Mastiff-Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth album review. FFO: Nasty, Gritty extreme Metal/Hardcore.


Mastiff-Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth album review. FFO: Nasty, Gritty extreme Metal/Hardcore. 

Mastiff is a frankly stunning extreme metal band from Hull, U.K. that luckily a metal twitter comrade told me about. They epitomise what is IMHO the best resurgence of grim metal from that region of the world. The number of bands coming out with ridiculously top class releases is endless and it has a grimly appealing tone. This album is one of my fave extreme metal releases of the last ten years. 

It is self-proclaimed miserable music that really reflects the current state of the globe in so many ways. At its foundation is a dark post-hardcore base that mixes sludge/grind/death metal, but the sound is also unique to this band. The riffs are massive, the vocals are harsh and the storytelling is perfect. The album starts with a distorted almost industrial build-up(the industrial feel is evident across many tracks) with the best opening track I have heard in some time with The Hiss and what a lead-in, reminds me of underground cult horror vibes, hell yes!. It's like the end of the world has begun and then Fail smacks you around with its unforgiving almost beatdown vibes. I am a huge fan of vocals serving as an instrument like in many Earache records era recordings. Before you can take some air, one of the albums highlights dropkicks you in the face with Repulse (check the video out (link at end of this review, it's a cracker!), this is a clear example of how well this band can play and blend multiple subgenres into a track so seamlessly. I adore how this is a very hardcore style song but the tone is sludgy as hell. The transitions into new parts were impressive as well. Again as you think you have a grip on the band, they utterly confuse you with an almost powerviolence-ish(but also black metal) classic in the guise of Midnight Creeper. But the mix of styles works perfectly and all these variations make for a thoroughly robust and intriguing album of magnificent tracks that fit together so well. Beige Sabbath storms in next like a tank and have tons of swagger as the song develops and also has impressive lyrics to fit. The track also gets loose in the vein of Cancer Bats towards the end of the track. Phew!. Futile as the sixth track again proves the band's worth as it slows down, well for a short burst anyway in a giant of a track that exhibits the more doomy and dirty sludge influence present in the band. Having many influences can harm or showcase your skills and this is where Mastiff shine; brutality mixed with a groove that hooks you. Napalm Death has done this so well in their career and why their later albums are their finest work. 

Endless is also a huge fave of mine, that opening guitar riff that leads into abrasive vocal warfare is sublime. And the Godflesh like mechanical drum work and guitar savagery from the 1:37-minute mark is glorious as is the crazed vocals at the end. The production is marvellous and is crunchy, bombastic and distinct. And let's not forget for a second that the bass and drums drive so much of this atomic bomb of a band. Mastiff has it going on at all levels, even in their brilliant artwork and merch. Scalped and Salted continues on the successful themes of fast/slow, punishing tone and a sludgy breakdown/grindcore vocals as a bonus. Just as The Hiss was a perfect opener, Lung Rust is a staggering close to this striking album. This is another jaw-dropping beast of a track that is more about downtrodden yet thunderous pace. This employs Napalm Death as much as Converge to rattle your cage in a demonically charged battle of channelled aggression.

This album is a marvel as it seems to harness all the bleak spectacle of all the negatives in the world, yet refreshingly make them seem as dynamic and bold as possible. Easily one of this year's finest extreme metal albums and one of the best of its genre in the last ten years or so. Compelling, brutal and so focused in its grating delivery.

Watch this:
Buy the album and all the excellent merch here: