Antisocial Skills / Rules split LP

Prague’s ANTISOCIAL SKILLS spit out ten tracks of mid-tempo HC that has no right to be as catchy as it is, absolutely reeking of youth, hopelessness, and occasionally series of blasts just to remind you that they can kick into gear when they’re not doing the snotty teen thing. Though a fair bit too melodic for my taste, even someone as misery-guts as myself can acknowledge that this band could easily destroy a house show with this kinda energy, real foot-tapping shit. It’s RULES on the other side of this record, hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, who perplex me. We go from songs that barely scrape the two-minute mark to the five-minute, borderline noise rock of TRANSIENT CARE? The tempo amps up considerably after this, a kind of raw HC crossed with some of the weirder shit on Amphetamine Reptile Records with screeching noise rock coming through with every twist of the guitar in this. It grew and grew on me, especially the harsh, slightly deeper vocals. Highly recommended.

Rules …Was It Six or Five Shots? EP

Taking their debut EP title from Dirty Harry’s legendary “Do ya feel lucky, punk?” speech, Zagreb’s RULES offers up six tracks of appropriately misanthropic, beefy mid-tempo hardcore in a post-Feel the Darkness vein. Shades of heavy hitters like CAUSTIC CHRIST and LONG KNIFE appear throughout, especially in the world-weary, angry vocals and the hard work the bassist does driving the band. There are some interesting melodic guitar flourishes along the way, with “Empty Minds, Talking Mouths” having a particularly interesting, nearly jazzy finish, emphasized but the drummer’s backbeat swing. The super generic, indie rock-style packaging does this record no favors in a crowded marketplace but this is worth tracking down if you dig the aforementioned bands for sure.