Record of the Week: Welcome to the Arse-End of the World compilation LP

  • Published January 11, 2012 By Ken Sanderson
  • Categories Reviews

One of the unsettling aspects of the post-internet explosion furthering punk rock’s globalization is that even far-off corners of the world can quickly absorb cultural influences and styles of the broader punk scene of any country, as opposed to developing in isolation with limited influences towards its own direction, leaving everything up for grabs for reinterpretation. The globalization of punk gives a familiarity to the sounds, imagery (the grim reaper riding a skateboard, the universal symbol of punks worldwide), or even band logos to almost any compilation of bands, whether it comes out of the former Soviet Union, Orange County, South America or wherever. Ultimately there’s more positives than negatives to that equation as punk’s cultural, lyrical, musical and artistic message infects the world, emphasized here by the high quality of this 14 band, 26 track compilation from across the two main islands of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Welcome to the Arse-End of the World is the first NZ punk comp in a decade or more, and there’s exceptionally great music throughout: metal-dosed grind by ABORTED CHRISTIANS, blown out Goner Records-style garage noise by TEEN HYGIENE, sludge powerviolence from CRAWLER, throttling blur fastcore from WASTELAND, seriously raging female-vocal hardcore from ROGERNOMIX, more great female vocalled and female powered proto-hardcore from NATURAL GLOW, almost IN/HUMANITY-styled weirdness mixed with screaming thrash from OILBARRONS, lo-fi assault from CASK GRINDERS, which mixes a MAN IS THE BASTARD lumber with scathing, screechy, dual-vocal thrash; metal crossover skate thrash from ELECTRIC MAYHEM, CAUSTIC CHRIST-style straight-up punk from HATEWANX, a throaty vocalled and buzzsaw guitar straight up punk assault from CONNIPTION, solid, crushing metal dirge from METH DRINKER and OPEN TOMB, and snippets of quick thrash from POLICE LINEUP. There’s a sparkling high quality to these bands and despite casting a relatively wide net of sounds and genres, this compilation plays consistently strong and unified throughout as an album itself, which is the mark of a great compilation. It includes a color booklet of mostly artwork and a few lyrics, which largely express the frustration punks feel the world over. The cover features Peter Jackson, the Rainbow Warrior, a kiwi, and, admittedly, probably more than a hundred cultural references and in-jokes I’m missing… Limited to 300 copies…Great, great comp!! (Always Never Fun Records)