A.F.K – Ruled by the Insane LP
Steamroller hardcore punk from Hamburg, Germany. It gallops along at a mid-paced, quasi DISCHARGE without being a DIS-band sorta gallop, never quite blasting but maintaining a thunderous consistency to its clip that is certain to get a squat a rocking. The production on this is really thick and adds to its effectiveness–I’d party with this.
ACUTE – Midara LP
Originally released as CD-only in Japan, our friends at Desolate have made this tasty platter of ripping Japanese hardcore available on vinyl for the first time and praise jah for making accessible to us in the States. Seriously primal slabs of raging Japanese hardcore a la early PAINTBOX – think agile guitar work, frenetic vocals and a ferocious cannonade of drums backing it all up. This is outstanding.
AFFECT – Fucked Reality EP
Distorted to hell, treble cranked to a fucking thousand noisey punk–the drums sound like they were recorded down the hall. It is a beautiful cacophony of chaos that owes much of its vibe to the late Kawakami from DISCLOSE, even down to the way they approach the vocals. The cover art features a skeletal punk pouring booze straight into its exposed brain while seemingly cutting its own throat and if you know me, you know I’m super amped on that.
ALEMENT – Onward LP
Well fuck me – a mire of oozingly dour heavy as fuck crust in the ancient style. I’ve always maintained that this style is best when parties just embrace the influence of those early KILLING JOKE and MOTÖRHEAD records and then just double down on it – I mean thats what made AMEBIX and ZYGOTE so good, right? Epic, dark, brooding, metallic, punk.
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE – Life Support EP
The A-side finds a much more mature and refined AMERICAN NIGHTMARE–gone is the 1000MPH blasts of aggressive noisey hardcore and in its place a more mid-paced jangly rocker that reminds me a bit of the INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY or even MASSHYSTERI. The B-side is a cover of the LEMONHEADS “Left For Dead” which is really well executed and gives insight as to the why of the A-side transformation. I’m super into this 45.
ANTI-HUMAN – Demo
This is one of those things where I think a better recording might help–there is a definite cool creepy and menacing vibe to this that I’m into. It sorta lurches slightly out of tune in a disquieting way that I enjoy and the singer sounds like a frog with a frog stuck in its throat and all that is cool but I really wish I could discern a bit more as to what is going on. As I listen to this I can’t help but be reminded of that song “Mr. Tapeworm” by THE MEATMEN.
ANTI-METAFOR – Prioriterad Information EP
Perfectly executed hardcore in the classic Swedish inspired by DISCHARGE style. It rips with a searing intensity from start to finish–is it revolutionary or particularly innovative? No, but does it need to be?
ANTIBODIES – LP Promo
Hyper-fuzzy and pretty straightforward rocking punk rock–I know there is a bass played on this but its so layed under mountains of midrangey distortion and thumping drums that it feels sort of like its missing. Is this good? I mean for what it is yes but I wish there were more hooks or something about it that was a little more compelling–it feels like one of those bands that’s super fun live but on record…
APEX – Demo
This starts out with a very RUDIMENTARY PENI-style, fuzzed out stomper for 52 seconds of madness. Theirs is a really cool, very primitive mid-paced anarcho punk approach that produces an anxious and tense vibe. I could see this being a missing track from one of CRASS’ Bullshit Detector comps–even if the fourth track has a definite Cows & Beer-era DIE KREUZEN but recorded on a boombox vibe.
APOSTOLOÏ – Bomb Drop Project EP
Quick paced anarcho-street punk from Montreal. Gruff vocal approach accentuating a musical approach which reminds me a bit of THE VIRUS in its use of anthemic and punchy sing-a-long choruses and intricate bass work. This is apparently a re-recording of songs from a former band of some of the members called BOMB DROP.
APPÄRATUS – Absürd 19 LP
Raging Malaysian hardcore – this alternates between Swedish style mangel (they cover D.T.A.L. afterall) and then just blazing pre-crossover style DRI thrash. The production is thick and incredibly powerful – this is one of those bands that I feel like if they were from Europe or the USA people would be all about them. Really solid stuff here.
ARMAMENTO FATAL – S/T 2xEP
Eleven short blasts of ripping, distorted to hell hardcore punk from San Francisco. There are mountains of reverb and they’ve done this crazy thing where they have like a million layers of guitars with crazy swirling effects and creepy lead lines that just make it more compelling–its almost has pysch-rock feel to it. The drums have that almost inept but not quite feel to them like you find on the early WRETCHED records that just adds to the urgency and intensity–especially when pair the vocalist’s attack. For those keeping track, it ex-PELIGRO SOCIAL, if you recall that Tankcrimes rama-jama-supa-slammer of an LP. This is something you should track down.
ASSHOLE PARADE – Demo 2020
Welcome back old friends… this starts out with a thirty second long sorta ethereal and gothic intro that has me a bit worried that age has mellowed these Florida hardcore legends, but that fear is quickly wiped away as they lurch into a series of thousand mile-per-hour feral hardcore blasts including a G-ANX cover. Still stapled not nailed, still fucking ASSHOLE PARADE. I’ve long thought of ASSHOLE PARADE, sonically, as being the natural conclusion to a lot of the ideas CITIZENS ARREST put on the table and this demo certainly confirms that belief.. This is great and a perfect set-up to their upcoming LP.
ATTESTOR – Demo CS
Pretty straight-forward, thick, mid-paced hardcore from the UK (Brighton specifically) with a very explicitiy left lyrical perspective addressing right wing media, greedy landlords, the rise in fascism, mental health etc. For me, the winner is the first track “Misplaced Anger,” especially with its outro rant against the “Daily Fucking Mail.” it’ll be great to watch this project grow.
BATTLEFIELDS – Demo
Four tracks of blown out as fuck hardcore from these Iron City Punx – its noisey, sorta jumbled and beautiful. There’s a bit about the vocals that reminds me of the ABUSED though the musical backdrop here is a bit more frantic.
BE ALL END ALL – Better You Than Me EP
The A-side is ripping hardcore which has a bit of a LACK OF INTEREST vibe before breaking down into a grooved out mosh that screams at me MENTAL. The flip just rampages away with searing guitar leads over jackhammer drums–don’t worry, there is a breakdown for all you line dancers out there to strut your stuff but its cut short with a quick blast of hardcore fury to wrap it up. I’m down.
BENT BLUE – Between Your and You’re Demo
Emotive hardcore from Southern California – not in a wearing eyeliner with goth hair but in the more classic sense, think new bands like FIDDLEHEAD but more aggresive like how VERBAL ASSAULT was in doing this sound. What really makes this work is how desperate the vocalist comes off–there is a genuine angst in his voice that I find compelling.
BIB – Delux LP
There’s a cool vibe of snarling desperation present on BIB’s new LP – soaked in feedback, reverb and noise it stomps, snarls, and spits with a sense of feral angst which is missing in a lot of recordings. And then in the middle of it all there’s this pop song in the form of “Foreign States” – not in the slick way we normally think of it but like SCRATCH ACID or NIRVANA “Tourettes” style pop where the hooks and melancholic sense of melody are buried in layers of filth but they still manage to shine through. This is fucking great.
BIG CONTEST – Monkey’s Paw 12”
Bouncing, grooved hardcore that rises to velocity occasionally but never quite commits to full a speed ahead approach. They might be from Boston but it’s got the RAW DEAL demo written all over it.
