Reviews

Viktor Vargyai

Skalp Mai Domi cassette

A new band from Milan, of the Sentiero Futuro Autoproduzioni collective and Sistema Mortal tape label scene. SKALP plays plain, simple hardcore, with plenty of dirt, distortion, and guitar screams. When it comes to such rudimental songwriting, all focus shifts to the flow of the music and how it sounds. They have that extra energy which functions as a definite presence, lifting this demo to be easily enjoyable because it is eventful. Occasionally sounding D-beat-ish, it’s fast-paced hardcore with reduced but entertaining (and recognizable) riffs which are better when they become hectic. Grunting, well-placed vocals sounding very mean and aggro, yet the anger is directed and frustrated not mindless.The last three songs are live recordings, and in quality they do not differ radically from studio recordings, creating an instant desire to want to see them live. Sung in Italian, the music is rather reminiscent of Scandinavian brutality or British primitivism, while the guitars do venture around the tape, although never too wildly. It’s dirty, attacking hardcore, with D-beat energy. Hope this is just the beginning because I want to hear more. Many people are able to quickly put together great demos or 7”s, so did SKALP. I wish for more.

Public Acid Deadly Struggle LP

PUBLIC ACID self-released a demo, a flexi, and even a mini-LP prior to their recent 7” which came out at Beach Impediment. Condemnation was so good—paired with their crushing live sets, it gave them momentum. Then La Vida Es Un Mus re-released their 12” four years after it initially came out, because it was so good that it needed another chance to reach attention. This proves that good music does not disappear; it might need some time for recognition, but it is worth sticking around (and self-releasing does not diminish the quality of your records). After Condemnation, they recruited a second guitar player, which triggered anticipation for a record to come out. It has arrived, and it destroys. It’s great because its energy and constant urgency elevate the record, even when they go into palm-muted death metal riffing territory. Do not worry! It’s chaotic and heavy, as a hardcore sort of meta, but it’s rather the extra feature of the record which is an ultra-tight, totally blasting riff overdose. Both the tempo and the wall-of-sound effect recalls ANTI-CIMEX but double the speed, amount, and density of those riffs, with tons of sweet distorted and screaming licks. Not in style but in the overwhelming energy of the record’s sound, they recall KRIEGSH​Ö​G’s LP or IMPALERS’ Cellar Dweller. No mercy, just a constant buzzing stream of hardcore. They are clever with stops and twists, it’s not gimmicky and maintains the intensity. The sound is huge, everything can be heard but all the layers together give a great chaos. This chaos is a mix of meticulous songwriting that mirrors the love of hardcore, the obsession with noise and sick riffs, and playing as fucking hard as you can, and when you think something is brutal, then pushing it a bit further to be even more brutal. It’s one of those records that makes me want to run down to rehearsal—while I am excited to do my own thing, I can listen to this because this is for the listeners. I wish the members of PUBLIC ACID could enjoy this just as much as I do, because I’m sure it’s entertaining to perform these songs, but it’s so much fun to hear them, too. The cover looks like this was a bootleg of a basement demo death metal or powerviolence band, but the music transforms it, because it’s such an amazing record. 

Vole Slibuji Za Všechny LP

VOLE has been around for a while now, constantly writing and putting out music, touring and booking shows for other bands, forming their sound and scene. A classic hard-working group who seem to enjoy all their invested efforts. They keep Prague on the map, and themselves on the road. Their new record is wild and strange, while deeply rooted in hardcore/punk: it’s aggressive, vicious, and has primitive, pumping hardcore in the middle of it all. But it also includes various different sounds and approaches that are less typical, although worked into a coherent unit, avoiding a messy hodgepodge. The record sounds big, groovy, and unshakably massive, and this largeness bears the newly introduced melodies and rather rock-ish riffs that are gloomier than before. Wrapped into intensity, nothing sounds unusually out of place—the flow of the record takes me away, and I have to rationally shake and distance myself to think about whether I like certain parts, in general and out of context. The answer would be, in many cases, “no,” yet VOLE was clever enough to craft such a forward-thinking record with multiple layers that still sounds, above all, like a banging punk record. Because it’s anchored well to the attributes of hardcore, the solid base lets them explore and incorporate without sacrificing the core sound. So it’s a fun, genre-bending record that balances well between tradition and innovation. It kicks you in the face and then sings to you: “la la la.”

Acaustix / Ready Armed System Military Grade, Vol. 1 split LP

Military Grade is a split series that aims to pair the best of the best in modern extreme music on 12’’ of wax. It’s curated by Roachleg, who vehemently stirred up the contemporary punk/hardcore scene by putting out dozens of interesting new bands from all over the world, as happened in case of READY ARMED SYSTEM and ACAUSTIX, whose demo tapes were released by this label. READY ARMED SYSTEM (R.A.S.) plays less distorted but totally frantic hardcore that’s clever rather than chaotic while getting super angry. They play ultra-fast, although their dynamism is varied with stops and changes creating powerviolence-ish vibes while their rather wild punk music is all over the place and never slows down. ACAUSTIX plays in a more established sound, loud and noisy D-beat, low growling vocals, doomsday preacher-style lyrics. Such music depends on the energy and sound, where ACAUSTIX manages to create the full speed without any breaks, blasting spirits with enough dirt. It works well, even if the frames are well known. So what? They sound to be fans of this type of music they have mastered playing. R.A.S. in this matter is more inventive, which comes with a strangeness that needs more attention. Both bands are great and this is a solid record, a great start for a hopefully long-term series. The cover looks great, recalling naive art of early hardcore records, bad but still good. Good stuff. 

Yakuza極​道 Yakuza極​道 LP

YAKUZA極道 is a fairly new band from Greece, with members who are involved in multiple other bands and have the sheer intent to play D-beat/raw punk. They succeed putting together a record with blasting D-beat songs that meet all the expectations from the genre, although nothing more. So I guess it is entertaining for them because they wanted to do something that they are able to, and those who always seek for new bands above a certain quality could be happy, too. Without this background info, you too would hear that this is an honest work from fans of the genre that respects all the borders and boundaries of the style. From our perspective, taking the time to write about records and culture, it could be a fair question: why bother? But one of the layers of punk is inclusivity and functioning as a hobby, so if someone wants to play in a sort of uniformed way of a very specific sound, I guess it should at least be respected. Also, this is the worst I can say about this record, since it has been put together well, sounds cool, and the songs are rather close-to-great good than anything else. It’s distorted and manic, but you can hear all the riffs and instruments distinguished from each other, with the atmosphere reminiscent of battlefield desperation. All in place, except nothing sticks out, and that is what makes good things great. Only a tiny part is lacking, but I miss it a lot. Still, if they tour close to you, book them or go see them (they are probably great live), and if you like buying records, this is a safe pick. If you are picky, this record will not hurt nor impress you too much, yet it has all the features to affect you, so maybe it’s about timing and mood.

Ydinaseeton Pohjola Enää Meille Ei Riitä Kuolema cassette

Buzzing, frantics riffs with Burning Spirits-like melodies blasted onto tight, fast-paced drumming. The record bursts as suddenly as this review, it’s right on. There is no bullshit or lead-up. The singer screams in desperate horror balanced with tired disgust. The record maintains a constant push. It’s dirty, distorted into a mush, and urgent—so it sounds real. So far, so good. My excitement only lowers when I start to pay attention to the songs and then find myself left behind by the record’s busting energy. Even if loud and distorted, the rather mid-tempo, rocking tracks at the middle of the album start to lack the chaotic, absurd mess. It is still hardcore, a solid take, but as the songs lay back, the noise cannot cover the drop in energy. Sliced up to couple 7”s, this might work better, because either the tricks to keep things varied within a massive work are not as effective, or the sound is too homogenous to remain entertaining throughout the whole record. It does not mean the record lacks any potential, although I have to play along with them and hype myself to really enjoy it, instead the other way around when I feel that the record attracts me to its own madness. Still, it’s great that such long-existing bands are putting out full-length albums, and the quality of this release is way above the average. Maybe I have a blind spot for them because there is nothing they should do differently. I hear the dedication and craft, but even after dozens of listening sessions, I still feel my excitement is not shaken. Maybe my expectations were too high? If you are into the style that is discussed here, do yourself a favor and check them out, and I hope you will love it. The cover art is beautiful.

Güiña ¿Qué Justicia? EP

Punk works best when it’s an overwhelming form of self-expression that feels like a sonic explosion even if it’s a tamed, slightly melodic sound at a moderate tempo. It happens on a razor-thin territory when it has to remain true to the core although it needs to lean beyond a bit to become unique and interesting. How ¿Qué Justicia? starts reminds me of the ’90s, when the sound of hardcore/punk got tamed as it entered a dead-end street of better sound quality and melodies. The main motive of the opening track is a silly, hum-like note that is too rounded to scratch, therefore the overwhelming effect of the song is missed. Meanwhile, everything is in place: angry vocals, dead simple song structures, and a good elan. The B-side of this short EP works much better. The tempo turns up and the music becomes more clumsy. The unpolished rage leaks into those songs more effectively, and then it sounds as if they want to perform their angst instead of songs. The interesting contrast is that the B-side demonstrates perfectly what is missing from the A-side, which makes the record itself exciting. Even if punk sounds super visceral, from messing around on your guitar to releasing records, a band has to make dozens of decisions and contemplating these decisions could be as entertaining as shaking your fist at a dirty venue. The reason behind the contrast of this record keeps my thoughts busy. It is convincingly suggested that GÜIÑA has a point to make through their music. Maybe this is why some of the songs have the sloppiness of pogo punk, because the focus is elsewhere. Such records completely lack the ambition to be something big within the global hardcore scene, while simultaneously carrying the ambition of destroying the existing world order. It’s a double “fuck you” that deserves recognition. I will not blast this 7” whenever I can, but the core idea of our beloved subculture is to have many more bands like GÜIÑA. The artwork looks great, and the 7” comes with an equally beautiful insert and lyric sheet.

Socio La Defekta Promo 2023 cassette

As the title suggests, this is a promo tape that follows their Beach Impediment 7”. Surely the recording quality is more relaxed, almost rehearsal room-style, but this appears in the mixing and rawness of the sound that lacks the robustness of modern studios. It’s not sloppy, although it sounds a bit framelike as the fulfilling power is missing, which could be fun because it shows the sonic backbone of their songs in an unfiltered way (although this makes the tape interesting rather than incredible). Yet this is a daring move, since the focus here is on the quality of the songwriting rather than studio nuances. SOCIO LA DIFEKTA plays hardcore, the international kind. They mix Swedish-sounding D-beat songs with the part weird, part raging chaos of Italian and Spanish hardcore. As a cultural wink, they covered JEZUS AND THE GOSPELFUCKERS. It’s experimenting, a lot of clever action goes on within the song structures, never to the loss of energy, there is a constant rage, and the rawness of the recording makes it more natural.

Autodestrucción Demo 1988 EP

It’s another demo tape pressed to 7” by the Esos Malditos Punks label, showing a good part of the Mexican hardcore scene that was wild and unique during the late ’80s and early ’90s. AUTODESTRUCCIÓN is another super-tight band. It comes across great because they are raging, with fast-paced, slamming hardcore songs that are furious as hell. Old tape noise gives us what mostly just multiple pedals and editing can accomplish now, but here it is in its rudimentary form. Slight melody creeps in here and there, but it still is an attack tape. The momentum of the tracks does not let me judge the riffs or song structure, but this is a hardcore tape from Mexico 1988, not a painting in a bullshit museum where you are hissed down immediately if you make any noise. This is the loud reality of local craziness. Most of the songs are pretty short, and the longer jams sound very menacing and have the opportunity to transform from a tense mid-tempo to a really hammering rush. When the disco beat came in for a second, they totally got me. If you are interested in early international hardcore where scenes had their own unique sound and bands were forming and not following the borders of hardcore, then this is a great release for you.

Tiikeri Punk Rock Pamaus​!​!​! LP

“Let’s punk!” says TIIKERI right at the beginning of their full-length record. They play rudimental but very melodic punk rock—not even distorted guitars, at a moderate tempo and with rather entertaining vocals. It’s not the punk mostly I listen to, but this is very punk punk punk. They are from Finland and sing in Finnish, and the language pairs incredibly well with this sort of stripped-down music; it gives a strange aura to the songs. Their music is much more international visceral rock’n’roll that has a lot of power even when it’s not blasting on level eleven. This could be great mixtape music. The simplicity and gimmickless image makes them otherworldly, timeless, and unjudgeable. Therefore, even if you are not that familiar with this subgenre, you can be entertained by this record. Most likely it’s the type of music that has to click with you to really, really like it, but its quality is clear even on the first listen. If you like dumbed-down but super melodic music that is driven by rock’n’roll essence yet it’s punk in a universal and textbook way, then TIIKERI is your band.

Abuso Demo 1988 EP

I absolutely love it, but self-reflection indicates it might be the peak of human consumerism to press old hardcore demos to vinyl. I love this era of Mexican punk; many great recordings were made there between 1988 and 1990. One common thing was that almost all of the bands had super tight, dense, almost robotic constant beats and hecticly played back-and-forth riffs. ABUSO fits into this mold, yet their anger makes them unique and it makes me appreciate their scene. This does not mean you will hear anything you cannot imagine or have not heard before. But it’s honest, entertaining hardcore that makes you feel like you’re in a rehearsal room with the band. Despite how adolescent it sounds, the vibe of the record still carries importance. Due to recording and equipment quality, the demo (probably) sounds rougher than they might have wanted it, but it provides a great mask for the slower, plain parts of the record. Nothing revolutionary here, but it’s a great addition to the already impressive history of Mexican punk.

P.S.Y.W.A.R. Defcon EP

Posthumous release of a (probably) short-lived band, with a strict military image. It’s a quick, five-song 7” of aggressive, heavy hardcore. The primary character of the record comes from it going into the red zone with overdriven mixing, which pairs well with their unstoppable nature, and this in-your-face wall of noise is pretty overwhelming. Nothing mid-tempo, no bridges, no complications, just head straight into the wall, hitting a crack and going through it. Might sound easy, although it’s hard to really shine from the mass of such bands. While the record sizzles from the aforementioned overdrive, the mixing makes a distinction between each instrument, and the clever, galloping riffs can be heard when they act as stabbing knives. The military image supports the idea that this is a sonic presentation of a blitzkrieg. It’s systematic and merciless. Maybe a bit too conceptual if you spend enough time with the non-sonic aesthetics of the record, but beyond those forms, the content is still rock solid. If you like full-frontal USHC with heaps of distortion, you will be satisfied with Defcon. Not sure how it will age due to the modernist sound, but currently, this is a very intense record.

Beyond the Pale Pain EP

Hard to find another genre other than powerviolence that is actually pretty good but has a rather weird reputation. BEYOND THE PALE is not your typical stop-and-go, few words, blastbeat, cool riffs and then it’s over band, but this six-minute EP has eleven songs with only one above a minute, and they do mess up their sick riffs with meticulously calculated song structures which still remain super violent and catchy. INFEST and CROSSED OUT are summoned, and like those bands, this record also has a solid foot in the hardcore field. If you are a fan of  the sub-genre any bit, then most likely you will dig this record, and if you are not already, then this could be a great gateway. It’s well-constructed and performed. Maybe the only difference is that they come from a fan perspective, which makes the band a bit meta, but that is the fate of all genres that have existed long enough to create such institutions. Also, I will not blame anybody for not being meth-heads or mentally unstable. In that sense, even if we would distance BEYOND THE PALE from powerviolence, this would be a very good hardcore record with unusual twists and turns. I listened to it ten times already and liked it more with each spin.

