May 25, 2021

A third album from these U.K. hardcore veterans and the first with new vocalist Holly. The quartet crank out a plethora of heavy-hitting riffs with all the finesse of a sledgehammer being applied to a concrete wall. Holly’s intelligible vocals match the heaviness well as she expels the lyrics passionately and with an obvious sense of conviction. Whereas some albums tend to lose some of their impact as they come to an end, Matador has an extremely strong final three tracks. Both “Vendetta” and “Step Back” have a bit more pace to them, as well as being extremely well structured, whilst the closer “All the While” is a seven-minute journey of malevolence with some strong male/female vocals and the occasional melodic moment. The song ends with a variety of samples providing damning indictments of the U.K. government’s shambolic handling of the Covid pandemic; something that should never be forgiven or forgotten. A vinyl version is expected on Phobia Records later this year. –Rich Cocksedge (Self-released, [email protected], burningflagofficial.wixsite.com)