Recorded in summer 2020 by Ian Boult (Moloch, xRepentancex) at Stuck On A Name Studios mixed by Taylor Young (Code Orange, Xibalba) at The Pit and mastered by Brad Boatright (Converge, Pig Destroyer) at Audiosiege, “There Is No God Where I Am”, the newest LP from epic metallic hardcore band CRUELTY comes out at the end of March via Church Road Records (Palm Reader, Svalbard etc.) and strikes with its vital, atmospheric, vicious, vastly powerful, and predatory dynamics. Today, we’re giving it a proper treatment with a special list of other #UKHC bands worth your time in 2021!
Taking the aggressive and frenetic edge of late 90s/early 00s metalcore combined with the dynamism of post-hardcore mixed with a DIY aesthetic to create a fierce synthesis of styles Cruelty are a frenetic and intense proposition hell bent on combatting the often insular and circumscribed heavy music scene.
Formed in 2017 and quickly releasing a demo tape on Welsh label Nuclear Family Cruelty began to play shows across the UK leading to a reputation for a dynamic style often negated in the UKHC scene. This differentiation of sound in comparison to so many off-the-peg hardcore/metalcore bands coupled with the ability to fit in with all kinds of line ups allowed Cruelty to quickly become a regular at shows up and down the country. An eponymous debut EP followed in 2018 on Rage Records which matured on the Cleveland meets Equal Vision sound of the demo by adding Gothenburg death metal melodicism and ‘chaotic’ hardcore elements without relenting on the punk essence.
2019 saw Cruelty release a second EP ‘In the Grasp of The Machines’ on The Coming Strife, Arduous Path (US) and Diorama Records (World). This release saw the band grow further with a refined yet furious audio assault leading to numerous UK shows alongside peers like Renounced, Higher Power, Seed of Pain and Big Cheese. A summer European tour with UKHC fixtures Realm of Torment allowed the band to discharge its own brand of visceral hardcore upon the continent.
Early 2020 saw the band head out on tour supporting Employed to Serve across the UK. This allowed the band to be received by a larger audience and the subsequent positive reviews and increased exposure had pointed to a big year. Enter; global pandemic. Not deterred but vindicated by the impending societal collapse the band hunkered down to concoct what is their debut LP ‘There Is No God Where I Am’.
Inspired by and titled after a line in Occultist and Writer Aleister Crowley’s 1909 published ‘The Book of the Law’ within which the writer is visited by a ‘Holy Guardian Angel’ named Aiwass whom dictates the central themes of the practise of Thelema ‘There Is No God Where I Am’lyrically and musically attempts to deal with spirituality in an increasingly morally corrupt world, familial grief and the degrading nature of humanity in the face of a barren political and societal landscape.
Recorded over an intense 4 day period by Ian Boult (Moloch, XRepentanceX) at Stuck On A Name Studios, Nottingham UK with mixing handled by Taylor Young (Xibalba, Code Orange) at the Pit, Van Nuys US and mastering by Brad Boatright (Pig Destroyer, Nails) at Audiosiege, Portland US indirect links can be made to the early output of The Dillinger Escape Plan, the intensity and political ideology of Botch and the aggressive beauty of Converge.
Lead single ‘A Lie That Makes Life Bearable’encapsulates the band’s sound with sprawling almost jazz-esque clean passages sandwiched between technical yet not confounding riffs backed by machine gun drumming and maniacal proclamations around the dismantling of societies’ structures. The remaining tracks flourish in this pool of styles complimented by noise and electronic passages ultimately culminating in the devastating title track.
“Although the last 12 months has written catastrophe for music on the whole the UK scene is stringer and more unified than ever. Solid releases on labels like The Coming Strife and Mentally Vexed amongst others means the culture hasn’t stagnated and feeds an insatiable urge to get back to what everyone loves; small rooms full of friends.”
Asked for their take on their national hardcore scene, CRUELTY says that “over the last 20 or so years the UK has borne so many great bands from Holy Terror hardcore Rot In Hell, XVX Hanneman riffs xRepentancex, big room metalcore Last Witness, doom-ish Hang The Bastard / Brutality Will Prevail, tough guy Cold Hard Truth / 50 Caliber and unquestioned kings Knuckledust.”
“Occasionally bands from the scene break out and make a deserved splash, see Malevolence / Renounced / Higher Power, but this is not defining and recognition is a sidebar to the main goal; playing music we love.”
𝑊𝑒 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘 𝑡𝑜 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑖𝑡 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑈𝐾𝐻𝐶 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜𝑝.
Current bands flying the flag are:
Call it ‘Melodeathcore’. Like the first Black Dahlia Murder album plus some earth moving breakdowns. Good guys doing a lot for the scene.
Deservedly making waves in the US with a release on Daze. Metallic but not ‘metal’ riffs that bounce with properly pained vocals.
Difficult to rival rival their energy and intensity. Incredible live band due to some of the most talented musicians in the scene. Dynamic versatile songwriting that is ‘tech’ but never gets beardy.
It’s crazy how much a guy from the north of England can sound like Jeff Perlin on the Breakdown 87’ demo. No frills all fun ‘proper’ hardcore.
Thrash infused hardcore. Cut the sleeves off your shirt and bang your head. [see our related feature HERE]
Incendiary/Soul Search type modern hardcore with some big breakdowns. Good lads doing stuff in 100 different bands. SCBD. SCHC.
Crossover in the SSD style. Definitely makes the room move. It’s tough but there’s no posturing.
Wicked solos, constipated vocals, Aggy Front vibes. Awesome live band giving off a sneering contempt for you and your lot.
Jangly rev-summer sounds almost teetering on the first Jimmy Eat World LP. Not everything has to be angry all the time.
Caustic disgust from Scotland teeters on grindcore hostility at times. Absolute beast of a vocalist.