Sizzling rock’n’punk’nroll from Umeå featuring former members of AC4, VECTORS etc – akin to bands like NASHVILLE PUSSY, ZEKE or Blood Guts & Pussy-era DWARVES, it’s a rip roaring gut punch of riff heavy rocknroll that takes the MOTÖRHEAD recipe and cranks up the velocity.
Super thick slabs of burly crust with a d-beat tinge that reminds me a great deal of the classic 90s style promoted by legends like STATE OF FEAR or EUCHARIST. Monstrous riffs, snarling vocals – total and complete quality.
ALTAR OF EDEN – The Grotto Screams CS
Supremely spooky, modern darkwave – its icey cold in its presentation with a lo-fi production adding to its effectiveness. Think SIOUXSIE SIOUX, think BAUHAUS, think THE CHAMELEONS but more punk. This is really cool.
No, not the classic Japanese ASBESTOS but the more recent one from Denver, though they both play a similar style of distorted, crusty, pukka-pukka punk rock. These Coloradians deliver five tracks of noisey, snarly, and messy hardcore that sounds like it was recorded by putting a microphone in the middle of a practice space and turning everything up to ten. Even the interlude, which sounds like something playing at the Bang Bang bar, is just crackley phasey sonic goop.
Garage rock played with hardcore velocites? Hardcore played with garage rock sensibilites? I mean it’s fast, filled with hooks, a little messy and the production is a completely blown out noisey mess in the best possible way. If this came out in 1983 y’all would all be like “Oh shit! I’m gonna slam spit and dive to this shit” but, its 2020 and everyone has their own cliques and… just get this and crank the volume until your ears bleed.
Icey Icey cold Germany goth – a dreary synth and drums presentation with haunting vocals and occasional guitars. In some ways, this feels like the JOY DIVISION song “Atrocity Exhibition” come to life as a full fledged band. Not an everyday listen but, certainly worth the visit on a winter stormy night with the house only lit by candles.
I love this type of snotty, snarky and totally pissed off punk – its bass driven and a bit simplistic musically, more garagey with vocals that remind me of Alison from BRATMOBILE, though this is much better than BRATMOBILE. My favorite song is the one about stabbing dudes in a pool, it’s called “Dead Man’s Pool.”
BARCELONA – Residuos Del Ultrasonido EP
BARCELONA is a sonic car crash – a cacophonous barrage of notes, rhythm, and noise careening across your cerebral cortex. Eight tracks that in one moment flirt with purposeful tunefulness then quickly descending into confused chaotic madness – like playing a WRETCHED record and an ORNETTE COLEMEN record at the same time. A lot of folx blather on about “noise not music” but BARCELONA delivers on the promise.
Blown-out, rocknroll punk in that Motocharge meets Randy Uchida’s riffs on Deathly Fighter with Jeff Clayton from ANTISEEN laying down the vocal tracks sorta way.
Hard riffing, thick necked, mid-paced hardcore – plenty of swaggering mosh parts but it lacks the overwhelming velocity I would expect given the references to INFEST, SSD and HERESY on the bio. For me, this feels less like Boston 82 and more the Anthrax in 88 wedged between BOLD and ALONE IN A CROWD. Super solid.
BLOODY HEAD – Total Flaming Yin Yang EP
Dirgy, arty anti-hardcore – super lo-fi recording that makes the instrumentation sound like NIRVANA’s Bleach being played down the hallway in someone else’s room while some dude rants. Think JIM JONES AND THE KOOL AID KIDS, NO TREND, FLIPPER but less melodic and slower.
Like their recent LP, this doesn’t deviant too much from the classic DIS-formula though the energy on this is cranked all the way up making it a much more compelling listen. Riffs galore and rather than hyper blown out, distortion-til-deafness, guitar sound they go for a more classic 70s rock guitar sound making this all the more powerful. Just brilliant stuff.
Six short blasts of no frills, straightforward hardcore – reminds me a lot of something that would have been on Teamwork Records in like 1998. Remember the first RANCOR EP? It’s like that, sorta. Blasts of speed mostly designed to set up the moshy bits.
Chicago’s C.H.E.W. are just outstanding – its frantic, urgent and frenzied punk rock that is disquieting yet totally compelling. Five tracks soaked with tense terror ala early DIE KREUZEN melded with intensity of IN/HUMANITY’s 1st LP. Just outstanding.
CADENAXO – Lenguas Podridas 12”
Manic, noisey, viscous hardcore punk that blasts, twists and tuns away – in some ways this has that same sort of sidewindery feel of bands like GAUZE & MURO, though not really sounding like them. Its more the feeling of tension, aggression and slightly of control careening take on hardcore. Lo-fi production on this which adds to the loose feel in a great way. Great great great! The 11PM hit machine chugs right along!
CEMENT SHOES – A Love Story Of Drugs & Rock & Roll & Drugs EP
Richmond’s CEMENT SHOES should get a lot more props than they do – brilliantly snotty, abrasive and just fucking weird at times, they project an genuine outsider vibe in a sea of bands trying to sound like DISCLOSE or YOUTH OF TODAY or TURNSTILE or whatever… On this three track platter, the winner for me is the closing track “Going Off the Grid” which is equal parts Process of Weeding Out-era BLACK FLAG and RADIO BIRDMAN – drug addled jamming meeting 70s style Aussie hook laden rocknroll sensibilities. Great, great, great.
THE CHISEL – Deconstructive Surgery EP
Solid, put the fucking-boots-in, lager and chips, ultro aggro, UK punk. It puts a modern spin on the more hardcore side of BLITZ and the lads out to cause trouble, have a few pints and smash them in the cars feel of COCKNEY REJECTS hooliganism but with a bit more sense of class consciousness. Hools, yeah?
