Turnstile

ABUSE – Process Of Stupidity LP

Really cool jangly punk rock from France – there’s much here that brings to mind that late 70s Swedish punk sound that bands like VICIOUS and ROTTEN SOUND channeled later on. A smidge of Texas punk like the MARKED MEN as well though, it doesn’t quite hit that level of flawless hooks and melody.

A CRAN – S/T LP

Stripped down French Oi in that same school as CONDOR – melodic yet aggro with that thin, lo-fi garage recording which a lot of the classic French punk utilized to great effect. 

AFFECT / LÖCKHEED – Split EP

You know how DISCLOSE did that split with FRAMTID in anticipation of a US tour together that didn’t happen? Well AFFECT studied, with committed dedication the DISCLOSE side while LÖCKHEED took careful notes on FRAMTID’s contribution – though they added a bit of UNCURBED to the mix just to spice it up. 

APPALOOSA – S/T EP

Twee pop band from Seattle that leans towards the garage punk spectrum  in that early K Records sort of way – think LOIS, TSUNAMI or GO SAILOR. It’s sugary sweet stuff and I can’t get enough of it.

BETON ARME – Au Bord Du Gouffre LP

Fuck yes! This is outstanding mid-tempo Oi from the wonderland of Canada but it sounds like a perfect amalgam of classic French Oi like KOMITERN SECT, WARRIOR KIDS & CAMERA SILENS. If you were just as excited by RIXE the first time you heard them as I was you need this – outstanding.

BLINDING GLOW – UXO CS

Ripping d-beat from San Diego that takes a “noise not… well maybe music” approach. Not the typical tuneless distort-o-rama ramp through songs about “war is a bad” but instead we have memorable riffs which pack a wallop. Really solid.

BOOTLICKER – How to Love Life EP

I love this record – it just explodes off the turntable with a genuine ferocity filled with oodles of energy. It’s d-beaty but rammed through an early USHC filter in the same way that the early DEATHREAT was meaning it never never gets tedious like some of the adherents to the church of DIS can do, instead keeping the power moving – it just genuinely sounds pissed. 

BRAIN POLLUTION SYNDROME- Mentally Chained CS

RIpping fast in the NEGATIVE FX line of thinking – six tracks of unhinged, brutish, hardcore which seethes with anger and is over before you know it. Totally relentless.

BRANDY – The Gift Of Repetition LP

This is just lovely – stompy, slashing rocknroll that echoes of a distant memory of early aughts garage punk like the A-FRAMES or the PONYS – discordant, aggro, fuzzy and moderately blown out but not in that DISCLOSE sort of way but more like some kind of mutant outgrowth of the Dangerhouse and RipOff records line of punk.

BRAT CURSE – S/T LP

There’s a lot here that reminds me of Foolish-era SUPERCHUNK blended with PORTASTATIC. It’s infinitely more ‘mature’ than most of what I listen to on a given day though it has moments of quick paced pop punk but even still it’s an infectious listen with plenty of well constructed nods to both 60s pop and 90s indie.

CAGE KICKER – Parasitic Futur CS

Second tape from these German maniacs and its a bit more of the same – frantic blasts of intense hardcore fury that has a little CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS feel to it with a vocalist who sounds like they’ve gargled glass more than once. You should track this down.

CHEAP CLONE – This Is It EP

Two tracks from this jangly, poppy, indie punk band from Cleveland – think THE MICE meets TIGER TRAP at a party where someone is playing the more aggro MILKY WIMPSHAKE songs. For me personally, it sounds like the summer of 1991, driving around in a beat up old Volvo, wearing a cardigan sweater and sharing joints down by the river.

CLOCK OF TIME – Pestilent Planet LP

Dark and moody punk from Berlin – there is a heavy and exceptionally dour peace punk vibe permeating this in that JOY DIVISION meets RUDIMENTARY PENI sort of way. You can literally smell the mixture of patchouli and clove cigarettes wafting off the riffs and production. Totally flawless in its execution.