Lame Dejad Que Vengan 12″

LAME is made up of members of GLAM/BARCELONA, ORDEN MUNDIAL/BARRERA, and MORREADORAS. Currently, it is an international project between Berlin/Mallorca/London. I am a huge fan of the era of Iberian hardcore the members’ former bands are from, so I was really excited to check out LAME. Six (plus an introduction) short songs of energetic, bouncy hardcore with enough clever oddity to make them unique. The guitars operate with simple and punchy riffs that tend to turn into chaotic shredding or venture away from back-and-forth power chords, while the rhythm section makes sudden changes or stops to spice the already effective songs. The vocals are in Spanish and done in a determined spoken/yelling voice that has as much anger as shouting, yet it’s more commanding and strict. The songs are mostly mid-tempo, but the clash of energy and fragmented rhythms create an eventful mix. I like this release, but compared to the members’ previous bands, it’s less head-spinning because it is different. Still has a lot of originality and is a great addition to the history of Iberian hardcore.

Abism Abism LP

Before I get lost in excited rambling, here’s a conclusion right at the beginning: this is a great LP. Listen to and get it somehow, anyhow. ABISM put out a rehearsal tape in 2021 and went straight into writing a debut full-length. This is a rare, and therefore respectable move. Crafting an LP is a real test for a band, and ABISM easily passes. They consist of members of previously acclaimed bands such as CRAZY SPIRIT/DAWN OF HUMANS, SALVAJE PUNK/100%, IVY/NUTS zine, and GARRAPATA. Another gem from the scene of a dozen people making three dozen amazing bands, released by Toxic State, who document this sub-scene—documenting how your friends create a scene is pretty much a major point of contemporary punk. There is a slight chance that your songs might not abolish the current existing order of the world, so you should rather save yourself, your community, or at least the music you make. In that sense, ABISM is a perfect result. Nothing on this record sounds as if you could not play it. But they are playing it, not you, and the whole flow and energy of the record is so effortless and flawless. There are no riffs you wish you could come up with, but hearing these super sick riffs inspires you to get down to the rehearsal room and blast such primitive jams at high volume. The intensity is maintained even with the longer tracks that fill half of the record. “Hypnotic,” as they state, and it works; it remains raw hardcore and has odd vibes even without unleashed chaos. The mixing sounds great, and while the music has a lot of space due to the hypnotic/repetitive and not too complicated parts, there is a buzz that offers an easy connection to the band’s energy. The vocals bind the record together in a great way, leaving a lot of space for the music while maintaining an angry presence. I loved the GARRAPATA demo, so it’s nice to hear the same voice here. Regardless of any reference, ABISM sounds unique in a way that they are not uncategorizable, but could be matched to the essence of many different genres. It’s tight, aggressive, and raw, but has no challenging or alienating element—maybe I am misunderstanding the world around me, but this should excite all punks and hardcore heads who are not afraid of dirt and mesmerizing simplicity. Maybe even your krautrock-loving acquaintances would dig this. It’s been on constant repeat since the first time I heard it, and it’s not only great music, but makes me appreciate punk, too. I want to go to the rehearsal room and jam, and you should do it too, but first check out this record for a little motivation. Oh, and the cover looks great. 

Miss España Niebla Mental LP

I have a soft spot for bands with female vocals, that are bass-heavy, danceable, and bouncy but at their core still aggressive punk music, that are fun but simultaneously say “fuck you” to the world, especially bands from the turn of the ’00s and ’10s. MISS ESPAÑA reminds me of that era, from WETDOG to XYX. The bass/synth/drums trio keeps a constant groove that is as danceable as no wave mutant disco, although with a gloomy atmosphere—aggressively hitting beats are all over the record like clouds above a doomed party. The whole album is really tight, with clever songwriting that makes melancholy bouncy. Another scene that comes to my mind is Swiss post-punk, with the obvious melodies of CHIN CHIN and the KICK along with the rough fun of GLUEAMS. So many references, but MISS ESPAÑA does stand out from the masses (I rarely hear such music, at least). Great record.

Asinin Asinin demo cassette

Right from the start, this Norwegian band unleashes a torrent of overwhelming hardcore, fueled by relentless energy that leaves the vocalist gasping for breath as he races to keep up with the escalating chaos. Most tracks barely exceed one minute in length, and the mixing is impeccably executed, ensuring the listener’s unwavering attention. The guitars offer a captivating dynamic, featuring sharp tones rather than harsh ones, filled with intricate riffing and a willingness to explore melancholic melodies. The breakneck pace, driven by the manic drums, leaves no room for boredom or distraction. As a band, they sound exceptional, although their sound leans towards a modern and somewhat unrooted style. A banger.

Spirito Di Lupo Vedo La Tua Faccia Nei Giorni Di Pioggia LP

Although I know very little about the actual overall activities of the Occult Punk Gang and Sentiero Futuro Autoproduzioni, these Milan-based collectives have been busy and consistent in recent years, putting their scene on the map and making great hardcore/punk records. Italy has a legacy in hardcore, but after the legendary bands burned out and faded away, for distant foreigners like myself, it seemed that the country’s punk scene sort of lost its vitality. However, these aforementioned collectives rekindled my excitement. The SPIRITO DI LUPO LP is another great gem. It remains close to the artifacts of radical punk; they mix the different elements tastefully. The guitars resonate with post-punk-esque, chorus-pedal-infused sharp tones, while the rhythmic flow maintains a sense of urgency akin to hardcore. The male/female vocal duo delivers an anarcho/peace punk spoken-singing style, their voices loud enough to emphasize their significance, reminiscent of acts like SOGLIA DEL DOLORE or BEDBOYS, yet the riffs are more dynamic and include clever flicks other than being a wall of sound. The album’s eclectic fusion of ideas lends it a massive sound, oscillating between tradition and innovation, already imparting a timeless quality. A great, complex record that also looks great, including two fold-out posters as lyrics sheets, both in the original Italian and an English translation.

Ideal Victim Diary of a Pig cassette

IDEAL VICTIM from Porto, Portugal plays dynamic, rudimental-beat hardcore with floaty, chorus-heavy guitars and an agitator vocalist. The latter—singing in English and against patriarchy—is really pissed-off, and makes the whole sound a lot more aggressive than it actually is. The co-star of the demo is the guitar that creates an all-over atmosphere while playing a lot, lending winding riffs from post-punk, holding out chords, and occasionally being surfy while remaining within the field of hardcore. The contrast between the directness of the vocals and the cleverness of guitars makes them distinguishable. The recording sounds polished while maintaining angst, but it’s a rather modern sound. This is a solid tape that clearly displays a lot of IDEAL VICTIM’s potential.