CHRON TURBINE – Yoga Injury-discomfort In Seven Movements CS
Total weirdo “destructo-pop” of the sorts that I feel used to be a bit more common in the late 80s and early 90s. Smidge of KING MISSILE or BUTTHOLE SURFERS artsiness, with a rhythm section that reminds me of that sort of lockstep attack found on the SCRATCH ACID/JESUS LIZARD records. More “alternative” than “punk” to my old ears but in this way that’s more “total weirdo rock by and for mutants” than “alternative music: let’s sell this shit to teenagers.” Total quality.
COLD CALLERS – Dressed To Die LP
Super infectious punk with a power pop tinge from the UK – its got that same feeling of sardonic sugary sweetness you find in classic UK bands like THE BOYS or THE ADICTS. It’s incredibly infectious to the point where I find the title track’s chorus getting constantly stuck in my head.
Melodic French punk dripping with CLASH style bombast and STIFF LITTLE FINGERS riffing, though the vocals aren’t as rough and tumble. More “Stay Free” than “Incendiary Device.” It’s only three songs but each is worth the price of admission, especially if you like punk played with a solid pop sensibility.
Hailing from the land down under, CONCRETE LAWN churn out nine tracks of thudding, mid-tempo, bass driven punk rock that takes a lot of cues from RUDIMENTARY PENI – its a beautiful cacophony creepy, sludey riffing backing up a wailing banshee of a vocalist. It’s a powerful and utterly engaging record for me that I can’t stop listening to.
This is fucking great – unhinged, raging hardcore taking cues from VOID, KORO and maybe a less noisy NOSFERATU. Weird times changes, off kilter riffing, vocals just barely keeping pace… more more more more.
What I’ve always liked and admired about Ian Mackaye is that he doesn’t give a shit what you think of his projects, he does what he likes and creates the music he creates because it is the music that he wants/needs to create. CORIKY, in case you don’t know, is his new project with drummer Amy Farina (ex-WARMERS etc) and bassist Joe Lally (FUGAZI). It is a spooky, moody record that, for me, feels like it has a lot of its sonic roots in 60s garage bands as interpreted through the same series of filters that lead to the later period of FUGAZI’s riffing. Dissonant layers of clean repetitive guitarwork layered over a lockstep rhythm section that at times could make you feel like you are listening to missing FUGAZI demos – Ian’s guitarwork is so signature, especially when paired with Joe’s basswork, that it’s hard to escape that feeling. What makes it even more appealing is the interplay of Amy & Ian’s vocals – hers more sweet and tuneful while his alternate between a whisper and a bark, it helps to enforce the moodiness and drives home the impact of the songs. This record probably isn’t for everyone – which I certainly get but, for me beyond the songs themselves, it remains a testament to living life on your own terms and expressing yourself, for yourself. Art because you need to not just because others like it – so the real question, the words of the BIG BOYS is: What are you doing to participate?
Primitive and raw d-beat hardcore from Mexico – soaked in reverb this sounds like it was recorded on a boombox in a basement. It’s sloppy, simple, moderately inept and kinda perfect. The second track “Mundo Corrosivo” is the winner for me.
Jangly guitars, solid hooks, and a vocalist that at times feels like a dead ringer for Teresa from THE BRAT, Spain’s CULERBRA present twelve well crafted pop songs on this LP, none lasting much more than two minutes. In someways this feels like a slightly more New Wave MASSHYSTERI as its missing some of the overt aggression of those Swedes – especially with the Spaniards’ use of layers of synths in the background. This feels a lot like something Almodovar would use as the soundtrack for a scene where a fleet of scooter punks fill the streets of Madrid in 1981. I love it.
Powerful, driving street punk from the Basque country. There’s a lot about its syncopated, stomping approach that reminds me of RIXE, especially when paired against the vocals. Just four tracks but each one of them ooze with power. Would love to hear more from these folx.
Short bursts of straightforward hardcore – no songs over 45 seconds, simple riffs, no grooved out lengthy breakdowns, just simple to the point all go minimal slow goodness. I’m down.
DEATH CULT – Spiritual Conundrum CS
I love this – total weirdo, raucous punk rock that careens and bounces with tons of energy. The vocals on this are this real stand out – rather than the cliche snarl or monster vocals, they are snotty, strained, desperate and utterly perfect.
Primitive pukka-pukka punk from Indonesia that sounds like it could be and missing ADK flexi. Think like ZOUO or the Japanese SODOM but you know a little different – same vibe.
DISGARCHE – Sin Salir Sin Coger Sin Dormir LP
Guess what thes Argentines sound like? Slower, less noisy and a more guttural vocal style (sorta sounds like Max Calavera). They cover ANTICIMEX, ESKORBUTO & DISCHARGE. They have a song called “Sexo Virtual.”
DISSEKERAD / EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT – Split EP
I love DISSEKERAD – sure it helps that it’s the singer of TOTALITÄR and it sounds similar to the faster bits of Sin Egan-era TOTALITÄR and I LOVE TOTALITÄR but they do it really really really well. Look, if you love the traditional Swedish style with bits of stomping grooves mixed in occasionally, then this will be your jam too. On the flip, Germany’s EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT… well they do a similar take on the classic d-beat stylings of our Swedish heroes, albeit a little messier and imprecise in execution, though still totally effective.
It says they are are from Sweden but this power pop with a decidedly punk edge sounds so much like RADIOACTIVITY/MARKED MEN that I had to check several times to be sure. Much like the crew from Denton, TX they churn out track after track of incredibly infectious rock n roll.
DÖMESTICRUST – Apparatus Burning In Hell EP
Heavy duty, thick as shit 90s style crust – think STATE OF FEAR or HELLKRUSHER but with even thicker production and total monster emerging from deep in the mist style vocals. This would sit well in the Profane Existence catalog of yore.
NorCal hawdkaw from Santa Cruz that owes more to METALLICA than MINOR THREAT for sonic inspiration. This is incredibly executed, energetic, modern metallic hardcore that stomps and grooves all over your face.
