Seth McBurney

Cran Natë LP

CRAN is a Parisian punk band that infuses their sound with a heap of Oi! and a little bit of post-punk. The resulting sound is reminiscent of a dark VICE SQUAD, or more similarly, contemporary fellow countrymen COLLISION. The song “Ad Vitam” has a slow opening that quickly jumps into overdrive only to close out with a slow, vicious beating. The gang vocals on “L’Amour” invite a communal feel while delivering a scathing treatise on the realities of love. This album is as equally strong on instrumental technique as it is on thematic content, making it easy to play on repeat.

Adrenochrome In Memoriam LP

ADRENOCHROME from Oakland just released their first full-length, and it’s a burning gothic pyre from the opening howl to the closing chord. Downtuned, darkened songs that draw the listener in with aggressive riffs and catchy lyrical delivery. The powerful punchiness of punk rock rhythm fused with flanging, cold guitar work creates a deathrock album that is sonically interesting. There’s quite a bit of pop sensibilities at work on this album as well: Gina Marie has a vocal delivery that utilizes a vast range without drifting into full-on screaming and shouting. This album seems to move from strength to strength as it progresses through each song, gaining momentum and indignation with each pass of the needle. The final song “Celebration” wraps the album up like a ritual.

Horrendous Cutthroat System Horrendous Cutthroat System demo cassette

This demo cassette by HORRENDOUS CUTTHROAT SYSTEM is four songs (about one minute each) that push the limits between noise and hardcore. This two-person operation emits a powerful blast that is full of rage and menace while still remaining fun to listen to. Like D-beat dis-rocker noise that worships HANATARASH while shotgunning beers over lines of cheap speed. This shit rips and I want more.

Terminal Filth Death Driven LP

Crashing cymbals, guttural and nearly blackened-style vocals, gnarly hardcore breakdowns, and impossibly swift rhythm shifts make TERMINAL FILTH the current masters of international-style hardcore/stenchcore. This full-length is jammed with some heavy-hitting material! The band calls Berlin home, but they recently played in Portland, Oregon, so I’m hoping to see some more US dates develop. For me, this is worth seeing live. If you’re in the mood for heavy, metallic crust, then definitely check out TERMINAL FILTH and grab one of these LPs.

Toilet Rats IV cassette

Poppy, noisy, synth-driven punk about ghosts, cryptids, conspiracy theories, and horror movies is a rapid summary of what Tommy Ratz of TOILET RATS does on this cassette. I would also describe this album as a romp through various levels of layered-up electronic fun. The instrumental delivery occasionally reaches epic levels, while the vocals croon and snarl in familiar ways. The song “Drug Bird” reminds me of a post-RAMONES Dee Dee side project or something generated by the SPITS. Then “Oskar & Eli” hits in a way that early 2000s pop punk does, finished out with “Walk the Earth,” a zombie-themed, darkwave toe-tapper—yes, please. Give me more.

Tàrrega 91′ Fill De La Merda EP

TÀRREGA 91′ is a band from the small town of Tàrrega in Catalonia. Their speedy, skate-friendly brand of hardcore is played in honor of a 1991 riot in which 86 youths were detained. Blasting like some of the best hardcore punk bands of all-time, TÀRREGA 91′ manages to blister their way through three fast songs, only to close things out with a welcomed mid-paced pummeler that uses all the primordial power hidden in those tom drum fills. Play on repeat and you’ll be stomping in circles, pissed-off and ready to butt heads. This is that authentic anarchist hardcore that primes the synapses for anything and everything.

Nag Human Coward Coyote LP

If you’re looking for straightforward hardcore or punk, maybe look elsewhere, but if you’re in the mood for that creepy, kind of surreal, Outer Limits-inspired punk, then stick around. NAG from Atlanta, Georgia released Human Coward Coyote earlier this year as a fresh addition to their growing catalog. This new album pushes the punk element deeper with a bit more raw production and in-your-face drums. If you’ve ever enjoyed the work of A FRAMES, then you’ll like this. There’s even elements that remind me of the ADOLESCENTS and a bit of AGENT ORANGE. Overall, it’s a fast, fun blend of darker punk interspersed with some intergalactic noise.

Can Kicker Can Kicker LP

CAN KICKER from Cardiff has a sound that is primordial but also immediately transportive. Stabbing, fuzzy guitar intermittently blasts through the powerful rhythm section that creates the propulsion behind Luke Penny’s poetic vocal delivery. The second song on this LP, “Disassociate Now,” is aptly titled for its effect and lyrical theme. CAN KICKER seems to be one of those bands that uses the basic punk devices to create a world that is uniquely their own, while also being an inviting space to spend some time. The closing song, “Stupid Game Part II,” is the only song that seems to break the formula of the album’s other songs, almost like an alarm waking the listener back to reality.

Unarmed World of Shit EP

It boggles my mind that this four-song 7” opus was originally recorded in 1998. For over twenty years, it was sitting on a shelf somewhere, aging, waiting to be unfurled. The instrumentation forms a Neolithic-styled D-beat assault, while the guttural vocal delivery blends and balances to form a brutal wall of blasting crust. UNARMED forms a sound that is so dense and heavy that it’s difficult to make a comparison, except maybe to say it’s monolithic. This edges heavily into the extreme category and occasionally crosses the metal border with indifference. “World of Shit” grinds along with a quick guitar sizzle towards the end, but is then followed with the very Motör-inspired “Your Dream.” UNARMED seems to focus more on heavy delivery than technique while occasionally allowing their refined technical skills rise to the surface. This is also one of those EPs that does the thing where the band buries their most skillful songwriting on the backside. Honestly, I could listen to this one on repeat a lot, and never find it tiring.

Alternative If They Treat You Like Shit, Act Like Manure LP reissue

Rolling bass lines and protest-style drum beats combine with jagged guitar work to form songs that are reminiscent of other Crass Record bands, but with something a bit different. Pete Wright, bassist and vocalist for CRASS and ANNIE ANXIETY, assisted with the production and performed backing vocals on the original 1985 Corpus Christi Records release. ALTERNATIVE plays like the distillation of Crass Records; as if all the indignation, thematic content, and musical experimentation were concentrated and then finally released. This album as a whole is an adventurous sonic ride with various sound samples creating introductions and conclusions to songs that shift time and rollick freely through a world of criticism, warnings, and encouraged introspection with the summation being that the real revolution begins with the self.

Romansy Doves of Peace and War cassette

This four-track cassette by Melbourne band ROMANSY kicks off with a hardcore ripper in which the vocal delivery sounds somewhere between barking and vomiting. The instruments are tight with stop/start buzzsaw guitars and drums, but tend to blend to form a sort of harmonious bullet. ROMANSY rips through the second song in 44 seconds, but then they get a little weird with the third song. “Fucking Flower” is my favorite track on this tape. The additional vocal and guitar modulation/distortion makes for a strange but fun sonic environment while the “breakdown” still goes hard. Expect everything by the forth song, “(Introduction To) Fang Lives,” opening with synth and then finally emerging as another hardcore song, but with none of the frills, finishing like a dystopian acid trip of the worst kind.

D.O.V.E. D.O.V.E. LP

D.O.V.E. plays that jam-laden style of anarcho-punk that explores riffs as much as societal criticism. Sure, there are portions of this album that are “heavy” and “fast,” but there’s also a lot of instrumental and vocal experimentation. Most of the songs on this album are well over the three-minute mark, without including any sort of outside audio sample. In fact, I don’t believe there are any samples used on this album, which in 2023 is a rarity of its own. If I had to compare D.O.V.E. to something, I’d say something like HONEY BANE, but with more willingness to embrace the jam, or maybe a more chilled-out PERMACULTURE.

Komplex Viny Suita Pro Nové Konce EP

KOMPLEX VINY is a band from the Czech Republic that plays some killer crust punk tunes. The powerful vocals are backed with furious but complex riffs and smashing drums. This is one of those 7″ records you can spend hours listening to over and over again. Each song is unique, so KOMPLEX VINY avoids the trap of writing songs that all sound somewhat similar, and the sound is something totally exclusive to these rockers. If I had to compare KOMPLEX VINY to other sounds, I’d hazard to say it’s all of the best global crust noises distilled into a palatable but commanding recording. There are familiar riffs and fills, but KOMPLEX VINY also manages to reshuffle certain elements to create a very refreshing presentation. The song “Dno za Dnem” even manages to fit a bit of Oi! into it without going full gang vocals. Overall, I highly recommend this one!

Sørdïd Sørdïd demo cassette

From 2011–2013, I spent an exorbitant amount of time going to NYC gigs that featured offensively raw hardcore punk. Bands like BORTGANG, ZATSUON, and PERDITION were an average night out, so to say I like SØRDÏD would be a total understatement. This demo sounds and feels like a subway train disaster, which is exactly how I’d expect it and want it. The guitar has that sound of having dumped a bowl of Rice Krispies and angry locusts into the monitors, while the rhythm section keeps the entire project from thrashing itself apart with heavy bass delivery and annihilating beats. The opening track “Blankhead” features a guitar solo that is relatively clean, but also incredibly grimy. The final track of this demo, “Idle Hope,” closes with a sound sample that could easily be ripped from a CRAZY SPIRIT track, and puts a heavy exclamation point on the statement SØRDÏD makes with this demo.

Crime of Passing 2017–2020 cassette

Welcome to the synth/noise-laden post-punk world of CRIME OF PASSING; a combination of members from the DRIN and the SERFS. Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, CRIME OF PASSING occasionally calls to mind fellow Ohioan MY DEAD IS DEAD. The amount of synth packed into this cassette is deep: drone tones, electronic drums, and harmonious keyboard runs. The song “Eleventh Hour” manages to squeeze in some saxophone, which only encourages the feeling of bummed-out gloom. “Dancing Prick” has a very CURE-ish riff and vocal delivery, if you’re into that. Towards the end of the cassette, “Don’t Turn” kicks off with a lo-fi drum machine beat that initially reminded me of HE SAID, but when the vocals kick in, it’s an ireful delivery more reminiscent of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES. If you’re a fan of dark-spectrumed post-punk with a barrage of electronic instruments, then I highly recommend this cassette.

Nagazaki Planeta//Carcel cassette

Bogotá, Columbia has produced some of the best noisy, aggro punk, and NAGASAKI is the latest premium example. If you like noisy, fuck-it-all, crashing raw punk, then you’ll want this cassette. With vocals that sound like they’re already destroyed from roaring against the system, bass lines that sound ripped from DISCLOSE, and guitars that crackle and grind, you’ll find yourself nodding along to these four songs of indignation. The guitar on “Reflejo” soars beautifully through the composition with a style that is similar to Randy Uchida’s. If you’re a fan of punk crudo and you haven’t heard NAGAZAKI yet, then wake the fuck up with this cassette!

Unknown Liberty Chain of Madness cassette

The artwork on this cassette doesn’t really convey the experience you’re in for when you listen to UNKNOWN LIBERTY. My initial expectation was anarcho peace punk, but when I pushed play, I was immediately rewarded with some loud, rough-hewn punk with no care for song structure or musicality. This isn’t straight-up “noise not music,” but more like hardcore punk played by hellions that care, but want to annoy. The six tracks that comprise this cassette are over and done with before you’re ready, so expect to push play again. “Science of Violence” is perhaps my current favorite song off this cassette. The start of it sounds like the band is trying to find the ideal rhythm. Once it comes together, the guitar wiggles around amongst the bass chugging and drum pounding, while the vocal delivery is caustic and baleful. If you’re into punk that jumps in unexpected directions and has the sound of an angle grinder running over a two-stroke engine, then you’ll be very pleased with UNKNOWN LIBERTY.

Estorbo Estorbo cassette

I like this cassette a lot—bass-driven, noisy, chaotic, raw punk sung in Spanish that makes me want to pogo, two-step, and otherwise act a fool. Only two songs on this ten-song cassette clock in at over two minutes, so you know ESTORBO isn’t messing about. Sonically tight, ESTORBO rages and smashes through songs with intricately crafted instrumental sections all played with just enough slop to give the feeling that it was recorded live. “En la Cruce” is one of the slower-paced songs; the chugging guitars, crashing cymbals, and stomping bass connect my primordial mind to my body and get me moving almost immediately.

Absolute Order? Arrrgh EP

ABSOLUTE ORDER? brings quick, tight, pogo-able punk to any party with the Arrrgh EP. Five songs (four originals and a cover), bashing and chugging their way in a UK82 style. There is something here that is very different from what most people would expect from something described as UK82, though. There’s an element of play in ABSOLUTE ORDER? that is less hardcore and more like something the TOY DOLLS might deliver, a sort of humorous outlook on the dark lyrics. The song “Blink of an Eye” is perhaps the darkest of the bunch, with lyrics critiquing our collective misuse of Mother Earth, but then ABSOLUTE ORDER? heads right into a blasphemous cover of “Barbara Ann” that is definitely meant for fun. Overall, an enjoyable spin.

Möney Boiling Wells cassette

MÖNEY is a band from Bristol who play a gentle form of post-punk. Softly strummed and picked guitars merge with atmospheric synth work and chunky bass lines to create music that is palatable enough to play for nearly anyone. The fourth song on the cassette, “Happiness,” has a couple moments that almost sound like surf rock, but then quickly dissipate into more standard post-punk tones. The final song “Wrong Way Home” opens with a more aggressive guitar sound, but then turns almost dirge-like and with a slight desert sunburn. I’d probably put this album on to fall asleep to; I’m in no way implying this album is boring. The softness, depth of sonic field, and slight melancholy cause almost immediate disassociation and relaxation. Absolutely worth at least one listen.

False Figure Castigations LP

Normally, I’m a huge fan of anything goth and darkwave, but this album just did nothing for me. The music is good, the production is fine, there’s just something missing. It kind of reminds me of the HUNT, but the vocals aren’t as looming. There are definitely moments of the CURE, a touch of CHRISTIAN DEATH, but nothing that screams “This is a keeper!” I’m sure there are people that’ll love this album, but I’ll personally keep looking.

Hiatus From Resignation… LP reissue

Crusties arise! HIATUS (Belgium’s answer to all things crust) has reissued their 1993 debut LP. The grinding buzzsaw guitars are enough to keep me coming back for more, with distortion levels creating a tone that is rarely heard. The opening of “Purulent Stench of War” would be an example of one such noise, almost more of an electric crackle than anything musical. The drum work is fast and tidy, with speedy fills galore. Like most crust, vocals range from some spoken word to all-out barks, with the occasional guttural howl let out for good measure. In all, a splendid bit of aggro anarcho tunes ready to join your collection.

Sentido Común 1983–85 LP

This is perhaps one of the more interesting releases I’ve come by in a long time. SENTIDO COMÚN was an anarcho-punk band from Barcelona who played a brand of music that is completely unique. Imagine (if you even can) HONEY BANE growing up listening to Spanish radio, and you’ll be halfway to what SENTIDO COMÚN sounds like. They retain the typical anarcho-punk formula, but there are also glimpses of traditional Spanish music through the wall of sound. Occasionally, there is an almost flamenco quality to the music, without actually being anything like flamenco. The vocalization on this LP is also very interesting, ranging from cool singing to animalistic squawks.

B.E.T.O.E. Civilización flexi EP

Crashing cymbals, blown-out vocals, shredded guitar, rumbling bass, punk crudo at its best! B.E.T.O.E. seemingly wishes sonic demolition upon all of the broken systems that mire our world. The production of this flexi yields some of the most listenable B.E.T.O.E. material for me. A slightly cleaner sound, not quite spotless, approaching a high-end studio sound but still retaining enough noise to sound like it came from the sewers of Barcelona. This is still some noisy, smash the system/smash everything rawness. This three-song disc clocks in well below six minutes, with each track offering intricate musicianship and composition in a miniscule amount of time.

Hævner Kaldet Fra Tomrummet LP

This is the type of music I’ve been seeking for years: a blend of raw punk and post-punk that is dark and hardcore. Noisy flanged guitars, powerful vocal delivery, driving bass lines that keep going, and smashing drums, all combining to form a threatening and ominous sonic environment. I mentioned this release to a trusted friend in Berlin who immediately said “HÆVNER is awesome live.” Being a reliable friend, I fucking believe it. I can only imagine how this must translate to a concert setting. While being raw, it’s also very danceable with big rhythm energy. I’ll definitely be dancing along for a while.

