Reviews

Seth McBurney

4 Kopniętych I Fred 4 Kopniętych I Fred LP

As I type, I’m also listening to this LP by ’80s crew 4 KOPNIĘTYCH I FRED out of Poland. The groovy, melancholic opening track features some surfing guitar with a dark bend and some excellent shifts in pattern. When the vocals start, they feature some nice reverb that adds a bit of goth-rock touch. Post-punk song structures pervade this album, but the energy is pure punk rock. I really enjoy how the drums are featured prominently in a lot of songs and guide the tempo with expert precision. The record features a nice fold-out lyric sheet with some photos of the band playing. From 1983 to 1986, 4 KOPNIĘTYCH I FRED gigged in Jarocin. A lot of songs on this self-titled album seem to meander in unexpected directions that are increasingly enjoyable. 4 KOPNIĘTYCH I FRED seem to have an endless musical quiver to draw upon. If you like AGENT ORANGE, the ADICTS, or the DAMNED, then you absolutely must check this out. If you believe NED’S ATOMIC DUSTBIN is amazing music, then you’re going to love this.

One Million Bulgarians Pierwsza Plyta, Vol. 2 LP

Without doing a deep dive into ONE MILLION BULGARIANS and wasting time, I’ll just say that they were a goth band from the ’80s. This LP is a long-awaited release, and is well worth seeking out. A little more punk than most goth and heavier than most punk bands, ONE MILLION BULGARIANS fit into an interesting sound. The vocals almost conjure AXEGRINDER when they really start to kick in. Chunky bass tones combine with grinding, rhythm-heavy guitar to form a wall of industrial sound that also gives impressions of KILLING JOKE and MINISTRY. Crashing metallic noises and the sound of bouncing balls of skin replace the sound of drums when the jams begin to flow. As one of those people who likes aggressive music that doesn’t seem to have an ounce of light in it, I really dig this album. It’s kind of like early crust, kind of like early goth, and entirely its own thing.

If I Could Just Get Some Sleep 10715 CD

IF I COULD JUST GET SOME SLEEP (or IICJGSS) is the solo output of Patrick Gilligan, who is a father and lives in the Midwest. Sonically,  IF I COULD JUST GET SOME SLEEP features some industrial-grade synths moaning and crashing into smashing drums. The vocals remind me of youth crew hardcore from the ’00s. All this congeals into something that may have come out on Three One G, so think HEAD WOUND CITY, HOLY MOLAR, and SOME GIRLS. However, there is a definite industrial vibe here that can’t be overstated, so maybe also think a punker version of HARMS WAY circa Posthuman and after. In all, the 10715 disc is definitely good stuff and you should absolutely check it out.

Chaos OK Chaos OK demo cassette

This demo by CHAOS OK is way more than just okay, and chaotic in a way that is extremely satisfying. Opening with a vintage BBC radio sound clip and then launching full-tilt into punk that is reminiscent of a combo of SWANKYS meeting the best of UK82 hardcore is pure brilliance. The demo features five dirty, nasty hardcore punk tunes which you’ll find immediately fascinating. The first three tracks rip by at warp speed, and the fourth song “See” slows things down a smidge, but then the closing track resumes the raging auditory assault— a perfectly concise and tumultuous package.

Gurs Gerran Bizi Gara LP

GURS from the Basque region of Spain recently released this full-length that builds on their 2022 EP. Gerran Bizi Gara (or “We Live in War”) is full of anthemic punk that will have you singing along even if you don’t know the language. An edge of darkness pervades these songs and perfectly captures our contemporary moment. The eight songs on this album demand multiple listens, as they’re loaded with tight, intricate melodies and speedy shifts. Something about this album reminds me of Exit English-era STRIKE ANYWHERE, but faster, heavier, and in all areas better. “Eder Ta Hutsa” is a standout song for me, as it seems to showcase the band’s collective prowess, but “Derrota” is also easily a contender for best album track. Seriously check this out!

Desintegración Violenta La Bestia EP

This joint release between Static Shock, Unlawful Assembly, and Roachleg Records finds DESINTEGRACIÓN VIOLENTA playing their hallmark thrash-addled hardcore punk on five tracks. With riffs set to overdrive, a primal rhythm section, and snarling, blown-beyond-belief vocals, it’s hard not to love everything DESINTEGRACIÓN VIOLENTA is doing on this recording. If you like your punk extra noisy, speedy as fuck, and a touch demented, then you’ll definitely want to give this a spin.

City Skyline Jarocin ’88 LP reissue

This reissue is by Polish band CITY SKYLINE, and might just be what your record collection is missing. Angst-ridden vocals riding upon groove-heavy punk rock with more than just a hint of melancholic emotions creates a sound that is captivating and addictive. With rhythm shifts that range from swift punk to swinging rock’n’roll, each song has an individual vibe, but they all coalesce into a very particular sound that is brimming with desolation. Vocals are snarly and often include the entire group, but not in the gang vocal sort of way—it’s different. CITY SKYLINE produced a decisively one-of-a-kind product that is difficult to compare to others, and it’s most certainly worth a listen.

False Tracks Hymn for Terror cassette

Play this cassette by Philadelphian rockers FALSE TRACKS loud! Their jangly, distortion-heavy, psych-drenched garage punk is sure to blow you away. If you ever wondered what the YARDBIRDS might sound like if they were into the BUZZCOCKS and JAY REATARD, then look no further. Occasionally soulful but more often noisy, FALSE TRACKS is definitely a unique sound in our currently bland musicscape. The song “Dandelion” is a rocking track that seemingly combines everything FALSE TRACKS is capable of into a stirring and hypnotic presentation. If you’re a fan of psychedelia and garage rock, then do not sleep on this release.