DRILL SERGEANT – The Cosmic Leash CS
Punchy, primal hardcore from Philadelphia – its alternates between this marching, mid-paced stomp and CROSSED OUT style blasts of relentless fury. Super raw, stripped down production gives even more of that early power violence vibe – though the vocalist sounds more like Ray of Today than an actual monster coming to kill you.
It can be difficult to fully convey in 2020 just how insane a band like DROPDEAD sounded in the hardcore landscape of 1991. The first time I ever heard them was on their split 5” with CROSSED OUT and it was just such a vital blend of crushing velocity emphasizing a powerful message of animal rights and resistance. It just roared out of my speakers and in so many ways forever changed the way i looked at music – a blend of blistering speed and heaviness that was just jaw dropping. Here we sit nearly 30 years later and listening to these remastered demos we find these tracks just as powerful as the first time I heard them. When listened to back to back with their new LP you can see the evolution of the concept without an abandonment of the initial idea – primitive ferocious music where the lyric sheet matters. A push towards standing in defiance of a world filled with assholes who just don’t fucking get it. Completely and totally essential.
The first thing that grabs me about this are the vocals – have you ever listened to the CROMAGS demo? You know how raw and primal Bloodclot’s vocals are on that? Now imagine them soaked in reverb, distortion and then layered over some primitive, metallic hardcore punk that is a bit like Humanity is The Devil-era INTEGRITY meets some fuzzed out, Japanee style hardcore but played by robots. The more I listen, the more I like.
Snotty, sassy punk rock from Florida that sounds a bit like it could have come out from the East Bay in the 90s – it’s got that same hella punk oomph that BLACK FORK or BLATZ had – its got speed, it’s got hooks, this is really cool.
ECOSTRIKE – A Truth We Still Believe LP
Florida straight edge kings are back. It’s got that early 90s production style down perfect – scooped out guitars, vocals sorta buried and that snare sound that just punctuates through it all. Musically it is straight up, unashamed worship of early STRIFE – fast paced, lots of singalongs, and seemingly every song works its way towards a moshing breakdown. Another one of those bands where if you told me this was from some long lost demo from 1992 found in the recesses of the New Age Records warehouse, I’d totally believe you.
Guitar driven synth punk from Spain – it’s an incredibly infectious pop journey though still aggro and lo-fi enough to keep my interest despite how robotic it can feel at times. One of the vocalists reminds me a lot of LA POLLA RECORDS.
This is fucking great – it starts out with this 30 second burst of manic, frantic, and utterly hectic hardcore punk that makes “Pay to Cum’ sound like reggae then it flips to keyboard driven DEVO meets SCREAMERS inspired pop then back to more angular weirdness – I think this may be a one person project. Its great.
EXECUTORS/MALE PATTERNS – Split EP
New Jersey’s EXECUTORS contribute rocking, mid-paced punk jams – I can’t over how much the bass sounds like LIFES BLOOD, backing up guitars that noodle away little melodic leads and relatively clean vocals with a smidge of gravel. MALE PATTERNS sounds like SHEER TERROR outtakes but, the more straightforward punk side of SHEER TERROR.
EXPLOATÖR – Avgrundens Brant LP
With a band member pedigree that reads members of WARCOLLAPSE, SLUTET, TOTALITÄR, DISCHANGE, KRIGSHOT, MAKABERT FYND, DISSEKERAD, KRIG I HUDIK, KATASTROF, INSTITUTION, BRAINBOMBS, NAPALM A.D., DESPERATE FIX, KVOTERINGEN, MEANWHILE, DISFEAR, NO SECURITY and ÄÄRITILA it was surprising to me that this sounded like SUPERCHUNK – just kidding. It sounds exactly how you would expect it to sound. It’s just absolutely perfect Swedish hardcore in the traditonal style. We’re probably never going to get a new TOTALITÄR release so this is gonna have to satiate you. Total ripper.
I’m really excited about this new Swedish band featuring 50% of the crew that made up DEMON SYSTEM 13 and do not fear, they haven’t downshifted into playing mid tempo indie pop. Their demo is two tracks of ripping American style hardcore crammed through a Swedish filter. Its powerful quick paced stuff geared towards singalongs, stage dives and thrashing mayhem. A great promise of exciting things to come.
Ultra aggro and menacing sounding French Oi. Vocals snarl, guitars slash, drums pound, and honestly I imagine this is what plays in your head when it’s getting kicked in by Paris Saint-Germain FC hools. It’s fairly straight forward street punk with occasional metallic riffing and breakdowns.
North Carolina hardcore alternating between quick blasts of furious hardcore which occasionally descends into two stepping breakdowns. There is a lot of promise here and I’d love to hear more than these three tracks.
FALSE BROTHER – Uncanny Valley LP
Broodingly bleak post-punk that sends a chill down your spine. This sounds like clove cigarettes, dried roses hung upside down on a black wall and an adrogynous photo spread shot in a graveyard in a well worn copy of Propaganda magazine.
THE FIGHT/RULE THEM ALL – Fight Them All Flexi
Split flexi from these two East Coast powerhouses designed as a benefit for the ACLU and the NYSCASA (New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assaullt). For their side, THE FIGHT put the hammer down on a perfect and absolutely punchy cover of DISCHARGE’s “Fight Back,” while RULE THEM ALL rip through a version of DAG NASTY’S “Values Here” that is so perfect that it almost sounds like they found the original tape and just put new vocals on it. Fun release for a great cause.
No, not the FRACTURE from the Philly that played delightful melodic punk rock and featured a baby ATOM from ATOM & HIS PACKAGE – this is the FRACTURE from Philly that exists now and plays viscous, burly hardcore punk that is an intense mixture of Libero di Vivere-era WRETCHED with a stomping thudding UK82 hardcore sounds. I’m super into this and apologize for getting them confused with a band that was around when they were probably still in diapers. I hate getting old.