BLACK PANDA / THE CAPACES – We Are Born of Fuel split EP
A funny record–BLACK PANDA contributes one original that sounds a bit like later-era INEPSY, you know total rocknroll MÖTO-CHARGE biker punk. Its a solid track but, then they do a GENOCIDE SS cover, which is fine and fits but I think I’d rather explore more of their own material. On the flip CAPACES cover my favorite TOTALITAR song (“Sin Egen Motståndare”) and make it theirs and then they also cover a GENOCIDE SS song. I think I’m confused.
BOZGOR – Pénzenergia EP
Hungarian hardcore–its amazing how Eastern European this sounds. Like, sure, they are into DISCHARGE and all that, but it’s more rushed sounding–something feels off kilter and it’s probably how melody lines are structured in their native tongue which makes for an interesting and enjoyable listening experience.
BUGGIN OUT – S/T EP
Taking cues from that early aughts Lockin’ Out sound (RZL DZL, RIGHTEOUS JAMS, etc) and a bit of late period 80s NYHC this Chicago band struts and bounces through five tracks of mid-tempo hardcore. Musically it reminds me of SLUGFEST (Scott Vogel from TERROR’s early Buffalo band) and some of the bands that surrounded them in upstate NY in the early 90s.
BULL CULT – S/T 12” EP
Musically this just rips, high octane thrashing hardcore punk with a tinge of snot that just sizzles along barely pausing to catch its breath. On the one hand I appreciate the lyrics about being middle aged and punk and an adult and all that but there’s just something a little corny about lyrics defiantly proclaiming that you have an IRA, but I get it. I’ll take this over introspective claptrap people normally produce when they hit their 40s.
BULLSHIT DETECTÖR – Bullshit CS
This Texas Oi band has got that thin guitar, TEMPLARS sound down pact – paired with meaty but raspy vocals it makes for an ominous and menacing vibe to this trio of tracks. Lyrics are about street justice and take an oppositional stance to the police, as one would hope a proper punk band would.
CAGE KICKER – Demo CS
Six blasts of explosive German hardcore–this roars out of your speakers at a viscious pace just splattering the whole room with deep cuts of earslaughering ripping hardcore punk that barely pauses the to catch its breath. The vocals on this send a chill up my spine–fucking great!
CAMOUFLAGE – Militarism Without A Mask EP
Burly hardcore from Philadelphia, PA. I swear there is more distortion on the vocals and the bass than there is the guitars – it’s tough without being macho and definitely infected with a bit of the old d-beat madness, though they’re not a DIS-band. If you are feeling what WARTHOG is doing, and you should be, you’d be into this for sure.
CHANGE – Closer Still LP
Imagine UNIFORM CHOICE and CHAIN OF STRENGTH had a baby – -thats this record. I’m a sucker for this style of anthemic, quick paced and overly sincere straight edge hardcore despite my affection for a fine bourbon now and then. This is insanely well played with energy levels through the roof making it positively infectious and an instant inspiration for stage dives off the couch. Though, there is a sorta weird dub inspired breakdown to be found on this thing that is a bit startling… that aside, this is outstanding.
CHATS- High Risk Behaviour LP
Brilliantly geeky garage punk from Australia–this reminds me of lot things being cranked out of Sacramento in the late 90s/early 00s. Like I could see THIS being the focal point at a drink sodden rager with people diving off the kitchen counters, praying the cops don’t show up. Infectious songs about the clap, identity theft, mastubation and the glories of dining and dashing. Sign me up for another helping.
CHILLER – S/T EP
Man, fucking Pittsburgh. Is there another town cranking out as much crucial 100mph hardcore as the wonderous Iron City? Is it the glories of the three rivers which inspires such ugly beauty? The plentiful cheap pierogies? To put it simple, this is fucking great, NEGATIVE FX style hardcore with minimal frills and plentiful kills.
CONQUEST – FOAD Demo CS
Fairly straight forward d-beat hardcore from the punkest city in the Western Hemisphere. I mean where else but Montreal would the news of THE EXPLOITED not being able to get into the country cause a full scale riot? This sounds like it was recorded live to a four track in a basement and then dubbed 400 times. It’s nice to hear the classic DISCHARGE style not done through a DISCLOSE filter these days-.
COMBAT FORCE – Never Stray EP
I’m a sucker for most bootboy jams and this is no different–mid-paced and fairly macho sounding oi in the way of the 4 SKINS. Sounds like it was recorded in their basement. Not much in the way of melodic hooks just pure aggro.
COTÄRD – EP 2020
Perfectly executed Mexican hardcore taking its cues from a certain quartet from Stoke-on-Trent. Did you know that Stoke-on-Trent is known for its pottery industry and that pop sensation Robbie Williams is from there? This sounds nothing like Robbie Williams but it does have a howling into the wind in desperation at the plight of humanity vibe that could probably cause a kiln to explode.
THE COWBOY – WiFi on the Prairie LP
This feels like a total record store nerd band–you know what I mean, right? Like, the sorta band the guy behind the counter plays in and it’s good but sometimes feels like they know too much about music and the influences cause the ideas to get jumbled at times but mostly the results are outstanding. I grew up going to stores run by people in GAUNT, GREAT PLAINS, GUIDED BY VOICES, etc so think of them when you think of this. Really cool working nerd rocknroll.
CRAN – Samedi Minuit EP
More outstanding French punk–the current wave just keeps cranking out the hits! Quick paced and saturated with hooks, the musical canvas provides a brilliant backdrop to the vocalists passionate delivery which reminds me a bit of Magali from LA FRACTION, though maybe a little less gruff.
CUIR – Single Demo 12”
Tomata du Plenty once screamed “If I can have what I want, I don’t want anything” and apparently that was an effective enough curse to prevent us from have any truly great synth punk for what feels like eons. Taking cues from the likes of BERURIER NOIR they crank out twelve tracks of rather exciting, punchy punk rock that relies more on drum machines and keyboards than d-beats and Marshall amps. I swear, there’s just so much interesting punk coming out of France right now, working with the forms but pushing the norms. Great.
DEAD CELLS – I LP
Really well executed dark-wave, post-punk from Vancouver BC. Sure it takes a lot of cues from the usual suspects–SOUTHERN DEATH CULT, THE DARK, early CHRISTIAN DEATH, etc in that it retains an aggressive punk edge while paying homage to an army of pasty vampires preventing cobwebs from setting in. There is a really nice feeling of unease and moodiness while being committed to driving home powerful melodies that I really appreciate. I recommend pairing this with some absinthe and clove ciggies.
DELETÄR – S/T LP
TOTALITÄR through a French filter? For me, this is fucking great – ripping blasts of Swedish style hardcore that occasional slows down to a pounding mid-paced punks smashing the bar pummelling pace. If you are like me you probably need this in your life.
DENIM – Ski Mask Justice Demo CS
Much like the red leather clad Canadian rockers LOVERBOY, these Austrian lads are living for the weekend–one filled with a bit of drinking, fucking and fighting. I’m certain Paul Dean and Mike Reno were more than happy to get stuck in back in their prime much like these lads. Its mid-paced street punky stuff that is fun but not life changing.
DESADAPTADO SOCIAL – Ecocidio Demo CS
I know these folx are from Texas but its got that 80s Mexican pukka-pukka hardcore vibe to it–which makes sense because, you know, Texas used to be part of Mexico and all that. You ever party with MASSACRE 68? You’d be down with this for sure. I mean it’s not as frantic as say ATOXXXICO, instead it leans into more quick clipped hardcore through a slight crust filter–especially when you consider the anarcho-punk subject matter of the lyrics.
DESEOS PRIMITIVOS – S/T LP
From the first time I saw this Oakland band I’ve been a superfan–bouncy melodic punk rock that takes a mountain of influences of the sort that was coming out of Spain in the 80s and makes it their own. I swear, at times, vocalist is a dead ringer for Evelyn Zorrita from VULPESS–it’s assertive, infectiously melodic, and absolutely wonderful album. More more more.
DESTRUCT – Echoes of Life LP
What’s that I hear? Could that be an enormous door slamming in the depths of hell? Maybe it’s just the cat? Oh, it’s the DESTRUCT LP! We all know the formula well–take a bar spoon from the lads from Stoke-on-Trent, take two ounces from Sweden, add in a twist from Tokyo and serve it up in a martini glass for maximum impact. The important thing when doing it is how much of yourself and how much energy you inject into it and DESTRUCT certainly delivers on that–they got riffs, they got punch, they got shredding leads. A release that is certainly worth your attention!
DETRACTORS – S/T CS
Burning Spirits through a Minneapolis crusty punk filter–it’s got the rough but sweeping melodic tinge of the more recent FORWARD stuff crammed through that Twin Cities punk as fuck existence style. I think with a bit more polished production this could be insanely impactful.
DEVILS DEN – Barbed New Religion LP
Ripping midwestern hardcore, soaked in reverb, distortion and well studied at the feet of the likes of MUSTANG or DEATH SIDE (though without the intricate leads Chelsea was known for, when they appear here, they’re a bit more frantic and less concerned with driving the melody) but still maintaining a modern American hardcore edge. I recently had the good fortune to see this band in a sadly underfilled room and they were ferocious–this LP is a great document of that live feeling.
Disable – ...Slamming In The Depths Of Hell EP
Straight forward, d-beat hardcore with that modern thin distorted style. A little more plodding and mid-tempo than I normally like.
DREGS – Watch Out EP
One of the things I’ve always like about the straight edge scene in Europe is that, for the most part, it still retains a connection to the punk scene that birthed it, maybe its because so many shows are done in squats and alternative youth centers? I don’t know but it has just always felt that way and as a result of that you see more bands sxe bands having this explicity progressive, left wing, or anarcho bent to their lyrics and presentation. Vienna’s THE DREGS continue in that tradition – playing a form of rapid hardcore with regular breakdowns that would be more than at home on the stage at Sound & Fury yet, they do so with a feel that is explicity punk and lyrics that push a feminist and pro-queer message. This is a ripper of a record even if it starts off with nearly two minutes of just feedback and noise. Thumbs up.
THE DRONES – Will you Stand in Front the Bullets? EP
Yep, this is the same DRONES that released the LP Further Temptations in 1977 and did time playing with all the heavy hitters of the time but never quite took off–honestly this sounds like a slightly slicker version of something they could have dropped back then. Simple straightforward street rocknroll, that sorta stuff that was informed by the pub rock thing (DR FEELGOOD, etc) but had its brain rewired by the bomb that was the SEX PISTOLS.
DROPDEAD – 2020 LP
Here it is – the brand new LP from the legendary DROPDEAD. If you caught the last issue you know that not a whole lot has changed, they’re older and wiser but still fucking pissed. Its a little slower than you might be expecting (though thats a relative term) think more HERESY/RIPCORD style speed than the mild melting velocity they exihibited on say, their split with CROSSED OUT. More interestingly is that you can actually discern the lyrics rather than the all out shrieking assualt of prior releases. Overall this is a really compelling and powerful record and one where the lyric sheet matters and yet, fucking assholes still don’t get it!
DYSTOPIATE – Demo
Self-described as “cyber-punk d-beat raw punk,” what have here seems to be a one person project taking on the classic form. The hypnotically repetitive guitars sound like a swarm of bees while the vocals sound like a robot programmed not to enunciate run through five thousand distortion pedals–what is interesting to me is how out of phase everything is which creates a discomforting feeling. Limited to ten tapes but of course available for streaming til your heart’s content!
ECHELON – Demo
Straight forward, hard as nails hardcore that would pair well with current bands like THE FIGHT or ARMOR. Its got a smidge of that strutting oi infected hardcore feel ala LAST RIGHTS though with that modern “let’s just distort everything to shit” style production. Super interested to see what comes next…
EGO – Ego-ism Demo
There are moments, when listening to this Berlin based band where I’m reminded heavily of OHLO SECO in that they are doing this fairly abrasive rough and tumble yet heavy hardcore thing but then they switch it up, adding all these spooky, neo-goth elements. Lyrics appear to be in Croation, so I’m assuming they are ex-pats. This is really great.
THE ELITE – Reason for my Sin EP
What is about skinheads that make them so capable of writing the catchiest melodies about being totally aggro? Buffalo’s THE ELITE certainly put the boot in for their four tracks of anthemic working class rocknroll with a hardcore inflection–think ANTIHEROS mixed with those early years of FUCKED UP and a smidge of BLITZ, maybe?
END IT – One Way Track EP
Bouncing hawdkaw that harkens back to the early aughts sound pushed by RIGHTEOUS JAMS/INVASION. Fast clips that bust into swinging breakdowns and singalongs. For this sorta thing, it’s some of the best I’ve heard in a long time.
ESCUELA GRIND “Indoctrination” LP
The brutalist of brutal grind that rips along at the pace of a machine gun mowing down nazis like during the apex moment of that movie Inglorious Bastards before slamming headlong into a syrupy sludge of mosh serving to augment the velocity you were experiencing before. Oh yeah, and there is a smidge of power-electronics and noise that sounds like it was birthed from the womb of Eric Wood or Eric Barnes (BASTARD NOISE, MITB, AMPS FOR CHRIST, etc) sprinkled on top. This precisely the sort of stuff I like to send coworkers when they’re like “Hey man, you like music? What are you into right now?” Smoke volcanic hash if you got it!
ESPLOSI – Demo
Pittsburgh band that basically sounds like early NEGAZIONE, totally out of control and manic hardcore that feels like its gonna fall apart at any moment and I fucking love it.
FADING SIGNAL – Demo
I’m not going to call it power-violence. I’m not going to call it power-violence. I’m not going to call it power-violence… that said this would fit it in snugly on a Cry Now, Cry Later comp. Three tracks of blast beating positioned against sick mosh that makes for a slamming good time. These folx are from Raleigh, NC – hope to catch them up in Richmond soon!
FAUX DÉPART – Vie Ordinaire LP
Rather excellent LP filled to the brim with dissonantly melodic French punk from Lyon. You know how that desperate yep poppy the WIRE song “Reuters” is? It’s like that… well I’m mean it doesn’t sound like Pink Flag but it feels like WIRE’s debut LP. There’s a consciousness of song construction and sound here that is just great. Apparently this is their second LP so, I’ve got some catching up to do.
FEARING – Shadow LP
Deftly frigid coldwave from Oakland–there’s a lot of this that feels like it could be the band playing in the background at the Roadhouse in Twin Peaks. Deeply ominous and foreboding in its sound, though retaining a slight pop edge, it’s a nice respite from what I normally listen to.