Infra Riot Still Out of Order LP reissue

This out-of-print long-player, originally released on Secret Records, has finally been reissued and is sure to satisfy all of the bootstompers out there. INFA RIOT played Oi!-infused punk complete with gang vocals. It’s a similar vibe to their contemporaries the OPPRESSED or UK SUBS, with the boys of INFA RIOT using the elements of Oi! to amp up the anger of their punk rock by creating bigger choruses and heavier instrumentation. This LP certainly had a massive influence on later street punk bands, and moments of it can even be heard in contemporary Oi! bands like BATTLE RUINS.

Glaas Glaas cassette

GLAAS effortlessly blends equal parts punk and darkened post-punk to create an energetic sound while maintaining an ambiance of melancholic dismay. Vocals sound like they’re screaming from the bottom of a pit while the guitars and drums want to continually attempt to bury them. The punk influence seemingly draws from a 1977-style revival sound like the HATEPINKS, but it’s all filtered through the post-punk of JOY DIVISION. A sort of beautified noise annoys approach that pairs well with a pint or a molotov.

Killing Frost The Declaration of W.W. cassette

With a name like KILLING FROST, I was expecting some CELTIC FROST worship—that’s kind of what you get with this release from these Finnish rockers, but there’s also a whole lot more. Prepare yourself for an extensive auditory journey when you put on this four-song release, as you’ll be treated to a vast amount of underground sounds, from doomy, slow, sludge work to fast-paced thrash, and no scheduled stops in between. The final track “Killing Frost ” seems to approach the band’s pinnacle, with a sound similar to ONSLAUGHT stirred together with AGE OF COLLAPSE: heavy drum work, soaring guitars, ethereal organ, and powerful vocals. Definitely put this cassette on if you’re in the mood for something dense and a bit different.

Angustia Espiritual Angustia Espiritual cassette

The album art on this cassette calls to mind RUDIMENTARY PENI, but Costa Rica’s ANGUSTIA ESPIRITUAL carves a sound out that is all their own. Playing more like a noise-injected 45 GRAVE, this self-titled EP has a production that is neither dense or sparse— instead, they offer a wall of sound that is interspersed with enough breaks to allow the creepy feelings to settle in. No haunting organs or synths, but replaced with slippery guitar and bass that slink around Amanda’s vocals. The closing track “Letargo” is perhaps my favorite, as it really highlights ANGUSTIA ESPIRITUAL’s deathrock sensibilities.

Icons of Filth Not on Her Majesty’s Service LP reissue

In my late teen years, I had a friend who was obsessed with ICONS OF FILTH. I was relatively new to anarcho-punk at the time, so I was given digital files, mixtapes, and even loaned a 7″ for about a week. Needless to say, Not on Her Majesty’s Service became a sort of beacon, guiding my tastes to more sonic extremes. Originally a cassette release, it’s now reissued (for the second time) on vinyl with a previously unpublished photo of the band. ICONS OF FILTH were comrades of CRASS and CONFLICT, but their sound is strongly in the UK82 spectrum with noise-level guitar distortion, heavy drumming, and an unwavering hardcore ethos. Don’t expect artsy anarcho/peace punk, but rather something more like CHAOS UK or GBH.

Newtown Neurotics Beggars Can Be Choosers LP reissue

The opening of “Wake Up” reminds me a lot of THATCHER ON ACID, but then the sounds shift into a guitar-forward production that sounds like a slightly downtuned UNDERTONES or even BUZZCOCKS. A heavy infusion of pop, but with a fully punk rock delivery. Lead singer and guitarist Steve Drewett wears his anarcho-syndicalist badge proudly with lyrics about working class problems and the failings of our public education systems. “Get Up and Fight” is a resistance song that outlines methods of struggle that are as equally crucial now as when the song was originally written. In all, this disc plays like a really pissed-off BILLY BRAGG or JOE STRUMMER.

Hysteric Polemix Hysteric Polemix demo cassette

Noisy without being noise music, overtly political without being preachy, Brooklyn’s HYSTERIC POLEMIX’s demo cassette reminds me of CRASS’s Penis Envy as filtered through post-punk. Danceable bass lines abound on this recording while the flanged guitar soars around. “Urtication” and “Saturn Square Uranus” are both sung in Portuguese, which seemingly increases the impassioned vocalizations.

Feral Kids Feral Hits! 12″

This recording opens with a soundbite lifted from Mad Max to let you know this is the music you’ll play while causing chaos in your Durango 95 (no apologies for these mixed movie references). Classic thrash metal for ne’er-do-wells, FERAL KIDS offer big lead guitar riffs, raucous vocals, and that sound that only comes from being a part of the road crew. The song “Dusty Breeze” is about as chilled out as FERAL KIDS get, and even then they’re still shredding and thrashing.

L.O.T.I.O.N. W​.​A​.​R. in the Digital Realm LP

The Valhalla of my sweetest dreams looks something like a dust-filled warehouse in which survivors of the apocalypse mutually exchange their wares, spoils, scavenges, and excesses. At the center of these festivities is a massive circle pit. Spiraling layers of punks, ravers, goths, heshers, and other survivors each dancing their own individual dance. The bass-heavy music filling this sacred hall is L.O.T.I.O.N. MULTINATIONAL CORPORTION’s W.A.R. in the Digital Realm on repeat, ad infinitum. Sure, there are a million reasons to hate this album, from having too many capitalized letters and periods, thereby making it a real bastard to type when searching online, or the insidiously infectious pop dance drivel of “Cybernetic Super Lover,” but somehow I keep coming back to this album again and again, Pavlovian-style. If you have no idea what I’m on about, imagine a talented  Sakevi Yokoyama impersonator singing over a perfectly orchestrated mashup of WHITE ZOMBIE, MINISTRY, DISCHARGE, and ’90s rave music. The good news: this album makes for a great entry point into the world of L.O.T.I.O.N. The bad news: you’ll find out when you play this.

Trenchraid Demo 2022 cassette

This is the kind of hardcore punk that I wake up for on a daily basis. Between the breakneck guitar work and the raw (not tough guy) vocals, this cassette rips! TRENCHRAID borrows from classic D-beat, but also manages to mix in enough old-school hardcore to create a hybrid that is somewhere between ANTI CIMEX and YOUTH OF TODAY. Plenty of catchy sing-alongs all backed with high-powered instrumentation make TRENCHRAID a perfect soundtrack for your high-adrenaline activities.

Collision Sur Les Trottoirs LP

COLLISION is a French band from Nantes who embrace their native tongue and write really catchy songs. Sounding like something that could have come out during the heyday of Lookout! or even a RANCID side project, COLLISION is able to fill a void in many people’s collections. Blending elements of Oi!, punk rock, and even a bit of two-tone into a raucous good time, COLLISION is contemporary rock’n’roll. I found Sur Les Trottoirs to be a nuanced album, but also something that brought to mind bands like CRIMPSHRINE, OPERATION IVY, and BRAIN FAILURE, while the French lyrics made everything fresh and just a little more interesting. Some downtuned moments of flanged guitars bring in a very minor element of post-punk darkness which only elevates the feelings of melancholy and angst swirling on this album.

Strach Strach LP

STRACH hails from Berlin, Germany and plays metallic anarcho hardcore. Elements of stenchcore combine with brutal breakdowns to make this album a pummeling music experience. Heavy music and lyrical content throughout the entirety of this album will stoke the fires of your discontent. Fans of MURDERESS and FATUM take note, this album is a must-have. The song “I Shit on Your Country” pretty much says everything you need to know.