Metallic hardcore punk in that post-UK82 style from the catacombs of Montreal – think BROKEN BONES, think ENGLISH DOGS. think later VARUKERS. Etc. Really well played with lots of energy and wanky guitars – it’s got more of a crossover feel to it than a “noise not music” one.
FRANKIE STUBBS – Blood Orange Moon EP
No, not a band called Frankie Stubbs but the man Frankie Stubbs playing acoustically. If you know anything about me, you know how much I adore LEATHERFACE and consider Frankie Stubbs to be one of the finest songwriters to not just arise out of punk but over the last 40 years, period. On this EP we find Mr. Stubbs working his way through three new songs, as well as an acoustic take on LEATHERFACE’s “Shipyards.” One of the things about LEATHERFACE which always appealed to me was the sense of melancholy and fragility buried in the layers of amps cranked to 11 and drumming straight out of the Phil Taylor aka MOTORHEAD school of though providing a powerful foundation. When stripped of that wailing juggernaut of power, the angst and frustration of living in the current state of the UK just becomes all the more pronounced. Sure, I’d love to hear “Blood Orange Moon” cranked through full stacks but there is something about when he snarls “They own this country, the whole fucking thing” against a sparse, acoustic backdrop which makes the bite sink in all the more.
Thick slabs of distorted noise propelled at a steady pummelling beat that occasionally downshifts into a swaggerin, moshable strut. The vocals come off like scraping metal run through a distortion box. I’m into this.
FUSE – This Segregation Will End EP
Straightforward, stripped down hardcore punk from Singapore. Nine tracks done in the classic style with plenty of swagger and strut but devoid of the macho tough guy vibe that can sometimes permeate the style.
Mid-tempo hardcore with occasional breakdowns and hoarse sounding vocals. There is a heavy early 90s hardcore a la OUTSPOKEN or TRANSCEND to be found here.
It’s absurd how good this – just this massive, absolutely blistering juggernaut of hardcore soaked in ferocity. It pummels at high speed velocity, twisting itself into this acid soaked auditory nightmare before collapsing into a heap of skull crushing angst. Its records like this and the new GULCH LP which take bits and pieces from the long history of punk and then use them to formulate something original which gives me hope for the future. For me, this is like the first time I heard RORSCHACH, or BLACK FLAG, or HIS HERO IS GONE. Just brilliant.
There’s a lot about this Bristol band’s demo which reminds me of DEAD & GONE’s latter work – not so much hardcore left on the menu but plenty of spooky, ominous vibes without being totally goth or anything. You know how GUN CLUB marries that heroin soaked early death rock vibe of CHRISTIAN DEATH with surf rock and country to create something that sounds a bit like the soundtrack to the Gidget beach movie that David Lynch always meant to make? That’s what this sounds like but with a vocalist wailing through a transistor radio. It’s great.
A delightfully fun slab of rollicking garage rock rooted in a steady diet of SUZI QUATRO, THE RUNAWAYS and a tall stack of Rip Off Records singles and misc tracks from the Back From the Grave comps. The production is punchy and polished but not in such a manner to remove its guts.
GOLPE DE GRACIA/ BLESSURE – Split EP
Two Spanish bands – for their side GOLPE DE GRACIA present two tracks mid-paced hardcore punk which doesn’t devieate too far from the roadmap drawn up by early spanish bands like LARSEN or ESKORBUTO – all in all great stuff. On the flip we have BLESSURE, who honestly also sound like they could have appeared on Bloodstains Across Spain – but maybe more along the lines of VULPE SS meets LA’s THE BRAT. I love this record.
GULCH – Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress LP
There has been a lot of hype churning around Sant Cruz’s GULCH – I’ve heard tales of insane live sets, marked by blistering speed and the flagellation of the vocalist by his friends as well as the tales of their merch being sold for exorbitant prices online but honestly I’ve never really had someone try to describe them beyond “good” or “great” or “intense.” Given I never saw them when I was in the Bay Area, I arrive at their LP without much to go on here’s what I found – intricately metallic, modern hardcore which feels like it takes a lot of cues from the last 30 years of the genre, blends them and serves them up for your eardrums. Throughout the record I hear moments of stomping beatdown, brutal 90s Germanic metallic hardcore like ACME and MORSER, that sweeping plaintive Montreal thing like UNION OF URANUS and just jackhammer fast California-style powerviolence. It sounds a bit all over the place when described like that but it comes together for this cohesive and powerful sound.
HARD SKIN – South East Enders LP
I wanted to start this review with some quip about the joke not being funny anymore but, honestly, is there a better Oi/skinhead band than these old geezers? From starting out as a self-proclaimed comedy band they have transformed themselves into the finest skinhead rocknroll unit on the planet – razor sharp hooks, anthemic singalongs, lyrics about the lads, drinking, football and all the other important things in life. Just brilliant.
Solid boots’n’braces, anthemic skinhead punk’n’roll. Solid clean production and the songwriting chops remind me of their fellow Finnish street punks, WASTED. It’s a funny band name, right?
Two tracks of thudding stomping punk rock that makes me think ANTISEEN or HAMMERLOCK – biker punk? It’s got a bit of that late 70s rocking Aussie KBD punk meets pub rock vibe, yeah? This is what would be playing in a fight scene in a biker brawl in a 70s biker movie.
HELTER SKATER – Three Songs About Skateboarding & Love CS
I adore this – three wonderfully lo-fi pop songs that sound like something found in the backroom of Merge or K Records offices in an envelope stamped 1991. Strained out of tune singing, great melodic leads – it’s just absolutely perfect.
HUMANT BLOD – Flykten Från Verkligheten EP
Man oh man, do I love TOTALITÄR – for me, they are the quintessential Swedish hardcore band, an utter juggernaut of velocity and riffs. A relentless barraging steamroller of hardcore fury backing up Poffen’s searing vocal onslaught – now what does that have to do with this? Sadly, as TOTALITÄR is seemingly no more its projects like this we have to lean on to fill the void – a project featuring members of EXTENDED HELL and SUBVERSIVE RITE teaming up with Poffen (TOTALITÄR) & Mattias (DISSEKERAD) to crank out five pulverizing tracks of ripping and rollicking Swedish hardcore. For me, this is a total contender for my top records of the year.
