• this is menace The Scene Is Dead (CD, £4.65)

    label: Fourth Wall

    Lurking in the shadows like an unholy alliance, This Is Menace have decided that it’s time once again to step into the light. Their 2005 debut album, No End In Sight, was as unique in concept – one band of musicians blooding a different vocalist with each track – as its intention to smash apart any conventions that any critic or fan could apply to modern heavy music. Now, The Scene Is Dead has reared its head, like the scarred underside of the same coin. Meanwhile, the score presses on: this is some of the darkest, most unremitting music to appear this year or any other. Boundaries are transgressed; only the listener with the strongest constitutions will survive. Familiar faces with pitch-black eyeballs include Jeff Walker from British grindcore legends Carcass and former SikTh boys Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill, along with Colin Doran, who continues to be unrecognisable as the man who repeatedly sung his way into the Top 40 UK singles with post-hardc*re golden boys Hundred Reasons. They’re joined by a host of debutantes designed to whet the appetite of anyone desperate to hear what some of the loudest, most resounding voices of the domestic underground can cook up between them, like chefs working double-shifts in a meth lab several floors beneath Hell’s kitchen. The cast of kindred spirit newcomers consists of JS Clayden (Pitchshifter), Jaz Coleman (Killing Joke), Charlie Simpson (Fightstar), Barney Greenway (Napalm Death), Tom Lacey (The Ghost Of A Thousand), B’Hellmouth (Send More Paramedics), Paul Catten (ex-Medulla Nocte, currently of Murder One/Barabus) and Justin Sullivan (New Model Army). It’s a diverse group with a shared goal: blending their unique individual styles to the all pervading, decidedly bleak vision of This Is Menace co-creators, Jason Bowld and Mark Clayden. It’s a typically stubborn and twisted statement of intent that head Menacers Bowld and Clayden are content to hang back, powering the engine room. Until you remember that, in this world, the rulebook only exists to have its pages torn out and used to mop up the rising levels of blood, sweat and saliva being wrung out of every note. The scene is dead. Long Live The Scene….

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