THE FIGHT – Endless Noise LP
In many ways, Long Island’s THE FIGHT sound like what I always wanted SHEER TERROR to sound like–on Endless Noise, they crank out track after track of steamroller hardcore that makes good on the promise of “Just Can’t Hate Enough” or “Here to Stay” and never strays into weird metal territory, just pissed as fuck hardcore punk. Snarling vocals, thick guitars–I love this band so much.
FOC – La Fera Ferotge LP
Musically, I’m in love–this twists and turns with all the velocity and bizarreness of an orgy of NEGAZIONE and PEGGIO PUNX records. It has this awesome intensity and insane passion that I’m in love with. I just wish the vocals didn’t sound so… bored. While I’m sure its purposeful and maybe it just takes some getting used to but the singer sorta sounds like they’d rather be somewhere else.
FREON – PYK CS
More snotty, disjointed punk rock from the hit factory that is 11PM Records–pissed off and sloppy but not in a bad way, more in and we’re so fucking angry and just need to spit all this out as fast as possible. I’m super into this.
FRIED E/M – Modern World LP
The first song features a chant of “I want inner peace but all feel is chaos,” setting the overarching vibe of this album of Midwestern hardcore angst. Its thick and midpaced hardcore that sounds like it was birthed by the copulation of both volumes of the Master Tape compilations and the punker BIG BOYS songs.
GHOULI – Nothing CS
One of the things I really like about Richmond’s GHOULI is how the visions of horror present in their lyrics really pairs with the musical backdrop. Vocalist Sam Poe has this gnarly, snarling quality to their voice that, when layered over riffs which connect East Bay Ray style guitar work with TSOL Dance With Me’s ominous feel, paints this really cool dark angsty and tense feeling.
GHOUL SQUAD – Necrodoll LP
Originally slated to be released on Pusmort back in the 80s, this Mass band has languished in obscurity ever since. While it shares the same fate as the Neuroot/Fratricide of never making it past the test press faze sonically its a bit different. Instead we find these Massholes cranking out a very mid-to-late 80s melodic skate punk with horror lyrics sorta like FACE TO FACE covering Graves-era MISFITS, right? Personally, I’m into it – this sounds like something you’d find on a skate video before the whole Epi-Fat thing dominated that world. Fun fact: One of these dudes did time in THE FREEZE, on Land of the Lost.
GLEAN – Demo
There is a real feel of want present on this San Diego band’s demo. My first impression was this really feels like early HOT WATER MUSIC if the Gainesville lads were really depressed–it’s anthemic and driving but rather than having that overpower, overcome mentality present in lines like “there’s no point to surrender” its more like “fucking hell.” While I strive for the former, the latter is what I relate to more so.. This feels like something that would have fit in snugly on Jade Tree or No Idea’s catalog 20 years ago.
GLOBAL DESPAIR – Fortress Of Discord LP
Heavy as shit stenchcore from Kazakhstan – yes, Kazakhstan. This has the feeling of being a one person and a computer sort of project; it takes cues from AMEBIX and AXEGRINDER. It’s cool but it could be cooler if it was a full band–then again, Kazakhstan.
GOVERNMENT FLU – House Arrest EP
Like me, Poland’s GOVERNMENT FLU remembers fondly the glory days of the early 00s thrash revival thing – blazing hardcore that occasionally slows to a rocking pace, which only helps to accentuate the blazing. For me this reminds of legends like DIRECT CONTROL, LIFES HALT and VITAMIN X – it’s great stuff and really well done.
HANK WOOD & THE HAMMERHEADS – Use Me EP
Four more tracks of sassy, frenetic punk’n’roll from these New Yorkers–the immediate hit is the ripping first track “Look at You” but after a few more listens I’m feeling the more somber title track “Use Me.” Its an outstanding and slightly expansive 60s garage style stomper that if it wasn’t for the modern production could have come off one of the Pebbles compilations.
HUMAN BLOB – Flykten Från Verkligheten EP
This is Poffen from TOTALITÄR fronting a band made up some of the finest of NYC ragers and they create something that sounds like… well it doesn’t sound like some shitty indie rock dribble. To bad this is more a project thant a full time band because it fucking rips!
GRAND SCHEME – Demo CS
Recently caught this band and they were fucking great–total NO TOLERANCE meets CONFRONT style hardcore, when they go fast, they blast and when the need to mosh arises its got all the right swagger. Great energy all over this thing.
GUFF – S/T EP
Riff driven, soaked in noise with super eerie vibes, on their debut EP, Oslo’s GUFF continue onward with the ideas initially expressed on their brilliant demo from last year. It sizzles and shreds while painting an ominous aural portrait. For me, they take the traditional Norwegian punk sound of BANNLYST and modernize it a little – but just a little. One of the best live bands I’ve gotten to see in recent memory.
HELLISH VIEW – Reaper’s Hand EP
This is such well done DISCLOSE worship its crazy – from the guitar tone to the way the vocalist sounds… its like Kawakami rose from the dead for just one more go round – its more inline with Tragedy-era than the Yesterday’s Fairytale, Tomorrow’s Nightmare stuff if we’re being picky about such things, which is fine by me.
HOLEHOG – Radiation Blues CS
Super into these Sacramento punk rockers who take a snarly UK82 through a early 80s USHC approach–it sizzles along with most of the songs floating around the minute and change length. There’s a smidge of LIFES BLOOD crammed through of ULTRA VIOLENT’s Crime for Revenge in this to me. Love to hear what comes next, definitely worth your time.
HOMOMILITIA – S/T LP
Well this is certainly a surprise! Polish heavy crusters (think very 90s, think BOLT THROWER-esque, think dual vocals, think double base, etc) long lost second LP finally gets the light of day after being seemingly lost some 20 years ago I always felt like they came off a bit like a downtuned, crustier ANTISCHISM and this recording does little dissuade that opinion.
ICD10 – Pleasure For Everyone CS
I’ll be honest–on first listen I thought the vocals were pitch shifted to be intentionally sound off–maybe they are? I dunno, more noisey pukka-pukka punk with oodles of noise and dust with layers of dissonant musical bits makes this a bit of an unsettling listen. There’s definitely a part where is sounds like Sour Shoes from the Howard Stern show saying “noinenoinenoine” really rapidly and I’m super into that…
ID – Twoja Twarz LP
Wow, just wow – I’ve long been an obsessive fan of 80s Polish punk and I can’t believe I’ve never heard this before – formed in 1981, they were one of the first bands to take influence from USHC, thanks to American exchange students, though this still feels really uniquely Polish in sound.This record was recorded in 1991 but lived only on domestically distributed tapes until now. Sweeping and epic like ARMIA’s Legenda at times, at others it proceeds at the driving pace of POST REGIMENT’s debut LP and then at others it has this almost mechanical/industrial feel. This is a wonderful document of a band sadly sorta lost until now. I love it and am so excited to see this come out.
ILL COMMUNICATION – Demo
Grooved out modern, bouncing, non-metallic hardcore from Connecticut–think Nonstop Feeling-era TURNSTILE but maybe slightly more straight forward. Three tracks on this demo perfect for all your syncopated dancing needs.
INITIATE – Lavender EP
From the first time I saw INITIATE I was onboard–they were an absolutely explosive ball of intensity and fury live. Their recordings reminded me of early STRIFE (One Truth and prior), slightly metallic hardcore without losing any forward trajectory until the crucial moment where it all collapses for a moment, switching it up for short breakdowns, allowing you to catch your breath. I’m excited to hear more from this crew.
IRMO – Demo 2019 EP
Strutting boots’n’braces oi from the Basque country–fairly straight-forward street rocknroll that echoes a lot of French skinhead bands from the 80s. They do a REICH ORGASM, as if to drive that point home a little – I’m a fan of this style, for sure, and they do it well.
IRREAL – 2020 EP
IRREAL are probably my favorite of the current crop of d-beat/rawpunk/whatever bands going these days–yes there is the typical pukka-pukka beat, reverb soaked vocals and distortion til deafness style riffing but, there is a musicality here that missing on a lot of releases. I make no bones about being a sucker for hooks and they have them for days–there is an infectious quality to their songs that make them memorable, brutal earworms that randomly infest my brain. This was supposed to be a release for a Spring tour that this infernal virus 86’d but thankfully La Vida Es Un Mus released it anyway–fucking great.
IZ – Living Dead EP
Tasty helping of three ripping blasts of Sapporo City hardcore the harkens back to something that could have been a reject from the Farewell to Arms comp–its a little OUTO, a little LIP CREAM, if you know what I mean… drums that gallop at a relentless pace, roaring guitars which which breathe a little at the chorus to allow for a sense of space before collapsing back into a shredding leadline… good stuff.
JODIE FASTER – Blame Yourself LP
After subjecting myself to mountains of releases just absolutely saturated with distortion, this fastcore release from France is just what my ears need. Jangly, totally clean guitars played at 1000MPH with barely a song passing the one minute mark. It’s hectic, spazztic and totally wonderful and weird.
KADRE – War On Nihilism EP
Posi-dbeat? That’s what I was hoping for but, the song called “I Hate You More” kinda ruined that line of thought. Not the full blown distort-o-thon that is the fashion of the day but more akin to the VARUKERS Bloodsuckers-era in sound and velocity, albeit with feminine vocals and a bit more reverb.
KASSHUVE – Grisablod EP
Ferocious Swedish hardcore in the manner of SKITKIDS – its not played at blitzkrieg speed, instead, they let the riffs breathe a little and incorporate a bit of rocknroll elements to their mangel. This is so good.
KOHTI TUHOA – Elä Totuudesta EP
Finland’s KOHTI TUHOA are just brilliant–a relentless barrage of tradtional Finnish hardcore, frenzied and frantic in all the right ways, a twisting and turning aural assaul. Then there is Helena’s relentless vocal delivery–an infectious and deliberate approach that sounds so much like Tam from SACRILEGE that had I not seen KOHTI TUHOA, I would be wondering if Ms. Simpson had learned Finnish. Its an outstanding continuance of the tradition of Finnish hardcore going back to KAAOS, RATTUS but always moving the ball forward and a great follow up to last years Ihmisen Kasvot.
KRAKE – Streitkultur LP
Remember days when stadium crust ruled the earth? Monstrous bands filling basements, squats and clubs with thunderous riffs always with a focus on sweeping, epic melody–KRAKE recalls these days well and do their best to bring this vision forth again. More MUGA than TRAGEDY or FROM ASHES RISE but this has a lot power.
LAST GASP – Demo
Straight-edge hardcore in the most classic sense of the word. Not much in the way of plodding metal to be found here, these Clevo’s edgemen take inspiration more from the likes of the 88 Youth Crew explosion through a more modern filter–think THE FIRST STEP or the earlier days of Sound & Fury’s line-up. Really well done.
LAUGHING GAS – It’s A Beautiful Day In The Gulch LP
Well, this is just lovely–stripped down and straight forward hardcore punk that owes equal parts to the Flex Your Head comp and the late 90s/early 00s Kick’n’Punch Records thing. You know, Danish bands like AMDI PETERSENS ARME or ASBEST. I mean, to be honest, the album artwork is a dead ringer for the second ASBEST EP. Raw primitive no bullshit slabs of ripping rippers. Rules.
LAWFUL KILLING – Coin Toss EP
Thrash fueled blasting hardcore with a slight metal tinge from the UK. Dive bombs, blazing drums–but honestly the vocals are my favorite part, just this totally vicious snarling` attack. The outro riff is an almost total rip of the intro to DRI’s “All For Nothing,” but played faster so I’m down. Fans of flipped up hats and MUNICIPAL WASTE should take note.
LIFETAKER – Night Intruder CS
It’s kind of insane that this is just a cassette release–absurdly technical modern metallic grind from Germany. Think NASUM think PIG DESTROYER but with a smidge of modern hardcore like JESUS PIECE. Utterly relentless. I can see them being a total juggernaut live.
LÖCKHEED – Conflict Delirium EP
Total early DISFEAR worship via Northern California–it’s a thunderous gallop of heavy d-beat hardcore laden with riffs and a viscious snarl. This is fucking great!
M80 – Apathy CS
Infectiously snotty punk rock from Oakland, CA–garagey in that way the way the Dangerhouse Records stuff was with wonderfully sassy vocals. I could see this being played amidst a DJ set of early Rip Off records singles and fitting in nicely.
Maladia – Demo CS
Lurching, creepy-crawly, gothic punk that has me envisioning moments of horror and murder taking place in rooms dimly lit by a candelabra. The vocals almost sound panicked adding to the effect created by layers of RUDIMENTARY PENI meets UK DECAY style oozing punk. This is super cool.
MAN-EATERS – Gentle Ballads For The Simple Soul LP
Super 70s riff R-O-C-K influenced punk from Chicago. I feel like whenever people try to straddle this line of like early 80s LA hardcore and the aforementioned 70s rocknroll vibe they always slip too far one way or the other. MAN-EATERS does a pretty good job of riding that line between maintaining a punk rawness and being mustachioed riff rockers.
MASSAKREE – Happy Static Pogo Nightmare Noise EP
Pogo-til-you-puke, hyper fuzzed out punk rock–its sorta like GAI meets DISCOCKS, if that makes sense? It’s incredibly melodic and fun punk but soaked in mountains of filth and noise. I’m down for this party.
MURO / ORDEN MUNDIAL – Sonido De La Negación split LP
Two absolue titans of modern international hardcore coming together in memorium of Martí, ORDEN MUNDIAL’s recently departed bassist who performed with MURO on their European tour. For their side MURO produce five buzzsaw rips of infectiously raw and intense hardcore. For me, they are one of the best bands going these days–both live and on record. On the ORDEN MUNDIAL side we find them blazing through four tracks that combine an fondness for the ferocity of early Boston hardcore like NEGATIVE FX melded with anti-hardcore dirge of NO TREND crammed through 200 distortion boxes.
MURO – Pacificar LP
The closest analogue to MURO I’ve been able to come up with to explain MURO to those who don’t know them is GAUZE. While there are some sonic comparisons to be made, both playing a thrashing and seemingly unhinged version of hardcore punk, its more the thought and care that goes into the expression of their vision. Everything is carefully considered and thoughtfully presented. It’s less about produce, produce, produce, and more about honing and creating something which will stand the test of time–providing an accurate, potent document of time and place. Pacificar certainly continues this trajectory, furthering the thoughts both artisitic and musical layed out in their 2017 LP, Ataque Hardcore Punk.
NATIONS ON FIRE – Death of the Pro-Lifer LP
It’s crazy that this record is 25 years old – born as a response to hardline and right wing narratives that were infecting the harcore scene at the time, these Germans drew a lyrical line in the sand of being explicity pro-choice, pro-queer, anti-statist and anti-religion. Musically they fall within the space between early ENDPOINT and FOUR WALLS WALLING – fast but with a moshing groove, for a more modern take think ABUSE OF POWER on When Then Becomes Now.
NEGATIVE RUNNERS – S/T LP
I’m such a sucker for this sorta stuff–just hammer down, rough and tumble melodic punk rock. It doesn’t sound like LEATHERFACE but it’s from that realm of the punk rock kingdom. It’s catchy, it’s got gravelly vocals–I don’t know that they have beards, drink too much whiskey and are more than happy to take you swimming when your van breaks down but thats what it feels like. Think RADON, think CLARIMEL, think early HOT WATER MUSIC, think people that are good in a fight and a hell of a lot of fun.
NERVOUS SS – Future Extinction LP
Total jävla råpunk, Svenskt mangel! Or put another way, like pickled herring but hardcore. Do you like ANTI CIMEX? Do you like TOTALITÄR? Do you like LARMA? Well grab your buttflap and slap on your dread mullet because its time to fucking party!
NIGHTFEEDER – Rotten CS
Well, they cover my favorite MISSBRUKARNA song and they cover a track from the VICTIMS’ impossibly rare No Thanks To The Human Turd EP so you know this is a band of obsessive nerds–my kinda people! Their own songs remind me a bit of STATE OF FEAR–Scandinavian influenced, burly, mid-paced hardcore. Really great debut!
NO KONTROL – Demo CS
Really fun and dancey lo-fi punk rock from Malaysia–its super sassy and the sorta band I feel like would have easily found their way onto an early Lookout Records or Very Small Records comp in the early 90s. The last track is a total departure as it switches sorta randomly to full blown, hyper catchy synth-punk and it might be my favorite track on this.
NO OTHER WAY – Slow Violence demo
Self-described as “Richmond Vegan Straight Edge,” NO OTHER WAY plays fast, slightly metallic hardcore that reminds a bit of ENSIGN mixed with early STRIFE. This is really well done, hyper energetic and does exactly what a demo should do–make me want to see this band.
Palme sköt först – S/T EP
Raucaus, snotty and slightly garagey punk rock from lovely Stockholm, Sweden. The vocals, at times, remind me a little of HUGGY BEAR’s sassiest moments while musically it bears a bit of resemblence to 00s Swedes like MASSHYSTERI though a bit slower in pace.
PEARS – S/T LP
PEARS feel like a throwback to glory days of 90s Epi/Fat punk rock – musically it reminds me a lot of LAGWAGON or a slicker RKL, though they could be faster (always). Its too polished for me, in general, like I like filth (both bands) so when I listen to bands like this I try to imagine what they would sound like without all the overdone production and… bands like this sound better before the over production… I’m not saying they need to sound like DISCLOSE… they were great live…
PFA – Fangs LP
Total weirdo hardcore from Hungary–like imagine Mike Patton (MR BUNGLE) and Frank Zappa doing a proper hardcore band, just twists and turns of weirdo noise, disruptive time signature switches, bizarre velocity switches and at time it sounds like a distorted carnival soundtrack. I think this is great.
PERMISSION – Organised People Suffer 12”
I don’t know if they are using dissonant chord structures or just aren’t bothering to tune but my god is it a slightly uncomfortable listen and I mean that in a good way. Ten tracks of hyper fast, buzzing bee, disquieting hardcore punk from the UK. As an organized person, am I suffering? I mean this record is a bit alienating to those who enjoy traditional musical structures so maybe? Then again, I think it’s great, so…
PISSE – S/T LP
Slashing angular German punk bordering on New Wave, minus the keyboards. It’s quick paced and moderately robotic yet completely catchy with a great simplistic and lo-fi feel to it.
PLASMA – Fear Itself Flexi
Relentless and desperate sounding two song flexi from these Floridians. Pummelling and blown out hardcore with a touch of d-beat–an excellent first taste, I can’t wait to hear more.
PLATAFORMA – La Equitativa CS
Moody, avante-garde, dark wave from Barcelona–six keyboard driven tracks alternating between ethereal soundscapes to surprising bits of aggro. Not dance driven in the least–it’s a lot darker than that.
POWER ALONE – Rather Be Alone LP
Explicitly straight edge, metallic hardcore from 3/4 of the mid-00s San Francisco Bay Area vegan straight edge band GATHER. Its stomping, midtempo and more metal that hardcore, never really rises to any kind of velocity.
POWER OF DUSK – Demo
Reverb soaked mid-tempo hardcore. Its noisey but not in that studs and spikes way but more like how HOAX were noisey – maybe more messy sounding than anything. Last track is a three minute dirge that churns in this disorienting sorta way that is appealing.
PURGÄ – Noise From Hell Flexi
An appropriately named record if there ever was one–a howling cacophony of noise-not-music if there ever was one. In some ways, this sounds like a white noise machine run through a Marshall stack with a drum machine and a particularly angry hamster.
PUTZFRAU – Demo 2019 CS
This is outstanding–blazing, 1000 MPH hardcore punk in the classic early 80s American style. Hailing from Portland, they rip and roar through eight raging tracks with these super snotty feminine vocals that are incredible. Just brilliant.
QUARANTINE – Demo CS
Total hammer-down bulldozer of a band from Philadelphia. Snarling vocals, thick buzzsaw guitars and a powerful drum attack. More like this please.
RAAMATTU – Anno Domini EP
Insanely fast thrash-o-rama from Finland. This isn’t grind or in the least bit metal but instead just totally incendiary, raging hardcore punk for speed freaks–fans of SEEIN RED/LÄRM and the classic Finnish style should take notice.
RASPBERRY BULBS – Before the Age of Mirrors LP
The PR pushed around this is all black metal this and black metal that but I don’t hear it–though beyond the heavy hitters of the genre, I’ll admit I’m super versed in it. For me, this is just creepy as fuck punk that takes its cues from RUDIMENTARY PENI and a litany of the more dour side of the peace punk/anarcho scene of he early 80s. Brilliantly lurching and gothic in tonality, there’s a lot here that feels, at least to me, like a missing demo from NEUROSIS after Word Is Law, if they had stayed a bit more lo-fi and not as expansive and metal. I love this.
RAT CAGE – Screams From The Cage LP
Ripping British hardcore that marries ye ole No Future style of UK82 with the more frentic pace of early Swedish stuff. This shit hits hard, alternating between brutish punk stompers and blazing blasts of speed. Brilliant.
RAT-NIP – Demo CS
Seriously folx, Pittsburgh is like a fucking factory cranking out insanely good hardcore 24-7. All I gotta do is say this is members of Blood Pressure, No Time, S.L.I.P., Concealed Blade, Heartless and you all should be opening up your wallet and just throwing them cash but what does it sound like? You all know by now that midwest hardcore is the best? Like the NECROS before they went metal, or the pure desperation that was THE GUNS, or the raging insanity of UPSTAB–think about all that but cram it through the pierogi clogged arteries of the Iron City this is what you get. I would never steer you wrong, this shit is the shit.
Real People – Real People Give Guns To Hong Kong CS
Four short tracks of mid-tempo punk rock that struts along in this syncopated highly repetative fashion – its annoying in a wonderful way. A total head bobber.
REEK MINDS – S/T EP
Hectic hardcore from Portland that feels like its about to fall off the rails at any moment. Blown out, as is the fashion of the day, its spastic and off-kilter in a way that reminds me a smidge of HOAX or THE REPOS.
REPEAT OFFENDER – Demo CS
Have you ever listened to those NEGATIVE APPROACH live recordings where they roughly hammer their way through covers of the 4 SKINS and BLITZ? Its rough, raw and surprisingly a bit more aggro. REPEAT OFFENDER sorta sounds like that–stomping oi that occasionally careens into hardcore territory – just beautiful.
REGIMEN DE TERROR – Inherente Del Poder EP
Do you like DISCHARGE? Like I know a lot of people are all like, te amo d-beat, but then they go and do bands that sound more like BROKEN BONES or Absolut Country of Sweden-era ANTI CIMEX and it leaves me sitting in the corner going; ¿De verdad? No hay forma de que sea verdad!! Look, REGIMEN DE TERROR looooooves DISCHARGE. Can you imagine a reality where the lads from Stoke-On-Trent never make it past 1980 and we never have to face a world where Grave New World exists? This record is perfect. No metallic crap just pure primitive DISCHARGE inspired hardcore the way it should be.
REVERTT – Bermeo Skinhead Hardcore EP
Thick necked, stomping, mid-paced hardcore from the Basque country. More LAST RIGHTS than NEGATIVE FX but equally as pissed and urgent sounding. Might makes right!
SADIE & THE WIVES – S/T EP
High speed, trebley thrashing hardcore–its frantic, noisey with a banshee wail layered over mad blasts of chaos. I read one reviewer call it a bit of pure psychosis and I can certainly see that as being an apt descriptor of the feeling of this project.
SECTARIAN BLOOM – S/T CS
Proletarian post-punk that takes a bit of inspiration from the paths carved out by GANG OF FOUR or the FALL–jagged in its presentation while maintaining a commitment to tuneful musicality.
SIAL – Tari Pemusnah Kuasa MLP
I love SIAL–I’ll make no bones about that. They are the perfect splatter of distortion soaked, pukka-pukka, d-beat hardcore that fills the air with a beautiful cacaphony of noise. There is a mechanical head bobbing precision in their approach which serves to help punctuate vocalist Siti’s reverb soaked chanting incantation–this is especially present on the dirging “Tikam Lidah.” Outstanding.
SIRKKA – Kuluttava Kone CS
If you told me this was some long lost outtake from Russia Bombs Finland I’d believe you–four tracks of blistering 80s style Finnish hardcore in all its reverb soaked hectic glory. Sure, it’s from New York in 2020, not Tampere in 1984 but it sizzles just the same. I certainly want more of this.
SLAVE – Punk Police CS
Really great, straight forward, energetic punk from Malaysia–musically, this reminds me a bit of THE FLEX. Straight-forward, punch-to-face, mid-paced, hardcore thats assertive without being overtly macho. The recording quality on this is outstanding–it’d be cool to see this appear on vinyl someday.
SLUTBOMB / BODY FARM – Split EP
Two hardcore bands from Ohio – for their side, SLUTBOMB deliver up two tracks of punk rock that alternates from a quick and quirky rocking pace to100mph thrashing and back with dual gendered vocals. On the flip, BODY FARM rips through two power violence inflected hardcore bomb blasts with high pitched vocals attacking religion and politics. This is a total rager.
SOAKIE – S/T LP
Does anyone remember Washington punk as fuck legends THE RICKETS? They played this snot saturated blend American hardcore punk through a UK82 style filter–it ripped and raged with primal fury but never lost track of need to keep their tongue firmly in their cheek. On one of their EPs they covered TIL TUESDAY’s song “Voices Carry” and Crapleen Hanna (aka Kathleen Hanna from BIKINI KILL) fronted the band and it was quite possibly one of the best things I’ve heard. This sounds like that. Hectic, frantic, snotty – it’s fucking great.
SPEED KILLS – More Hardcore CS
Remember HENRY FIATS OPEN SORE? Garage punk played at hardcore velocity? At 13 tracks this just shreds through cut after cut of 100 mph thrashing rocknroll angst–thing the MC5 if they came of age in 1979 instead of 1969. More more more.
Sterileprayer – Accepting The New Normal LP
This is one on those things best listened to at maximum volume – as pleasant as a drill press to the face, this ambient noise project creates a beautifully grim and brooding soundscape. At times serene and times severe and disturbing. I used this for my morning meditation and yoga sessions. Features guest appearances from members of OXBOW, PIG DESTROYER, and more.
SPLITTING HEADS – Demo CS
Woah–you ever listen to those INFEST demo bootlegs? Just unrelenting, high speed primitive hardcore thrash – this is like that. At just five songs this Chicago band’s demo just unleashes like a jackhammer to your skull recorded on a boom box.
STRAY BULLET – S/T EP
I’m a simple guy really–I like my coffee black, whiskey neat, and I like my hardcore fast, pissed off and to the point. Sheffield’s STRAY BULLET fit the bill perfectly–look this this raw, thrashy hardcore with brilliant breakdowns and hooks layered perfectly under the tender strains of a total fucking maniac screaming his head off. OUT COLD is a good starting point if you are looking for something to compare this to–quality stuff here.
STREET WEAPON – Quick to Die EP
A whole lot of YDI to be found on this Virginia Beach band’s EP. Stomping snarling brutal hardcore with ocasional breaks of speed – in no way plodding or boring, its punchy and gutteral and projects the promise of a fun sweat soaked evening in a basement.
SUICIDE MACHINES – Revolution Spring LP
Okay ska, fine. You win. The lads at Axe to Grind have been stating that ska is coming back for almost the last two years and despite the gnawing reality of the popularity of Gilman ska nights for several years now, I just couldn’t believe it and yet here we are, the return of Detroit’s SUICIDE MACHINES. You know Detroit, home of NEGATIVE APPROACH, COLD AS LIFE, ALICE COOPER, and BOB FUCKING SEGER so yeah… gone are the attempts at pop music apprarant on their late 90s, pre SideOneDummy releases and instead we find something more inline with their early 00s output like A Match and Some Gasoline though not as aggro and overtly political as War Profiteering is Killing Us All. Fucking ska, man…
SUN BATHER – The Thing From Another World LP
I could just be like, this band is ex members of AMDI PETERSENS ARME, GORILLA ANGREB, BORN/DEAD, BURIAL and many folx of a certain age are would already be placing their orders without caring what this sounds like – luckily its great! Decidely punk with a slight 60s garage jangle meets late 70s California Killed By Death vibes – you know the bands that were punk but didn’t quite know they were punk? Overall, a really and great infectious record filled with primitive pop.
SURVIVALIST – S/T EP
This doesn’t sound like LIFES BLOOD but there something that feels like LIFES BLOOD–thick hardcore which owes more to the older NYHC sound (URBAN WASTE, THE MOB, etc) than the more current bouncy grooving one. I read someone describe them as “youth crew meets d-beat” and I can see that–I’d like a lot more straight edge bands if they sounded this angry.
SVAVELDIOXID / SKELETON – split EP
Two bands, one from Sweden, one from Canada–both playing heavy, heavy downtuned crust with monster vocals. The unholy spawn of UK legends DOOM. The energy is there on the records so I’m fairly certain they would both kill it live–for me the SKELETON tracks win out, sounding more akin to Rush Hour of the Gods but, that’s just me.
SWEET SOUL – Do You Like Good Music?
This is really great melodic punk–its got a super beach bum, slacker quality to it, if that makes sense? Probably not, right? You know your friend that loves the REPLACEMENTS, WEEZER and the LEMONHEADS and writes really catchy pop songs but never does anything with them because they’re too busy getting high as shit and eating nachos? Thats this band but they somehow managed to record those songs.
THERAPY – S/T EP
Atomic Action is quickly becoming a hit machine of a record label and here they are again with another absolute banger–San Diego’s THERAPY ticks all the boxes for me. Snarling hardcore which proceeds at an assertive lumbering pace, occasionally rising in velocity but mostly just hammering at this consistant mid-tempo pace driving home the viscus musicality and gargling glass vocals. Totally killer.
TOMMY RAY – First Hits Free LP
Sugary sweet power pop–this has tons of hooks and is super infectious. In a lot of ways it feels like it’s reaching for that same shelf that the EXPLODING HEARTS sat on, though it’s not quite there yet. Great soundtrack to a summer day.
TOTÄLICKERS – Ansietät LP
TOTÄLICKERS are a long running d-beat band from Barcelona–more in the style of early VICTIMS/WOLFBRIGADE with a focus on stadium crust style tunefulness than the current trend of being a more blown out, total distortion-til-deafness style. It’s weird that you don’t hear as much about this band (who released their first LP in 2006) as they are great.
TREMENDA VENGANZA – Class Act EP
Mid-tempo d-beat hardcore–everything is in its place, just properly blown out and distorted. It’s more “State Violence, State Control” than “Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing” if we’re considering the pace of play. Distort Kansas City.
TRUE FORM – Control EP
Total New York hawd-kaw style from… Jacksonville Florida… it’s going for that total Age of Quarrel meets NO WARNING style groove and swagger. Much too short bursts of speed break up the lengthy mosh parts–you could probably pop and lock to this.
ULTRA RAZZIA / DEAD HERO – Split LP
Two brilliant Oi bands from two of the best scenes on the planet, Montreal and Bogota. For their side, ULTRA RAZZIA contribute six tracks of punchy punk rock that harkens back to French skinhead bands like CAMERA SILENS or some of the WARRIOR KIDS stuff. On the flip we have Colombia’s DEAD HERO who present a slightly more melodic street rocknroll that echoes of later BLITZ (think “Fatigue” or “New Age”) but a bit more of a pop sensibility–and I don’t say that just because they cover a song off Empire Second Justice. Ok, maybe a little bit because of their cover… I love this.
UNJUSTIFIED VIOLENCE – Demo CS
A demo that sounds like a demo–as in this sounds like someone set up a four track recorder with two room mics and hit record at a practice session. Unpolished, quick tempoed, 1-2 fuck you hardcore from Sweden with a singer that sounds like they spent a lot of time studying Choke’s inflections.
UTROTA – Radioaktiv Ödemark EP
True blue Swedish Mangel–the beats they be D’ing! Its completely by the numbers ANTI CIMEX style, no metal, no funk, no death, just evil DISCHARGE type hardcore the way it was meant to be–though I’d like it if they picked up the pace a little bit.
VANITY – Rarely If Ever b/w We’re Friends
NYC’s VANITY back with a tasty little platter of sugary 70s influence power-pop. The pop sweetness has been turned up a smidge and the velocity turned down a bit on the A-side projecting something that reminds me a bit of Real Ramona-era THROWING MUSES, while the B-side is a bit more assertive, more in line with their 2016 LP Don’t Be Shy and is a little more compelling for the tracksuit and football scarf set.
VENENO – Herejía LP
Hectic, slightly jangly hardcore punk from Barcelona–this gives me the feels like something 625 would have released back in the golden age of early oughts thrash revival. I’m thinking a little bit JELLYROLL ROCKHEADS, though perhaps a smidge more feverish in its tempo and riff changes. Really fun record.
VIDRO/CANKRO – split LP
How Byllepest manages to find all the finest filth I’ll never understand. Hailing from Stockholm VIDRO play a flange soaked stomping take on hardcore with a crispy, short, sharp, shock vocal attack–its delightfully fierce while maintaining a sense of overarching melancholy. On the flip we find CANKRO arising from Sao Paulo to deliver midpaced blasts of ferocious Brazilian hardcore in the old school style–a smidge RDP, a little MOTORHEAD, and a whole lot of hostility. Fucking great!
VIOLENT CHRISTIANS – No Speed No Punk! Demo CS
Somewhere in the recesses of the internet there is a video of someone from SKITSYSTEM yelling “No speed, no punk!” and then the drummer throwing his drums and storming off–it’s a lovely temper tantrum and I sincerely hope that is where this band got the name for their demo. Oh yeah! This demo! Its fucking great–frantic hardcore punk like how NOSFERATU channels both VOID and KORO. Just go-go-go at a pace where it doesn’t really sound like they are truly capable of playing that fast so it’s about to fall apart in the most pleasing possible way but somehow manages to keep it together. This is a band I look forward to hearing more of.
WHIPPING POST – Cheating The War Game LP
Rocking, riff-laden, punk’n’roll from the UK thats got SWIZ written all over it – though a bit more sluggish and less frantic than what Jason Farrell and the lads cranked out, so maybe more like Hot Animal Machine-era ROLLINS BAND then? I believe this is ex-THE FLEX.
X2000 – S/T EP
Have you ever been in a haunted house that was sorta shitty but also incredibly terrifying–like one where it turns out the haunts are real and everything descends into complete murder in mayhem?! Ok, me neither, but don’t swipe my movie idea–and when said movie is made, X2000 will be both the soundtrack and the murderer. Super creepsville and wonderfully inept pukka-pukka punk rock from Göteborg, Sweden.
ZAN – Behold The Key LP
Brutal, technical, mathmatical, grinding metal that reminds me of DISCORDANCE AXIS meets PIG DESTROYER. A little like the sound of two monsters battling it out.
ZODIAK – TKY 2020 Flexi
This is one of those things that I feel like a lot of folx will just see that its ex-MORPHEME, KAFKA & ODIO and buy it straight out. It is exactly what you should expect from this crew of råpunk heroes–guitars as shrill as a dentist drill, drums that gallop at a steady relentless pace, bass that is distorted beyond belief and vocals that are a thunderous bellow from the depths of hell. Three perfect tracks.
ZONE INFINIE – Degats EP
Hyper melodic, infectious modern French street punl. Taking more from the Chaos En France comps than Punk And Disorderly, this rides a tension between aggresion and melancholic melody through four tracks. The third, the lengthy “En Équilibre,” being the most interesting for me as it creeps through three mournful and dour minutes. Really cool stuff.
ZUDAS KRUST / PARÖTID – Split EP
Two raw punk, d-beat rippers–ZUDAS KRUST hail from Indonesia and are the more straightforward, tradition dis-core of the two. PARÖTID are from Malaysia and are little more in vein of ZYANOSE, though slightly less distorted.