Fog Lamp Anxious Stargazing cassette

FOG LAMP out of Oakland, California is awesome! Cacophonous synth punk for mutants. Heavy riffs combined with SCREAMERS-style song structures makes for delectable tunes. Somewhere between the bashing drums and beleaguered vocal delivery, an almost hardcore aesthetic emerges and puts to bed any thought that this is egg-punk. The title track “Anxious Stargazing” opens with a dirge-like tone and quickly progresses into a tense but clamorous rock, and is then followed by “People are Sponges,” which opens with one of the best bass sounds I’ve ever heard. In all, I highly recommend this one!

Life Scars Pekniete Serca CD

LIFE SCARS from Eastern Poland recently dropped this full-length slab of melancholic, stench-ridden, D-beat-driven crust and it’s pure gold. Simple yet concise instrumentation backs a vocal delivery that is reminiscent of NAUSEA. Lyrics delivered in LIFE SCARS’ native language have a sort of sweetness that feels ancient but alive. Blasting breakdowns and screaming guitar crescendos are ubiquitous and draw the listener further into the pummeling storm. If you’re a fan of NUX VOMICA, ROT//WOVEN, or AGE OF COLLAPSE, then be sure to check this out!

Silicosis Bocetos LP

Silicosis is a pulmonary fibrosis of the lung that is caused by breathing in silica dust during the mining process. SILICOSIS is also a dark punk band from the mining town of Lota in southern Chile, and Bocetos is their latest release. This LP is rich with anguish and grief from every angle. Atmospheric synths mix with sorrowful guitars while the rhythm section maintains the plodding pace of a funeral procession. Deep, rich vocals sing lyrics about the meaninglessness of life, depression, and other nocturnal emotions. The title track “Bocetos” is a driving, gothic anthem that builds in intensity and is absolutely beautiful in its agony-ridden delivery. It’s one of those songs that gives you goosebumps, draws tears to your eyes, but also keeps you stepping to the beat. In all, this album draws more from music of the Southwestern Hemisphere than from traditional goth and deathrock sources, and ends up being absolutely unique and incredibly hypnotic. This is for sure one of those albums that I can keep on my turntable for an extended amount of time.

Utopian Homicide Detective Utopian Homicide Detective demo cassette

This demo cassette from San Fran punks UTOPIAN HOMICIDE DETECTIVE is fucking great! Instrumentally, it has a lot of proto-punk sounds that rock like MC5 or early STOOGES material, but the unhinged vocals are more like GOVERNMENT ISSUE or FLIPPER, and it all comes together in a perfectly noisy way. It’s a kind of arty noise that isn’t trying to be. The five songs on this cassette each have quick moments that are absolutely rocking, and even quicker moments that are psychedelic blasts of distortion that are otherworldly. In all, Croat, Guam, Kiko, and Mutt come together to make some of the best punk that you’ve probably never heard.

Malcría Fantasías Histéricas LP

Recently, Iron lung Records released this album by MALCRÍA out of Mexico City, and it goes so hard! Raging but tidy-as-fuck hardcore that makes me throw hands and elbows in my living room. The vocals are so irate that one can’t help but feel the livid mentality and want catharsis in solidarity. Blindingly fast and grindingly distorted guitars tear through tracks in short order with an average song time of around two minutes. Shifting song structures further dissect these tracks with surgical accuracy to create an album that plays like blistering, OG grindcore similar to ELECTRO HIPPIES or early NAPALM DEATH. Lyrics sung in Spanish highlight weaknesses of the self, desperation, and all other classic hardcore themes without sounding completely derivative. I absolutely recommend this album to anyone that loves any permutation of hardcore.

Sklitakling Sklitakling LP

This full-length by Norwegian punk band SKLITAKLING is really, really good. It blends riot grrrl influences with a sort of early hardcore punk delivery into a bopping sound that is tempered by the Nordic perspective—a raucous but refined approach that often calls to mind Swedish greats REGULATIONS, with that sort of toeing the line between really good hardcore and pop sensibilities. Catchy lyrics and furious riffs that fill your mind for the rest of the day are abundant, while the indignant mentality creates an emotional cloud of incensed focus. The predilection towards sonic experimentation leads songs to occasionally take on a post-hardcore bent with quick, over-and-done jam session moments sprinkled in. The instrumental track “Stonerboner” is a wicked slice of guitar-and-bass-driven exploration that captures the multitude of influences that gather to create SKLITAKLING. This single instrumental is enough to garner attention with its spontaneously evolving rhythm and minutia of rock inflections, but there is still a whole album worth of tracks to enjoy and obsess over. Taken as a whole, this album is well worth the trip!

Horror Vacui Distressed / The Last Dance 7″

HORROR VACUI from Bologna, Italy has descended again with a dual-track disc of deathrock that is sure to feed the goth in all of us. Heavy with punk influence, this isn’t just some CHRISTIAN DEATH-inspired darkwave, but more like grave-desecrating anarchic rock’n’roll. Opening this 7″ with “Distressed,” a rumbling, tube-screamer of desolate emotion, sets the mood for this disc. When “The Last Dance” kicks in, you’d better have your dancing shoes laced up, because it’s sure to “keep you dancing all night long.” There’s something in these songs that reminds me of LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH, but with an even drearier delivery.