Global Despair / Victor Charlie Fuck Qazaq Indie / 20000 split cassette

The bands on this tape are from Kazakhstan, and they are great. It’s two recordings from 2022 and 2023 put on a tape by No Name distro from Ukraine. GLOBAL DESPAIR plays loud and noisy hardcore that has hints of industrial and D-beat, although these are references rather than clueless genre worship. The sound of their recording is filled with mechanical noise played in an echoey cave. I love how the guitar sound turns each riff into a buzzing pulp, and the drumming is not that far from a hammer accurately hitting my brain. It’s a great recording with a non-stop momentum that pushes me through the great noise mist. The lyrics mostly reflect on scene intrigues, which is the only bummer about this release—otherwise, it is great material. VICTOR CHARLIE is a solo project of one of the members from GLOBAL DESPAIR, defined as middle-Asian Burning Spirits hardcore against Russian imperialism. Compared to the other side of the split, it is a much more melodic and less distorted bunch of songs. In general, Burning Spirits is way too epic and melodic for me, and these songs will not change my opinion. The lengthy songs give a lot of room for all the usual elements, especially large-arched solos. They also remind me a bit of MÖTÖRHEAD, although it’s more nasty and less rock’n’roll-ish. The unpolished nature of the recording keeps it interesting though, even for such picky assholes as myself, but VICTOR CHARLIE comes in second on this split. To balance it, their lyrics are heavily political, reflecting on the Russian government’s war criminal tendencies. Even in spite of the uneven strength of the split, this is a truly great release, and hardcore is best when international.

Enzyme Golden Dystopian Age 12″

ENZYME is back with a second full-length album. It is a massive work that is rooted in noise punk, but aims to broaden the soundscape of the genre. Some might treat noise as a one-shot gimmick, but in reality, it’s a rather versatile element found in so much music. ENZYME built songs as they are aware of this, and listened to enough different records to understand how cacophony could be used interestingly. Traditionally, they left the bass almost undistorted, loud and clear so it can drive the songs and lay down the fundamental rhythm. Above that, the guitars go wild, hissing alien sounds, future riffs for demented minds. Electronic influences appear here and there, but if you’ve dug deep enough into the EXIT HIPPIES discography, then you will not hear anything unfamiliar. Yet these unusual influences are adapted in a tasteful way—instead of showcasing bizarre ideas, you get ENZYME’s crafted individual sound, although this originality creates its own dimension which holds back the record from being an ear-threatening sonic attack. But neither is the record dirty or dumb. It dares to be different, packed with ideas that keep me entertained even after multiple spins. Truly a boundary-pushing record.

Shizan 死産 10 Minutes of Noise Shock Therapy cassette

You’ve probably heard that type who states punk will be great as a consequence of some oppressive political force obtaining power—I would kick those jerks in the face. Punk is much less relevant than maintaining a living in such shit states. SHIZAN is from Minsk, a place that is fucked up beyond many of our imaginations. If I get it right, they are not new to the game, as ex-members of MASSPOLLUTION are part of this new group. The record title tells it straightforwardly how they sound, although SHIZAN has a unique touch to their hyper-distorted noise sound, and their chaos is interesting and varied enough to differ from most of their contemporaries, mainly due to the guitar playing with fast dumb solos and clever pedal usage. The tempo switches are unique, and they rarely if ever play D-beat (if anything, they are closer to the post-sheer-noisecore, pre-Stupid Life era of CONFUSE). It’s deafeningly distorted, but playful enough to be able to pay attention to all the crazy elements they threw into the mix. I had this fantasy forever about hardcore bands from far away, unknown places among shitty circumstances creating the best, craziest music. SHIZAN proved some dreams might come true. 

Primer Regimen Ultimo Testamento LP reissue

This is a 2023 repressing of PRIMER REGIMEN’s debut LP, originally released in 2018 on cassette by Discos MMM in the US and on vinyl by Byllepest Distro in Europe—now the great Discos Enfermos has taken care of them, probably for their European tour. Think about the things you did five years ago and wonder whether or not you would put them out now. This is basically what PRIMER REGIMEN did, and it tells you that they must be satisfied with the material. Why wouldn’t they be? It’s a well-recorded, tight, UK82-inspired record, balancing between crude melodies and straightforward hardcore rush. Nothing is complicated on this record, everything is set in order, yet there is a tension that fills the gaps and elevates this LP from the randomness of Oi!-influenced hardcore. It’s great, partly because it makes you wonder how these songs would sound live. Sadly, I missed them when they played here. but their records make up for it.

Extasy Ira Total cassette

Said it here before, but I’m going to repeat it, because seriously, tape labels are the true source of today’s great hardcore punk—I’m tipping my hat to all maniacs who dare to release music, and these smaller tape labels who put out local bands are grabbing the essence of radical underground music. Previous Corona RX tapes made me excited to check out EXTASY, who turned out to be great, too. Pissed-off, rudimentary hardcore with a lot of mid-tempo, tension-raising flow. The songs are pretty simple, but they become lively when each element blends together. The lyrics are about a suffocating frustration, and paired with the raspy, shouting vocals, this aimless aggression fits well with the simple but bouncy riffs and tight beats. They remind me of radical hardcore bands such as CISMA. Tapes like this are the best—maybe the music will not spin your head with its novelty, but everything about this release just demonstrates why this is the best subculture. 

Piñén Nicolasa Quintremán EP

This is hardcore, in case the cover art would put you off, although PIÑÉN most likely would not give a flying fuck if you skipped them for such a reason. Hopefully you already knew, since they have been around for ten years and have consistently released incredibly raw and genuine, super fast, vicious hardcore records, performed as a drums/guitar duo without bass, with a subversive message that also makes a lot of sense. Their interview in the last print issue of MRR detailed strict and liberating ideas of DIY punk, focusing on creating something on your own that represents you and your surroundings. They even questioned the point of putting out vinyl if you are not participating in the production. I am happy they changed their mind, but it’s still as DIY as it gets—the physical copies are partly hand-painted by the members, and the cover is probably drawn by them as well. Touch the dried paint and think for a second how such objects in general are manufactured in far-away factories and shipped across the globe via distributors and labels without having any connection with the band. In a way, PIÑÉN reclaims such small gestures that could mean a lot if you pay attention, which is required since they only care to create amazing music and live by their own rules, instead of aiming for artificial popularity. This carefree, solitary game emancipates them, making all their releases special even if they draw influences from early international hardcore bands with sounds reminiscent of the early records of H.H.H. and ANTI-DOGMATIX: constant blasting, thoughtful chaos and anger at high pace. A sound that could be easily redundant, but the quality and shortness of their songs, along with the microdosing of their whole discography keeps me wanting more, even if their records tend to take over my turntable for days. This time, the overall sound is harsher, which makes the record even better. Each hit on the cymbals is shards blasting into your ear, each riff is super tight, hectic, and creative, and those pissed-off vocals push all rightful frustration into my brain. The cover art, EP title, and start and ending tracks all reference Nicolasa Quintremán, a Chilean Pehuenche activist who opposed the construction of Endesa’s Ralco Hydroelectric Plant. Eventually, she was found dead, most likely murdered. She died because she wanted to protect her land. Localism and protecting what is important to you in your surroundings seems to also be important for PIÑÉN, and while playing hardcore/punk is not a matter of life and death, for them it seems to be a channel to release frustration and their message—we should feel lucky that they keep creating such great music. This record is amazing, and long live PIÑÉN. 

Hez Panamaniacs LP

HEZ has been around for ten years now and I have kept checking for their releases, which concluded with a demo, two 7”s and a mini-LP. I liked them, but always saw more potential than what they actually showed. Finally, Panamaniacs arrived, and it is great, overwhelming hardcore. Great riffs and hectic guitar playing varied with effects scattered around tastefully that sound like a malfunctioning computer. A bunch of plays with tempo usually introduce tense, mid-tempo stompers that also include pedal-manipulated guitars, and also a lot of echo/delay on the vocals. It did remind me of the great DESTINO FINAL, and Panamaniacs could be put next to Atrapados. It’s that good, and it’s that different from the current overload of new releases. HEZ also has their references, but finally they have their own form—it’s hard to achieve quality and features which distinguish you from the others. Even if punk was born from a “live fast, die young” ethos, I welcome when bands take their time, remain together, and craft more releases rather than throwing out a couple 7”s, taking a vacation in Europe disguised as a tour, and then breaking up. If you stick together with your friends in a band and focus on writing sicker songs, it will pay off—at least, I am super happy that HEZ did so, and now I can blast Panamaniacs.

