Welcome to The Weekly Riff, where every Friday arvo, BLUNT looks back at five of the sickest and spiciest tunes that dropped throughout the week that was!
If you’ve been keeping up with the column thus far (for those that haven’t, this is our fourth edition), you’ll notice that we’ve shaken up the formula a little bit. We realised that most of the biggest news from throughout the week came from new singles being dropped – or at least, those were the most exciting pieces, and the ones we really wanted to write about. So while The Weekly Riff is still in its infancy, we’ve decided to reconfigure the angle a bit and make it our showcase of all the best new music that hits our inbox every week.
CROSSFAITH – ‘SLAVE OF CHAOS’
2021 marks 15 years since Crossfaith first sent their cataclysmic shockwaves rippling through the scene, and it’s truly stunning to see how far they’ve come in that time. It’s no stretch to say they’re the current kings of electronicore, not just in their native Japan but all over the world.
So far this year, the band have dropped three standalone singles: ‘Dead Or Alive’, ‘RedZone’ and ‘Slave Of Chaos’ – the latter of which landed earlier this week. Each is great for its own set of reasons, with ‘Dead Or Alive’ echoing the anarchic, pit-tailored intensity of records like 2013’s Apocalyze and 2015’s XENO, ‘Redzone’ tapping into Crossfaith’s more melodic, pop-leaning sensibilities, and ‘Slave Of Chaos’ cranking up the energy far beyond max levels.
Setting the tone with glassy, siren-esque synths and rapped verses channeling the nu-metal greats of the early ‘00s, ‘Slave Of Chaos’ erupts into a thrashy, fiery storm of pummelling riffs and industrial percussion. We have no doubt that Crossfaith have written it to stir up the circle pits on their forthcoming Atlas Of Faith tour, and we’ll be shocked if it doesn’t work like a charm every night. In more ways than one, too, it feels like a throwback to the band’s breakout EP Zion – a very welcome one, at that.
THE FRONT BOTTOMS – ‘LOVER BOY’
‘Lover Boy’ is TFB’s second standalone track for 2021, but unlike ‘Voodoo Magic’, this one doesn’t feel like a B-side from last year’s (phenomenal) In Sickness & In Flames album. It feels more in line with their 2017 album, Going Grey, and its follow-up EP Ann. It’s bright and synth-y, with nostalgic, semi-melancholic keyboards and thumping bass guitar filling the soundscape; it’s definitely a Front Bottoms song, no doubt about it, but it’s a nice lil’ dip away from what they typically pump out (unlike the largely formulaic ‘Voodoo Magic’), so even if it’s not the most exciting track they’ve dropped in the last few years, we can see ‘Lover Boy’ making for some nice playlist filler.
LOSER – ‘SKYWARD’
The fifth single from their rapidly approaching second album, All The Rage (which, by the way, hits shelves in just a week’s time), ‘Skyward’ is an undeniably massive slab of driving riffs and belting stacked vocals. It’s a bit of an outlier on the LP, with Tim Maxwell’s heavy-hitting introspection tucked under a blanket of sci-fi metaphor. Via punchy, ‘90s-channeling grunge-pop barbs, the frontman sings about an alien abduction, putting himself in a scenario that any classic X-Files fan has no doubt dreamt of.
But as much of an outlier as it is on All The Rage, ‘Skyward’ is also a highlight, showcasing the band’s tightest playing and sharpest chants. It might not be as catchy or immediate as cuts like ‘On The Edge’ or ‘Upside Down’, but it’s sure to be a staple of their live set for years to come. But then again, the same can be said for pretty much any track on All The Rage; endlessly fun, explosive and nostalgic, it’s easily the best set of jams to come from any of the members’ projects.
VOID OF VISION – ‘THE LONELY PEOPLE’
Earlier this year, Void Of Vision dropped an entire redux of their 2019 album, Hyperdaze, linking up with some of Australia’s biggest and best names to reimagine ten of its 11 tracks (though there’s not a lot you could do with the 40-second ‘Overture’). We’ve still got cuts from that record on high rotation, but the ‘core-inclined Melbournites have already kicked off their next era, slamming through the gates with a vicious and visceral new track titled ‘The Lonely People’. We’re not sure just yet if this is our first taste of album #3, but as a statement of where Void Of Vision are headed next, it’s absolutely top-notch.
In a press release, frontman Jack Bergin called ‘The Lonely People’ “a song for musicians by musicians”, saying: “For the first time in my life as a musician I was sharing the same experience as so many other artists, strangely connected and suffering simultaneously. Through the extremely isolating timeline that really just had no end in sight, with setback after setback, the insane desire to create and perform reached new unearthly levels. I feel like we’re witnessing a rebirth of so many calloused individuals that were faced with an impossible adversity. The past year has left us all with this insatiable appetite and an unspoken bond formed between the entire music community. We’re all willing to do anything we can to bring our art back into frame, and deep down know that we’re not alone there.”
Void Of Vision are set to take ‘The Lonely People’ to the stage in January, with a six-date national tour hitting some of the country’s most revered venues. Lord have mercy on their barricades – there ain’t a chance in hell these crowds are going to be calm.
WAAX – ‘MOST HATED GIRL’
For their first new track in over two years, the Brisbane-based punk lords in WAAX have chiselled out a short and sweet little gut-puncher of a tune, tapping into the acidic self-deprecation and biting wit the five-piece do best. ‘Most Hated Girl’ has all the hallmarks of a classic WAAX song: big, bendy riffs, slamming drums, a killer hook, and vocals equally fierce and bruised. Like a modest drop of hot sauce on an otherwise mild taco, the subtle nudge up in heaviness at the end of the track is tasteful and effective – it feels like a bit of a callback to the band’s Holy Sick EP, which stood out for its grungy, rough-and-tumble punk sound.
But for the most part, ‘Most Hated Girl’ does feel like it could have been a track on WAAX’s 2019 album, Big Grief. In an interview with BLUNT (which we’re going to publish in the coming week), frontwoman Marie ‘Maz’ DeVita described it as a “bridge” between the Big Grief sound and what fans can expect from the as-yet-untitled second WAAX album, due in the early months of 2022. ‘Most Hated Girl’ is just the tip of the iceberg, though, with future material – a stack of which they’ll debut at next year’s UNIFY Gathering – sounding unlike anything WAAX have done before.
Honestly, we’re just stoked WAAX are back, period. The past few years have been pretty turbulent for the band – they never even got to finish their national theatre run in support of Big Grief, which fucking sucks – but they’ve always been nothing if not resilient, and we’re stoked to see them power through to brighter days ahead.