Well, its that time of year where obsessive nerds drag out their lists of the best releases of the year and being an obsessive nerd, I’m no different.
2018 was a great year for hardcore and punk and I’m certain you are going to see a lot lists filled with a lot of the same releases but I want to talk about a few records that might be overlooked that are certainly worth your time—some because they are from outside the US, some because they are one some small labels, and some because they just dropped in the last few weeks.
So, without much further ado, here are 10 records, in alphabetical order that you need to get.
Blood Pressure, Surrounded 12” (Beach Impediment Records)
Thick necked, boot-to-the-throat, oi infused, brutal hardcore from the Iron City of Pittsburgh. This sort of burly and vicious take has always been my favorite—think Negative Approach, Dead Stop or The Abused with the 4-Skins and Blitz sprinkled on top. A crucial release.
Hag, Be My Filth EP (Byllepest)
Dark, demented, and moody Swedish punk rock from Målmo that snarls and lunges at you like a rabid creature in the night. Caustic and snarling music that drips with scorn presented in a wall of reverb and distortion—a truly vicious band.
Harhat, Käskyjä ja Uhkauksia EP (Imminent Destruction)
Finnish hardcore has long held a special place in my heart—there’s just something about the language that sounds absolutely ferocious when wailed over scathing, rapid-fire, primal discharges of sonic rage. There’s not much in the way of new ground explored on this rather this continues the lineage set forth by the likes of Kaaos, Mellakka, and Riistetyt and keeps the vodka and glue bag soaked tradition alive.
Idiota Civilizzato, Idiota Civilizzato (Static Shock)
This is just fantastic! Ripping Italian hardcore that just twists and turns at a frenzied pace only stopping to strut and stomp in an manic episode of frustration turned into sonic fury. At times this just feels like its careening at such a frantic clip that its going to fly off a cliff and crash into furious auditory catastrophe but somehow they manage to keep it together. An absolute ripper.
Inmates, Creatures of the Night EP (No Patience Records)
A pummeling, nihilistic, caveman attack from the greatest rocknroll city in the world—Cleveland, OH. Featuring members of the classic Systems Overload-era lineup of Integrity and the powerhouse drummer behind Nine Shocks Terror, this latest release from Inmates features six blasts of Disorder meets Chaos UK inspired ferocious hardcore. All their records are essential and this is no different.
Morus, Ciało Obce LP (Trujaca Fala)
I’ve long had a love affair with Polish hardcore and punk and singular in that obsession has long been Post Regiment—so you can imagine how excited I was to discover that two members had formed a new band called Morus. Fundamentally, this retains the same level of intensity and dynamism while being slightly angular yet melodic as their prior efforts and is well worth your listen. To me, there has long been something unique and slightly magical in the hardcore punk that came out behind the Iron Curtain and it is good to see the veterans of that era continue to produce infectious and vital music.
Rata Negra, Justica Cósmica LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Taking cues from late '70s power-pop that leans more to the punk side of things (think Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady) mixed with the buzzsaw approach of those first four Ramones LPs, Madrid’s Rata Negra play deceptively simple sounding music that is chock full of hooks, snotty vocals and a flood of brilliant musicianship. Honestly, I just can’t play this enough—a perfect summer road trip record that echoes back to a lot mid-'00s punk rock coming out of Sweden like the Vicious or Masshysteri.
Stigmatism, Stigmatism EP (Beach Impediment Records)
Meat and potatoes hardcore that doesn’t forget the struggle, the streets nor ever sells out, instead just delivers vicious blast after blast that borrows heavy from the good years of Agnostic Front (United Blood and Victim in Pain, obviously) or that one Madball single. Nine rapid fire hardcore cuts that thrash and strut with plenty of sing-alongs held captive in around eight minutes proving that progression is overrated.
Ultrarat, Ultrarat EP (Swollen City Records)
In a more perfect world, Lemmy would have joined Discharge. In some ways, perhaps its for the best that it never happened—I mean the atomic level bomb blasts that would have certainly been the offspring of that union might have ended us all. If there were ever two bands that were more a perfect match for one another, I don’t know what they’d be. Montreal’s Ultrarat certainly understands that—rough and tumbly, riff driven hardcore that just pummels you like a locomotive running over your face. Raw and dirty production that enhances the relentless attack with vocals snarling vocals that bring to mind Anti-Cimex’s finest moments—don’t sleep on this.
U-Nix, Nuke Portland 12” (Feel It Records)
Eight tracks of slithering, frenetic mayhem presented in around 10 minutes that brings to mind the same out of control dervish on the Void side of that fabled split LP. Disjointed, snarling and demented hardcore that revels in its beautiful sense of chaos. Total genius.
*Homepage photo of Ultrarat by Michael D. Thorn