CON ARTIST – Subservient CS

Eleven blasts of lightning fast hardcore in the powerviolence style – more SPAZZ than CROSSED OUT but still that similar form of searing speed interspersed with moments slothly breakdowns of primal brutality.

CROMO – En Otro Lugar EP

Slashing, punky new wave from Spain – robotic in the best ways a la BÉRURIER NOIR with flecks of East Bay Ray style surf guitar thrown in. Great pop record – the second track “Jhonny El Soldado” is a total winner.

DEAD ENDING – American Virus EP

Hey check it out – it’s Vic Bondi from ARTICLES OF FAITH’s new project. Three songs in total – the title track could have been on Give Thanks though it drifts away from the expected pure aggro at the end towards something more emotive, the other original song is a little more emotive and sounds a bit like something on In This Life. Then they cover THE CLASH. Anyway, Vic is still pissed, still has an amazing voice and still writes pointed, politically charged lyrics. 

DIODE – S/T 

Synth driven new wavey punk rock from the City of Angels – it’s sorta what I imagine what a potluck featuring members of the SCREAMERS and ERASE ERRATA would sound like.

DISCOURAGE – Forlorn Hope EP

Straight-forward and powerful hardcore from Oakland that takes its cues from that early 2000s Youngblood meets Lockin Out thing. Think ENSIGN think MENTAL – quick riffs, lots of singalongs and ample breakdowns for the opening of the pit.

DISJAWN / BESTHÖVEN – Split EP

It is so crazy to me that Brazil’s BESTHÖVEN is still going – I guess that is the advantage of being a one band! Their side is a raw d-beat punk attack as though one might expect anything else. Philly’s DISJAWN are similar in their approach but with a slight twist of “Victim Of Bombraid” era ANTICIMEX – faster and more blown out, with a drummer that sometimes feels like he’s just hitting the snare at random intervals.

DRUG VICTIM – Mongrel EP

Seven blasts of excellent dynamic hardcore from the UK alternating from mollasses sludge to 1000mph blasts with occasional mid-tempo breakdowns. It really reminds me a great deal of 90s bands like ASSHOLE PARADE.

ERNIA​/​CONDEMNED – Split LP

For their side, ERNIA contribute eight songs of mid-paced crunchy, crusty hardcore which occasionally rachets up to machine gun blasts of speed but only sparingly as to not minimize their impact. On the flip, CONDEMNED rip and roar through an equal number of crusty hardcore in the 90s  fashion – think STATE OF FEAR or AUS ROTTEN. Both are totally solid but I personally find the ERNIA side a bit more engaging.

FASTPLANTS – Grosso / Super Stoked 45

Mid-paced and rock’n skate punk in the classic sense of the style – think the BIG BOYS more punk stuff, JFA or the FACTION. The whole thing is dedicated to legendary skater Jeff Grosso and is a great tribute.

FIREWALKER – Alive EP

Swaggering late 80s/early 90s New York Hawdkaw style through a Boston filter – gruff, Cookie Monster style vocals spat out over BREAKDOWN meets Set It Off-era MADBALL jams. Mosh!

FLOWER CITY – Demo CS

I believe this is former members of SLIMY MEMBER but not 100% on that – have you ever listened to those Bullshit Detector comps CRASS put out? It’s decidedly punk, a little goth, a little off kilter but more well put together than much of that stuff. It’s got a lot of that sort of bouncy mid paced aggro that HARAM projects musically though mixed with something more UK82. Super into this tape – hope to hear more soon.

THE FOG – Into The Fog EP

I kept having to check that this was playing on the right speed – sluggish hardcore in that SHEER TERROR meets BULLDOZE sort of way. It’s like moshing in a vat of molasses. 

FORCE MAJEURE Encore Debout EP

More heavy boot, big beat sounds from the apparently skinhead filled streets of Montreal – this one reminds me a great deal of early TEMPLARS stuff, taking that classic French Oi sound and putting their own twist on it. Clean guitars, gruff vocals and a pounding beat. 