Warchrist Deafening Silence cassette

This recent release by UK’s WARCHRIST is brilliant, and let me tell you the many reasons why. WARCHRIST’s crusty, D-beat-driven hardcore is captured perfectly on this four-song release, striking a precise balance of studio versus raw aesthetic that creates the feeling of a chaotic but high-quality, live basement vibe. Grindcore influences similar to HIP COPS or FUCK THE FACTS present themselves within moments of pressing play and permeate the entirety of this cassette. The second song “Iron Fist” presents a sort of “Bömber” rhythm, but maintains a blistering pace and somehow still delivers those blown-out, throat-shredding vocals. Towards the end of “Iron Fist,” a melancholic guitar tone emerges and continues soaring wails of anguish into “Dismantling the Illusion” which still delivers the rage-filled vocals, creating an amazing sonic display of the juxtaposition of emotions. A quick vocal swap on “Dismantling the Illusion” also yields something reminiscent of AUS-ROTTEN. “Fuck the System” follows and closes the recording with a song that opens with a middle finger of a sound sample, continues into a ripping track of mosh-ready hardcore, and then reemerges midway through as an epic gang vocal/pile-on/grab-the-mic sing-along. The crust war mentality of this album is not to be understated—if I were to use a recording as a sonic offensive against the imperialist bastards, it might just be this one.

Bleakness Words / Greed 7″

Parisian punks BLEAKNESS have a distinctive aesthetic that has been rocking in the darkness for seven years now. Anthemic, high-energy, but moody and gloomy—D-beat with a post-punk attitude. Both tracks on this 7″ feature heavy, bouncing bass lines, while the gravelly vocal delivery is somewhere beyond singing but not quite hardcore yelling. “Words” is a diatribe on politicians’ speeches and the danger of their lies with some swift guitar licks thrown in along the way, while “Greed” enters with some ripping riffs and lyrics that eviscerate capitalist culture. If you dig fist-in-the-air sing-alongs, then you have got to check this out.

IŁ-62 Opuszczamy Babilon LP

IŁ-62 is a Polish band that has been around for a couple decades now and specializes in creating brutal punk that treads a line between metal and hardcore. Opuszczamy Babilon is not for the faint of heart or the punk rock purists. World music influences combined with psychedelic and anarcho-punk form a sound that is unique. Surges of metallic hardcore rip in without warning, and noisy, experimental instrumentations find their way through the brawl. If I were to compare this album to something, it might be STRUGGLING HARSH IMMORTALS or something equally as heavy and chaotic. There are moments that are reminiscent of stenchcore, but also sounds that call to mind ’90s-era SEPULTURA or even contemporary SOULFLY. This is one of those albums that you can put on and immediately feel the jamming groove as it winds and meanders through hefty riffs and primal feelings, complete with enough sonic variations to keep you intrigued and wanting more.

Confetti Malaise A Thousand Burning Suns LP

If you like synth-heavy coldwave, then let me introduce you to CONFETTI MALAISE from Marseille, France. This initial full-length finds the four-piece band with ten songs that vary in energy from dancefloor swingers to the occasional melodic, emotionally-driven ballads. Hard-hitting bass and ethereal synth and guitar work creates a party atmosphere fit for our present armageddon. There’s something here that reminds me of BLAQK AUDIO, but with an early SOUTHERN DEATH CULT bend. Give this a listen, and I guarantee you’ll be swaying with a Djarum Black in your hand.

Spleen Spleen demo cassette

Roachleg hits the nail on the head with this demo cassette from SPLEEN. The best I can do to describe SPLEEN’s noise is to say it’s a blend of raw punk and deathrock with heavy emphasis on the rock’n’roll part, and it’s all sung in French. This five-song demo rips through with an apocalyptic urgency while feeding upon darkness and simultaneously mingling enough melodic tones and raucous bop to keep things danceable. Nightmarish themes permeate the lyrics which are delivered in a Peter Murphy of BAUHAUS sort of way, but with a blown-out effect and a bit more caffeination. I really dig the song “Advienne Que Pourra,” which roughly translated means “let the chips fall where they may.”

Andy Place and the Coolheads Feels Like a Dream EP

ANDY PLACE AND THE COOLHEADS have been rocking the Portland, Oregon region for nearly a decade, and their garage power pop sound on this latest EP is refined into three tracks. “Feels Like a Dream” opens things up with bang that channels SWEET. “Contrarian” hits next with an egg-punk energy, and is honestly my favorite song by ANDY PLACE AND THE COOLHEADS to date. The closer “Blackwater Commercial” is a 42-second song that heaps praise upon Portland’s legendary punk dive, Black Water Bar. So I guess this album functions as a solid two-track, and the Black Water gets a cool jingle, too.

Manuela Iwansson Dark Tracks LP

MANUELA IWANSSON fronted TERRIBLE FEELINGS, and Dark Tracks is their first full-length solo presentation. Over a decade ago, I interviewed MANUELA and found them to be honest, thoughtful, and a dark-souled being with predilections for all things creepy. All this comes through on Dark Tracks, with articulate lyrics delivered with their signature vocalizations over ’80s-inspired rock’n’roll. Elements of synth, post-punk, and new wave layered with a country rock vibe means this album is full of swagger and grit. Nordic pop elements arise naturally and develop into infectious melodies. If you were ever a fan of TERRIBLE FEELINGS, then you’ll love this album instantly. However, Dark Tracks proves MANUELA is a creative that can stand alone with strength and talent like a classic desperado.

The War Goes On Assisted Armageddon LP reissue

The WAR GOES ON is a hardcore punk band from Copenhagen, Denmark that embraces the depressive reality of life and comes out swinging. The WAR GOES ON presents a sound that reminds me of the UNSEEN in their Explode era—anthemic, melodic, but aggro. Emotions related to weariness from years of alienation become distilled into D-beat punk that borrows from street punk and Oi!, but is definitely not either one—more like road crew hardcore that articulates the struggle of survival while surveying the abyss of mental breakdown. Assisted Armageddon is nine songs that are catchy in a way that becomes addictive, and with a total runtime of about eighteen minutes, you’ll want to spin this album on repeat.