Salvaje Punk Salvaje Punk LP

The New York scene which is largely represented by Toxic State records is still actively producing great punk music. Many of these bands sound as if hardcore nerds are digging through their well-curated record collections and forming new bands to play music that could be linked to a certain micro-scene that existed for a fraction of a second. As dorky as it sounds, I like this approach when it feels as if they genuinely love what they are referencing, instead of half-assed borrowing of established sounds. Therefore, I was super excited when I learned about this band—their name already sounds good, and stupid just like HP.HC, who had an even dumber record title (Thrash/Hardcore/Punk). SALVAJE PUNK draws major influence from the ultra-metal/hardcore scene of Medellin, Colombia from around the beginning of the ’90s. That was a savage scene in a savage town and each band played näive, chaotic music with a shit-fi distorted sound—something that is not easy to recreate if you are an established musician, and these members can definitely play. Instead of hitting their hands with a hammer to be more loose, they creatively create chaos. Drums are as dense as proto-grindcore, and the guitars drop those crazy solos I loved so much with the ultra-metal bands. The structures are interesting too, with occasional short tempo changes, and their whole sound rumbles—when other bands would stop it, SALVAJE PUNK rolls towards building the bumps into the songs, creating a great mess. It is a wild listen, grabbing and dragging me for the entire play time. Obviously the recording is sonically much more listener-friendly, which is a bit of a bummer, because daring to sound like ATAQUE DE SONIDO or HERPES in 2023 would be great. Trying to write songs that are as crazy as the sound of the previous bands is, although more difficult, finely executed here. If you took your favorite parts from raging hardcore and chaotic death metal and blast them on full volume at the same time, then you’d get close to how this record sounds. I love it. The record includes a huge poster with a demon that looks super sick. Get this!

Dachau Tuomiopäivä EP

Russia Bombs Finland is an essential compilation of Finnish hardcore, and DACHAU was one of my favorite sleeper hits from it. I was bummed that there wasn’t anything else from them accessible, even in the contemporary digitally archived world—“everything” was actually two tapes. I was glad when Finnish Hardcore, the great archival reissue label, put out their Ballaadeja tape with a ton of songs, while this 7” contains the previously mentioned comp tracks along two other ragers, which is basically their demo tape from ’82. The record itself is one-sided and includes a booklet with a lot of information and brief interviews, although in Finnish. It does look cool and fun to flip through, even if you don’t speak the language. If you are not familiar with DACHAU’s music, it’s great manic Finnish hard beat with guitars as interesting as amateurish teens could get in 1982 after being possessed by hardcore. The vocals are the best, capturing a strange mix of emotions between feeling lost and yelling cynically. Sometimes it even gets idiotically playful with group chanting. There is a mid-tempo rager that could easily be a star of a killer mixtape, as well. It’s a great record, the songs are exceptional, and Finnish Hardcore is doing a solid job as always. On the other hand, creating nostalgia-based relics is a bit weird. I wonder when 3D printers will be able to shit out records that will fill our empty shelves during a long weekend? What will it do with such labels and records? Until then, buy or die!

Haren Demo 2022 cassette

HAREN is a three-piece band from Murcia, Spain, and their demo tape is (also) released by Educacion Cíncia from Buenos Aires. A quick note on current tape labels such as Educacion Cíncia: they keep punk fresh. It is impossible to keep up with how many random bands there are with streamable records, yet for those whom a physical release is still important, tape labels have become more handy than ever. It gets better when they are focused on a local scene and function as a platform for the bands to show off. Tapes are cheap and small, ship easily, still look alright and allow a lot of mastering bullshit. What better format, right? I also dig the fanzine-esque promo that is written by the label of this release. But back to HAREN: They play street punk/Oi!, but uptempo and with enough dirt that it swings into the UK82 sound with a significant amount of melodies. Don’t expect blazing energy, it’s much more rudimentary and therefore predictable. But how many variations are there for power chords? While the songs do not offer anything extraordinary, HAREN does not slip into becoming background music. There is an elusive determination behind their playing that demands attention and feeds their simple melodies to my brain. It’s capital-letter punk music—if you played it for a mohawk owner, they would start to move. The guitars play dense-to-bouncy and mid-tempo, and the vocals add a bit of a hymn-like feel to each track. This is a decent tape, proving that punk is still accessible and showing how putting yourself into your music can improve your songs no matter how simple they are.

Caverna Nueva Paz 12″

Another hardcore band from Colombia, and yes, they are great, too. Each song is violent and intense, although most have an interesting blend of different tempos, unexpected bridge parts, and smart stops. The record has the power of running into the wall and continuing to crawl forward through the cracks, yet CAVERNA operates with rather thoughtful coloring of, at their core, raw punk songs—these extra thoughts do not tame any of their songs. Each is killer, recorded in a great form that translates their power perfectly. If not, and they are in fact even better live, then I would love to see them. For real, this is a great record; there is the powerful urgency, the drums are beaten as if each slam would hit my brain, and the record has a non-stop noise current that pushes each song into my face. It’s super pissed, tastefully diverse, and lacks any gimmicks. I should stop writing this and instead try to find a copy for myself. Highest recommendation.

Histeria Discografía LP

HISTERIA was a short-lived band from Mexico with a couple tapes, compilation appearances, and splits. Prior to this release I had not heard of them, which is a bummer, but better late than never—they turned out to be another sick group of the early Mexican scene that had an amazing variety of great bands. This discography release contains two of their recordings from ’84 and ’86. The great thing about such retrospective releases is that the members probably did not expect that one day they would be an obscure band for collectors, and therefore I guess their tape releases did not include as much information as the 32-page-long appendix fanzine with photos, information, and lyrics included here. Nerds like me love that shit, so even if it’s rad to own tapes in falling-apart condition with inserts that once were folded by the original members, these packages that tend to be created for current discography releases are still super entertaining—if you only press the mp3s to vinyl and the most effort you make is to print the cover, then you are doing a bad job. But how does it sound? The best way possible! As if it were recorded with a single tape dictaphone thrown into a rehearsal room where the excited band plays their ferocious tracks. The sound quality distorts the guitars into a chainsaw-like level, something that you would need at least three pedals and a week full of research to turn out something so nasty nowadays. The tracks are pretty short and dense, with a moving jet-like sound as the base, the drums are as distinguishable as a heavy banging on a door, and the singer yells with desperate urgency. The guitars are the best when they make zero sense, and as they do most of the time. It’s a super angry and determined record. Great that such things are recovered, and even if it is sometimes a pointless mania to put everything on a preferred format, the fact that such a band has resurfaced is worth all questionable obsession.

