In the interest of objectivity, I’m typically loath to highlight a current band’s lineage. In this case, however, it’s paramount to celebrate these players’ long running contributions to hardcore punk.
As if looking at a family tree on a käng version of Ancestry.com, I quickly came to realize the Swedish D-beat punishers Exploatör (exploiter) share a large strain of their DNA with the long-running Totalitär, whose stock has again risen due to their 2020 EP, Heydays Revisited, a brief collection of unearthed tracks nearer the band’s inception.
In addition to that legendary and formative act, they’ve found themselves serving time in Warcollapse, Krigshot, Meanwhile, and Institution. An exhaustive list of past would likely be nigh on impossible. All this to say that these players have been cranking out apocalyptic, world beating heaviness since the “Roaring '80s” era of their native Sweden.
The band is back with their second LP, Avgundrens Brant, released via the Czech-based Phobia Records and ByeBye Productions. Both the former and the Swedish-based platform have quickly become, by proxy, a litmus test for my crust inclined leanings. Their quality control team needs a raise.
Exploatör, much like on their S/T 2017 full length, again come loaded with their blazing and furious variation of D-beat. Despite maintaining a lean and minimal approach, they still achieve a weighty atmosphere bleak enough to blot out the sun.
Let’s be honest here. I needn’t wax poetic about D-beat. If you’re still reading, you’re going to love it.
Opener and song of the day “Kapitalet flödar” is as good a place as any to acclimate to their sound. It’s a skin-flaying assault of a song, starting almost as if you’ve wandered into their practice space midway through a deafening blitz of crust.
The vocals will be familiar to any Totalitär loyalists, but this go round Poffen is even more frenzied and throat abusing. This time, though, he comes with a markedly improved production. They’ve long managed a sound that favors the treble heavy without sacrificing their rumbling low end.
Sliding in at under 90 seconds leaves little time for detours, but Exploatör manages to find subtle ways to expand their sound. The rhythm section is an absolute warhammer, the drums at the helm hide busy but low in the mix bass playing. Yet, they still manage to incorporate more traditional Swedish hardcore punk a la Moderat Likvidation and Terveet Kädet.
They even tuck in some Motörhead-isms, though those umlaut boasting road dogs were somehow grandfathered into D-beat long ago. Their riffing, at times, plays like primitive thrash but fits well into their otherwise textbook, Discharge-derived bludgeoning.
There’s a squealing solo in the song’s closing moments that’s atonal, pained, and note perfect… just like the rest of the song. The other nine, you ask? They rip by in a fifteen minute, leather jacket wrapped sprint of a record.
The D-beat inclined would be absolutely bonkers not to gobble this up. The old adage “standing on the shoulders of giants” doesn’t apply to the giants themselves. This holds its own against anything this crusty crüe have ever cobbled together.
For a band composed of players who’ve been dealing this particular strand of hardcore for decades now, they have no business being this vital and intense. Fans of Larma, Destruct, Crutches, and wearing all black everything... take note. The exploiter is in town.
Pick up a copy of Avgrundens Bran on vinyl via at this link.
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