Temple Submission LP

TEMPLE from Portland, Oregon is a goth rock band of the finest caliber. Heavy, primal drumming, thunderous bass, and soaring, flanger-distorted guitar come together to form a formidable arrangement, while the vocals have a smooth, rich delivery similar to MORRISSEY. The Submisssion LP is an eight-song album that flows like the river Acheron, dwelling upon emotions of grief, loss, and isolation. However, the strong rocker mentality permeates deeply and creates a sonic environment that is instantly danceable and anthemic. If you’re looking for a way to beat the winter darkness, then look no further than this LP.

V/A Najmłodsza Generacja 2xLP

This 22-band compilation album of current Polish post-punk is a continuation of one originally released in 1986. It features never-before-released material by fledgling bands and documents a developing new wave scene. This compilation highlights a variety of sounds on a spectrum extending from melodic, avant-garde rock to dark-tinged, minimalist post-punk. Each of the bands enshrined in this collection displays their singular aural presence while the collection accentuates a striking cohesion. The gatefold 2xLP features a 24-page book archiving the scene’s existence. This collection is a great entry point into the Eastern European underground.

U.S. Grave U.S. Grave LP

U.S. GRAVE is from Phoenix, Arizona and shares members with goth metal band TAKE OVER AND DESTROY. However, you’ll find absolutely no metallic influences on this LP. Darkwave blending with power pop forms a sound that is all its own, while the highly polished production and restrained but adept musicianship creates a foot-tapping spirit. Melancholic and desperate in nature, this album is perfect for the long nights of winter. I really enjoy the energy of “Shallow” which kicks off midway through the B-side.

Optic Sink Glass Blocks LP

OPTIC SINK conjures memories of the minimalist electronic delivery of SUICIDE or the art-punk vibe of CRASH COURSE IN SCIENCE. “A Silver Key Can Open an Iron Lock, Somewhere” is a cover of Switzerland’s LILIPUT, and connects OPTIC SINK’s sound to the icy pop of Northern Europe. There are elements of austere post-punk which draw parallels to bands like DELTA 5. While most bands are busy attempting to develop an overwhelmingly full sound, OPTIC SINK takes the opposite course and leaves vast expanses of audible space. Pop delivery is tempered with frosty dissociation, all while synthesized noises develop fresh euphonious environments.

Day Residue Deadly Walk cassette

Hailing from Detroit, DAY RESIDUE channels the feral sound that only the Motor City is capable of. Verging on hardcore, but full of untamed rock’n’roll energy, this cassette is a blast! Six songs that rip so hard it feels like a whirlwind. Gnarly riffs and ferocious drums run rampant through this cassette, while vocals deliver vicious personal diatribes. “Piss Paradise” is a sub-two-minute song that channels punk energy into a guitar-driven basement anthem. I fell in love with this album within the first 30 seconds, and I’m sure you will too.

Ovef Ow Vs. the Worm LP

Chicago art-punk band OVEF OW has been making noise for nearly a decade, and this recent release finds the group using their hallmark sound to create a new wave opera of sorts. Songs are creative representations of the reality of modern life as viewed through the lens of artsy detachment. Sounds that are reminiscent of riot grrrl bands twist together with late new wave to form a dance-worthy soundtrack. Music that creates a party-like atmosphere while lyrically dissecting society through a stream of consciousness is the hallmark of this album.

Off Contact Pearls Before Swine LP

This full-length is the perfect balance of post-punk and post-hardcore. Angular guitar work that sounds like it could easily be from a WIRE recording, combined with the song structures of FUGAZI. Elements of shoegaze and jazz filter through occasionally, allowing for shifts in tempo and weight. “Demonize” drifts from angst-driven post-hardcore to gloomy post-punk and back again in short order. It’s these interesting and imperceptibly smooth shifts that make this album worth listening to—a song evolves in the time of a single snare hit.

Aspect Noir Chaos Reigns cassette

This cassette from Cintas Taciturnas is a re-release of Finnish band ASPECT NOIR’s full-length originally released as a 12″ by the band in 2021. This cassette contains all the darkwave post-punk that ASPECT NOIR epitomizes and is beautifully printed and packaged. If you like moody, gothic sounds that feel as icy as a grave, then you’ll want to check this out. This eight-song album captures melancholic emotions while maintaining a sense of dignity like a phoenix from the flames. Lina’s vocals are haunting as they sing lyrics with a clarity that makes it impossible to miss the themes. For me, “Mean Again” is a standout song, as the message is something we can all find relatable at times.

Nameless Creations Plague Party LP

NAMELESS CREATIONS out of Warsaw, Poland recently emerged from their crypt after a four-year slumber to release the Plague Party album, and I couldn’t be happier. If you like CHRISTIAN DEATH, SHADOW PROJECT, or SEX GANG CHILDREN, then you’ll love this album. Macabre, gloomy, but rockin’ as hell, NAMELESS CREATIONS open this album with the title track “Plague Party” (there’s also a really well-produced video for the song), and continue the goth rock party for another nine songs that meander in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style, but also kick in where it’s needed. This is one of those albums that you’ll drop the needle on and soon find yourself wanting to listen to on repeat. Light some candles, put on your fancy black clothing, and dance along under the moonlight for best results.

