Mendeku Diskak (Revenge Records) is a label based in the Basque country and they have quickly become my favorite outlet for raw, uncompromising hardcore/punk/Oi! from around the world. There’s a timeless sonic attitude that simultaneously references the international DIY aesthetic from decades past all the while up keeping the sound for current generations.
The label just celebrated its 5th anniversary last year and Mendeku Diskak's release output has grown exponentially without sacrificing quality. The following are some of my favorite recent and older releases, all taken from the label's Bandcamp.
Castillo are the best American Oi! band at the moment, caught them around my way a couple of months ago and they absolutely slayed with three (!) guitarists, a crushing rhythm section and tough as nails vocals that compliment the superbly melodic/anthemic tunes.
This is from their latest two-song promo, debut LP in the works:
Terre Neuve are a Belgian outfit singing in French that splits the difference between a mid-tempo Boston ‘82 assault and Youth Crew ‘87 vibes for maximum crucial stomp levels. Love the fact that the burly vocals are recorded just right, not on top of the mix like most current hardcore recordings, here’s to a smoking debut 7-inch, tre bien!
Roughed Up is a studio project made up of members from various countries and featuring Crown Court members. The end result is an extremely well thought out raw yet melodic take on that classic anthemic street Oi! sound with Trevor’s lyrics chronicling life between the haves and have nots in merry old England.
Kudos for a killer cover version of UK82 heroes The Insane’s theme song.
Singing in Catalan, one of the four official languages in Spain, Enemic Interior kinda of remind of Syndrome 81 (who put out my favorite LP of 2022), not like a copycat version but more in the sense that they mix post-punk, cold wave Oi! and faster tempos to create a uniquely melancholic and rough melodic sound that’s simultaneously gloomy and uplifting.
Guadalajara, Mexico outfit Mess dropped this in 2020 & it immediately caused a stir amongst Punk enthusiasts of all ages. Playing a spot on rendition of a deceptively simple sound that few if any bands can pull off; namely Blitz during their deservedly classic period and the UK82 brigade but Mess are more than the sum of their influences.
When the tunes are this good I put aside my jaded spot-the-references mindset and just enjoy the impressive discography they’ve expanding on since their debut EP.
I’m bummed I missed the Barcelona based Brux when they came around my way last year as I was as looking forward to hearing the enormous vocal styles of their singer in a live setting.
Truly one of the deepest/guttural voices I’ve ever heard on a punk record & the band’s Oi!/mid-tempo rock 'n' roll bounce with oddly melodic vocals with that beast of a voice plus inventive guitar leads really pushes them into a class all of their own.
Lost Legion are a Chicago-based outfit that put out some highly inventive Bovver/Oi!/pub rock EPs in the past couple of years. This is a vinyl version of their first effort from 2016 sounding to my ears like a more rock 'n' roll version of The Templars, lo-fi production values and all.
Here’s to Mendeku for having the foresight to release the formative recordings of a band that’s getting more impressive with each subsequent release.
I always considered the Italian language to be the perfect vehicle for unhinged, barely in check vicious jams and Scalpo, from northern Italy, fit right in that country’s glorious hardcore/punk tradition coming up with a sound that’s straight forward enough but with little twists and turns to keep one interested, va bene!
Zikin hail from a small town in the Basque Country and play righteous hardcore/punk with rough yet melodic elements reminding me at times of legends like Toxic Reasons/DOA with nary a trace of mosh metal with Cookie Monster vocals or other modern influences, Eskerrik Asko to the band for that!
There are tons more choice releases like the ultra catchy sing-along punk of Tango 14, classic French Oi! by Resilience, Basque hardcore heroes Revertt, I could go on….
Check their site here.