Ali Tadayon

Bato Ravages of Time EP

Ripping hardcore out of Virginia that brings CAREER SUICIDE to mind. It’s all fast, with the attitude of MINOR THREAT, THE FIX, and other staple early ’80s US hardcore bands. The MVP is the drummer, who holds it down and hits heavy throughout the records, sprinkling in plenty of those JERRY’S KIDS-style rolls. My favorite parts of the record are when it comes up for air: the slightly slower and groovier fifth track “Better Way,” and the breakdown at the end of “Delusional.” Mosh worthy, indeed.

Bothers Bothers LP

I know this record is billed as a garage-y, WIPERS-doing-hardcore release, but to me there’s something Oi! about it. I think it’s the rock’n’roll style chord progressions with heavy distortion (there’s even a little MOTÖRHEAD-style lick in “Brain Matter”). I would say it’s like ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE with John Reis (DRIVE LIKE JEHU, ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT, a bunch of other stuff) on guitar. The lyrics read like a bad acid trip: introspective in a dark, twisted kind of way. Some standout lines include “Infant feeding from the arms of the gutter,” “My brain’s ain’t straight / I can hear it bleed,” and “Disappeared in a fistful of wet brain matter and glue.” I’m also a sucker for a good, catchy chorus, and “No Trust” has one of the best I’ve heard all year.

Blood Loss Who’s to Blame? EP

Blood Loss is carrying the torch of Denver Hardcore from bands like CADAVER DOG, CIVILIZED, and CITY HUNTER with this pulverizing 7″. The music, the lyrics, the production, the artwork, it’s all gritty and dark as hell—a common theme in Denver that gives the scene its personality. What sets BLOOD LOSS apart from those bands though, is the grooviness. Tracks like “Who’s to Blame?” and “Double Life” have a very YOUTH OF TODAY-type moshy feel to them. But like NO TOLERANCE, BLOOD LOSS takes a much darker approach to that style. Much of that comes from the lyrics, which are super angry: both at the world and at the person screaming them.

Under Attack Through the Blade EP

This six-song 7″ is as stripped-down as it gets for hardcore: no chugging, an appropriate amount of breakdowns, and generally pretty punk. It fits well with mid-2000’s crusty hardcore bands. The lyrics seem to center around disdain for certain individuals, mental anguish, and getting screwed over. My favorite track is probably “Dirt Nap,” which I think kind of starts out with a UK82 vibe, which goes into a moshy part with the anethemic lyrics, “Existing is terror / Why fuck why / Swallow the barrel / I must die.”

Wet Specimens Haunted Flesh EP

This might as well be the official Halloween punk EP of 2019: it’s got these hella CHRISTIAN DEATH-y guitar licks, slasher-film lyrics, witchy artwork and the reverb is laid on so heavy it might as well be a ghost on the mic. It’s kind of got an evil, noisy ’80’s Japanese hardcore sound, similar to the SEXUAL. More contemporary bands ODIO (RIP), early DEVIL MASTER and TARANTULA also come to mind. Every song on the record slaps; the first track, “In Secretion Room,” is my favorite.

Short Order Neighborhood Creeps EP

Short fastcore songs, very close to LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS, but with some BLACK FLAG-type flare splashed in. The lyrics are generally goofy, about partying and making fun of normies. Prime example: the song “Coffee Table” is ten seconds long and the lyrics are “wheresyourcoasterfriendshipover.” The record sort of follows the fastcore/powerviolence tradition of making fun of itself, proving a nice little comic relief to typically depressing lyrics. The whole thing kind of feels like a meme.

Domain Retreat EP

This band pays tribute to late-’80s, early-’90s straight edge. The most obvious comparison is TURNING POINT, but I also get SIDE BY SIDE and RAW DEAL vibes. It’s even got that lo-fi recording style that makes it seem like something from that era. If you’re a diehard fan of that chapter in hardcore history, or even the resurgence of that style that’s come about over the past five-ish years, this record is worth the cop. Top tracks for me are “Feeding the Fire” and “Favor.”

Waste Last One Standing EP

This is one of the best XVX records I’ve heard since SEVEN GENERATIONS’ To See The End which came out in 2008. It’s tough as hell, reminiscent of Satisfaction-era HATEBREED and Underdogs-era TERROR with moshy riff after moshy riff and hard-hitting vocals. The lyrics are what I really like about this record; they’re a step beyond those of 2000’s XVX bands, taking on more specific, relevant issues. “Not Your Fight” calls out the savior complexes of men in the hardcore scene: “Self proclaimed rulers / Will fall by our hand / sStep back and listen for once / And realize this isn’t your fight.” The song “True Colors” is about “PC guys” who act “high and mighty” but are actually pieces of shit: “Saw through your fake ass right from the fucking start / Never bought your lies so it came as no surprise.”