Shrinkwrap Killers Feed the Clones, Pt. 1 LP

If you like the SPITS, then you’ll love SHRINKWRAP KILLERS. They play that brand of synth punk that uses electronic sounds as weapons of annoyance while heaping as much punk into the equation as possible. Conspiracy theory themes mix with the aural experience to shed light on real contemporary issues, albeit with a dystopian sci-fi slant. Imagine all of the most evil fictions becoming real—well, welcome to Planet Earth 2023, because it’s all playing out on our pocket computers and in the streets, and it’s this context that SHRINKWRAP KILLERS uses for artistic inspiration. Scorching guitars and chugging bass intertwine with the electro-noise to form an intimidating but witty production that is entertaining like a slasher movie, fun like a car crash, and hanting like an amusement park after dark. “Darwin Daycare” (a song about feral children surviving in a violent environment) is a prime example of the dark sense of humor that pervades this recording. If H.P. Lovecraft wrote punk songs, they’d probably sound a lot like this.

Children of Sorrow Another Indestructible Dirty Sound LP

Melbourne band CHILDREN OF SORROW existed for a short time during the mid-’80s and played moody hardcore anarcho-punk that bites similar to T.S.O.L. Thundering bass that struts and slams comes from a double layer of bass and fretless bass (that’s right, there’s no six-string guitar jangle in here), while vocalist David “Ossie” Eldridge unleashes a vocal assault that ranges from a Jack Grisham-sounding delivery to all-out hardcore mayhem. Songs shift from mid-tempo to lightspeed in the time it takes to blink. This 12″ is packaged with a lyric sheet and a four-page zine documenting the band’s history that includes photos and gig flyers. The thunderous bass and drum work is perfect for Neanderthal pacing, but when the speedy sections hit, you’ll need to be prepared for crashing into everything around you. Needless to say, this is a brilliant document of a lesser-known band that is worthy of a longstanding position in everyone’s collection!

Vulpess Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra / Inkisición 7″ reissue

VULPES or VULPESS (the second “S” added as a “fuck you” to the attorney general of Spain) were a very short-lived, all-femme punk band from the Basque region in the early ’80ss. Deliberately offensive, tongue-in-cheek chaos antics accelerated the band into the Spanish spotlight, only to find themselves quickly shot down with criticisms from various non-progressive factions. These two tracks are recordings of the band made after a television performance found the band embroiled in controversy. Originally 12,000 copies were sold, but until recently it has remained a rare recording. “Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra” is a snarky cover of  the STOOGES’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” with a sort of feminist twist on the lyrics and better musical arrangement (fuck those stupid sleigh bells!). “Inkisición” would later be re-recorded by the band in the early ’00s following the death of drummer Guadalupe Vázquez in 1993. Both tracks find buzzsaw guitars backing an energetic lyrical delivery and aggressive rhythm work. The vocal squeal on “Inkisición” sounds like tires burning out on a hotrod, and the frenetic musicianship throughout makes this 7″ addicting. The repress by Munster Records is beautifully packaged with a host of extras, making this recording well worth the small amount of coin it costs to buy. If you’re into punk oscura, then you’ll definitely want to escuchar.

Plot The Revenge LP

Philadelphia three-piece PLOT have just released The Revenge, their first full-length recording on MPLS Ltd. This six-track album kicks off with “I Have Your Slattern,” which is a tempo-shifting appetizer to the rest of the album, followed by “Peccadilloes,” an acoustic palate-cleanser of sorts that makes way for the meal of the album. “Bobbit Worm” features howling vocals over clipped and distorted instruments, and just when you think you’ve figured out PLOT, they throw down the darkened noise rock of “Eye Decay.” The gothic bend continues through the plodding, synth-heavy “Walk the Plank,” which decays into the dirty, bass-heavy “Slush Fund.” This album is an engrossing journey through unexpected directions which will leave you wanting more.

Trenchraid War Mentality cassette

TRENCHRAID is a Motör-charged D-beat band from the left coast of Canada who have just released their first full-length cassette. Twelve songs that pummel the skull with hardline lyrics about ecological disasters, the horrors of war, and endless suffering pull no punches as they come in a quick barrage. Having previously reviewed their four-song demo cassette last year, I can say with absolute certainty that this crew has grown into their aggro sound and fully refined their thematic devices. If you’re like a lot of the punk community and waking up day after day with ever growing rage, then you’ll find a comfortable home in this album. “Is This the End?” and “(Position of) Fuck You” are standout tracks for me, as they contain the highest level of F.O.A.D. mentality. Get this in you, and your indignation will feel fully justified.

Johnny Notebook & the 28th Century Mates Johnny Notebook & the 28th Century Mates LP

I’m a fan of punked-out synth rock, and JOHNNY NOTEBOOK & THE 28th CENTURY MATES epitomize the beeps and boops I crave. With head nods to DEVO, 8-bit sounds, and new wave, these Hamburg androids have created an album that keeps me bopping. Futuristic themes merge with retro sounds to create an album that has descended from another dimension of space and time. “Rate Me Rate Me” is incredibly danceable while exploring contemporary society’s fascination with clout, while “Dancefloor Queen” features a tight guitar solo and catchy hook. If you like electro-punk and all-night dance parties, then you have absolutely got to give this a go!

Pleaser Pleaser LP

Pleaser is the first full-length from these Danish punks, and it rocks. Included on the album is their previously released demo and single material, plus a lot of fresh tunes. Loud, quick songs that feature ripping guitar solos, thunderous drums, and passionate vocals may just hex you with their slight pop bite. “Light and Fire” is a B-side rocker that is sure to get you revved-up in short order. Only two tracks clock in over three minutes long (most are well below the two-minute mark), so you know PLEASER isn’t messing around when it comes to concise delivery. The closer “This is How I Die” reminds me of ARCTIC FLOWERS, and I’m here for it!

Advertisement Escorts LP

The second full-length by ADVERTISEMENT is a straight-up rock’n’roll album. Channeling glam rock, TELEVISION, ROXY MUSIC, and other ’70s guitar-driven sounds into a twisting knot of contemporary tunes, ADVERTISEMENT blends Escorts into an album that is easy for listening while maintaining a danceable nod. Your hips are guaranteed to start swinging when the rhythm of “Where is My Baby?” kicks in. Listening, you may find yourself laying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, with all your focus on the density of tonal content, all while allowing the dark, surreal, yet comedic lyrics to sweep through your synapses.

Alicja-Pop I’m Here I’m There / Not Gonna Be Dumb 7″

Guitarist and vocalist Alicja Trout has played with such luminaries as JAY REATARD, the CC RIDERS, and DESTRUCTION UNIT, and also still leads the RIVER CITY TANLINES. Needless to say, ALICJA is full of rock’n’roll chops. ALICJA-POP finds her leading a group of studio musicians on this two-track 45. “I’m Here I’m There” is a rock dreamscape with driving rhythms and jangly guitars setting the tone for ALICJA’s sugary sweet vocal delivery, while “Not Gonna Be Dumb” finds a more angular guitar tone backing and even more syrupy vocalizations. There is a PATTI SMITH vibe hidden in these two tracks, as well as some psych-rock reminiscent of the band WOODS. If you’re a fan of lo-fi pop with a garage rock feel, then definitely check this out.

Rot//Woven No Hope For a Better Past LP

Fiadh Productions has released a slew of gorgeously produced cassettes and records this year, and No Hope For a Better Past by ROT//WOVEN is among them. ROT//WOVEN plays crusty anarcho-punk with a healthy addition of melodic hardcore punk in the mix, creating an impassioned sound of indignation. Vocals range from all-out raging screams to a more traditional gravely punk delivery, with lyrical content including topics like abortion and women’s rights, human and animal liberation, and a big middle finger to the pigs. Sonically, ROT//WOVEN is a three-piece with fuzz-maxed guitar grinding, chunky bass riffs, and speedy drum breaks. “Sinking” is a ripper of a song that invites a more melancholic tone to the band and is reminiscent of CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE but with a predilection towards riffing. In all, a highly enjoyable first full-length from these Oregon punks!

Mononegatives Crossing Visual Field LP

This album is great! Speed-fed, first-gen-styled punk that is noisy, fast, and catchy. Imagine an even more caffeinated TOY DOLLS with the amps turned all the way up. Or maybe it sounds like A FRAMES with more tonal variations. Perhaps this is SPITS-worship, but without any schtick. Any way it gets chopped up, Crossing Visual Field is an absolute must-have in my collection.

Wet Specimens Over Pale Bodies LP

If you’ve spent any time on social media in the past couple of months, then you’ll know WET SPECIMENS have released this LP. However, if you spend most of your time in a cave or a catacomb, then you may be unfamiliar with this release, so let me give you a brief description. Brutally loud hardcore, complete with screaming guitars and bashing beats, combines with deathrock to form the WET SPECIMENS sound. Like if INTEGRITY decided to fight CHRISTIAN DEATH in a pit and the last standing members shook hands and formed a band. Over Pale Bodies represents several years worth of playing and recording, and is a complete artifact ready for rotation on your turntable.

Eastern Syndrome Brain Driller cassette

EASTERN SYNDROME, out of Berlin, Germany, features members of KOBRA and SUBSTITUTE. Their first release, this five-song cassette, is a heavy dose of darkened anarcho-punk that explores a wide spectrum of noise. From bopping post-punk riffs to wall-of-noise wailing, there’s a little taste of everything. The closing song “War Victims” arranges familiar sounds, tones, and rhythms into a rocking delivery that is unique and addicting.

S.G.A.T.V. S.G.A.T.V. LP

Synth-driven new wave and dirty punk rock combine to form a sound that skips the day-glo and instead fuels itself on frustration. After spending the past few years creating in Switzerland, S.G.A.T.V. has finally released a full-length LP, and it goes hard. From the opening track “Never Trust the Rich” to the closer “The Twilight of Infinite Loneliness,” you’re in for a fun trip exploring the depth of sole creative Severin Beerli’s feelings about the contemporary world. If the BOOMTOWN RATS mated with the EPOXIES, the progeny might come out sounding something like this.

Electrolytes Ultralyte cassette

Garage pop with big riff energy fuses with punk rock delivery in the chemical slurry that is ELECTROLYTES. Unpredictable musical twists and turns make this a very entertaining and interesting listen. Sugary-sweet synthesizer lines decay into aggressive guitar blasts, and all the while, ’60s-style crooning attempts to keep everything in order. There’s a no wave influence running through this cassette that is hard to miss, from the LYDIA LUNCH-esque vocal delivery to the occasional repetitious guitar bangs and noisome stabs.

Hope? Your Perception is Not My Reality EP

The hotly anticipated follow-up to 2021’s Dead and Gone cassette is finally here, and it fucking rips! Four tracks packed with even more crucial lyrics—Manda pushes the vocal limit beyond the brink, while the band plays an even tighter and heavier version of their D-beat-styled hardcore crust. Desperation and urgency are the strong emotional undercurrents that will pull you under immediately and get you slamming in short order. Opening with a brutal, beat-heavy treatise on gender politics, “The Patriarchy Must Be Destroyed” could be a standalone song, but there’s a lot more here. It’s followed by “Obey,” a warp-speed reminder of how fucked planet Earth really is. The B-side opens with “Take Back the Night,” a rocking tribute to punk life and a simultaneous decree of action. “Retrograde” closes out the disc with Kalvin throwing in just a pinch of psychedelic guitar that makes me want to listen all over again. If you liked the Dead and Gone cassette, then you’re going to love this 7”.

