Replenish Records, out of Washington DC, are a small label well worth supporting. Not only are they commendable for their varied mix of metal and hardcore bands, they seem to eschew any goal other than spreading good music. As they say on their Facebook page, "All of our releases will always be offered for free stream and download. We only ask that you help spread the contents of each download as far and as wide as possible and support what these bands are doing for music." To that end, they've made their releases available not just on Bandcamp but through Mediafire as well.
Like Agalloch, Alda hail from the Pacific Northwest - and indeed, they sound like a rougher, less post-rock addled Agalloch. "Hypnotic" is a word I've seen used to describe their Tahoma album, and it's a fair assessment. Expect this one to grow on you with successive listens. A welcome addition to the forest metal oeuvre. [Not sure why, but this album is also available through Pest Productions, who I did a post about not that long ago.]
Though they've only released one full-length, Mexican crusties Bio Crisis are already getting a lot of love; they've been confirmed for this year's American edition of the Obscene Extreme Festival, which means more love is on the way. D-beat hardcore in the glorious Swedish style, En Memoria Al Dolor mixes in the occasional sombre post-rock moment to create an album that's always furious but never one-dimensional.
Cleveland has long been the home of great hardcore bands like Ringworm and Integrity; but unlike their ultra-metallic brethren, Little Sister are on the fast and crusty side of the HC spectrum. Their self-titled EP speeds by like a turbo-charged, grindier Tragedy. The band have apparently split up following one last show; shame I discovered them so late, but I look forward to hearing what their members do next. The four songs on this EP are a sign of great things to come.
Rituals are from Arizona, and I dare say their Southwestern environment played no small part in developing their eerie, desolate sound. On their self-titled debut, they mix sombre, reverb-heavy (damn near surf rock) guitar licks with heaving doom, like a desert-born Cult of Luna. Crushingly heavy and psychadelic, but I don't recommend this album be used with any mind-altering substance. The trip would be brutal, and you may not make it back.
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