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"Bastions are a visceral alternative/hardcore band hailing from the most northern point of Wales.
With three self released E.P.'s under their collective belts, Bastions sharpened their teeth with their 7" "Island Living" (Tangled Talk/Holy Roar). Released in August 2010, "Island Living" was a dark and brooding affair that showed a raw honesty that few bands hold. Recorded by Ben Phillips (Lightship95), the E.P. explored a wide range of sonic territories in just under 10 minutes, and offered an alluring glimpse into what the future would hold.
After over a year of relentless touring and writing, Bastions are back with their debut album, "Hospital Corners".
Recorded by friend and fellow member of a touring band, Lewis Johns; their forthcoming debut jumps headfirst to into the void. A record that sheds light on the darkest recesses of the human psyche: Surrendering one's faculties over to hospitalisation, sinking into disrepair, panic and anxiety and succumbing to dark vices. Heavily influenced by vocalist and lyricist Jamie Burne's experiences as a support worker and research psychologist, "Hospital Corners" covers a wide scope, but holds a simple recurring theme; failing oneself.
Possessed with an unrelenting tension throughout, and balancing the aching heaviness and unorthodox melodies that they're becoming renowned for, Bastions have created a haunting, unsettling debut. From the unassuming opening of "Augury", to the dynamic closer, "Dark Father", the record will surely cast a shadow over much of the close mindedness and "playing it safe" that exists within much of contemporary heavy music."
Bastions released on the 3rd of July 2012 their video for Augury opening track to Hospital Corners and a bit of a fans favourite.
Welsh Quartet Deliver Hauntingly Brilliant Debut
Having released three EPs of solid but workmanlike hardcore, Bastions' full length debut finds inspirations and material focussed to perfection. Hospital Corners is no contrived, angsty title, its inspiration - as with the 29 minutes of ferocity contained within - informed by vocalist Jamie Burne's experiences as a research psychologist. Indeed, the introductory double trauma of Augury and Vistant in turn evoke the navigation of eerie hospital corridors and the sudden violent outpourings from the recesses of troubled minds. Lofty cerebral concepts are nothing if there isn't music to hook you, but with brimming fury and dark unorthodox melodies in tow, Bastions have no rouble there.
Big Cheese 4/5
Impressively expansive debut from
North Wales based hardcore upstarts.
While the South Wales hardcore scene
may be one of the most fertile in the UK.,
Anglesey's Bastions are here to prove
that North Wales has something to offer
too. It's perhaps their relative isolation
that has helped to make 'Hospital
Corners' such a distinctive debut. Equal
parts expansive sonic experimentation
and coruscating metal rage, numbers
like 'Warmth Of the World' and 'Onset'
bring to mind mid-period Poison The
Well, and Gallows in places, but more
importantly demonstrate a young band
that's already developed an impressive
identity of its own and mark them as a
newly ignited bright light.
Thrash Hits 5.5/6
The habit of labeling a band like Bastions as merely a "hardcore" band exists only so we (as an audience) have a convenient box to file them away in Jamie Burne's melancholic lyricism on Hospital Corners has little to connect it to the macho boisterousness of the chest beating end of the hardcore spectrum, nor does it have the necessary self-pity and entitlement that accompanies the more cliched proponents of post-hardcore. If anything, Burne's questioning rhetoric rings with melancholic bitterness, his intent for the album spelled out by Hospital Corners' opening lines: "I am shelved and segregated, struggling to control what I've created // You think the war is out there? It starts in here between the panic and fear". No, it becomes evident rather quickly that you're never going to get any "open up this pit!" sloganeering or arms-akimbo stage-posing from the Bastions frontman anytime soon.
Interestingly enough, Frank Carter's guest vocals on 'The Lengths (When Wants Become Needs)' don't contradict the rest of the album's lyrical and vocal direction. This track might be the last time we hear any harsh vocals from Carter, but it also makes full use of the true clean singing he dabbled with on parts of Grey Britain, and plans to make the norm for his forthcoming Pure Love project. His pairing with Burne for "I'm choking on grief, you're begging for sleep // When men are monsters, they pray for times like these", juxtaposes the angelic and demonic to crushing effect, making for a suitably haunting finish.
Throughout Hospital Corners, Jamie McDonald's guitars have enough unrefined soul to them as to both match the vocal tones on display, and yet still provide enough of a counterweight to them to prevent the album's songwriting from veering towards the one-dimensional. Shying away from unnecessary distortion or the knock-off doom riffs that are en vogue with the lazier elements of hardcore community right now, McDonald's playing appreciates when it needs to keep its distance, as it does with album opener, 'Augury', or when to encroach to the cusp of overwhelming the listener, such as it does during the frenzied leading role it takes for 'Warmth Of The World'. It's this careful balance that gives Hospital Corners the extra push it needs to go from being merely a very good record, into the realms being a truly superb one.
