Knives Out Records

Songs Of Immortality


A record that took it’s time to come out and was on top of my wait list last year, was very anticipated and to many surprising collective vinyl re-release of Grimlock‘s Songs Of Self cd and their first 7″; Thirst For Immortality. Songs Of Self was originally released only on cd and as all of Gridlock records are a hell to find anywhere, this new edition is called Songs Of Immortality. It brings Grimlock’s pure crushing metallic violence to another generation of hardcore heads. Knives Out Records has again dropped a real gem for all those, who like their records looking as good as they sound, besides also making an huge favor to the hardcore scene by re-releasing Grimlock material after a long, long time. Wait for this 12″ was quite long, as last year’s record store day fucked most of smaller record plant’s schedules and diy run label’s orders were pushed back in timetables. Big business labels put out all kinds of craphole records, as they’ve realized people buy RSD stuff like apeshit. This only of course makes small business labels suffer as their pressing times are becoming lengthy and unpredictable. Songs Of Immortality took it’s time to come out, but the wait, it was again well worth it.

For those who have never heard of Grimlock, the band originated from Boston, Massachusetts area back in 1994. Musically Grimlock were on their own level even back then as “brutality, heavy as possible” -would be the terms i’d use to describe their music. Grimlock put out relatively good amount of releases during their lifespan. First demo tape came out in 1995 and after it, they steadily toured and put out a release almost early. Thirst Of Immortality 7″ was released also in ’95 and the first album, Songs Of Self cd in 1997. Follow up record, Crusade Of Reality cd/10″ was released also in Europe, it came out in 1998. Year after that in 1999, they did a split 7″ with japanese band Rebirth, after of which, they shortly went into hiatus. Final Grimlock opus, mcd Crusher arrived in 2002, when the band returned to stages to tour. That unfortunately lasted only a year, since in 2003 Grimlock called it quits.

First time i heard Grimlock, was few years after Crusher was released and it hit me right away. Metallic fury combined with one of the angriest voices in hardcore hooked me right away to Grimlock’s sound and it didn’t hurt, that their name was taken from one of the most boss Transformers chracters ever. Staying largely under the surface of larger hardcore audiences, at least in Europe, during years for many Grimlock has become very sought after band, that i totally can understand (i’m missing only the Rebirth Split 7″ and the demo tape from my collection…). Grimlock is truly an amazing band, whose heaviness was in their own level  and that put out extremely great records, still they feel today like a hidden gem in the world of hardcore. Few years back LA’s Ruckus put out their appreciation for Grimlock on the map, as they recorded a cover of Mountain Of Power (off Thirst For Immortality 7″) on a limited Split 10″ with, (their other band) Twitching Tongues. Other than that, i haven’t heard many people even mention Grimlock and was super surprised and happy when i heard from Tonr (Knives Out Records & Providence) that he’s going to release something from them.

If you have read my previous reviews of Knives Out releases, you’ll know that they put special effort in what they do. Grimlock layout features lots of live shots and poster / flyer artwork. Two different versions were available during pre-order process, deluxe and classic. Now already sold out deluxe (that my review is based on) features iconic “24” cut in layout, digital download card, patches, pins and an art book titled; Visuals Of Immortality. The book contains lots of never before seem live photos, in which the records artwork is based on mostly and includes as well a story compiling together Grimlock’s walk as a band. So called normal, the classic version comes with same glorious picture vinyl that deluxe, but with a simpler version of the layout and download card is of course included too. I could go on forever how amazing this package is, i can only say that if Knives Out Records is still a new accointance to you, correct that shit out right now and order some of the most amazing looking records you’ll ever own (hint; Arkangel 10″  is available now)!

Song Of Immortality starts with tracks on Songs Of Self and then goes into Thirst For Immortality. The record kicks in with one of the most vicious songs in Grimlock arsenal, My Sins and it’s right here, where you hear why this band is called brutal, the intensity of this metallic mayhem is unparalled; “World’s closing in, don’t know where to begin. I am angry all the time. I hate, i hate all the time”. Cry Of The Dead, builds up with hard and menacing guitar wall, that continues just by turning into slower and heavier as the song processes on. Eye Of The World, follows up, throwing some speed into gear, but it’s again filled with raging breakdowns, the kind of most of today’s heavy bands unfortunately can just dream about writing of. Processed thrusts again into pure, fierce heaviness and it’s all nothing but crushing riffs after another, ’till the mosh part at the end takes over; “FAKE”. Life (After Silence) is almost of an instrumental mosh factory and as the lyrics comprise pretty much as of the song title only, this song has always had like a intro/interlude feel to me in a way. One of the most well known Grimlock songs ever is probably, 24, it is all pure chugging mayhem and tells about legendary hockey fighting champion Bob Probert; “A gladiator primed for battle. A notch above the rest. Drop of the gloves, never backs down. Made to be the best.”.

Originally released back in 1995 by Pin Drop Records (as Songs Of Self cd is too), Thirst For Immortality tracks portray mosh ridden, heavy jams, that aren’t yet as metal influenced than Songs Of Self. Bring The Pain, Feed My Rage and Mountain Of Power –all still represent very powerful and violent hardcore songs, there’s so many part full of face crushing heaviness. These songs remain as few of my favourite Grimlock tracks, even though this whole record is full of pure fucking excellence. Last track, Thirst For Immortality, acts an outro for the record, originally it appeared on Songs Of Self cd as final track, with all three songs from the 7″ as bonus tracks. Songs Of Immortality brings together Grimlock to many new hardcore enthuastics, or so i can hope at least!

If you haven’t ever heard of this band before, i strongly advise you to let Grimlock take you into it’s jaws and crush you in to pieces, most likely you will enjoy it. For any fans of hokest, agressive and brutal hardcore such as Cold As Life, Shattered Realm, Overcast, (early) Harebreed and such bands. Note, that Songs Of Immortality is very limited pressing on picture vinyl and i’m not even sure how many copies Knives Out has in stock at the moment, so check out their store right away.

Here you can stream through the entire album.


Grimlock -Knives Out Records / Knives Out Records -Website / Store / Knives Out Records -Facebook

Grimlock – Mad Titan -video (from 2002 Crusher mcd)

Primeval: Sworn Vengeance x St. Hood

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One of the most important labels in europe today is relatively new label from Paris, France, that concetrates on releasing only perfection in all of the aspects of their releases. One man operation is run by my man, TONR, vocalist of the infamous heavy hardcore hitters, Providence. Now with his label, he also known to the world as: Knives Out Records. I’m going to conduct an interview with him in near future, where we will get more in depth about the whole label, art and it’s future, but now i’m going to concentrate on the newest “knife”, this offering is known as; Sworn Vengeance / St. HoodPrimeval Split 10″.

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I was very stoked about hearing that this release was in the works, since St. Hood is one of the best Finnish hardcore bands ever for me and i’ve followed Sworn Vengeance for many years, not to mention that they did pretty impressive comeback with their new cd/lp, …And With This Hammer Of Vengeance. It’s pretty cool thing too, that these both bands are well known in their local scenes, but not that big outside their own countries. Primeval split 10″ has a theme of “bridging the ocean”, this split and Providence / HoodsAces Split 7″ both share the same idea of bringing two distant bands & countries together. If you aren’t yet familiar of the concept that Knives Out Records has, you should know that the releases they put out are aiming to be nothing but exraordinary, in every sense of the word, all details have been perfected to match the quality. Knives Out -releases are put out high quality heavy picture vinyl and varying regarding the release, they have few different sleeve styles available. Mostly presented as “classic”, “pre-order” and “deluxe” -editions, these are meant to be highly collectible records, but still maintaining pricing very reasonable and pressings, that do not run out instantly. My copy of the record is one of deluxe version, that features different sleeve than classic and pre-order versions. You can see below how the sleeve has been cutted to fit into bat and ape skulls. Artwork is something Knives Out obviously take very seriously, so as Tonr works a lot of it himself, he has brought in excellent artists too to match the dedication he is putting to this slabs of wax. Some of the artists that have been working with Knives Out are Matt Worthey (Suicide Kings “Crown Of Thorns” 12″), Dave Quiggle (Providence / Hoods “Aces” Split 7″) and on Primeval Justin Kamerer, all of these guys might ring a bell, if you wear band shirts like most of us do. To add, of course these records are hand numbered and there is digital download card featured with the vinyl.