INFERNA – Facing A Future Of Terror EP
Crust d-beaty hardcore crammed through blast beat filled, black metal filter – the recording is fairly lo-fi and I can’t help but feel that if they had a fuller more metal sounding recording it would sound massive and fairly epic.
They only made 33 of these which is unfortunate because this in phenomenal CROSSED OUT worship. Like so many have tried to do this style and failed but this is just absolutely beautiful, skull crushing steamroller hardcore alternating between 1000mph blasts and oozing molasses slow sludge.
Everything I can find about this band indicates they are from Brighton in the UK, though all the songs are in Italian. Musically it’s fairly straight forward, melodic punk – the rough and tumble, raw recording really helps to keep it interesting for me. I think a lot of bands of this ilk tend to get too clean and it ruins the punch of the songs.
The production on this makes everything sound like a wall of molasses bearing down on you – it’s by no means slow, instead these Polish punks take on the same the same sort of mechanical hammering approach of Eastern European legends SIEKIERA (pre-new wave demo-era) occasionally shifting into these dirging onslaughts of density and power. Solid stuff.
JADED EYES – Call of The Void LP
I mean if you are going to a band that sounds like later GOVERNMENT ISSUE, naming yourself after a later emo-era GI track is probably a good idea. It’s definitely the more aggro side of the mid-80s DC/Dischord thing, you know like DAG NASTY or ADMIRAL. While it might be ex-VOORHEES, don’t expect a whirlwind of knives or anything.
JOHNNY MARACA AND THE MAROCKERS – No Ma’am, I’m a Rocker LP
Quality pop music from the drummer of Oakland’s creepy punx, FALSE FIGURE. The cover screams RICK SPRINGFIELD or TOM PETTY or BRUCE SPRINGFIELD while the music inside reminds my brain of some of the finer moments of JAY REATARD’s work on Blood Visions. I’m really feeling this, despite the mechanical drum machine beats.
Seven blasts of frenetic, almost out of control hardcore punk from the VOID takes KORO out on the town school. Its swerves and thrashes along feeling like it may fall apart at any moment but somehow the glue stays stuck. I look forward to more of this.
LIFE – Ossification Of Coral LP
The third LP from these Tokyo peace punky crasher crusties – thirteen raw blasts of burly distortion till deafness hardcore punk taking their riffing cues from classics like ANTISECT or NAUSEA churned through a sonic filter inspired by the likes of noisemasters GLOOM. It’s a powerful and crushing aural assault backing up a lyrical approach geared towards a promotion of consciousness around our shared global ecological system, in particular man’s destruction and exploitation of the ocean’s coral resources. Simply ferocious protest music for the modern age.
LIFE’S QUESTION – A Tale Of Sudden Love And Unforgettable Heartache 12″
Bouncing, hook filled hardcore soaked in fretboard dynamics that takes its cues from the sort of stuff that filled VFW halls up and down the East Coast in the 90s turning them into a frothing frenzy of moshing maniacs. It doesn’t sound like SNAPCASE or BROTHERS KEEPER, per se, but if this was 1994 it wouldn’t surprise me to see them opening for those bands. This compiles previous cassette only releases.
When I first put this on it was making me crazy – I couldn’t figure out what it was but this sounded so familiar I was obsessing over if this was a reissue of something I heard 20 years ago but forgot or what. Then it clicked, BURNING KITCHEN, this French band is a perfect take on the driving mid-tempo and tuneful punk rock layered under feminine vocals that those Swedes presented all those decades ago. It is really well done and some of these tracks are total earworms that I’m just unable to get out of my head.
More hammering the nails, brutal power violence madness from Ohio’s Blind Rage records – stupidly limited, this is a blinding torrent of blast beats with occasional pauses of sludge which just makes everything all the more intense. Just five tracks, including a RUDIMENTARY PENI cover.
LONG KNIFE – Night of the Hunter/Rough Liver 45
Does this even require a review? Two more perfect slappers from this Portland crew that does War All The Time-era POISON IDEA almost better than POISON IDEA. Mid-tempo rockers with massive guitars and that beautiful snarl. Perfect record here.
Not the Pittsburgh LOOSE NUKES but instead, the Houston LOOSE NUKES. These rages punks blast and thrash away at 200 MPH ala their Texas forefathers DRI had they not fully committed to the crossover. Eighteen tracks of jackhammering hardcore with thick, full and moderately metal production.
LOSS PREVENTION – Shoot To Kill EP
Breakneck hardcore punk that just rips and roars at a monstrous clip without ever shifting into blast beat land. Think JEZUS & THE GOSPELFUCKERS/AGENT ORANGE slammed straight into the veins of KORO. Just relentless and beautiful take on the classic hardcore sound.
Burly as shit straight-forward hardcore punk – somewhere else in this issue I reference SHEER TERROR in regards to them and I stand by that but I’d also throw in SUBMACHINE as well. Grimey, rough and tumble punk rock.
MALLWALKERS – Dial ‘M’ For… LP
I dropped the needle on this with the expectation of maybe something mod-ish, you maybe something along the early JAM stuff – instead what I find is something more akin what would happen if BLATZ, the STYLE COUNCIL & the BIG BOYS got in car crash and all their members got mixed up. Super fun, danceable punk with horns with vocals that go from sweet and melodious to shouted commands to just DANCE DANCE DANCE. I’m really into this.
MASS ARREST – Black Liberation Hardcore LP
A powerful uppercut of BRUISERS style hardcore punk melded with tinges of danceable, hook laden, 60s style garage backing up a rough’n’tumble vocal delivery which paints a poignant lyrical tale of being Black in America. It’s a brilliant release on all levels. Pure street fighting music.
