Manchester Hardcore Quartet Bleach have had the pleasure of having their debut EP Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by none other than Loathe guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe. It’s not often that a band in Loathe’s position would have the opportunity to put their name behind another band in this way, with labels and management often pulling the strings and preventing them from happening. But it happened and “Disconnect” is the result. It’s a 4 track EP, though both Spotify and iTunes are listing the the pre-release single “Anguish” separately, while single “Terminal” that also appeared this year, is not on the EP at all.
Our first impression of the EP was that there are shades of Kublai Khan frontman Matt Honeycutt’s brutal bark in the vocals throughout “Disconnect”. Opening tune “Eye For An Eye” isn’t a Soulfly cover but 73 seconds of pounding drum fills and hardcore riffage. The pacey intro breaks down into an almost Lotus Eater styled breakdown as the vocals make their first bites into us, the listening victim. The drum sound grows increasingly huge to the close before it’s spareness bleeds into second song “Anguish” as if it’s a continuation of the same piece of raw hardcore. “Anguish” spin kicks with menacing feedback soaked staccato riffs, a play on the “less is more” approach that allows the atmosphere to build with guitar and bass pauses. The initial punch gives way to some stompy riffs and some darker and less polished raw tones that are reminiscent of Knocked Loose. Certainly the level of social anxiety and awareness in the lyrics of the EP as a whole has that in common. “Reap What You Sow” continues the trend with some but brings more groove with the guitars and a surprise buried bass solo of sorts in a choice moment. There is no break in the relentlessness of the bands sound as a whole or the fire and ferocity of the wet barked vocals. If you were expecting a sing-a-long clean chorus, you’re in the wrong place. “Social Injustice” continues the groovier riffs with the odd leap with tech-squeals. The drum sound is clean and crisp with every hit and kick shinning through the raw guitar sound. It seems that Bleach are very much part of the scene that has brought Loathe, Lotus Eater and Leeched through while putting their own spin on the hardcore sound. This is only the beginning [8.5/10]
1. Eye For An Eye
3. Reap What You Sow
4. Social Injustice
“Disconnect” EP by Bleach is out now and available over at iTunes.