I had the realization this morning that Vaaska has been around for 10 years! 10 YEARS!
Given that they just dropped a new EP entitled Inocentes Condenados on Beach Impediment Records, I figured it was time they show up here at No Echo. Hailing from deep in the heart of Texas and play pummeling d-beat hardcore that is sung (shouted?) in Spanish, their sound is less an enormous door slamming in the depths of hell and more a battering ram resonated with shattered glass while punching through said door. Hammering, metronomic drums provide a backbone for primitive yet effective riffing accentuated with searing guitar leads that combines for an infectious hook laden kängnäve-filled party.
There are a lot of bands playing this classic Scandinavian style these days but there are few that actually get it right—Vaaska is certainly one of them. While many bands attempt to do a straight mimicry of this classic Swedish band or that Finnish band, what these Texans have managed to do is synthesize various elements of differing takes on the genre and shove into a blender to create a high-energy attack.
It often reminds me of what Crudos did with their affection for '80s frantic Italian hardcore like Impact or Wretched—its not a carbon copy but a morphing on the form with a sprinkling of their own special bend of herbs and spices to create something unique and powerful.
In contrast to a lot of their fellow travellers they eschew a lot of metallic trappings as well as steering clear of a fully blown out distort-o-rama style recording. Sure, there are smoking hot guitar leads but they are decidedly more Billy Gibbons rock 'n' roll than Yngwie Malmsteen’s masturbatory fretboard gymnastics. And certainly, their recording levels peak and distort but there is this conscious crispness a la Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing in contrast to the all out noise and mayhem attack of say Disclose’s Nightmare or Reality which really adds to the power of their riffs and helps to driving the overall vigorous feel. Sure, maybe it flies in the face of the notion of “noise not music” but why can’t I have both? That’s what we have here—realized songs and hooks that don’t get squashed under a metric ton of distortion.
For me, I’ve never understood why Vaaska isn’t regarded more in the same way as legends Meanwhile or Framtid or even fellow Texans Impalers (whom they share a member with). Is it because they are from Texas? Is it because they sing in Spanish? Who knows really—what I do know is that you should definitely give them a listen.
Pick up a vinyl copy of Inocentes Condenados via Beach Impediment Records, and if you prefer digital, the EP is up on Vaaska's Bandcamp.
If you're shopping for vinyl, CD, and cassette hardcore titles, head to No Echo's partner store, Reverb LP, to see what they have available. Every purchase you make helps No Echo with site costs.