MAUFRAIS – Luxury of Complaint CS
Do they know how much they sound like MOSS ICON? God, this sounds so much like MOSS ICON – meandering, slightly inept yet purposeful sounding – its great!. If you told me this was some long lost recording of a band that used to play with THE HATED or BELLS OF or RITES OF SPRING I would believe you…
Two tracks from these dour English, peace punk legends – The A-side is more of an amped up stomper with an assertive bark of “Rise up!” for a chorus while the flip is a longer, sparser and downtempo tune that makes you want to wear all black and sit in the pouring rain.
MORTSAFE – Anti-Social Distancing CS
Heavy, dark and spooky British punk that gives off a heavy vibe of Word As Law-era NEUROSIS meets the more bouncy, demented circus music vibe of some RUDIMENTARY PENI. It creeps, crawls and lurches in all the right ways.
Dark and foreboding synth punk from Kiev, Ukraine. This reminds me so much of the later SIEKIERA stuff but is more menacing in its approach.
NANI//SS – Smoke For Fucker EP
Mid-paced and at times plodding pogo punk from Fresno, California – self described as music meant to fight cops and pogo to while thinking about how much everything sucks. I wish there was a little more velocity on this one.
Rough and tumble punk that sounds tough without being macho from South Florida. love this style of slightly garagey hardcore that could be from 1982 or 2002 – maybe its from Flex Your Head, maybe its from København I Ruiner. Solid stuff.
NECROT – Mortal LP
I am probably the worst person to write about a band like NECROT – the extent of my metal interest and knowledge is like the first couple METALLICA records, a couple of SLAYER records, and IRON MAIDEN’s radio hits – but, I’ve always found NECROT quite appealing. They play a rather relentless steamroller approach to the classic death metal sound – it’s raw and guttural in its approach and never gets bogged down in masturbatory fretboard dynamics for the sake of jerking off the instrument. Instead, there is a level of focus towards driving the song forward which just causes this unrelenting tidal wave of sonic brutality to wash over your cerebral cortex. What was that bit about walking together, rocking together?
NOTHING BUT ENEMIES – Killing Machine LP
Mid-paced Boston street p-u-n-k. Its fairly plodding, just sorta chugging along at the same pace as say the SEX PISTOLS LP. The attitude screams FILTH though the sound is snottier and cleaner in production. This is one of those bands I think would translate better live.
OILY BOYS – Cro Memory Grin 12”
In one moment this just bulldozes ahead like a juggernaut of primal hardcore fury – then it will just snap into these CRASS meets BAUHAUS sorta messy pysch freak outs. It sounds like it shouldn’t work but the overarching sense of foreboding and tension which permeates the whole of this record makes it work. Just awesome.
French hardcore punk which alternates from moments of crusty fury to mad blasts of 625 style fastcore with the occasional grooved out breakdown.
Brutal hardcore from Australia that alternates between NO TOLERANCE/INFEST style go for the throat speed and the more boot to the throat stomp of THE FLEX. The dirgey second track “Vicarious” reminds me of an outtake from an IMPACT UNIT recording session.
PHLEGM – Qualified Immunity EP
Dripping with energy, these Boston punks take a lot of cues from Earthball-era PAINTBOX – careening, rapid-fire riffing, walking basslines, snarling vocals – just a level above what a lot of other folx are cranking out these days.
PIECE OF MIND – Unfulfilled LP
Its crazy how a band presents themselves visually effects how you pigeonhole them in your brain – if you played this record for me and showed me a photo of a bunch dreadlocked crusties, I would totally believe you and talk about how much this reminds me of FROM ASHES RISE and other stadium crust bands from the 00s. Its got massive production and riffs for days, alternating between full throttle tempos and dense heaviness. If you were to present me an images of this band all clean cut, wearing basketball jerseys I’d be inclined to paint a picture of them as the descendents of moshtastic hardcore heros BURIED ALIVE and talk about how they played a thick yet speedy metallic take on heavy hardcore with plenty of breakdowns gauranteed to ignite the pit. I’ve no idea what this band looks like but I feel like the truth of them lies somewhere between those two takes.
This sounds like a one person quarantine project – jangly guitars played at hardcore velocity with mechanical, repetative drums that sound artificial packaged in garage style lo-fi production. There is a NEGATIVE APPROACH cover, so that’s cool.
The artwork says TEMPLARS, the music says morose witchy gothic punk. I’ve read some call this dungeon synth, I’ve heard others call it medieval post-punk. Honestly if you told me this was from 1982, they were from Brighton and regularly gigged with SOUTHERN DEATH CULT, FLUX OF PINK INDIANS and CRASS, I would totally believe you. I love this shit.
This is fucking great – total NECROS style ripping hardocre punk from Stockholm. Four tracks of snotty USHC worship rammed through a Sweidish filter. Outstanding.
PUNITIVE DAMAGE – We Don’t Forget EP
Straight forward hardcore punk which trashes and struts in spasmic fits of fury. The production on this is fairly stripped down subduing the metallic riffing that pops up here and there. A cool release.
PRIMITIVE BLAST – Animalistic 12”
Ugly, primitive and burly Australian hardcore punk – its stomps and struts through six tracks of mid-paced aggro. A totally pummelling slab of ferocity that echoes of NY’s PYSCHOS meet’s the likes of HOAX. A snarly slamma!
RAGING NATHANS – Oppositional Defiance LP
Below this review, you’ll see another where I reference WEEZER in regards to Dayton’s RAGING NATHANS and while there is that hint of that in the tracks on their LP this is missing some of that sheen and comes across decidedly more punk in its delivery, if that makes sense. It’s a little more aggressive, a little punchier, a little more raw and for me, that’s a good thing. It’s still incredibly catchy pop punk in the vein of DILLINGER FOUR, with a hint of the emotive breakdowns of SMALL BROWN BIKE, and at times, the sass of My Brain Hurts-era of SCREECHING WEASEL.