Inferno Personale In Ira Veritas LP

A hardcore band based in Bremen, Germany with international membership (even the recording, mixing, and mastering each happened on a different continent). This eleven-song LP contains the re-recorded tracks from their demo tape, blending finely with new ones. The record starts with distorted, chunky bass, followed by the eruption of the whole band’s energy, and even when they slow down later to mid-tempo—which happens occasionally—the tension is not lost for a second. The cover art refers to WRETCHED’s La Tua Morte Non Aspetta, though both their sound and songwriting differs from their Italian predecessors. The promo mentions crasher crust, but based on what that means to me, INFERNO PERSONALE also differs, since each and every riff is clearly distinguishable and the cymbals are not piercing into my ears like shards of a nailbomb. They never fall apart and still continue, scattered all over the place. Yet the record has a pumping power that is rare and precious, and could remind one of D-CLONE or GLOOM, but this atmosphere and energy covers more structured and less destructive songwriting. Urgency is replaced by restlessness; feedback and chaos are present on the record, but the latter is due to the well-balanced mixing and dense playing. Free from references, In Ira Veritas is a killer hardcore record that channels the devotion and fandom for the subculture, yet remains distinct from most of their contemporaries. It’s a thoughtful, well-built record, although it is not as savage as it might try to be. The band keeps everything under control the whole time. But when has being creative and talented become second to being primitive and chaotic? Still, this record can grab and shake you, and it gets better with each listen, especially when it sucks you into its whirlpool of crushing riffs. I prefer their fast songs, but their stompers surprise me with their power as well. Great record, highly recommended.

Berosszulás / Parasite Dreams split LP

Split LP from two Central European bands hailing from Budapest and Vienna. BEROSSZULÁS (“toxic deterioration”) plays rolling pogo-beat punk that always reminded me of KURO mixed with a lot of hooks that are rather familiar from early hardcore nervous-teenager breakdowns—their songs are both buzzing and stomping. They are not falling apart anywhere at all; rather, they create and maintain a great tension that is varied with witty stretched-out solos, screaming string bends, and well-placed changes which result in a playful bounce. It’s music to shake your fist and lose your mind. Sonically, everything is identifiable—the base of the music might be reminiscent of basement raw black metal elements but it is not a cacophonic sonic warfare, you can hear the bass drawing its own territory with unusual ideas, and the few-note guitar riffs are neither drowning in overdrive, although they do not spare distortion. The whole record has a great momentum, it’s pushed all the way through by the anger of the band. BEROSSZULÁS passes through different styles and tastefully collects from each what they like to hear the most, yet it does not turn them into a showcase of unmatching gimmicks. What are they, then? A great hardcore band. On the other hand, PARASITE DREAMS from Vienna are closer to the already mentioned raw black metal that is basically a punk sort of aesthetic. In their songs, the “sounds coming from next door” effect (which blocks the in-your-face power of the tracks) and the noticeably different recording quality compared to the other side of the record both break the cohesion of the split. They put more effort into creating an atmosphere, building it with intros, outros, and extended tracks where the guitar keeps playing while the drums rest. Mostly mid-tempo, sometimes even slower, each song is built from a catchy primitive riff and very minimalist drums. The vocals change between distant screams and monotone speak-singing. It’s interesting when they turn to a rather atmospheric sound that does not recall tree-hugging metal but vicious post-punk. The big dilemma here is how much a different mixing would butcher their core idea. On the other hand, they are determined to have everything as they imagined and that should be respected. In this current age, attention is at stake, so listening to PARASITE DREAMS could be a good challenge to train your focus, because when attention is paid they are pretty entertaining, but they also easily slip into being background noise. Without the usual dilemma of splits, this is a great record—if you like ugly, nasty hardcore, then check it out.

Acid Children Perverts Lobotomy demo cassette

What the fuck is going on with Roachleg Records? It feels as if the label has a secret laboratory where they hold each of their bands in a dirty basement where they have been conditioned or animated to play such amazing punk music, and then sometimes vanish as fast as they have appeared. Either they have a great scouting agent, or they have created a scene where bands with the craziest ideas and obvious love for obscure punk can be free and fuck everything up. ACID CHILDREN fits perfectly into this scene. Lo-fi freak sound, drums mimicking when two metal sheets are slapped together by drunk kids, the not-always-on-rhythm beats mixing well with the rusty-sounding guitars, and the rest of the sound based on constant collapsing, as if the different parts were thrown together and still merged perfectly. When fast, when slow, the pace connects to the people—it has that human element I always look for; it always feels natural, and within such an environment we can witness the ups and downs of a psychedelic trip. Those fucked-up solos, the bit of black metal-ish tone in the vocals, the chaotic fast parts, the melting-apart breaks. This is great thrashing freak music. Each song is over two minutes, which is something I am always picky about, but here the four songs rather sound like eight different ones—that much shit is happening, or that is how easy it is to listen to. Super interested in whether they will continue and make more greater, stranger records. If not, then in twenty years, Roachleg will be this cult classic label having their tapes going for triple-digit prices. Be smart, get their tapes now.

Palánta Palánta demo cassette

PALÁNTA plays everything. Such a weird band with such a weird release, presenting a broad musical spectrum from egg-ish garage punk through Krautrock and experimental prog to hardcore. If you think about an unusual punk record and then multiply it by two, you will get close to what is happening on this tape. The vocals sound at least doubled and have the effect of coming from everywhere, while the lyrics are hard to understand, which makes it seem even more like otherworldly yells from a strange cosmos. It is rather an experimental album and got into my scope due to all the members playing in a half-dozen punk and hardcore bands from Budapest (UNIT 731, TUNGA PENETRÁNS, ÉSZLELÉS, BALTA, UNHOLY SATIVA), yet it has the “fuck you” edge and the conflict that turns rock music into punk music. Keyboards added to the classic band lineup already introduces some different possibilities, then they just change styles and are brave to not make any sense within their songs. Meanwhile, it feels consciously free, with each element organically grabbing each other and creating the complete picture. Also, it’s fun and easy to listen to—the tape has great dynamics and there is nothing challenging. It does not mean I like the release, because it is definitely not up my alley, but I could still blast it without any resistance several times in a row while typing all this in. If you are looking for a record that stretches the definition of punk, one that has multiple layers which are as exciting to be discovered as going through a sonic puzzle, and if you are into not chaotic but head-spinning, mind-bending music, then PALÁNTA just wrote an album for you.

Unit 731 Unit 731 cassette

UNIT 731 is a fairly new band from the Budapest scene—this release is their second, following a demo made two years ago. They play no-fuss fast hardcore with enough distortion and zero bullshit, although it is not easy to pin them to a certain style. TOTALITÄR might be the closest reference with the on-point riffs, but UNIT 731 is not rushed to neckbreak speed, remaining urgent in a more human way. Their music has the capability to do so, yet it is not blasting out from the speakers, rather inviting the listener in. It is sort of rootless hardcore, not inventive but lacking any recycled influences. I guess it has to do with their lyrics and how they are performed, since those reach beyond the few dramatic lines screamed at the top of the singer’s lungs and rather introduce a more analytic approach, although they could get lost in translation and then you’d only hear a constant gruff shouting that could even remind you of aggro, street-punk-influenced hardcore vocals. Yet for me, the lyrical content conflicts with the simple music, but the opposite elements also support each other since both feel thoughtful. This might sound alarming, but they are not a smart-ass hardcore band, rather a daring one that does not aim for anything beyond expressing their current state of mind. Does contemporary punk need to be a public stunt, does it need to maximize its core feature? If so, then these Hungarian kids do not go with the mainstream. Neither do hyped bands who do not impress me as much. Meanwhile, I consider UNIT 731 to be a great band who wrote an awesome record and would not be out of line from most contemporary hardcore releases. The whole world might not need to listen to UNIT 731, but if each scene had at least one band like them, then international punk would be better.

Mirage Immagini Postume cassette

MIRAGE is the “let’s pull out ten of the best early Italian hardcore records and try to do something similiar” band of the Roachleg roster—singing in Italian and recreating both the urgency and the bit post-punk (but with wilder guitar sounds) that are familiar from STINKY RATS or even WRETCHED. Yet the music is less chaotic, I guess due to the fact that MIRAGE is not reinventing hardcore locally as teenagers who are only getting familiar with the instruments. On the other hand, the band has a straightforward power that fills the demo with energy but lacks infantilism. Anger is dripping from each second and the song structures are varied enough to remain interesting, although with each listen the smoke clears, and while the core of their sound does not vanish, they do not grow out from the same circle as IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO and PSICO GALERA.

Padkarosda Sötét Végek LP

Posthumous release from probably the widest-known recent Hungarian band in DIY punk. As I know PADKAROSDA broke up and most of the members continued in a similar vein (but different enough in nuances) with a band called SÜLLYEDŐ VILÁG, it therefore has surprised me they still have new releases. They were one of the most consistent bands on the local Budapest scene—summarizing in a mean way, they wrote one really good song and played it a few dozen times. Construing my meanness, they went the rare extra mile, which is figuring out a signature sound. If you think about it, one of the key elements in great bands is that you are able to identify them even on a blind listen. So it turns out that it’s not the song which is the same, but rather their idea and craft is consistent. Speaking about the music, PADKAROSDA plays Eastern Bloc-flavored post-punk, which does not shy away from grabbing little bits from early European hardcore, either. On Sötét Végek (“Dark Ends”), they tame and stretch their songs, using tight mid-tempo rhythms and giving a generous amount of space for drums and bass while the guitars sometimes just assist for the evil-sounding and a bit dramatic vocals. When the guitars work then, they swirl as a vortex that sucks civilizations into an abyss. They remind me of CROW PEOPLE, because here as well, the atmosphere is the heaviest and there is just enough role for the guitars to snake through each song and get a good grab on the listener, instead spreading out in the whole sound spectrum. Based on records like this, I am not surprised PADKAROSDA was able to step out from the unknown mass of the local scene—they deserve this recognition, and if you are into super gloomy post-punk that is still very punk, you deserve this record, too.

Systema Muerte EP

Total powerhouse. The Colombian scene is on fire, and if releases like this keep coming, then that flame will not be short-lived. SYSTEMA already crawled up to the top league of current hardcore with their previous LP, and this 7” only solidifies their place. Through variously-paced songs, they can keep a huge intensity and confidently blend a modernist sound with a chaotic urgency—the whole single is just a tasteful summary of what is great in hardcore, including introducing a sort of originalty. Creating a dark and violent atmosphere that reflects the current state of the world, but unlike in reality, here punx do dominate the situation and dictate what is happening. Therefore, the record is both desperate and motivating, not only pumping energy into the listener but also setting a good example of how to create something great from a lot of terrible shit. This is raw and raging, get it! 

Desamparo Estás Condenado Al Fracaso cassette

Lo-fi recording of primitive hardcore. The quality supports the overall experience, since the simplified riffs and beats mix well with the blurred and blistering environment, as if your friend passed you a tape of their weekend session at the rehearsal room (which is always a nice gesture), and listening to this recording is not that distant from this feeling. Bands like DESAMPARO might have a better understanding of what making records supposed to mean than many of us—they write straight-up flawless hardcore tracks and set everything to sound even more amazing in this low-budget enviorment, because the sound is a significant part of the songs. If I listen closely and listen a lot, I can hear the guitar melodies hidden behind the desperate screams, but the real thing is the overall creation. They have deeper lyrics than the average bands in their style, reflecting everyday experiences rather than some blurry collective idea of shooting clichés. Yet I cannot say they are on constant repeat, as some of their songs are too long and monotone for me to be more excited than just considering them another great addition of the millions of cool hardcore bands from all over the world. But bands like this are the actual backbone of this subculture, who make it possible that there are great groups playing such fucked-up music all around the world. 

Sukob Tvoje Misli Su Nečija Umjetnost LP

Debut LP of a new Croatian band playing hardcore and referring to both POISON IDEA and CELTIC FROST. Based on this description (written by their label), I assumed “oh so, you sound like WARTHOG,” but even if in theory both bands have the same inspirations, this record differs from their contemporary. For one, SUKOB started with an full-length album, and they are way less metal-influenced and much more unstructured hardcore, which does not mean chaotic but instead a gimmickless riffage and not-so-varied songwriting. The tempos change between galloping riffs, straight-up brain-hitting direct parts, and mid-paced. It is a short record and lacking that overwhelming effect that is usually created by close-to-pitching mixing and mastering—the sound does not explode out from the speakers, and the listener has to turn it up and pay attention, otherwise it could become decent hardcore/punk background music. The singer screams with lots of passion, almost spitting out his throat, occasionally switching to rather bitter spoken vocals. This emotional outrage is constant, which makes the sound of it a bit monotone. Listen, readers of MRR: this is not a bad record, even if I was not super excited about it so far. I like falling apart, chaotic, larger than life, weirder-than-VOID hardcore, which means I have a though time in general to find bands that really interest me. If you are not that busy sabotaging your own life and you are just looking for decent hardcore coming from less familiar places, then SUKOB is your band. If you are into non-stop tension, tight ripping, riff carpet bombing and super-pissed atmosphere, then I recommend this. It’s an honest one, the love of this type of music comes through every song—take your chance, thrash your room listening to them, prove that I am just a picky asshole.

Gripe Déjame Solo cassette

GRIPE is back with another tape, playing garage-y, jangling, hyper-fast punk rock that tends to lean into hardcore, but with barely distorted guitars and bit of melodic spoken-yelling. Their sound is dense due to the constant shredding and up-tempo beat. The vocals are powerful and well-thought-out, and the additional backing pushes the overall sound into a rather gig-like atmosphere instead of a studio session. They cover a MIDDLE CLASS song with translated lyrics, and as a reference, it fits perfectly. It’s a fun release.

Xero Xero demo cassette

“This is fucking great.” Wow, really, what is not to like here? The recording is so fast, each member is racing with the other to see who finishes the songs first, and sometimes there are unexpected twists and turns, as if instruments would hijack who leads to tracks. Multiple (and mostly the best) bands are evoked—if you were ever keen to figure out how to listen to WRETCHED, KAAOS, and HHH all at the same time, XERO just did you a favor, mixed through a contemporary channel perfectly balanced between being rudimentary and not nostalgic. They added few slower and freaky parts too, leading into fun, experimental territories, and this is just a fucking demo with seven songs around twelve minutes. It’s brutal, urgent, vicious, and either well-thought or viscerally genius. Looking forward to what will be their next step.

Ohyda Pan Bóg Spełni Wszystkie Pragnienia Lewaków… I Dojdzie Do Katastrofy! 12″

This is the third record from the Polish hardcore band OHYDA and it fits the soundscape of their previous releases: modern-sounding hardcore punk, with the taseful distribution of heavy/slow and stomping/fast parts, echo/delay on the vocals, some metallic guitars here and there, but way less metal than G.I.S.M. (although I hear the influence of them and DESTINO FINAL). Despite the songs not being that long, the band is able to create a space with borders much wider than only what the instruments play, at a pace that allows everyone to perform with intensity instead of with urgency, but that intensity bonds the whole record together and creates a great atmosphere that characterizes the band. Poland and Hungary (where I live) have a historically good relationship, meanwhile I guess both nations’ citizens try to convince themselves the other country is in deeper dictatorial shit and bigot paranoia. This record gives a pretty good insight of what is going on within these power factories fueled by EU money and inland hatred reasoned with religious or xenophobic bullshit, but the music rather translates that everyday experience instead of academically discussing its sociology; we are punx after all. Yet this record is not only regional: it fits into the modern era of international hardcore, since sadly the rage of OHYDA is easily translateable. 