FÖRGIFTAD / GEFYR – Split LP

Two relentless Swedish kång-core ragers – FÖRGIFTAD bursts with energy, forgoing any sort of the metal influence that can sometimes ruin an otherwise perfectly good punk record. Flipping this over, GEFYR gives us more of the same – just perfectly executed Swedish hardcore, with a tinge of rocknroll swagger and just dripping with ferocity. If you were down with that LARMA LP you are probably gonna want to get down with this.

FUTURA – 3030 EP

The latest release from these Los Angeles punks – five tracks of straight forward hardcore pogo-y punk that leans more towards the sound of Spain in the early 80s than California. Think COCADICTOS but with mountains of swirling chorus pedals in the mix. 

GAG – Still Laughing LP

Burly, brutish hardcore that lurches with hammer down killing velocity, downshifting occasionally into creepy crawly breakdowns certain to inspire a legion of strutting moshers. Like the STAINS meets RUDIMENTARY PENI but more modern and more angry. Really great stuff here with tons of weirdness mixed in – think of the CRUCIFUCKS song where Doc Dart is like “A slam dancer stepped on my toe, they’re so macho” now imagine that as a band. Really great.

G*U*N*N – Peace Love & Heavy Weaponry EP

There’s a lot in the riffing here that makes me think of FAITH’s demo eta, at least musically. It’s quick, simple and totally punchy in that early DC sorta way – now imagine if Alec MacKaye quit and they hired Jack from TSOL to cut the vocals and told him to try to sound like the guy from UNITED MUTATION but he can’t quite get that snarly. Killer release.

HAIRCUT – Cake EP

Richmond’s HAIRCUT are absolutely brilliant – six blasts of blistering hardcore, most clocking in under one minute in length but packing in so much in those brief seconds. On this, their third release, I really feel they’ve come into their own with plenty of hooks and snot plowed through an anvil to the face production style which makes the songs all the more effective. More, more, more please!

HALLUCINATION – S/T CS

Dentist guitars in the style of DISCLOSE with a pummelling backbeat and snarling vocals. It’s a cool first taste for this Philly band that sounds nothing like MCRAD.

HEALER – Resurgence EP

Everyone knows Tony Molina, right? Indie pop darling, master of NPR-core soft rock – well this ain’t that. Ten tracks of 10,000 mph, West-Bay-All-Day, pure, unadulterated powerviolence in the classic mode of bands like NO LESS, DEADBODIESEVERYWHERE, AGENTS OF SATAN and more. No poseur shit – no nerds in tight pants, just heavy riffs, Ben Davis pants and songs that go by so fast you can barely keep up. Perfection.

HEAVY DISCIPLINE – S/T LP

Let’s be honest, something magical is going on the glorious city Pittsburgh – is it the dirty water of the three rivers? Is it something magical they slip into the pierogies at Gooski’s? Is it the steady diet of rust belt blues? Heavy Discipline are everything I want in a hardcore band – brutal, stomping breakdowns interspersed between blazing velocity and some of the finest drill sargent vocals on the planet. This shit smokes, it slaps, its a fucking hammer to the face, a punch in in your junk, just push play and crank the fucking volume and stage dive off your couch.

HORSEWHIP – Laid to Waste LP

Heavier than thou and intense as fuck metallic hardcore in the style of BOTCH or KISS IT GOODBYE. It’s saturated in dynamic, spastic bursts of rhythmic fury interspersed by erie moments of calm before exploding again into a rampage of angst. The thick wall of sound production just helps to make this all the more effective in its quest to destroy your ear drums.

HOUNDS OF WAR – Demo CS

Fuzzed out pogo punk from NYC – it’s a little bit like DIRT and a little bit VICE SQUAD. It sounds like the singer from SUBVERSIVE RITE but I’m not 100% sure about that. 

HOUSEGHOST – S/T LP

Sugary sweet pop punk with a hint of snot from Dayton – a place that feels like a hotbed for stuff like this lately. Its filled with harmonies, tons of Ooo’s and Ah’s, tons of RAMONES meets SCREECHING WEASEL style riffing but rather than the normal pop-punk tropes we have songs about murder, haunted houses, ghosts, ouijia boards and more. It’s a really fun record.

