Just a brief time spent researching Hull outfit Mastiff will unveil the band’s fondness for the word miserable, and it’s not hard to see why the band has taken a liking to describing their band as such. Their debut LP Wrank was largely successful in encapsulating the sonic fury of their live show, but throughout the 25 minutes that comprise new EP Bork, the quintet conjure the hypnotic churning power of sludge and flaunt the urgency of rousing hardcore in equal measures, to create a release dominated by an atmosphere of sheer anguish.
Bork’s pummeling wall of noise is inconceivably heavy at every turn, but it does not suffer from a lack of variation – Mastiff’s sound is one that recognises the ferocity of extreme metal, the abrasive vehemence of hardcore punk and the enveloping grandeur of sludge without always succumbing to the notion that these genres should stay separate. Instead, they are frequently blended together seamlessly in one grotesque and nihilistic melting pot; so much so that at times you can’t tell where one influence stops and another begins.
Jim Hodge’s yells are suitably venomous and guttural, and show a surprisingly varied range for an EP that shows restraint about as often as a Michael Bay film. A guitar tone akin to a chainsaw and thunderous percussion are also key to Bork’s remarkably insidious sound, something that was undoubtedly helped by the band recording the release live in just two days.
More consistently intense than its forbearer, Bork is Mastiff’s most accomplished release thus far, and the truest representation of their miserable style. It is louder, more fervent and entirely more nuanced than Wrank, and if such progress continues then a second full-length could see the band leapfrog to the front of the UK metal scene.
Bork is out now on APF Records. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr