms of members at least, as only guitarist/vocalist Paul Chavez has hung around long enough to produce this debut five-track offering. The result is one of those bedroom/garage projects that sort of comes together with its own natural synergy, on this occasion blending psych-infused post-punk energy with electro-pop sympathies (as reflected in the very obvious sonic presence of a drum machine). There are some neat touches, especially in the jangling, jarring riffs on the likes of ‘Grinding Teeth’ and plenty of hints of future potential, albeit delivered in a slightly incohesive manner.

  • ‘Have We Lost Our Mind…’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

The End A.D. – ‘It’s All In Your Head’ (Fastball)

To be brutally honest, I don’t really know what these guys want to be: extreme metal or hardcore punk? While many bands, such as Employed To Serve and Jinjer, have successfully melded the two sub-genres, and added their own twists, these guys unfortunately fall between the two stools. Yes, they have some neat touches: ‘Death Cult’ builds the opening tension neatly and precisely, and has a cool Anthrax vibe to it, while their totally manic mangling of Deep Purple’s ‘Bloodsucker’ is so far off the feckin’ radar even NASA would have trouble finding it… ‘Head’, however, sounds just a bit too confused, although the EP is rescued at the end by ‘Unnamed Unloved’, which starts off densely atmospheric before exploding into a guaranteed pit-opener as fierce as a hungry pitbull.

  • ‘It’s All In Your Head’ is out now.

Visions From Beyond – ‘Drawing Down The Darkness’ (Dry Cough Records)

Drawing from the coldest, darkest recesses of the Finnish winter, this one-man project produces dank death-doom that is as claustrophobic and intimidating as being trapped in a crypt full of re-awakening vampires. Huge atmospheric swells of noise counterpoint dense, broiling riffs which in turn give way to the overpowering stench of undead vocals that spit blood in your face and then gleefully lick it off. This is the soundtrack of your descent into the abyss.

  • ‘Drawing Down The Darkness’ is released on 1 November. You can get your copy HERE.

Wooze – ‘Get Me To A Nunnery’

If you think Korean music is all about K-Crap such as BLT, or whatever the feck they’re called, then this innovative little EP could well change your mind. Drawing on the milder end of industrial rock and melding it with Bowie-esque funk (‘Mighty Cloud’ would fit neatly into his ‘Let’s Dance’ era) and cheeky Pet Shop Boys-meets-Sparks-style electro-pop (opener ‘Witch Slap’ is pure Tennant at his most lyrically acerbic while ‘Family Picture’ is a blatant Mael brothers homage) with the sort of new wave crossover pop punk popularized by the likes of Plastic Bertrand and Men At Work. A curious, but interesting, little nugget.

‘Get Me To A Nunnery’ is out now.

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