ILL FIT – S/T EP

Six tracks of Swedish hardcore punk with a heavy rocknroll riffing vibe – there’s a heavy groove present here on all the tracks that feels a lot like some of those Lockin Out bands like RZL DZL or modern bands like WILD STYLE (at least musically). I approve of the pizza on the cover. 

LA INQUISICION – Tenevrae LP

Rocking Spanish punk with massive guitars and anthemic vocals. I believe there is someone from the band SECRET ARMY involved and if you know them, you know they were the masters of writing insane hooks and those skills are applied masterfully here. Listening to this gives me flashbacks to being packed in cramped sweaty basements with strangers singing along to bands that mean the world to us – let’s hope we go back to that soon.

INNUENDO – Demo CS

Mid-tempo punk rock with a “played through a transistor radio” recording style. It’s a little bit like PMS84 in that it keeps that steady UK82/Riot City thudding beat in lockstep with the lyrical pattern. Cool debut.

INVALID – Do Not Resuscitate CS

More of that Pittsburgh hardcore punk goodness – its a raw and ripping good time of filled with snotty nihilistic lyrics splattered against a back drop of filthy riffs that remind me of H100s meets NECROS.

JACKAL – Live At The Paincave CS

Vicious hardcore punk from Florida that owe a lot to that early Boston hardcore style – think GANG GREEN, SSD, DYS, etc before they decided they wanted to be shitty rock bands. 

JOUKKOHAUTA – S/T EP

Finnish hardcore done up in the classic way – think Russia Bombs Finland, BASTARDS, KAAOS, etc. Its wild manic ride of buzzsaw guitars and rapid fire dums overlaid by desperate screams. Fucking brilliant. 

KALEIDOSCOPE – Decolonization EP

Lotsa DIRT and CONFLICT influences to be found here on these New York punk’s latest release – but I’m also hearing a bit of early MOSS ICON in this. I love to see people mining the vast resources of the early 80s UK anarcho-punk scene for influence and utilizing it for their own expression. 

KORROSIVE – Hiroshima Flexi

Oakland’s KORROSIVE latest release is this stomping single track flexi dedicated the memory of the horror that was Hiroshima. It’s a slow, rhythmic and nearly hypnotic track which leans heavy towards sounding like something APPENDIX would have created in the lab.

KRIGSHODER – Krig I Hodet EP

KRIGSHODER needs to beat up BLACK UNIFORMS to take the title of Splatter Punx on Acid from them because that phrase sums up this project from the brilliant mutants behind BLAZING EYE and NEGATIV. Absolutely wonderful, frantic blasts of thrashing hardcore that hints of many nights smoking illicit substances while consuming a steady diet of classic Norwegian hardcore – BARN AV REGNBUEN, SVART FRAMTID, etc. Alt for Norge!

L.M.I. – Excess Subconscious LP

Post-hardcore that lives in that space between DRIVE LIKE JEHU/PITCHFORK sorta dissonant mathy rock and KARP style weed fueled heavy riffing. I feel I don’t encounter a lot in the line these days though it could be just circles I run in, so it’s a refreshing and interesting listen for me. I hope that this band is absurdly loud when they play live. 

LEBENDEN TOTEN – Synaptic Noise Dissociation LP

Noise! Noise! Noise! Ear drum bursting sheets of treble filled, synapse melting noise! A live album filled with these Portland maniacs “hits” – everything is played to perfection and with a degree of ferocity that many others who attempt this style fail to attain. For me, what has always separated LEBENDEN TOTEN more than anything are the hooks and hints at melody buried deep in the murky cavern on cacophonous layers of noise, not music. This live record stands as a perfect documentation of their ability to ride that balance.

LIP READERS – Clean Kitchens CS

This is decidedly not punk but I enjoy it. Lo-fi, jangly rock that sounds like it could be some long lost recording of a Laurel Canyon jam session from 1970 that ended with David Crosby eating all the cookies while getting high as shit. It’s light and summery and something I will revisit.

LOUD NIGHT – Mindnumbing Pleasure LP

A rumbling juggernaut of INEPSY style rocknroll punk – it’s dirty, messy, primitive, and makes me want to just smash shit. Saturated in riffs, with a lockstep rhythm section layered under a vocalist that brings to mind Cronos from VENOMS’ snarl, LOUD NIGHT are the perfect sound track to a jaunt across the dystopian hellscape that is our Mad Max future. 

MILITARIE GUN – My Life is Over EP

There’s something very familiar about this but I just quite place it – at times it’s got these thick riffs and tempo that feels straight out of the KARP/BIG BUSINESS school of rock but it also has this gruff vocaled melodic approach you find in the No Idea stable of bands. After a few listens it becomes super infectious and I bet they are a monstrous force to be reckoned with live.

MILK – Bricks EP

MILK were one of the standouts from 2019’s Damaged City fest for me – its simple, straightforward, distortion free hardcore punk. Think TOTAL FURY meets HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE meets AMDI PETERSENS ARME – total ripper. 

THE MISSED – S/T EP

Rock’n garagey punk from Cleveland that leans more towards the rock than punk side of things. It sorta feels like the mystery band that surprises you with how good they are wedged onto a DILLINGER FOUR and DISCOUNT show at the Euclid tavern in 1998.

MISTER – Espejismo EP

Minimally distorted Chicago punk with a bit of a weirdo vibe in how it just swerves and noodles along. There is a timelessness in the production that if it weren’t for the snarly, breathy vocals this could almost sound like undiscovered gem from 1984 – that said the fed up desperation in that vocal attack really enhances this. Great release. 

MESS – Intercity 12”

This is really fucking cool – heavy BLITZ influence, massive hooks, and production that is just dirty enough to give it some oompf. I was a total sucker for that 90s era of bands like DUCKY BOYS, THE TROUBLE, SWINGIN UTTERS and even early DROPKICK MURPHYS and this fits neatly in with all of that. 

MOMENT OF FEAR – COVID Sessions 2020 EP

Well this is exciting, Tony Bartek (of RELIGIOUS WAR, THE CORPSE, ROTTEN CADAVER and loads of others) has a new band and it doesn’t disappoint. Ripping metallic hardcore in the ENGLISH DOGS school of thought. Sizzling riffs over stampeding drums backing up Tony’s raspy snarl – it’s the sound of angry desperation. 

MUTANT STRAIN – S/T LP

Packaged in a massive poster a la those old CRASS releases, these North Carolina mutants produce a ferocious onslaught of steamroller hardcore – massive riffs, thunderous drums and a vscious snarling vocal attack cutting through the layer sonic backdrop. Its ugly and beautiful all in one moment leaning on the foundations of a lot classic UK hardcore punk while still sounding modern and fresh. A hell of a record.

MYSTIC INSANE – Natural Beauty EP

Jangly garage punk in that Australian, ROYAL HEADACHE line of thinking.

NANCY – Goes Country LP

Not a lot of country to be found here, despite the title – instead we have oodles of Infectious snotty pop punk from Chicago. Not like GREEN DAY BLINK 182 pop-punk but more like something from the David Hayes era of Lookout Records blended with a smidge of that slashing guitar feel of bands like THE KIDS.

NEKRA – Royal Disruptor EP

NEKRA snarls and pummels you with an assault of rumbling bass and punchy drums generating a burly buzzsaw hardcore approarch that lurches along at a mid-tempo clip with occasional bursts of speed. 

NORMS – Háború És Fű EP

This is absolutely perfect – totally unhinged out of control, manic and totally off kilter hardcore from Hungary. It has that controlled chaos vibe that you get off those early WRETCHED, INGEGESTI, and NEGAZIONE records mixed with the complicated yet moderately out of tune riffing bands like IN/HUMANITY & ASSFACTOR 4 blessed us with in the 90s. And yes, there is a cowbell. Brilliant.

偏執症者 (PARANOID) – Out Raising Hell LP

Mid-paced d-beat that sorta goes along at that INEPSY meets MÖTORHEAD meets VENOM pace but without the hooks and riffs. I keep waiting for it to kick into gear but it never does and for me it’s just kinda flat.

PARIIAH – Swallowed by Fog CS

Heavy, heavy dirgey metallic punk in that NAUSEA meets WINTER down at C-squat for a few beers sort of way and it sounds like Dave Ed from NEUROSIS pops by to yell something intimidating from time to time. It’s a menacing and bleak six song journey which brings forth a devastatingly frigid vision of reality. People from DEVOID OF FAITH, KILL YOUR IDOLS, BOOKS LIE, etc for those keeping score. 

THE PASSING – S/T CS

Straight forward, d-beat hardcore from the bowels of Los Angeles complete with monster vocals. Decent enough but I wish there was a little more velocity and complexity to their riffing.

PILAU – S/T EP

Tasty little platter of high octane hardcore from former ASSHOLE PARADE & MAGRUDERGRIND. It alternates from thrashing punk rock then ramps up into1000mph grind blasts, with occasional forays into stomping breakdowns in that dirgey powerviolence sort of way. Really great release. 

PI​$​$​ER – Crushed Down To Paste LP

Apparently this is ex-ANTICIMEX, DOOM, SORE THROAT and more. There are moments when it feels like that and others where it feels like that ENT/KLF combo but then in come the horns which can be fine but I feel like it’s less like ARMIA using a French horn and more like CULTURE SHOCK or CITIZEN FISH so I’m not sure how I feel about this – I think the production holds it back, as it’s really muddy.

PLAGUE THIRTEEN – S/T LP

It’s been some time since I’ve heard a bit of Darker Days Ahead-era TRAGEDY inspired, stadium crust like this – heavy dark and moody with plenty of sweeping melodic bits. Sadly, it lacks the monstrous production really needed to push this over the top, that said it’d be interesting to see what comes next

PLANET ON A CHAIN – This Won’t Get Any Fucking Better CS

Straight-forward, mid paced hardcore that is ¾ from Oakland and ¼ from Austin. The production is a bit muddy and this is definitely a demo but there is a lot promise to be found here especially on the track “Deprogram/Reprogram” which slowly descends into a BLACK FLAG style dirge at the end. Ex-TALK IS POISON, LOOK BACK & LAUGH, and TEAR IT UP if you are keeping score.

PUBLIC ACID – Condemnation EP

This is absurd – a noisey, distorted steamroller of punk which feels like a modern take on the ideas bands like ZOUO or GUDON put on the table. Totally bludgeoning, snarling, visicious hardcore which hits you like an anvil to the face. Equal parts terrifying and brilliant. 

PRISM – Demo

Rough and tumble poppy punk from members of KHIIS & FALSE FIGURE. There’s a lot here that reminds me of a myriad of late 80s Homestead and 4AD records bands that came from punk like PIXIES, GREAT PLAINS, BRAINIAC, etc where they were really focussed on songwriting and melody but were a bit more aggro than standard indie faire. Like if you told me this was a band that toured with THROWING MUSES in 1986, I’d probably believe you. It’s really good.

RASH – Hivemind LP

Thick blasts of fuzz soaked guitars which pummel your cerebral synapses barely allowing a snarly vocal attack to peak out to prick your ears. The dynamism present is more around the variance in velocity than anything else but it’s used to maximum killing force. It reminds me a smidge of something that might have crawled from out of the Youth Attack Records portfolio or would have infected the world from a viral cocktail of mysterious guy hardcore bands from a decade past. I love this.

RATED X – United Front LP

I wish all straight edge hardcore sounded like this – blistering velocity that flips into punchy moments of mosh designed to to bring on massive dog piles and singalongs. I’ll take “generic” hardcore that takes cues from STRAIGHT AHEAD, THE ABUSED & AGNOSTIC FRONT over bands recycling SLAYER riffs. Totally killer.

RATH – S/T CS

Dark and spooky gothic peace punk in a lo-fi Sanctuary-era AMEBIX meets the eponymous KILLING JOKE LP. Now throw in a bit of the icy cold German & Polish bands from the 80s who mined the same influences and you’ll get the basic idea of what is going on here. 

