10 Essential Hardcore Punk Releases for Spring 2019

Khiis (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

Keeping track of new releases these days is a near impossible task. On the one hand the ability for any band to record easily and place their music online for the whole world to hear seems like a dream come true but on the other hand every band is doing it. Unfortunately, rather than this meaning a flood of genius and inspiration filling your ears with sonic joy we’re all too often me with a barrage of wet farts transmitted straight into your ear buds. Certainly, that is fine if you are into that sort of thing, but in the words of Suicidal Tendencies, I Want More! So let’s cut through a lot of the bullshit and here are 10 recent releases from the filthy underbelly of international hardcore punk you should be paying attention to:

Haram, Where Were You On 9-11? EP

Haram (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

It's difficult to overstate the importance of a band like Haram and their new EP is here to remind you just how vital of a band they are. Never fully shifting into breakneck speed, they instead rely on a musical backdrop to vocalist Nader’s snarling vocal attack that swirls in a rhythmic, stomping take on the hardcore form. Drums pulsate, basslines ripple with an urgent rapidity and thick layers of blown out guitar guitar present a foundation for lyrics  (sung in Arabic) which paint an image of life in America post 9/11 for Muslims. Like Los Crudos before them they fulfill the promise of hardcore as more than music, utilizing it as both a means of expression and honing it razor perfection to push back on an oppressive world. 

L.O.T.I.O.N., World Wide W.E.B. LP

L.O.T.I.O.N. (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

Sheets of face melting distortion encrusted onto throbbing electronic beats—New York’s L.O.T.I.O.N. latest release is car crash of Too Dark Park-era Skinny Puppy meets cyborg of bootboys in Blitz t-shirts. Utter brutal layers of luscious noise that pummels your skull and realizes much of the dreams of Chicago’s Wax Trax! Records dreams in ways artists like Revolting Cocks could only dream. Just an acid soaked clarion call warning the world that the dystopian dreams of PK Dick aren’t confined to the realm of pulpy science fiction novels but the horror in which we currently exist. Mind control, data mining, the rise of the robots, the digitization of the police state—its all here, but what will you do?

Korrosive, Observations from the West LP

Korrosive (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

The magic of the internet is bands and sounds once the province of trollish collectors have seemingly now become common currency. The beauty of this is in allowing punks the world over to ingest and take inspiration from auditory reverberations that once dwelt in obscurity—bands whispered about in hushed tones as to their greatness but rarely actually heard by the masses. I don’t know a band like Korrosive could have existed in the United States in the '90s—taking heavy cues from the classic heavies of Finnish hardcore (think Kaaos, think Destrucktions, think Mellakka) they play a staccato, pummeling hardcore style with a substantial peace punk vibe which lends itself to an Orwellian view of our current common existence. Perhaps a vision of the future where a boot is forever stomping on a human face? That about sums it up—burly music reflective of dark and heavy times. 

Provoke, Still Here EP

Provoke (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

Provoke opens their debut with a cadenced lyrical indictment of This New Slavery Feeds White Supremacy positioned over a crunching musical introduction--setting the stage for a vicious attack around the politics of race, conquest, colonization, the position industrial system layered passionately over a blistering modern hardcore punk attack—blistering speed transitioning to crushing breakdowns. An absolutely electric live band, its good to have a recording which comes close to capturing the vitality of their typically raucous, sweat-drenched performances. This is surely a hint of great things to come.

Witchtrial, Witchtrial LP

Witchtrial (Photo found on Bandcamp)

Demons? The Grim Reaper? The Dark Lord? Thunderous riffs? Galloping drums? A take on a song writing that marries an unhealthy obsession with GBH to an unholy obsession with Hellhammer? All that and more can be found on this tasty slab of malevolent vinyl—like Montreal skull crushers Inepsy before them, Witchtrial tears through track after nasty track of the spawn of New Wave of British Heavy Metal going buckwild in a filthy biker bar bathroom with Discharge. This record projects the vision of a beer soaked room filled to the brim with head banging maniacs, fists flailing through the air, bullet belts caressing their butts, all flailing about to this venomous incantation. 

Game, No One Wins LP

Game (Photo: Anna Swiechowska)

Based in London, Game tears through track after track of hook laden, metallic hardcore which charges along at a blistering clip. Vocalized half in Polish and half in English, Game is a ferocious entry into the current crushing swell of underground ferocity—the New Wave of British Hardcore is very real and worth your attention. Snarling vocals layered over savage riffs hinting towards the Burning Spirits mode of Japanese hardcore (ex. Mustang, Death Side, Outo, etc.)—an absolutely blistering record. 

Khiis, Bezoar LP

Khiis (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

Despite the fact they are simply a mass trapped in the gastrointestinal system, for centuries, bezoars have been believed to have the ability to neutralize any sort of poison. Derived from the Persian word for antidote, the notion of curative properties helps to set the stage for Khiis’ debut LP—a sledgehammer of relentless, straight-forward hardcore punk devoid of the layers of discordant chaos so prevalent in a lot of modern bands. All the bullshit has just been neatly trimmed away to present potent riff-soaked musical backbone for vocalist Kimya’s intense delivery. An absolutely explosive and potent record.

Enzyme, Howling Mind LP

Enzyme (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

In 1981 UK punks Disorder released Distortion to Deafness and there isn’t a better descriptor of the swirling mass of chaotic frenzy presented by Australia’s Enzyme. Bouncing, pogo-inducing bass lines punch the energy level through the roof as vocalist Stu screams madness into the wind producing an auditory experience akin to setting up a microphone by a waterfall and running it through 200 distortion pedals. Ferocious and frankly insane hardcore that deserves to be blasted so loud it shakes the foundations of society to their core.

Impulso, Costante Ossessione EP

Impulso (Photo: Mavi Parra)

As much as NYHC is a style so is Italian hardcore—while the latter has an emphasis on crunchy breakdowns designed to open up the pit, the Italian form cooks at a frantic and tense pace. It twists with spasms of energy to create a feeling like you are careening down the Passo dello Stelvio at a rapid clip with the brakes about to go out. Trento’s Impulso take this form created by the likes of Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers and Negazione and push it forward into the modern era. Mad blasts of tension and paranoia inducing music with a frenetic
vocal attack driving home an outlook addressing societal ills from a personal standpoint--an outstanding example of the current state of Italian punk.

Planet Y, Kniven for Struben LP

Planet Y (Photo: Michael D. Thorn)

Jangly yet driving melodic garage punk—there was a time in the early '00s when this Scandinavian approach to the vibe Dangerhouse bands like X, The Bags, The Eyes, etc., produced ruled the turntables of punks the world over. While bands like Gorilla Angreb, Masshysteri, and the Vicious no longer stalk the earth, we’re blessed to have Planet Y step into the breach to keep this style alive and vital. Sweet melodies soaked with enough snot to keep it urgent—their eschewing of a lo-fi recording in favor for something more punchy and crisp really helps to make this be more potent. A perfect summer record for drinking rose while smashing the state. 

Tagged: enzyme, game, haram, impulso, khiis, korrosive, lotion, planet y, provoke, witchtrial