Mastiff declare themselves to be “a miserable band from a miserable city”, and you can’t really argue with that, as they’ve been spreading their misery exponentially outwards since 2013.
In that miserable part of the Venn diagram between sludge, hardcore and doom stand Hull’s Mastiff, trying their damndest to bring you and I down to their downcast level. From their very inception, it’s been an exercise in desolation as much as it’s been an outlet for musical discovery; their debut EP’s - Death and Everything Equals Death respectively - do everything to bring you down, from title, to cover, to the icy spear of disdain running through every track.
This penchant for the most melancholy edges of melancholy has infested every subsequent release, with Jim Hodge’s pained growling serving a large part of the gloom into our eardrums. Wrank, the band’s first full-length, released in 2015, is intentionally unpleasant, which can be heard in the tinnitus inducing second track ‘Earplugs’, which does everything it can to screw up your hearing besides ram a screwdriver into your eardrum.
Their two releases for APF so far, BORK [APF005] from 2017 and their second full-length - the deserved captor of the “APF666” trophy - 2019’s Plague [APF666] do yet more to cement Mastiff’s reputation as nasty, nasty purveyors of absolute filth; the latter especially, a blisteringly bleak concept album centred around the Black Death - not that you would expect anything else. Consistently jarring over a troubling 30 minutes, it’s an album that stays with you, whether you want it to or not.
As long as Mastiff are around, you’ll never be far from despondency.
- Jim Hodge – growls
- Michael Shepherd – drums
- Phil Johnson – guitar
- James Andrew Lee – guitar
- Dan Dolby - bass