RED DEVIL RYDERS – Pour Me Another One LP

Working my way through this it feels like they’ve spent a lot of time listening to BIG STAR – amped up Americana style 70s rocknroll that hints at UK pub rock (DR FEELGOOD, early SLADE) but with a southern fried, big open highway, driving for the sake driving sort of feel. A lot of good road trip jams to be found here. 

REPEAT OFFENDER – Demo EP

Burly Oi meets early USHC attack on this slab of vinyl – six tracks in total, with the majority leaning towards a thunderous stomping approach rather than shifting full speed ahead. Think BRUISERS, think 4SKINS, think NEGATIVE APPROACH. 

ROLEX – S/T EP

This is so fucking good that you don’t deserve it – twistiy turny weirdo hardocre that is at one moment the MINUTEMEN on speed and one part CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS – though some might just say they’ve been mainlining the first DIE KREUZEN via live wires in the brain. Minimally distorted guitars riffing out a chaotic note salad with a rhythm section providing a sense of stability and a nearly out of breath vocalist inviting you to a sonic orgy of madness. Fucking brilliant.

SABRE – Sabre II EP

Thumping & thudding hardcore punk with snarly, throaty vocals from the Bay Area – there’s a bit about this which reminds me of the simple yet effect approach of those early DISORDER & CHAOS UK releases albeit here we find far less distortion. Really cool.

SEX WITH A TERRORIST AKA S.W.A.T. – Demo

Imagine the CRUCIFUCKS but instead of just mocking hardcore’s tropes, they embraced some of them. In many ways this has a bit of the feel of bands like MONORCHID, WRANGLER BRUTES, or NATZI SKINS – it’s frantic, moderately chaotic, and for the first three tracks it pummels along at a near jackhammer clip before collapsing into the dirging rant of the final track “Screenshot Hardcore.” People from REGIONAL JUSTICE CENTER and DRUG CHURCH if you are keeping score.

SHRINKWRAP KILLERS – Feral Rats Have Become Our Only Pets LP

SHRINKWRAP KILLERS are perfect. Conspiracy fueled lyrics around aliens, zombies, cyborgs, rats and all points in between – musically it’s a dark new wave journey of syncopated drums synths and guitars layered to perfection to create a nearly perfect pop backdrop for this dystopian hellscape of a lyrical vision. Just outstanding work.

SCARED EARTH – Poisoned World LP

A bulldozer onslaught of the Swedish hardcore, in the traditional style, from former members of SVART PARAD. Most of the lyrics are about war, how it is bad, and related matters. When it’s good, like on the track “Skinnets Djup” it’s really good but I feel like this could have been a more powerful release with a smidge of editing.

SEPTIC YANKS – S/T CS

Sloppy lo-fi noisy punk rock – moderately inept but totally fun. It’s a mess and they can barely play but I’ll take this any day over another stupid metal band calling itself hardcore.

SHIFTERS – Left Bereft 45

Moody Aussie punk that makes me think “What if we took that RADIO BIRDMAN song ‘Man With The Golden Helmet’ and made a whole band out of it?” I know that might sound odd but it’s quite outstanding – do you like shit like DESPERATE BICYCLES or ORANGE JUICE? Bands that are probably too clever for their own good? That’s what we have here and it’s quite infectious.

SPY – Service Weapon CS

Thumping caveman hardcore in that MIND ERASER sort of way – mid-tempo plodding sets up violent whirlwinds of drums and guitars which collapse in breakdowns. 

STA. CRUZ – S/T EP

Tasty platter of Basque rocknroll infected street punk. Plenty of energy on this – driven heavily by open chord riffing and gang vocals. More COCKNEY REJECTS meets something like RUDI than the brutality of 4SKINS or BLITZ as far as the Oi-scale goes. 