RAGING NATHANS/STARTER JACKETS – Split EP
If the RAGING NATHANS are Ohio’s version the early WEEZER then the STARTER JACKETS are it’s JIMMY EAT WORLD. Really well done pop with just enough dirt in the mix to keep it punk sounding. Both bands contribute two tracks that are the perfect thing to slap on a summer road trip mix.
Total early 80s, Midwestern US hardcore vibe here – its got that brutish Oi meets blazing speed style that bands like THE STATE and NEGATIVE APPROACH channeled. Six tracks in total of pure aggro – just utterly viscous.
There are moments on this where vocalist Walter Delgado sounds so much like Brian Johnson that almost want to be like “imagine AC/DC as a modern hardcore band from Los Angeles” and leave it at that… In a lot of ways, for me, ROTTING OUT is the current embodiment of LAHC – its got super clean and thick production values, tons of breakdowns and sing-a-longs broken up with snippets of speed to accentuate the mosh even more. What really gets me is the lyrics which convey a feeling of a life lived hard, one soaked with abuse (external and internal) but with an emphasis on self reflection and striving for betterment. Not my normal cup of tea but I can party with this for sure.
I know that a lot of people don’t even bother with physical releases anymore but, sometimes it astounds me what is just “demo” these days. This Barcelona trio plays really great melodic punk rock – plenty of catchy riffs and melody lines and the production on this is just outstanding. Its sorta like the better J CHURCH/CRINGER stuff sung in Spanish.
THE ROYAL HOUNDS NYC/CHUBBY AND THE GANG – Nothing But Trouble CS
A limited two song tape (that I think is gonna end up as a split 45 at some point) from two of the finest punk rocknroll units going these days – for their side THE ROYAL HOUNDS push out a three minute ripper that brings to mind some SLADE’s finest moments while CHUBBY AND THE GANG contribute a scorching rave up that could easily serve as the soundtrack to a bar fight between a bunch of pissed up geezers, herberts, and associated bootboys.
This is one of those things that… like how isn’t this already preseed to vinyl? Outstanding, full speed ahead hardcore punk hardcore attack that just batters away at a galloping pace – great riffs, raspy and snarly vocals… just a solid mix of classic USHC and UK82 sounds. I love love love love this – for me, they’re one of those bands that, sonically, would fit in at United Blood as well as Manic Relapse.
SIGNAL – Love Without Moisture CS
This is wonderful – layers of discordant, angular, lo-fi post-punk soaked in angsty tension that sounds like some sorta hybrid of early Rough Trade record output mixed with something CRASS would have cranked out – its sorta like RUDIMENTARY PENI playing SLITS songs.
SIMON LEBRON-MONSTER MANUAL – S/T LP
One of the things I like about Peterwalkee Records is just how all over the place they are with their releases – one its goofy pop-punk, the other brutal hardcore and the other something in between those two. Musically, SIMON LEBRON-MONSTER MANUAL reminds me a bit of early DEAD MILKMEN or even a bit of MOTO – short goofy but really well constructed songs, with jangly guitars and a loose garage punk production style. Lyrically, all the songs are about the various creatures and scenarios one might find oneself in while playing Dungeons & Dragons. As someone who spent a good portion of his early teen years staring down the barrel of some loaded dice, I’m really into this.
Malaysian hardcore that takes a lot of cues from NWOBHC heroes THE FLEX. Its mostly mid-tempo stompers with occasional bursts of speed – the track “Web of Lies” is a sizzler.
SOUL BLIND – Greatest Hits Vol 1
Something different that I’m glad I stumbled upon – rather than the 1000mph ear candy I typically consume, SOUL BLIND serves up thick slabs of distortion and acid soaked shoegazer inspired pop. Ethereal and massive all in one moment – it’s a great take on the roadmap MY BLOODY VALENTINE, SLOWDIVE etc layed out.
Well then, this is fucking brilliant, right? Utterly ferocious hardcore from the UK that channels those spirits that gave us Cleveland bands like UPSTAB, H100s, INMATES etc. Gritty but full production, snarly vocals – this just rips.
STRIKE ANYWHERE – Nightmares Of The West 12”
I love STRIKE ANYWHERE – from their earliest records through the current release they’ve continued to crank out blistering melodic hardcore punk with lyrics filled with hope and passion for a better and more just world. Despite it being a decade since their last record of new material, their latest record doesn’t miss a beat in continuing in that theme. Nightmares Of The West is an anthemic and powerful record. And though the velocity has dropped a little bit it is still dripping with passion and a sense of sincerity that feels missing in a lot of punk. Sure, it’s got a really slick, clean, modern sounding recording and yeah, I’ll agree that i wish they had rubbed a little dirt into the mix but I also don’t think everything needs to sound like DISCLOSE. I mean most things should but you know what I mean…
SUBDUED – Over The Hills & Far Away LP
SUBDUED are a brilliant take on the classic anarcho punk sound that dominated the jackets and eardrums of dour, black clad youth of Thatcher’s England circa 1984. Even the production on this maintains that thin midrange sound of the time with just enough reverb and the vocals pushed to the front that it sounds sorta off kilter. Like, for real if you told me this was some long lost demo of some band that would regularly gig with EXIT STANCE, ICONS OF FILTH and CONFLICT, I would totally believe you – had I not seen them play two years ago. It’s moody, heavy and utterly brilliant.
This fucking rips – more ripping, raw, hardcore from the crew of Florida maniacs that bring you ARMOR, PROTOCOL, etc. Hammering beats, rough guitars and maniacal gravelly vocals. This rules. More please.
SUCK LORDS – Songs The Lord’s Taught Us Flexi
Five songs, six-ish minutes – its sloppy, disjointed and absurdly fast hardcore ala the NEOS. More of this please.
SUPPRESSION – Fractured Landscape EP
I love SUPPRESSION and I’m happy they are still around after what, 25 years? This is pure unadulterated noise not music – blinding blender-esque speed wrapped in cascading sheets of oscillating distortion punctuated by hyper stacato blasts of drum. This isn’t easy listening – I think if an army of mutant reptillian hummingbirds assaulted a city this would be their soundtrack.
