All about the EPs: Enabler, Afgrund, Heartless

Enabler – Shift of Redemption EP
Still reeling from the release of last year’s stellar All Hail The Void album, Enabler have dropped a new 7” called Shift of Redemption, which sees them once again carrying the torch for metallic hardcore in this day and age. Four short tracks make up this terse EP and concision has always been a strength of Enabler’s. The title track kicks things into gear straight away with blazing melodic-riffs that still pack a punch while ‘Live Low’ sees the band at some of their most vitriolic and spiteful.

Third offering ‘Sacrifice’ is just a minute and a half of adrenaline and returns operations to the base of what Enabler is. However, it’s with fourth and final song ‘Fallselflessly’ that the band toy around with their formulas, employing gloomy guitars as well as vocals that borrow from the early screamo school of thought only to cut out before erupting once again in familiar pacey territory.

With the release of All Hail The Void, Enabler proved that they could jam in as much energy and vitality to an album as they could with their splits and EPs. Now on Shift of Redemption they gone back to an old method and proven their versatility with both.

Afgrund – Corporatocracy EP
Sweden and grind go hand in hand. That hardly needs to be reiterated but in a post-Nasum world and with Splitter calling it a day a while ago, there are just a handful of bands that can pick up the baton so to speak. Enter Afgrund. Last year’s Age of Dumb was a searing dosage of modern melody-tinged grind with an aggressive social and political edge and this new EP Corporatocracy picks right up where it left off.

Corporatocracy is loaded with eight new tracks and three covers, one of which is a Nasum cover, while tackling Repulsion and Discharge tunes too. The new songs are the crux of the EP of course and each is a succinct fireball of modern grind with polished, but judicial, production, made quite clear by the spacious guitars of ‘Earthrape’ and the melodies of ‘Common Goals’ that’s counteracted by the grimier crust-inflected ‘Pact of Perfection’.

You can take the covers for what they are. Clearly as intended as fun homages more than anything else (including Repulsion’s ‘Splattered Cadavers’ and Discharge’s ‘The Nightmare Continues’), they’re a brief addition to the EP and their tinkering with Nasum’s ‘Shadows’ isn’t exactly criminal to be fair.

Heartless – Certain Death EP
Finally, we have Pittsburgh’s Heartless who have come roaring back with a new 7” entitled Certain Death. Following up their LP effort Hell Is Other People was going to be tough; it was easily one of 2011’s very best powerviolence records and rest assured that the band has not taken any harsh swerves with this new EP. Bellowing vocals? Check. Furious and reckless blasts of drums? Check. Short one minute bursts of vitriol? Check. Yeah, it’s all here. They haven’t messed around with anything. It could be a criticism as well as a compliment. For now, it’s the latter as the band sound just as hateful and spiteful as they did on Hell Is Other People. If it ain’t broke…

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