Closing the album is 'Dark Father', a spiritual successor to both Bastions most fire-bellied rages and the brooding, melancholic Cult of Luna-leanings of 'The Great Unwashed', the track they closed their Island Living EP with. Over the course of six minutes, it condenses Bastions' component parts into a single song a furious opening salvo, a mid-section as comfortable at using silence as it is volume to achieve an effect, and a percussively-driven crescendo. The manner in which Burne's furiously depressive roar delivers "I held you here for too long, who could ever take my place? // Why should I care about a world that chooses to save face?" as both the song and album head towards their inevitable climax captures the very heart of what Bastions are about.
You can throw around #ukswell hastags all you want, but Hospital Corners is a record that deserves to be appreciated outside of such confining terms. Where Hospital Corners really succeeds is in exposing just how pathetically empty and shallow so many of the records released under the marquee of hardcore in 2011 have been. It is an album of heavy sentiments and equally heavy sounds, driven even more introspective thanks to its forging within a scene that increasingly prioritises (and damn near fetishises) concepts that are entirely alien to its own. With hardcore obsessed with "reputation", and how much kudos and exclusivity one can faux-graft onto a merch run by producing it in ever more ridiculous short-runs, an album like Hospital Corners highlights just how far Bastions stand apart from their "peers".
Sounds like: Cult of Luna's ear for atmospherics paired with the emotional volume of The Chariot
Top tracks: In The Shadow Of A Mountain, The Lengths (When Wants Become Needs), Dark Father
The fertile valleys of Wales have once
again yielded a promising young post-
hardcore band - this time in the form of
Anglesey's Bastions. Their debut album
'Hospital Corners' is an exemplary foray
that forges gaunt, scything riffs with
dischordant screaming and brooding
Having been signed to Gallow's bassists
management company, taken on the road
with them, and getting ex-frontman Frank
Carter to sing and scream on standout
track 'The Length (When Want Becomes
Need)', it is obvious that some of the
hype is being justified.
Sharing much in common with Cancer
Bats, Gallows and vocally, Dillinger
Escape Plan, there is a definite feel
about Bastions, they do a bloody good
Returning to the fray for the first time since 2010's stellar Island Living EP, Bastions have struck gold with their latest effort, Hospital Corners- a snarling, raging record which is packed to the brim with breakneck rhythms, bilious vocals and eerie sections of ambient noise which will raise hairs on even the hardiest backs of necks.
Less directly abrasive and more focussed than its predecessor, Hospital Corners is nothing short of brilliant; kicking things off nicely is Augury, an agonizingly slow shot of harrowing noise that sets the bar high for the rest of the record in less than three minutes. A ticking guitar riff soon gives way to a wall of solid, emotive hardcore which is as striking as it is appealing . It's a strong start to an excellent record, and from here on in things only seem to improve.
So, how do you go about topping something as impressive as this? Well, if you're Bastions, letting loose a thunderous blast of furious hardcore rage would do the job nicely. And that is where Visitant comes into play. The ensuing three minutes and five seconds are so pissed-off that you half expect your computer to start foaming at the CD drive and overheating rapidly; however unless it's programmed with Windows Vista this is unlikely to actually occur. Instead you're left with ringing ears and the overwhelming desire to set fire to something in protest; this is focussed, potent anger at its finest, and at times echoes Converge's 2001 masterpiece Jane Doe,so powerful is its crushing depiction of sadness and anger.
However, repeated over the course of 11 tracks this would eventually become tiresome, and it's to the band's credit that they stray from this tried and tested path and still come out on top. I Tried To Stitch The Sea To The Shore is an eerie, atmospheric instrumental piece which grabs the listener's attention and refuses to let go, despite its minimalist nature. A creepy voicemail at the end of The Lengths (When Wants Become Needs) provides a pretty unexpected end to the track, and reminds the audience that even when they think that they've got Bastions down to a T, they've still got enough tricks up their collective sleeves to avoid landing on the wrong side of predictability.
There's a plethora of reasons for why Hospital Corners is such a commendable release; a strong sense of individuality, undeniable songwriting nous and a delivery which is perhaps more invigorating than cathartic are all respectable characteristics for a band to have- that Bastions are in possession of all 3 is impressive in itself, but that they employ them all to create a truly spectacular din is phenomenal. Grab yourself a copy, because Hospital Corners was without doubt one of 2011's stand-out releases, and will hold both resonance and relevance for many years to come.