Government Flu KFJC Session flexi

These seven songs, recorded during a live session at the historic KFJC studio in the South Bay Area, absolutely rip. The songs are fast and in-your-face, falling somewhere in between JERRY’S KIDS and United Blood-era AGNOSTIC FRONT. This band has been around for a while, but hasn’t dulled a bit. Hardcore punk at its finest.

Heatseeker Infected Society LP

This LP goes so hard! Unrelenting, aggressive, riff-y hardcore that falls somewhere in between VIOLENT REACTION, BOSTON STRANGLER and LOCK. Nearly every song has a moshy breakdown at the end, and a few even have some divebombs and sneaky guitar solos. The vocals are low and gruff, reminiscent of NEGATIVE APPROACH.

Sidetracked Hollowed Out LP

24 tracks, not one of which is longer than a minute? Yeah, it’s a powerviolence record. It’s got that classic west coast style Á  la DESPISE YOU and CROSSED OUT. There’s nothing wildly different about this record compared to the last 200 or so that To Live A Lie has put out, but it does hit pretty hard. The songs, though short, are pretty dynamic, stacking tons of riffs and different styles. Some of the songs sound more punk and driving, like “Turmoil,” while others like “Suffocate” and “None the Wiser” get groovy. What I appreciate about this band is that they really trim the fat: there’s no obnoxiously long heavy parts leading into a four second blastbeat. The breakdowns on this record run an appropriate amount of time, and don’t take away from the fury. Other powerviolence bands: take note!

Open Wounds Invaders LP

This has got your classic hardcore punk sound, reminiscent of YOUTH OF TODAY or MINOR THREAT, with those attitude-y 7 SECONDS-style vocals. Lots of energy, lots of speed. The lyrics span from serious to funny. I lol’d at the song “Record Collectors” which is about being “addicted” to collecting records. “Got enough but I keep buying more / The records pile up, blocking my door.” It’s a sentiment that I think a lot of us can relate to.

Shit Coffins Termination LP

This is a purely incredible record, made by some of the sharpest punks in the game. To put my love for it into context: When I was in high school, I discovered BORN/DEAD, which completely rocked my world and sort of shaped my taste in hardcore punk—catchy, rocking, versatile, political, with muddy guitar tone and barking vocals. If that band had continued, and got better and more experimental, you would have SHIT COFFINS. The guitar riffs are unrelenting, I heard a little TOTALITÄR in the D-beat parts, a little CHAOS UK in the mid-tempo punk parts, and maybe a little DROPDEAD in the hardcore parts. Nothing but pure chaos on the drums. The lyrics, sung with aggressive desperation, read like a book. They seem to center around carried pain, possibly trauma. “I close my eyes and it’s all I see / Presence is fear / consuming the past — fervency of now / This darkness will last.” The song “Benchmarks” has lyrics that I thought were actually pretty positive: “There is not hope beyond what you can hold / Life is loss / Hold onto hope no matter the cost.”

Felchers Felchers LP

Solid hardcore punk record in the vein of BLACK FLAG, RKL, and fellow midwesterners ZERO BOYS. Surf-y drums, dynamic riffs, heavy reverb and treble on the guitars, and wreck-your-throat raw vocals. They catch you off guard, and keep you enthralled through all sixteen tracks, like mid-tempo rocker “Decimal” which features some weird horn or something. Maybe just a poorly played saxophone? Whatever it is, it’s punk.

Haram وين كنيت بي ١١​/​٩؟? (Where Were You on 9/11?) EP

This is the first record that’s ever made me cry. I felt a deep, personal connection to the concept, and the record’s power—both in terms of lyrics and musical brutality—left me mindblown. This release seems a bit more dynamic than their others: there’s some chaotic, interesting guitar parts on “Bomb in the Sky,” and a cool SACRILEGE-type galloping intro on “The Solution (Is Resistance).” The singer’s signature snarl sits on top of the mix, delayed and distorted in just the right amounts. My favorite track has got to be the last one, “Jihad, Jihadi.” The riff reminds me of something EXOTICA would do, and the lyrics sing like an anthem. It seriously gives me chills.

Car Bomb Driver Chick-fil-A Is Closed on Sunday / Ordinary Guy 7″

This is garbage. I don’t even think it deserves a review. All you need to know is that the B-side, “Ordinary Guy,” is wildly problematic. The music also just plain sucks—the worst version of bar rock, cringy from start to finish.

Bad Breeding Exiled LP

This record sounds like a cross between WHITE LUNG, RUDIMENTARY PENI, and DISCHARGE—three bands that sound almost nothing alike.The anarcho-punk vibes are heavy throughout the music, lyrics, and artwork, but unlike a lot of modern anarcho-punk that seems to go the goth route, this is a lot heavier, even verging into hardcore territory. The bass is turned up loud in the mix and become the main driver of the songs, and the guitar parts are experimental and chaotic, but manage to maintain punk. Something here for everyone.

