By Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampFor 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 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?

2Mums – ‘Bushmaster: Side A’ (Riot Records)

These Australian punks have been creating darkly obstreperous and rebellious noise since 2017, when they formed to present the musical voice of frustrated farmers in their native New South Wales, subsequently turning their attention to the level of violence that seems to have become a societal norm, especially in the USofA. Over the course of these suitably ferocious four tracks, 2Mums address issues such as collateral murder and police brutality, subjects which bookend a gloriously and anarchically brief tribute to 5 Seconds Of Summer and a suitably avant-garde homage to the German painter Blinky Palermo. As its title suggests, this is the first of two twin EPs. If you like your punk noisome, dank and post-apocalyptic, then both volumes should be essential purchases.

  • ‘Bushmaster: Side A’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Brute Force Trauma – ‘World Is Burning’ (DiSTAT Records)

These Swedish crusties – made up of former members of punk outfits Wolfpack, Wolfbrigade, Filthy Bastard and Boot Bois – certainly don’t believe in fucking about, getting straight down to business with an anger-fuelled energy and intensity that immediately grabs you by the ears and swings you around the room, bouncing you off every wall and every piece of furniture in the process, leaving both you and the place completely trashed. It’s fast, it’s in your muthafucking face, and it doesn’t care what casualties it leaves in its wake. This is one band who definitely, and defiantly, live up to their name and I wouldn’t be surprised if its not too long before the world is indeed burning with the fire these guys have lit…

  • ‘World Is Burning’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Darkened – ‘Mourn The Dying Light’ (Edged Circle)

You would expect a band featuring members of the likes of Memoriam, A Canorous Quintet, Ordo Infernus and Grave to know a thing or three about producing quality death metal – and so it proves with this brief two-track offering from Darkened, served up as a stopgap between 2019’s debut album, ‘Kingdom Of Debut’, and a taster for its pending follow-up. As the band’s name might suggest, this is DM at its darkest and densest, crushing in its delivery yet also thoughtfully and expertly crafted with plenty of atmospherics to counterpoint the intense aural assault which these two songs deliver. We may not mourn the dying light (sic) of the embers of another traumatic and turbulent year, but this is the perfect soundtrack for doing so.

  • ‘Mourn The Dying Light’ is released on 7 January. You can get your copy HERE.

E.B And The Deadlights – ‘Still See Ghosts’ (Self-Released)

I first came across EBATD when they played their first ever gig supporting fellow Belfast horror punks So Long Until The Séance, appropriately enough this past Halloween night. They immediately made a fervent impression with the tightness of their sound and their dynamic approach, as well as their Misfits-infused brand of noise. This debut EP fulfils that initial potential I witnessed, and takes it to the next level as it struts and swaggers confidently between out-and-out punk rock abandonment and eloquent moments of gothic noirishness, coupled with anthemic, fist-pumping riffs and a well-versed sense of melody and lyricism. A confident debut from a band with a potentially big future within the gothic/horror rock/steampunk genre.

  • ‘Still See Ghosts’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Midnight Guest – ‘Satanic Panic Attack’ (Electric Funeral Records)

With a title which is a clever play on words, and which reflects the lyrical thematic of three of its four tracks, this latest EP (it’s their second this year, I believe) from this international collaboration, born out of the frustrations of ongoing lockdown restrictions and the anxieties and frustrations they produced, draws upon a number of classic rock tropes, from the innate and omnipresent doom of Sabbath through the darker aspects of the NWoBHM and the psychedelia of the late Sixties SoCal scene. There is a hypnotic quality to this EP which draws you ever deeper into its dense, atavistic grooves while at the same time resisting the urge to get up and dance around the living room like a recalcitrant hippy, such is the fine balance which is produced. A welcome guest at ÜRHQ at any time, midnight or otherwise…

  • ‘Satanic Panic Attack’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Smith/Kotzen – ‘Better Days’ (BMG)

When two massively, internationally famous – not to mention highly respected – musicians come together, it can be something of a car crash of egos. But, the union of Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen seems to have been exemplified by a natural synergy, as exemplified by their highly impressive debut collaboration of last year. Now, the duo is back with a couple of songs left over from those initial sessions plus a couple of new tracks which they managed to meet up and lay down during a rare break in the ongoing lockdowns earlier this year. Once again, ‘Better Days’ is an example of two extremely talented guitarists melding and moulding together into a seamless whole, displaying mutual respect and admiration for each other’s abilities, and at the same time producing some rather decent, and catchy, melodic rock tunes. If they go ahead, their just-announced series of dates for early next year should be something special indeed…

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

ten56. – ‘downer part.1’ (Out Of Line Music)

This debut EP from the new project put together by former Betraying The Martyrs vocalist Aaron Matts, and featuring members of progressive metal acts Novelists FR, Kadinja and Uneven Structure is a raucous – and fucking loud – slice of nu-deathcore which is determined to make itself heard. And, boy, does it do so!  It’s a huge collision of soundscapes, from the old-school hardcore spit and snarl of Matts’ vocal delivery, the EDM/industrial-infused background beatdowns and the staccato guitar riffs which deliver an unrelenting barrage of sound which just grabs you by the balls, pulls you until your noses are touching and yells “LISTEN TO ME” squarely into the middle of your face. It’s a combination, and an invitation, that is impossible to resist, especially when it as expertly delivered as it is here.

  • ‘downer part.1’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

Well, that’s your lot for this time around. We hope you’ve found some new and exciting sounds to tickle your aural cortexes. If you like what you’ve heard, please remember to support the bands and click the buy links at the end of each review. We should be back before the end of the year with another round up of the hottest EPs to have come our way – although, with our reputation, it might be 2024 before the next feature appears! Until then (whenever it is), keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and keep on rockin’ and rollin’ with the website the annoys the trolls like no other can hope to do…

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