Black Dog


Black Dog Overthrow EP

I cannot say I really like the moniker BLACK DOG as, for some reason, it immediately evokes images of tough metalcore lads who wear beanies and spend a lot of time looking unironically hard. But this BLACK DOG is absolutely amazing, right kick-up-the-arse amazing, the sort of amazing that can resurrect the pair of crust pants you discarded years ago because you do get a bit fat with age. Distracted me had only vaguely heard the first demo and, partially because of the name (I know, I know, the book, the cover and all that), I just did not pay much attention. But this band from Halifax, Canada is the real deal, and I don’t know what they put in the water in Nova Scotia, but the locals always deliver when it comes to jaw-dropping punk music. Unsurprisingly, BLACK DOG is made up of members of ZYGOME and FRAGMENT (Overthrow is not so unlike the latter’s 2016 demo, actually), and they play distorted crasher-style raw hardcore of the highest quality. The sound is not exaggeratedly blown-out like some of their Japanese counterparts, but is rawer with an organic, almost cavernous texture that I really enjoy. Similarly, the guitar still has some crunch and is not completely lost in distortion, and overall you can sense the anger and the intensity amplified by the crusty gruff vocals. I suppose you could file BLACK DOG along contemporary bands like PHYSIQUE, ASPECTS OF WAR, or the newly formed KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE, but I hear a stronger Swedish influence, albeit by way of FRAMTID arguably (especially in the riffing), and I caught myself thinking about NPG or GIFTGASATTACK and even some classic ’90s käng bands (like SAUNA or something) that would have been left in a Crust War Records marinade overnight. Very aptly executed, and everything you are entitled to expect from the best representatives of the genres. Another great one from the always reliable Halifax punk scene.

Black Dog Demo II cassette

Whenever you spot a release from Roachleg, you are sure to get the rawest of the raw, and I’m saying this in the best of ways. Only a few months after their first demo, Nova Scotia’s BLACK DOG angrily bites back with Demo II. It sounds just like the first one, which is basically what you would want. When it comes to raw punk, the more basic, the better. BLACK DOG follows the trash-filled route of the UK greats like DOOM (nice wink on “Life is a Lock”) or ENT, without innovation or changes to the style, just good old-fashioned crusty punk. “Life is like a lock on my mind. Is death the only key?”

Black Dog Black Dog demo cassette

Another demo recorded in a bucket. BLACK DOG plays almost-D-beat, sloppy hardcore that reminds me of DISCHARGE, or how WHY could sounded after the twelfth tape dubbing played on a boombox that has been thrown into a lake. It’s obvious that bands can play this type of music; what is becoming incredibly hard is to put their own authenticity into it. The overdrive on an already pitching recording does its part and satisfies the noise lovers. It is a fun listen, but not really much more than a bunch of people into this type of punk making a record over a weekend. It is great they did that, it is great they shared it with us, and no one should feel restrained to do the same. This demo is as good as it is effortless, which could be an inspiration too, for all the anxious people who worry how they will sound. Do not overthink and overproduce your stuff, just create what you would love to listen to. Not completely sure, but the cover suggests that a skeleton is taking its dog (on a chain leash) to walk while riding a horse. This is silly.