Once More Into The Rabbit Hole released 10th June 2018

Review by Nathan McLeod: Alright, gonna change things up just a little bit with this next “Metal To Infinity” review with something other than the typical metal genres I am used to reviewing with some hardcore punk rock from “Eye Licker”, coming straight the fuck at ya full-force from “Manchester, England” with their new CD release entitled: “Once More Into The Rabbit Hole”!

With what “Eye Licker” has put out on “Once More Into The Rabbit Hole”, it’s only eight tracks that run not even fifteen minutes in total run-time. But, from the get go & thru out the whole CD, “Eye Licker” influences can be heard across the “USA” from the “Bay Area” with “Christ On Parade”, to the “New York” area with the “Crumbsuckers”, & across the “Atlantic Ocean” back into “England” with “G.B.H.”. Nice accomplishment there, lads.

Now, there are some things typical to & infamous to the punk rock genre that you’ll find in “Eye Licker”, like no guitar solos thru out “Once More Into The Rabbit Hole”. Not too shocking nor surprised. This is punk rock after all. The atypical & not commonly found in punk rock & “Eye Licker” is their production on “Once More Into The Rabbit Hole” is extremely crisp & clean! Very much unlike a lot or should say most punk bands tend to approach.

I didn’t mind this polished up production. You could very much hear everything “Eye Licker” is doing & are not a sloppy punk rock band per se hiding any sloppiness in some gritty production job. “Lee, Robert, & Majkel” appear to be on point musicians with possibly a little more pride taken in their musicianship. Meanwhile, the vocals & vocal structure of “Buggs” is definitely not that of someone just screaming into a bloody microphone. All the while, “Eye Licker” I do feel keep themselves true to the trade.

Manchester, UK’s hardcore stalwarts Eye Licker formed in 2007, with an original mission statement of just being overly noisy and unnecessarily loud and wanting to have a lot of fun and play anywhere that would have them. The band never had any long term plans but as members came and went they gradually started writing more songs, playing shows further afield and recording and releasing material, still without any long term plans. Now it’s eleven years, six releases, three drummers and two bassists later and Eye Licker have signed to Back From The Dead Records. The band’s recent full length, Once More Into The Rabbit Hole, will be released via the label on CD and digital formats on June 10th.

Once More Into The Rabbit Hole opens with a brief and impressive heavyweight instrumental, Intro Schmintro, that has the hallmarks of Doyle, Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies, but what follows is a relentless breakneck fusion of thrash punk and hardcore. What becomes apparent early into the album is that Eye Licker don’t take them too seriously as you are brutalised by tracks like The Safe Word Is ‘Harder’, In Sanity and Dumbstruck. Once More Into The Rabbit Hole is an album that fulfils Eye Licker‘s original mission statement as it’s loud, noisy, fun and an intense blast that indicates that the UK’s hardcore scene is in good shape

The eight tracks that make up Once More Into The Rabbit Hole flash past in an intense blur and their latest full length is done and dusted in around fifteen minutes. The album is punctuated by two instrumentals that bring the pace down very slightly but other than that this is full tilt hardcore punk, and it’s an album I’d recommend to anyone that has a love of the extreme end of punk. As a footnote I recently caught Eye Licker live and they currently hold the title for being the loudest band I’ve seen this year, and if you think Once More Into The Rabbit Hole is loud and intense just wait until you’ve caught them live.

Punk rock, when it’s good, is timeless. It speaks to the inner rage, turmoil and anger that infects and infests every fibre of your being and provides an outlet to channel those emotions through. It helps you to realise that you’re not alone, that you’re not the only person to realise that global systems of government and control are a cancer controlled by corporations led by the rich in order to profit from the suffering and subjugation of the masses. And it helps that the music just happens to be pretty awesome too. Or at least, it is when it’s good. Which Eye Licker are. Combining the frantic delivery of eighties UK bands like Symbol of Freedom and Lord Crucifer with the energy of Los Crudos and the buzzsaw approach of early GBH with focussed drive of Crossover, Eye Licker are one of those bands that your parents warned you about. They’ve got the sort of tunes that get stuck in your head for hours on end and the sort of musical swagger and attitude that you just know means that if you catch them in a small, packed, sweaty club they’re going to be a blast. Vent your spleen and, just as Lewis Carrol’s infamous heroine chased a white rabbit into her passage to Wonderland, find your happy place by following Eye Licker down the rabbit hole… Tim Cundle

I have given Eye Licker a few gigs over the years and then they went on a hiatus. Recently they have popped back up and I went and witnessed how things were going. Lovely lads and worth the effort and man did I get a treat. The show rocked hard, was delivered with an absorbing vitality and really impressed this 'stick in the mud' no end. They threw themselves into the racket, did so with a strict adherence to the hardcore ways and made a deep impression on the few who took time to absorb. I have booked them again and in the meantime have this CD to meddle with. Come shit or shine you will get the truth, sway and bias is a disease in the musical world and is eating the goodness alive, from the inside out - blah, stick that rotten way.

