Remember back to the quaint days of early February when I typed up a list of required listening and bemoaned the misery that was 2020? At the time, I didn’t think it could get much worse and yet it did! I’ve barely left the house in what feels like 500 years and the only thing that has kept me from dwelling in a state of total madness has been my continued campaign for total and complete auditory destruction.
As a proper nerd, I keep a spreadsheet of what I’ve been listening to and out of the nearly 300 records, demos, miscellaneous streaming bobbles and bits I’ve blasted through my brain recently, here’s a list of 14 recentish releases you may have missed but should definitely check out.
Armamento Fatal, Armamento Fatal 2xEP
11 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—at times, it almost has a pysch-rock feel to it. The drums have that sort of inept but not quite totally incompetent feel to them (think the early Wretched records) which just adds to the urgency and intensity. For those keeping track, it is ex-Peligro Social, if that matters.
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.
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 to catch its breath. The vocals on this send a chill up my spine—fucking great!
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 total juggernaut.
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” that kicks off Pink Flag? It's like that, but different — I 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.
The Fight, Endless Noise LP
In many ways, Long Island’s The Fight sound like what I always wanted Sheer Terror to sound like — just 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, staying fully in the lane of pissed as fuck hardcore punk. Snarling vocals, thick guitars — I love this band so much.
Grand Scheme, demo CS
I recently caught this band before everything went to shit 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.
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.
Laffing 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.
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.
Negative Runners, Negative Runners 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 Rodan, think Clarimel, think early Hot Water Music, think people that are good in a fight and a hell of a lot of fun.
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 an almost 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.
Zodiak, TKY 2020 Flexi 7″
This is one of those things that I feel like a lot of folx will just see that its ex-Morpheme, Kafka, and Odio members 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.
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