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I could go on lot longer about how awesome this release is only on based on it’s art, but i’ll let the photos talk instead of blabbing more about that. Music wise both, Sworn Vengeance and St. Hood offer up two tracks and a cover song each. If somehow Sworn Vengeance doesn’t ring a bell, brief recap for all you who are not familiar. Based in San Fransisco, Sworn Vengeance started back in 1998 , they came together when their old band Downshift changed it’s name, reason for that was simple, they wanted to play different style of music, notably very much heavier. Putting out several releases such as; My Friend The Violence demo (that was later released also properly on cd as a demo compilation), Abaddon cd and Domination cd, they made name for themselves and became known for their vicious and punishing metallic hardcore. They disbanded in 2002, but next year put out only digital release for their unfinished and released album; The Outstretched Arms Of Damnation. By the way, their bass player at the time, Carl Schwartz went on to form First Blood. First talk about reunion emerged in 2010, but it took few more years for them to come together, as in 2013 they went to studio to record …And With This Hammer Of Vengeance, it was released early 2014 in europe by Goodlife Records (cd) and in USA by Escapist Records (lp). They never lost their grip, since the new record is equally pummeling showcase of fierce heaviness, as their classic record, Domination is.

Primeval kicks in with a new Sworn Vengeance jam, Killers Of Gods , traditional metallic mayhem, that represents beautifully, what this band is about. Another one of their originals is a new rendition of old classic, Unresolved Issues Of Rage, that you might have heard on Abaddon cd or The Blood & The Chaos 7″. As both bands on the split have a cover song, Sworn Vengeance is putting their mark on Rage Against The Machine‘s classic track, Bulls On Parade and as everyone can make their own mind, if they dig it or not, in their defense i need to say, that they make the cover sound very their own styled one. If this sounds good, i strongly recommend to pick the new cd/lp i mentioned, it’s pretty fucking hard stuff and if you can find any of their older records, all those too are a must have for any self respecting hardcore fanatic.

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On the other side waiting is St. Hood, who are one of the finest and most respected bands, that Finland has to offer. Coming a good way since their demo back in 2004, St. Hood have dropped two full-lengths since then and appeared on few compilations. All material on Primeval 10″ is brand new shit and it’s the first time they release new stuff after 2009 release, their second full-length, For The Dead on Combat Rock Records. The Same One is delivering just what you might think, groovy hardcore, that doesn’t lack any of heaviness either. It’s also a kick into the teeth for all the doubters and disbelievers, who might have critized the band by any reason, St. Hood is coming strong with and they sound more determined than ever. Their other new track Let It All Out works out as great as the first, dropping driving riffs, that are combined into mid-tempo heavy groove, but don’t lack some melody in the verse, it’s just what you want to hear from these guys, solid stuff from start to finish. These both songs are really good and i just can’t wait to hear how their next lp would sound. St. Hood perfected their style of straight forward hardcore, mixed with heavy metal elements on very “street” level on their second album and these songs are very logical continuum of that, so let’s hope they don’t make us wait for so long ’till they put out something new. Aside being always really great band on record, they are excellent live and they are also very versatile when it comes to picking cover songs, as in the past they have played bands such as; Life Of Agony, Fury Of Five and Mötley Crüe. Now they continue that varying line with Beastie Boys‘s Gratitude and as did Sworn Vengeance, they make this cover sound like their own, very effectively.

I sincerely hope that this split release will turn heads in the USA towards cold shores of Finland and vice versa (even the US shore’s can’t be THAT cold, like here). In the end, Primeval split is amazing work of art and this kind of devotion to the medium of picture vinyl is nothing but admirable. I hope you enjoy Sworn Vengeance and St. Hood, support hardcore and independent labels, buy the records you enjoy and support bands by going to shows and buying their merch. Most of the Knives Out Records -releases are available through their website, that you can access below. Now, put them fucking jams on and wreck your room!

Knives Out Records

Sworn Vengeance -Facebook

Sworn Vengeance -Official website

St. Hood -Facebook

St. Hood -Official website