Manacles / Viimeinen Virhe split cassette

The MANACLES side of this split features four songs by the Lithuanian band that capture their hallmark sound, which is somewhere between raw punk and bass guitar-powered hardcore. The opposing side features five tracks by Finnish band VIIMEINEN VIRHE playing their style of D-beat hardcore. The split joins the two bands together like a perfect dystopian union: the similarities are there, but the unique differences of the bands is also highlighted. This might actually be one of my favorite splits in recent years, so give it a go!

 

Street Gloves Street Gloves cassette

Smashing drum machine beats combine with shredding guitars and equally shredded vocals to form an E-beat sound all its own. If you’re a fan of L.O.T.I.O.N. or SCUMPUTER, then you’re going to want to hear this. Pure punk indignation channeled through decaying wires and patch cables make this eight song tape an intense but enjoyable experience. Between the bashing, you’ll catch lyrics about animal and human liberation, destruction of the state, and a strong ACAB stance. If contemporary protests had a soundtrack, it might sound a lot like STREET GLOVES, so the next time you’re fighting the fascists, maybe pop this on.

Uzu Uzu LP

UZU draws its members from our global community, but calls Canada their homebase. Darkened punk fuses with lyrics sung in Arabic to create a sound that has an ancientness to it predating recorded history, as if UZU has been watching from the shadows for eons and has chosen now to deliver their message. Occult imagery blurs with contemporary struggles as the descent into the abyss accelerates. If your soul contains a dark patch, then you should definitely give this album a try.

Longings Dreams in Red LP

It’s been seven years since LONGINGS from Western Massachusetts have released material. Obviously, a bunch of shit has happened and the world is in a darker and more dire position, and all of this is very reflective in Dreams in Red. Opening with the raging, darkened post-punk of “Expensive Graves,” this album only builds into a level of aggression that begins to two-step a fine line between post-punk, hardcore, and post-hardcore. By the midpoint of the album, the squelching, squeals, and general noise level rips through desperately angry songs with earworm lyrical accuracy that will run endlessly in your mind for hours like mini protest chants. There’s a heaviness to this album that is only attained by staring into the decaying void of our present reality and refusing to descend further into it by shouting, screaming, and fighting.

Whisper Hiss Shake Me Awake cassette

Portland, Oregon, garage pop quartet WHISPER HISS recently released the Shake Me Awake cassette, their first proper full-length. Rocking similarly to DC band SLANT 6, and with familiar harmonies that recall sounds from BLONDIE and the EXPLODING HEARTS, it would be silly to not give this tape a try. Poppy as all get-out, Shake Me Awake slides around the rock spectrum with bits that surf and meld with fuzzy-toned edges. “Trouble in the Mansion” feels like a dystopian dream from the ’60s, then “Party Dress” kicks in with a sort of riot grrrl bend. In all, it’s a good time through and through.

Allusion Allusion demo cassette

This demo cassette from French punks ALLUSION features four viciously raw, D-beat-heavy hardcore punk tracks on the A-side, with even more abrasive versions of the same program on the B-side. It’s evident from the first thirty seconds of both sides where ALLUSION draws their aggression from. Be ready for pummeling drum breaks, distorted guitar leads, and barking vocals on whichever side you choose to play.

Fashion Change Smoking Kills flexi EP

To say “I like this three-track flexi” would be a total understatement, because I fucking love it! Effect pedals randomly turn on and off with harsh feedback, but it’s a welcomed addition to the whirlwind of hardcore fuckery that’s taking place on this disc. Chaotic, noisy, and pissed-off: Smoking Kills sounds like you allowed a crew of drunk, primordial beasts to play a basement show at your house, and now they’re using their instruments to tunnel out. Cathartic as fuck—we all have those days when this disc could be crucial sonic ammunition.

Astio Bocche Stanche 12″

Italian band ASTIO calls Trento (a city in the foothills of the Italian Alps) home, and they create haunting, riff-heavy punk that stomps and pogos. Bocche Stanche is a six-song 12” that would be a welcome addition to almost any record collection. ASTIO uses this release to give a tutorial on how to shred while also creating a groovy enough environment that the inclusion of saxophone is totally welcome! The vocal delivery has a raw but not overly abrasive quality, while the rhythm section is featured pretty forward in the mix and is the total heart of this groove machine.

Glittering Insects Glittering Insects LP

This album by Georgia psych-rockers GLITTERING INSECTS starts out with some jazzy guitar noise à la LIGHTNING BOLT, continues into something that sounds like early NIRVANA, and then goes full jazz with the addition of horns. This is all followed up with something that sounds like PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED. Around the midpoint of the album, a pair of driving rock tracks emerge with a heavy DISCHARGE flavor. As if all this wasn’t enough, there are dreamlike, shoegazing psych-rock moments interspersed throughout the album. “Obscure World After Death” is an absolute killer song. In all, this album is an eclectic collection of sounds that have a surprisingly smooth flow which you’ll be hesitant to interrupt.

Pandemix Love is Obliteration LP

For me, the all-angle, multi-vocal barrage is what keeps me listening to the latest release by PANDEMIX. With punk-as-fuck lyrics coming from every direction while the band smashes forward, it’s difficult to quit. “Pigs At the Trough” and “Scorched Earth Policy” are absolute bomb blasts of hardcore punk that’ll get you head-bobbing in swift order. A little more refined than previous releases, both in production and musicianship, Love is Obliteration still retains a healthy amount of hiss and noise.

The Domestics East Anglian Hardcore LP

The DOMESTICS put a brand stamp on their specific style of hardcore with this release, like putting the best elements of old and new school hardcore in a blender: fast, raw, and brutal. Guitar solos are often stripped to just a quick pick slide before the vocal attack returns. “Purchases” and “Falling Apart” are both killer songs with interesting structures and tidy musicianship. If you like hardcore, then I guarantee you’ll like this.