STRAW MAN ARMY – Age of Exile LP

I love OMEGA TRIBE, early EX and early CHUMBAWAMBA and this reeks of those bands both musically and lyrically. The execution of the style is perfect and if you told me this was the long lost recording of some band that used to play shows at the Modern Method in Oakland with TRIAL, TREASON, CRUCIFIX and A STATE OF MIND I’d totally believe you. I really enjoy this release.

SYNDROME 81 – Loubards Sensibles EP

A quick two song 45 from these French skins – their prior releases had a harder more street punk edge while hinting at a pop sensibility but on this latest release we find the pop cranked up and the aggro ratched down. These songs are great, total pop bliss with a dark tinge but it had me wondering for a moment if it was the same band that released the Béton Nostalgie EP a few years back. 

SYSTEM OF SLAVES – S/T CD

Heavy duty crust unit from Wales – its thick and downtuned a la later NAUSEA and plows along with a mid tempo gallup punctuated by occasional metallic guitar work and a vocalist who reminds me a little of Tam from SACRILEGE. 

タイフーン TAIFUN – Demo 2020 CS

Powerful, riff driven hardcore from Japan in that “Burning Spirits” style – searing leads, anthemic vocals, thunderous drums. Think early MUSTANG meets early PAINTBOX. Outstanding.

TOL – Last Grief CD

Australian take on the KILLING JOKE meets BAUHAUS thing – TOL is a little fuller in their sound and crisper in their production than many doing this style. I get the same feeling from this as I do with the WRAITH – complete with that hypnotic, repetitive riffing style like RUDIMENTARY PENI which helps create a feeling of mild discomfort (in a good way).

TORTÜR – Never Ending Grief LP

Ten tracks of raw D-beat hardcore from the streets of LA. No metal, no frills, no bullshit – just 100% evil thrashing hardcore punk in the DISCLOSE meets DISCHARGE mold. 

TOTALLY CRACKED – Bala Boi Biblia EP

Ten tracks of simple, straightforward hardcore from Brazil played in the classic US style – super lo-fi recording that sounds like this was done on a boombox.  Reminds me a bit of GOVERNMENT WARNING but a little more inept.

TRUE SONS OF THUNDER- It Was Then That I Was Carrying You LP

Rampaging and raucous punk from members of the OBLIVIANS, RAT TRAPS and more. It’s barely in tune, distorted and feels like the songs are gonna fall apart at any moment, yet they hold it together. The sound of a raging house party deep where the band can’t play their whole set because someone dumped a bucket of beer all over the amps. It’s a good time.  

VIOLENT CHRISTIANS – New Blood for A Dead City EP

Sloppy, careening, ultra lo-fi hardcore from Austin, Texas – its a bit like VOID meeting early INDIGESTI recorded on a boombox. While I get the aesthetic they are going for, I think this would be a lot more effective with a proper recording session. That said, this is one band that I bet would kill live.

VAROITUS – Helvetin Hardcore EP

Rock’n Swedish hardcore in that UNCURBED sort of way though with a hint of frantic Finnish style, though that could just be the KAAOS cover they do making me say that. 

THE WAR GOES ON – Assisted Armageddon LP

This is fucking outstanding – powerful melodic Danish punk that sounds more akin to Rikk Agnew’s genius than say ENOLA GAY. Like vocalist Ronni’s prior band NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS, there is a moody and menacing angst present here both lyrically and in the riffing which keeps this from sounding like ditzy some sort of SoCal Warp Tour spawn. I can’t stop listening to this. 

WRONG WAR – Fixed Against Forever Demo

WRONG WAR is a new project from Chicago by a bunch of old dudes which, sonically, echoes of GIve Thanks-era ARTICLES OF FAITH in its ferocity and anger. Lyrically, it is a pointed assault on the darkness that surrounds us everyday – a cry out to resist and an encouragement not to give up. This is passionate, beautiful, pissed off and is easily one of my favorite releases of the year.

YAMBAG – Posthumous Pounce! LP

This is fucking great – rough and tumble Cleveland hardcore thats descends from the H100s/APARTMENT 213/UPSTAB line of thought. Sure it’s a little sloppy but it’s totally relentless in its attack – the garagey production really helps the songs breathe. Really great!

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