End of year report 2011 Part 2: The best of the EPs, demos & splits

Yesterday, I ran down my top 10 Irish releases of the year, cheers to all of you who had a gander. If you missed yesterday’s post, check it out HERE. Now, let’s look a little beyond Ireland at the best EPs, demos and various split releases that landed on our ears this year.
Between The Buried and Me, a band I’m guilty of fanboyism for at times, signed a new deal with Metal Blade this year and subsequently released their first EP – Parallax – The Hypersleep Dialogues, another feather in their already heavily garnished cap. It continues on from 2009 album of the year The Great Misdirect, concept wise, and will spill into the next full length later next year. Check out ‘Lunar Wilderness’ for an idea of where this vital band is right now in their careers.
Coming from the same realm, The Universe Divide released their debut EP, Dust Settles on the Odontophobes. Featuring Gael Pirlot and Chris Rushing of the now defunct Canvas Solaris, this EP is an invigorating debut effort. Similar to Canvas, it’s ludicrously technical instrumental prog metal with no fear of hooks either. Also, Blotted Science returned with a powerful EP, The Animation of Entomology, which merely reminded us all of just how good Ron Jarzombek is.
From a different angle, Fuck the Facts released their new album, Die Miserable in October along with the EP Misery, featuring cuts that didn’t make the album, strange really because there are tracks on this EP that are almost as storming as Die Miserable.
Cynic too returned just last month with another EP – Carbon-Based Anatomy. The review went online last Thursday, so read THAT. Spectral and mellow would be apt in describing it, a logical progression from Traced In Air. Meanwhile, Russian post metallers, Moro Moro Land may have a pretty bad band name but their self-titled EP, released for free online, hints to great things. Lion’s Paw also released a free demo, on bandcamp, espousing some heavy Pelican worship that comes across rather well, and will definitely be a band that I’ll be keeping a firm eye and ear on.
German neo crust band Alpinist has had a cracking year and their split LP with Masakari furthered that. Both bands delivered big time with their respective sides, especially Alpinist. Hopefully their third LP isn’t too far off. French dark hardcore band Nesseria was another band that released a great split side, with Clinging To The Trees of a Forest Fire. Their four tracks were just scorching barrages.
Back on our wretched home island, new-ish grinders Sickener got around to putting their demo online in September, revealing some short bursts of filthy grind. I was banging on about them for a while prior so thankfully the demo is actually really good. Keep an eye out for my feature on the band in a forthcoming issue of Molten Magzine. Sticking with Ireland, Crows narrowly missed out on breaking yesterday’s Irish top 10. It’s a shame because their Severance tape is searing. If you’re unaware the band play some corrosive, misanthropic hardcore and their next release is a split 7” with Drainland, and mark my words, they’re going to destroy.
Across the board, there were some interesting demos released this year, like This Tongue Is Poison mentioned yesterday as well as Column of Heaven. However the most impressive demo of 2011 came from Denmark – Hexis are one of the year’s greatest gifts. Their self-titled demo tape, released by Suburban Mayhem, has shown some of the most promising noise for some time. Simply put, their assault is completely unrivalled. It’s caustic, pulverising, barbed blackened hardcore and with a split release with Euglena and As We Draw just released and last week’s new 7” called X out too, the band have high expectations awaiting them in 2012. Listen to the demo here:
Check back tomorrow for the final part -Top 25 albums of the year.

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