Nouveaux Nouveaux LP

If you’re desiring some melancholic, synth-driven post-punk, then maybe give Vancouver’s NOUVEAUX a spin. This full-length draws inspiration from a variety of musical spaces and mixes them into a haunting, brutalist approach to pop. Like a cold, grey monolith, each song builds a heavy foundation upon underground ’80s music scenes. You’ll soon find yourself wanting to vogue while you’re gently reminded of our bleak future.

Guardian Singles Feed Me to the Doves LP

Raucous alt-rock or witty, angst-driven post-punk are two of the pigeonholes I might jam the latest full-length by GUARDIAN SINGLES into, but either would be a square peg in a round hole scenario. The garage static and fuzz from previous releases is left behind in favor of articulate songwriting and big bop energy. Lyrically, this album navigates our contemporary universal struggles with poetic appeal. Sonically, this album drifts from backcountry rabble-rousers to soft, drifting, emotionally evocative ballads. With all its variation, articulate writing, and relatable material, this album is easy to keep on repeat.

Fully Evacuated Forget We Said This cassette

FULLY EVACUATED is a band from Southern California that explores the sounds of garage punk with a proclivity towards psych-rock and proto-punk. There are familiar elements that harken to bands like the VELVET UNDERGROUND, the CRAMPS, and even HICKEY. Songs start and end unexpectedly, and even jangly guitar solos are cut short, which creates a final presentation that uses the sounds from the past with little respect or regard. Kinda punk rock. “Haunted Beach” is a really sick surf track.

Zbombardowana Laleczka Jarocin ’85 LP

This album is a documentation of a gig played in Jarocin, Poland in 1985 by ZBOMBARDOWANA LALECZKA. Raw anarcho-punk merges into the hardcore lane without signaling, occasional psychedelic guitar fills a small gap in time, and you’ll find yourself bouncing to the primitive but tight rhythm section. The spirit of a “live” performance carries through on the recording and gives the songs a presence of a time and a place. At times it’s possible to hear the kick drum reverberate with the walls of the club as the crowd stomps and shouts along. ZBOMBARDOWANA LALECZKA created a style of punk that jams hard, unafraid to explore repetition, without getting too noodly, which makes for great background music or a full-on listening experience.

Paranoia Pain & Pleasure LP

The Pain & Pleasure LP by PARANOIA is a compilation of songs from cassette tapes that were originally only available directly from the band during the mid-’80s. PARANOIA plays a type of punk rock that is heavily influenced by goth and post-punk, and at times even explores the prog rock field. There are portions of this album that remind me of PENDRAGON or other prog bands that used fantasy-based fiction to create sonic environments. Looping riffs that seem to continue endlessly before exploring another, while vocals explore lyrics about swords, battles, and other medieval imagery.

Body Maintenance Beside You LP

It’s not often a post-punk band is able to find a groove and ride it to the precipice. BODY MAINTENANCE from the United Kingdom is able to find a groove quickly and jam their icy guitar work into the darker corners of rock with their danceable rhythm section. KILLING JOKE meets the SMITHS in a back alley rumble: cold, spacy, and full of hard-hitting twists.

Toxic Rites Toxic Rites demo cassette

TOXIC RITES have a sound based solidly in the anarcho-punk tradition with a similar delivery to CONFLICT or ACTIVE MINDS: straightforward punk rock with all the speed and aggression intact. Lyrically, TOXIC RITES uses logic-driven dialogues to progress ideas about social, economic, and environmental concerns. Check out the song “Modern Nightmare,” it rocks hard and is as honest a message as you’ll find these days.

Cierń The Emperor Rx LP

The Berlin punks of CIEŔN have discovered the secret to darkwave punk rock by featuring chunky, dirty bass guitar so far forward in the mix it creates an instant need to dance, while the vocals deliver real messages in whispers, shouts, and harmonies. The lead guitar occasionally drifts far into space but returns with a stabbing vengeance to highlight key lyrical moments. There are a lot of “influences” that I hear on this album and naming a few would belittle the wealth of it, so check it out and find out what you hear. I definitely recommend the song “Glass Houses.”

Inyeccion Vicio EP

Creeping, raw, and vicious is how I’d shortly describe INYECCION’s sound. Hailing from Chile and Argentina, these punks create a form of hardcore that is an absolute blast to listen to. Bashing drums, chaotic vocals, and grinding guitars are perfectly arranged to create a form of punk crudo that I want more of. This EP maintains a similar sound to INYECCION’s earlier demo, but with a tighter and more refined presentation. A collaborative release between Barcelonian label Discos Enfermos and Japanese label Record Shop A-Z, this EP is well worth adding to your collection as the packaging is a work of art on its own.

The Passengers Coming Down / What Lasts Forever 7″

This lathe-cut 7″ is the latest single from San Diego’s the PASSENGERS. The tracks sound like a continuation of their 2021 full-length Under the Cruel Light: emotionally charged, synth-heavy goth rock with catchy, deep-end crooning. The two songs offered on this record are much the same, with layers of synth playfully dancing with drifting and distorted guitars. The baritone bass vocals are featured right in front and help to balance the tonal range. Both tracks are totally danceable, and either would make a great addition to your favorite gothic playlist.

The Dark Dressing the Corpse LP

The songs on this album were recorded by Cleveland punks the DARK in 1984. If you like T.S.O.L. circa “Code Blue” or early MISFITS, then you should absolutely listen to this album. The riff-heavy, freakout-style hardcore blends seamlessly with the deathrock atmosphere and creates a haunting realm similar to partying in a cemetery after dark.

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.