Eater Outside View / You 7″ reissue

Formed in 1976, EATER was there in the early days of this thing called punk. They were the kids on the block (with ages ranging from fourteen to seventeen) who managed to gain the respect of the DAMNED and the BUZZCOCKS to such a degree that both of those bands opened for them at various gigs. In their day, however, they were considered average, even “run-of-the-mill”—but here is why that conception is not entirely correct, and why this reissue is such a critical piece of ephemera. Reason one: I wish at the average age of EATER I was in a band of peers capable of creating such a passionate and refined piece of sonic history. Number two, I don’t know if it’s the age of the band or if it’s the hindsight of time, but EATER sounds far ahead of their time, as if EATER’s youth gave them the ability to play with greater intensity and an authentic fuck-all attitude compared to their contemparies, and these characteristics and attitudes allowed them to accept and even accentuate the rawness of their art, thus creating a work that is so far ahead of its time that I could play this EP for someone and they’d guess it was a recent recording. I would even hazard to say EATER is more articulate and culturally relevant than some of the stuff that goes around saying it’s punk rock nowadays. “Outside View” is a rhythm-heavy romp of pogo-able, pop-tinged lyrics about the struggles of being working class. Chunky bass guitar lines with quick runs abound on both tracks, the guitar work is often light and jangly with a slight delay or decay giving it a mild ambient effect, the drums are kept snappy with quick fills, and the vocals have a sound that is only achieved by having more passion than Johnny Rotten and having breathed in more mill soot. This is one of those discs you flip over and over endlessly as both songs are completely infectious

Omega Tribe New Peace Movement CD

I wanted to like this album. I mean, I really wanted to like this album. No Love Lost and Angry Songs are in my personal music archives for a reason. I gotta say though, I did not care for this album. “Ain’t Gonna Let Em” is a decent song, and there are moments on the album that reminded me of things like TOM ROBINSON BAND, CHUMBAWAMBA, and even early BOWIE. However, there are not many “angry songs” on this album, and instead a bunch of hippy-dippy songs. I’m serious, like “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”-type stuff. This is absolutely not my bag of grass.

Hope? Dead & Gone cassette

This release came out over a year ago, and if you haven’t heard of HOPE? or witnessed them live yet (as they’ve toured quite extensively), then it’s time to stop sleeping on this Portland quartet. Grinding rhythm guitars, chugging bass, pummeling drums, earnest near-spasmodic vocals…HOPE? has everything you’re looking for when it comes to crusty, D-beat hardcore. Nine songs that give the feeling of standing next to a passing freight train at full speed— HOPE? has a powerful sound that is unique, articulate, and creative. Drawing their source sound from the very depths of the D-beat well, HOPE? plays more like ANTI CIMEX or RIISTETYT rather than later, more noise-oriented acts. Lead singer and band visual artist Manda uses this souped-up rock’n’roll hog to deliver harsh social criticisms that will make all the called-out bastards quake in fear. The song “End of Time” kicks in just past the midpoint of this cassette and is an absolute ripper, with moments of it sounding like AUS-ROTTEN or even BEHIND ENEMY LINES. Is it wrong to say I hope HOPE? releases more material? Even if they don’t, this cassette is an instant classic and holds an important position in the ongoing conversation that is hardcore anarcho-punk.

The Astronauts When You’re Not So High LP

The ASTRONAUTS, the epitome of punk rock jam bands, are a developed taste, but When You’re Not So High is actually quite easy on the taste buds, as the ASTRONAUTS rock harder on this LP than on any previous release. This four-song LP has song lengths that may push the boundaries of your attention span, but that won’t be the fault of the band. “Heresy,” the opening track, is a very moody (edging near dub session) critique of contemporary punk and our failing governments, all delivered in the poetic manner only Mark Wilkins (a.k.a. Mark Astronaut) is capable of. The second song “Have It” almost reads as “All Night Party, Part Two” with a pulsating club beat driving an anti-party/party track, and if you’re looking for the “punk” on this album, wait for this song’s midpoint—by the end of it, you’ll be questioning your own complicity in the scheme. “High” and “Melissa’s Party”, the final two songs, almost flow into one unit as they meander and then suddenly rage against the politics of social gatherings as viewed through the lens of 40-plus years of partying experience. I often listened to the ASTRONAUTS in the same way as I view surrealist art, a quick review followed by several hours of discovering the various hidden messages and small enclaves that make the whole of the work interesting. What I can say at the moment is this album is full of very controlled vitriol aimed squarely at the external and internal bullshit of our day, all backed by constantly interesting arrangements. This might not be the most “punk rock” album, but I assure you the message is more punk than any of us actually are.

Crucifix Dehumanization LP reissue

In my braggadocious opinion, this is the most crucial album of all time, and thankfully, it’s been reissued. Sothira Pheng’s opening vocal delivery simultaneously gives me goosebumps and gets my blood boiling, ready for the hardcore to come. The under-production of this album gives the feeling of CRUCIFIX playing in the room with you, while still managing to cleanly and accurately capture the skills of the band. Jake Smith has that crazy ability to accurately riff at breakneck speeds and then slam on the brakes. Bassist Matt Borruso has that sound that is dirty and a little blown-out, but is evidently one of the powerhouses behind the band as his instrument is featured prominently throughout the album. Does drummer Chris Douglas have a drum set left after he plays? It honestly sounds like he’s attempting to smash through the heads and reshape the cymbals. The LP reissue has been produced to sound the same as the original recording, so there’s no missing any of this pivotal release. The original six-panel foldout poster sleeve is also included, so go ahead and throw that up on your wall. If you’ve never heard this album, well, now is the time. If you’re like me, and have literally worn out copies, it’s a good time to restock.

The Ire What Dreams May Come LP

Philadelphia’s the IRE has released What Dreams May Come as their first proper full-length. Building on their 2019 demo and 2021 cassette, the IRE opens this album with a short dirge and then ascends into a series of powerful, gothic anthems of hope and perseverance in dark times. The rhythm section of danceable bass guitar and precision drumming assist in creating a tight production, while moments of accurate guitar stabs are delivered quickly and deadly. Vocals reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux serenade with lyrics of light and dark imagery in a balance of refined poetry—”The Chariot” and “Ketu: The Severed” are my current album highlights. What Dreams May Come leaves me dreaming of what the IRE will become with future efforts, as this album showcases excellent musicianship and a refined palate of particular taste.

Insanity Defense Asylum: Complete Recordings 1983–1985 LP

This is that ’80s hardcore I live for. The early 1980s were swarming with hardcore punk bands coming out of every nook and cranny, with too much attention always given to just a few bands and miniscule historic records of bands that should have mattered more. INSANITY DEFENSE is one of those bands that has flown under my radar (and I’m sure many others), and I’m sorry for having missed out for this long. INSANITY DEFENSE easily hold their own sonically against the great titans in the coliseum of early hardcore punk, and demonstrate their talent throughout each song on this historic document. The vinyl album, and accompanying zine, preserves two different recording sessions spanning a two-year timeframe. In this period of time, INSANITY DEFENSE honed their sound from speedy, houseparty hardcore punk into a deathrock-tinged hardcore powerhouse. The LP is further worth owning as it splits the two recording sessions between sides, serving not only to highlight the maturation of the band, but also as a unique listening experience in that Side A will attract fans of DOA and MDC, while Side B plays similar to AGENT ORANGE, TSOL, and even moments of CHRISTIAN DEATH.

Ojo Por Ojo Leprosario LP

“This sounds like a lot of other albums I’ve heard” is my default phrase of criticism, but in the instance of  OJO POR OJO’s release Leprosario, I mean it as the highest form of praise. Listing all the amazing inspirations OJO POR OJO certainly draws upon would take an entire page, and rather than just mimic other bands, they instead opt to carve a trench of their own, using a barrage of extreme music elements as their digging machine. This is one of those albums you can put on for your punk friends and your metal friends, and every subgenre and derivation of, and they’ll all ask, “Who is this?” There aren’t a lot of sounds coming from metal that really make my head turn these days, but OJO POR OJO gives me whiplash. Mixing elements of hardcore punk, crossover, and metal seamlessly so that you’ll never see what’s coming around the bend, OJO POR OJO continually gifts the listener with suprises and unique transitions. “Pisadas” opens this LP with a sludge-laden snarl that chugs along until suddenly a guitar begins picking a fast riff and this album switches into overdrive. “Borracho de Gasolina,” the next song, is a thrash fest ready for circle pits. Essentially, this album is a ten-song stampede in which OJO POR OJO demonstrates just how musically skilled they are. When you peruse the liner notes and realize this is a three-piece unit, and that the lead singer and guitar player are the same person, you’ll wonder how OJO POR OJO is capable of such immense power and precision. “Mausoleos de Metal” is a standout song; powerful, thrashing drums, soaring guitars, voracious vocals, everything OJO POR OJO is capable of, poured into a single glass, and served straight-up.