Label: Self Released Release date: Out Now! Website: MySpace Well, this is good! Just when I was starting to worry that Enter Shikari and Gallows had put everyone in the UK off starting hardcore bands, and that the only vaguely hardcore bands we produce are basically just angry math rock with screaming, I get this brutal yet lovingly handmade package in the post all the way from Wales, as the band insisted on mailing it out rather than just emailing a bunch of MP3s. The CD has a cool vinyl effect on it, and the cover is hand-printed in a striking monochrome design – the whole thing has clearly been assembled with as much passion as the tracks themselves. Bastions are, purely and simply, a hardcore band. No mathy time signatures, no synthesizers, no political concept, no mariachi side projects, no songs that stretch too far past the three minute mark. The kind of back to basics approach that I’ve not seen too much around the UK for far too long, borrowing as much, if not more, from the short, sharp but still melodic Have Heart than from The Bronx and Fucked Up, two bands who have arguably left too much of a mark on the genre in recent years. They even, in their heavier moments, call to mind Converge – the relentless chug of ‘Misery King’ is reminiscent of the metalcore giants’ seminal album Jane Doe. On Kingdom Of Dogs, Bastions are an unstoppable destructive force, from the no-nonsense pounding that kicks off opening track ‘Crooked Hands’, to the noisy feedback that calls closer ‘Heir Of The Dog’ to a close. Singer Jamie Burne spits out his lyrics furiously (‘I’ll hold myself in humility! When vultures come to pick your bones!’), his distorted scream accompanying the crushing riffs with pure, unabashed emotion. This is a genuinely exciting record, an example of honest, gimmick free hardcore that stands up regardless of any trends. If you like hardcore at all, you’d be missing out on one of the UK’s best new bands by not listening to it. Photobucket