8 Lines or Less covers albums from small, often regional bands with the occasional major release thrown in. The idea is to give coverage to artists self-releasing great, under-appreciated and under-covered albums. If you’ve got a band and you’ve been grinding away at getting coverage, drop us a line and we’ll check out your stuff. Bandcamp and is preferred since we’ll be able to throw an embed directly to the album for all the listeners that want to pick up your tunes.
Blacklisters – BLCKLSTRS
There’s really no question of how much Blacklisters look up to Jesus Lizard, so much so that the band themselves acknowledge it on their Bandcamp as though someone needed to be tipped off as to where the influence for the bass line in “Nice Garden” came from. Even “Mouthpeace” has the reptilian, inverted feel of “Nub.” Overbearing influences aside, BLCKLSTRS takes the id of Jesus Lizard, adds a bit more muscle and some hardcore elements to it and does so very well. We definitely recommend picking it up, although the currency conversion (the dudes are from England) kind of sucks when you see how pounds translate to dollars. Goddamned Obama.
Standouts on the album: “Trick Fuck” is, without question, the best song on the album. Ten seconds of shrieking guitars and howled vocals downshift to a muscular, deliberate stomp. The song only lets up midway through, and even then “You’re just a trick fuck” is screamed for a few seconds before the band comes roaring back in.
Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay
When you’re a band as old as Neurosis, there’s a certain level of expectation that everyone carries with them when approaching each new release. And while Neurosis has never really fit that AC/DC, Motörhead, Slayer model, there is a definite type of song they do and do well. To their credit, they’ve thrown in a couple wrinkles to their sound. Album opener “We All Rage In Blood” has none of the usual rhythmic twists, even when the band cuts the tempo by half and grinds their way to the ending. “All Is Found… In Time,” once you get past the guitar squall/tribal drum fill intro, is as close as the band has come to a Sabbath tribute track as they’ve come in a long time, until the end which reintroduces Jason Roeder’s relentless drumming again. The album features synths far more prominently than in the past and, while none of the songs stray too far from their sound, they’ve managed to introduce several new elements in a way that revitalizes their sound.
Standouts on the album: “All is Found… In Time” for its economy and willingness to settle into a groove. “At the Well” for its ten minute build and effective, melancholy synths that appear midway through. “Raise the Dawn” for sounding like a cut from Through Silver In Blood.
Pyres – 4 Track Demo
First things first. There are palm squeals. I’m not happy about it. You’re probably not happy about it either. Were it not for that, the album would be recommended without reservation. As it is, using such an awful, metal-guitarist trope is grating when it pops up, which isn’t too often, mercifully. The demo isn’t perfect by any stretch; there’s a few “if we had more time in the studio, we’d fix that” moments which are more endearing than distracting. If I had to guess, I’d say the band has listened to Torche’s In Return a handful of times. Free download!
Standouts on the album: “Atlas Cast No Shadow,” ignoring the palm squeals that saturate the intro.
Hot Garbage – Hot Garbage II
It’s not quite An Albatross, but Hot Garbage II at least gets you in the neighborhood. The two-piece from Chicago sometimes flirt with being just a little too earnest and a little too histrionic on the vocals, but the organ/drum combo serves them well, hitting all the major pluses of Lightning Bolt and the aforementioned An Albatross. It lacks a bit in the low-end sometimes, but never to the point that the songs are a chore.
Standout on the album: “Melinda Dreams of Kanita” is a clear standout, gloomy without being terribly oppressive.