Five tracks of classic Swedish hardcore worship from Malaysia – thing Totalitär, think Skitkids. Going for a thinner, raw, garage style of production which really helps to amp up the energetic feel – really well done.
Four tracks of mid-tempo mildly anthemic street punk’n’roll from Spain. Super clean and kinda jangly guitars with vocal driven melody lines that sound fairly melancholic. Sad skins of the world unite and take over.
TCHERNOBYL – Consumé Par le Feu EP
More thick throated stomping big boot Oi from deep in the factories of France – you know UK bands like BLITZ & 4-SKINS came up with this style but lately it feels like the French have truly perfected it. Plenty of virile aggro but it’s tempered with a consciousness towards melody and hooks. Viscous.
TOTALITÄR – Heydays Revisited EP
When I first heard about a new TOTALITÄR record I was filled with this overarching feeling of complete and total bliss. It was like finally, something really good and life affirming is happening in the year 2020. And while I was a little let down when I learned that it is just different recordings and mixes of classic TOTALITÄR tracks from the Multinationella Mördare-era, it is technically a new TOTALITÄR record. I dare say I like these versions a bit better – they feel like they have a bit more punch to them and certainly easier and cheaper to track down this EP than to hunt down the original takes.
TOWER 7 – Entrance To A Living Organism CS
Equal parts UNITED MUTATION and some missing Bullshit Detector submission. The drums progress along in this staccato, almost militaristic fashion while the vocalist has this cool gargling glass approach and the guitars swirl around the bass, which sorta keeps it all together.
TUNING – Defining The Purpose LP
It’s great to see this Bay Area band come into their own – made up of former members of DEAD HEARTS, SPIRITS, etc they carve out a path that takes snippets of influence from LIFETIME, UNIFORM CHOICE, and even a smidge of DAG NASTY to churn out an emotive, passionate blast of melodic hardcore punk fury. I love this style when it’s done right and this is just excellent.
ULTIMO GOBIERNO/WARWOUND – Split EP
Two old bands back again – for their side, Spaniards ULTIMO GOBIERNO rip through three tracks (including a WARWOUND cover) of metallic d-beat hardcore, less primal and raw than their 1987 split with RUDIO DE RUBIO – it reminds me more of those RATOS DE PARAO records from the early 00s in how metal it sounds. On the flip we have WARWOUND rerecording a track from the early 80s as well as doing a metal version of the VARUKERS “Another Religion Another War” which is basically them coverving themselves.
UNIFORM OPERATOR – kinds Of Light CS
This is outstanding – aggressive melodic punk in that way the more assertive SUGAR or BOB MOULD solo stuff comes off. The production just nails that fine line between polished and retaining a rough edge which allows you to hear everything but it does vaporize the power. Honestly, it’s insane to me how good this is – the song writing, the production, the riffing, just everything is so perfect. How is this just a tape?
THE UPPERS – Get Down With The… EP
This is a really fun record – four tracks of catchy punk rock from St Louis that reminds me a great deal of that wave of late 70s Belfast punk bands that floated around the Good Vibrations imprint – PROTEX, RUDI, UNDERTONES, etc. Highly danceable party jams with a hint of melancholy. Great.
Four thick and burly blasts of USHC in the traditional mold – gutteral snarly vocals arc over driving hardcore punk that would fit in well on a mix tape wedged between NEGATIVE APPROACH and URBAN WASTE. Members of COKE BUST, CHRONIC ABUSE, etc for those keeping score. This is killer.
VENENO – Justicia Argentina EP
Snarling, brutal Argentinian hardcore that alternates between thudding d-beat and mad blasts of high speed velocity. The vocals, which sound like sheet metal being run through a distortion pedal, really sells this for me.
VILE REALITY – Detached Demo CS
This rips – six slamming cuts of vicious, angry hardcore. Are you into the 00s output of Tankcrimes, or No Way – hardcore that is decidely punk, taking cues from a smorgasbord of early 80s hardcore but from a modern perspective? Then this is your jam – you lke BAD POSTURE or STRUNG UP? Get into this.
VILE SPIRIT – Scorched Earth LP
This sounds very mid 90s to me – heavy, violent hardcore that takes the more traditional form and marries it with disparate influences for something more unique. Think Remain Sedate-era RORSCHACH, COLEMAN if they had a bassist, HATCHETFACE, etc. Snarling, desperate vocals wailing over a dissonant, intense soundscape. Super into this.
WHIPPING POST – Cheating The War Game LP
Total BL’AST meets SWIZ meets early ROLLINS BAND worship here. Riffs upon riffs upon riffs with a nihilistic, creepy vibe permeating it all.
WITCH WARD – Sacrificial Monolith CS
Black metal influenced, spooky punk – blown out production, guitars that sweep in that epic sort of manner and a vocalist that sounds like a snarling demon. Fairly mid-tempo overall and primitive enough that it’s not annoying. You like DEVIL MASTER? You enjoy spiderwebs and capes? Get in there cowboy!
YOUTH CRUSHER – Έμπα στον Κήπο EP
Ripping, straightforward hardcore from Greece – musically, if you told me this was released by Youngblood in the early 00s I would beleive you. Lots of speed intersected with mid tempo breakdowns and sing-a-longs in Greek. Think NO REPLY, think LIFES HALT, think fun.
Robotic, one person band from LA – it’s like an angrier DEVO mix with the snot of JAY REATARD or THE SPITS. The choruses and hooks keep getting embedded in my cranium and I find myself walking around singing “ZENOMORPH I’M A ZENOMPORH” while cleaning the house a lot.
Totally ripping Swedish hardcore – just a galloping, thunderous onslaught of relentless käng punk fury. Sure, it’s formulaic in a lot of ways but when the recipe works out well, why not? This is fucking great.