AninoKo / Namatay Sa Ingay split 7″

This split by two American bands comprised of Filipino immigrants—with lyrics in Tagalog—is blazing fast and fist-pumpingly riffy. Though it’s definitely a hardcore record, both bands flirt with D-beat quite a bit. The NAMATAY SA INGAY side reminds me of some stuff WARCRY has put out over the years, while the ANINOKO side sort of has more of a CRUDOS vibe, or even AUS-ROTTEN. ANINOKO’s lyrics are translated into English, and delve into colonization, inequality, and the exploitation of immigrant workers. Though NAMATAY SA INGAY’s side is not translated, the insert says the band is “influenced by ’80s Pinoy punk bands and stories from the third world.” Overall, I think this is a very important release to cop. The tone of US punk in 2019 has centered around lifting the voices of immigrants and minorities, and for decades, bands comprised of immigrants and minorities have been left off of shows, and labels have failed to give them a chance to reach a larger audience. Bands like ANINOKO and NAMATAY SA INGAY are as punk as it gets and, as I saw at an ANINOKO show in San Francisco, bring a lot of joy to punks who feel as though they are being represented in the music they love.

Total Defeat The Loop demo cassette

This DYS-worship demo packs a whole lot of punch, landing somewhere between HOAX and ARMS RACE. The riffs are simple, driving, and catchy, and the vocals sound gruff and desperate. The lyrics are super bleak, with lines like “blank as death I stare at myself” and “dead flies on the windowsill / bed-ridden corpse.”

The Minutes Moving Target EP

Pissed off political punk with the look and feel of the late ’90s AUS-ROTTEN or early ’00s BORN/DEAD scene. What sets it apart, though, are sprinkles of fun throughout this five-song 7″. Some of the lyrics and song titles are tongue in cheek, such as “Feeling Stabby” and “Armchair Zealot.” There are also also parts with double hits on the snare that give a surfy feel, short guitar solos here and there, and a MISFITS-esque “whoa-oh” part on “Feeling Stabby.”

Fried Egg Square One LP

This is one of the best releases I’ve heard in 2019. Imagine Damaged-era BLACK FLAG, with vocals that sound like HOAX, and some VOID-esque riffs thrown in the mix. The whole package—the music, the lyrics, the album art—sort of has this sense of yuckiness to it: the discomfort you might feel from, say, stepping in puke. Two things really bring that out: the sporadic BLACK FLAG-y single-note lead riffs, and the raw screaming of hella self-deprecating lyrics such as “Tongue turns to jelly / The thoughts in my belly / Fist to my forehead / Frustration” and “Existing for existence’s sake / Consuming for consumption’s sake / When it comes to things / I only take.”

Cankro Reflexo da Verdade EP

This record is pure evil. It has literally everything you want: moshy breakdowns, tupa-tupa beats, reverb-y vocals, DISCHARGE- esque D-beat riffs…just everything. The most obvious contemporary comparison that comes to mind is DESTINO FINAL, but this 7″ seems punchier than what that band put out. This record would definitely hold up to MURO’s Ataque Hardcore LP.

Spit Toxic Noise LP

With nineteen songs ranging from twenty seconds to around two minutes, I think it’s safe to say at least one of these skate-punk riffs will tickle your fancy. I would describe it as CIRCLE JERKS with some blast beats here and there. The vocals are kinda snotty like Keith Morris, but the riffs range from melodic to thrashy. It’s kind of all over the place; still unsure of whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Shock Futur Noir EP

I swear, some of my favorite hardcore records of the past few years have come from France, and Bordeaux’s SHOCK doesn’t disappoint. Heavy NYHC influence on this five-song EP, as well as some clear influence from NEGATIVE APPROACH, and maybe even BOSTON STRANGLER. Lots of driving riffs, a couple banging breakdowns on “Futur Noir,” “Nuit de Brouillard,” and the three-minute “Guirre a la Guerre,” and some cool effects sprinkled in here and there.

Pożoga Wolfpack Attack EP

We got us a ripper right here. No shortage of driving riffs, barking vocals and straight up nassssty bass tone. I would call it D-beat leaning hardcore, with plenty of moshy parts, but nothing too derivative. The band would definitely fit well on a bill with the UK’s ARMS RACE. Clear influence from GBH, VARUKERS, DISCHARGE, etc., and even reminded me a bit of BLOODKROW BUTCHER. There’s also a pretty rocking cover of “No Hay Futuro” by Spain’s RIP. The band is based out of Dublin, but comprised of immigrants from all over the world.