'Schmintro' opens the gateway, a musical aperitif to whet your appetite and moisten parts perhaps previously unreached (you should call the local vicar, he'll sort you out). This initial episode is brief and rocking but gives hint at the mix of matters and how the band have got things spot on the mark. We are soon into the meat of the music proper with the sharp fangs of 'The Safeword Is Harder', a fuckin' rambunctious and ripping tune that skewers deep, turns with a spite and draws out visceral reaction from this reviewing git at least. The tight application is down to each and every component within the string section being in unision, the drums indulging in some good old clobberin' time (In Grimm-esque style) and the throat abrasions searing with frightening fury of a fired up and unpredictable kind! The inner strip down and brief spartan wire-wank is cute - it splits the song nicely in two.

'In-Sanity' is a blister-inducing mind-fuck. A proportionally large lump of lunatic discordance that is best calibrated by the incisive cut of the mental cloth, a material that is shredded to fuck and thrown around the rubberised room with shit-flinging abandon. The output is obvious, a mere madhouse of vulgar aggression venting a spleen tattooed throughout with ravenous frustration - fuckin' enjoy it ya cunts! 'I Don't Fit In' is a serious shitter baby and clobbers away with Hulk-fisted brutality, making sure that the initial attack is fast, angled and of varied violence. The mouth work is as expected, foaming with frustration and cutting deep within the consciousness. The rapier thrusts of the noise are enhanced further by heavy bass lines and hefty sticks, all joining together to make one bowel moving blast worthy of its place on this CD. We have a consistency, a clout, an exactitude in the mechanics of the noise that produces a hurtful product in a smooth and efficient manner. Sometimes hardcore can be rough around the edges (no bad thing) but here we have a freshly stropped razor of sound as sharp as you could wish for. The feeling of the outsider too many punks don't recognise anymore is well re-puked upward - nice. 'Choking Hazard' is a perpetually turning thumbscrew that applies a pressure with cool, confident ease. The band have missed a trick here as this could have been an opening gambit and a closing sound that could have made the CD a complete, enclosed package of high octane explosives - surely a must for the 'live' set so as to add that oh so, polished touch.

'Death And Taxes' is a more prolonged bout (or so it seems), tidies up the hardcore act somewhat and comes across as a more orthodox and regulated song. For me, an essence of recklessness is lost, a very essential ingredient in the Orb Licking mix and one that elevates songs from the decent to the delectable. Despite this, the song grows, has a good concrete foundation and cuts to the core with direct action. The overall feel is as you were, that is not a thing to complain of. Talking of complaints - my nuts are sweating like buggery in this hot weather, this darn sizzling music ain't helping either! Next up, 'Clean Out The Way', and after a clinically-cut and well prepared opening sequence the madness pervades all areas (ooh, now that's arousing) and gets parts trembling I only recently discovered existed. The horses gallop against the numbness of the charge of the shite brigade and trample down any complaints beneath rattling hooves. The musical gubbins exposed are good value, the band adhere to the strict arrangement and clobber ones knackers with worthy clout and that final scream...ooh the head doctor needs calling for sure! 'Dumbstruck' bass vibrates, skin skips and eventually erupts with guitar scarring boils. The arse of the song is slapped hard, the tonal todge wobbled well and the nippled neurones tweaked with a rough-handed readiness. No new sensations arise, they don't need to at this stage, the band are back at it, walloping away and laying new foundations - I have had a good aural walloping here, I take it in my stride, it feels mighty good.

So a fine band are back in business, I have said my bit - are ye intrigued? I hope so, it would be a shame for you to miss out, then again, you can do what the fuck you want and kiss my arse in the process. I think this is a decent dig by a strong punching band - go on, put your chin out there and get ready for the knockout blow.

 Planet Mosh

It’s funny how certain events and moments that happen in life can be the difference between hearing a great band, and never hearing them at all. A friend of mine posted a video on Facebook of a track called ‘Filth ‘ by Manchester based Eye Licker at a recent gig in Blackpool and I was hooked, so I took the opportunity to contact the band to give them the exposure they deserve.

Eye Licker have been around a long while now, having released their first self titled demo way back in 2009. Their mix of thrash/Hardcore punk gifts me it’s appeal. This fourteen minute epic is so underrated. Opener ‘Intro Schmintro ‘ is an instrumental beauty. It’s the perfect length to lead us into ‘The Safeword Is Harder ‘. This is hardcore punk at it’s very best. It’s got that renowned beat, the energy, the speed. This smashes straight through you like a ninja with it’s speed changes and imagination. Perfect.

‘In Sanity ‘ is actually insanely fast and all 1min 17secs of it vanishes in an instant. If you’re looking for frantic hardcore then this will be the album for you. But the band aren’t too bothered about trying different things out either. Take ‘Choking Hazard ‘ for example. Another instrumental, with the opening riff parallel with something Iron Maiden would do. In fact, the whole song has a more metal feel to it. Slower in tempo but again it pulls you by the throat and makes you listen.

As we speed through ‘Death And Taxes ‘, ‘Clean Out The Way ‘, and ‘Dumbstruck ‘ it’s obvious that the experience the band have gained over the last ten years holds their music firm within this album. ‘Clean Out The Way ‘ has a brilliant speed change midway through and finishes perfectly.

Production-wise it’s dirty and pure live. The best way. Musically it’s raw. Even better. Check out the whole of this fourteen minute classic on the video link above. Stunning.