Abuso De Poder Vago Muerto EP

All-caps street punk. Thick and low guitars playing simple-as-nail-type riffs over which the singer gets gruff about the hostile side of life. The atmosphere is pissed-off, violent, and a running-against-the-wall feeling of unsolvable frustration. If you feel let down by the injustice of everyday life and seek sing-along, mid-tempo hardcore as your coping mechanism, then you’ve found your companion. Overly streamlined, the band only leaves the locked-in beat and linear song structure for a few solos. Packed with three-note riffs, each song has the potential to be a fist-pumper hit to people who would happily kick each other in the head, although I have to focus to realize them, since they’re all blended into a mix that sounds good but lacks any exaggeration, thus holding back the in-your-face effect. This is what I struggle with: theoretically this is great stuff, yet it lacks something that might have gotten lost while polishing everything to perfection.

Black Dog Black Dog demo cassette

Another demo recorded in a bucket. BLACK DOG plays almost-D-beat, sloppy hardcore that reminds me of DISCHARGE, or how WHY could sounded after the twelfth tape dubbing played on a boombox that has been thrown into a lake. It’s obvious that bands can play this type of music; what is becoming incredibly hard is to put their own authenticity into it. The overdrive on an already pitching recording does its part and satisfies the noise lovers. It is a fun listen, but not really much more than a bunch of people into this type of punk making a record over a weekend. It is great they did that, it is great they shared it with us, and no one should feel restrained to do the same. This demo is as good as it is effortless, which could be an inspiration too, for all the anxious people who worry how they will sound. Do not overthink and overproduce your stuff, just create what you would love to listen to. Not completely sure, but the cover suggests that a skeleton is taking its dog (on a chain leash) to walk while riding a horse. This is silly.

Narcotic Void Narcotic Void demo cassette

Heavy Xerox aesthetics on the cover art, and the record is just as lo-fi, as if it were sent through a worn-out photocopy machine. I wonder how meta this is to create such noise in 2022 when our pencils can make a studio-perfect recording, yet we replicate the sound of a decades-old era which operated with barely functioning equipment. But this is what we like right, so who cares really? Buried under the fuzz, NARCOTIC VOID plays snotty, catchy, nihilistic hardcore that is closer to punk rock than to thrasing blast. They ride a beat that makes you nod and motivates you to jump around in a crowd with a beer in your hands among a lot of punks, although it is no pogo-punk—rather, each song has the potential to be a title track of a two-song 45 which evokes elevated feelings in the listener and could be your original soundtrack for glue sniffing. The guitar blends into the buzzing white noise of the recording environment and equipment (an asteroid should hit us if this is only an effect, switched on by pushing one single button on a computer), the singer has a great “fuck you” voice that varies between evil melodic and evil vocal-speech while the bass basically keeps it all together and directs where the music goes, to which barely identifiable drums give a rhythmic knocking. If you hate music, you will love this.

Kpax! Kpax! LP

Don’t believe the cover, as the mutant-looking creatures in a melting town suggested this might be some falling-apart, naive hardcore. It is quite the opposite—KPAX! from Belgrade plays rigid Oi!; there is no song under two minutes and the pace rarely goes above mid-tempo. Big-scale melodies mix with simplified rock-ish sound, all in Serbian. The singer has a great voice, and the mixing makes it sound like one person singing in the name of at least a factory of desperate people. Guitars have a nicely adjusted sound delivering post-punk tones here and there, and the parts are way more creative than Oi! usually is. Overall, they have a great balance between modern and classic local sounds, between Oi! and post-punk, between careless and determined vocals. All these dualities make the record interesting and fun—for my preferences, it is really long, but at least you got material for your money.  

Death Sentence Death and Pure Destruction EP reissue

Not a life-altering reissue of DEATH SENTENCE’s first and only 7″, which was originally released in 1982. Hailing from the UK, sounding a bit Riot City-ish with straightforward hardcore tracks, tireless drumming, and a lot, lot, lot of chorus vocals. I bought this record because I liked the drums, which remind me a bit of VORKRIEGSPHASE, although the rest of the music is generic. The best feature of the drums is the efforts turning into interesting failures. Other instruments do not show such vulnerability, rather performing well as machines. Dry, didactic angst blasts from the vocals and the accidental distortion on the guitars, which makes them barely identifiable, help to remember the rush through each song. This 7″ fits the dictionary definition of hardcore but you have to use your imagination to find anything special about them. Therefore, Death and Pure Destruction is an okay record that’s safe to get and put on, but not something you will keep on your selection.   

Gripe Demo 2020 cassette

GRIPE from Chile plays faster-than-fast, super-short jingling garage punk songs, with anxious hardcore vocals. It’s so rapid, the real challenge would be to fuck up their demo despite using such bulletproof elements. In that sense it’s a harmless recording; what brings any spectacle is the fine blend of harsh vocals and barely distorted guitars, which might make you speculate what if one attribute were adjusted to the other. Songwriting uses smart tricks from amphetamine rockn’roll and disintegrated hardcore to color the otherwise urgent but predictable riffing. The recording captures GRIPE’s energy which is always challenging and a huge achievement to have it already on a demo. The whole thing is less than five minutes and it might make you remember them for longer than that.

Salvaje Punk Dos Balas demo cassette

Some of the contemporary New York bands come through as a bunch of freaks listening to records and, hyped from the influences, rushing to a rehearsal room to write and record a couple songs, release them, and forget the whole affair as the sun rises in the morning. I dig this tape because I love the same bands SALVAJE PUNK does: ATAQUE DE SONIDO, HERPES, ULSTER, HP.HC. Even the guitars are occasionally reminiscent of the general soundscape of La Ciudad Podrida. All the songs are evil, wild, blasting madness, as hectic as the cover on which a vibrating creator presses one’s brain out. There is a touch of ultra-metal from the speedy riffs, deep-voice barking vocals, and multiple nonsense yet highly entertaining solos. It’s a fun tape, a love letter to a certain scene—it must have been entertaining to write and record it and I enjoy hearing it.

Cuntroaches / Guttersnipe split LP

Here, here is your future, all you laptop fuckers. The stock market is overruled by a bunch of messageboard freaks, your job will be slowly taken over by a robot, you live your reality through a palm-sized screen, and yet there is more to come. This CUNTROACHES/GUTTERSNIPE split was first released on tape in 2018 then pressed on vinyl in 2020, although it sounds as if the release date could have been a hundred years further into the future and no one would notice. Not even sure if this is still punk rock, instead paranoid sounds of the sci-fi nightmares, created among bad trips and the threat of a fucked-up future. That future is now. We no longer fear nuclear weapons, which anyway were always just a metaphor for our real threat: chaotic randomness of human behaviour. This record captures this downfall, the mania, power-hunger, and accumulation, then we are force-fed with this neon puke, wired to a chair, eyelids duct-taped to the forehead and watching million flashing images. I try to distance myself from writing about music by throwing images on you, but this record triggers visions. Both bands are connected to our subculture though both are so independent, progressive and full-blast lunatic. After all, it’s aggressive hyperactive music, but is it still hardcore? CUNTROACHES foxtrot on pedalboards without getting too close to crasher crust-ish noisecore. Their groove and beat section is as wild and vital as field recordings of high-tempo tribal trance drumming and a little reminiscent of LEBENDEN TOTEN, not their sound but the mind-grinding experience of their live shows. These two songs are over-the-top in all possible senses, providing an almost live experience, witnessing with full awareness how you are digested by a beast. It’s vicious, twisted, super chaotic, perfectly balancing on the border of naivety and precise artistic view. GUTTERSNIPE has a bigger slice of this split due to their second track extending to ten minutes. The pairing makes sense, rather idea-wise. The xenofeminist crisis energy rock duo from Leeds sounds as if SPK was threated with a gun to play hardcore songs or listened to the complete Actuel catalogue at once at tenfold speed. Then the ten minutes beautiful odyssey hits in and it absorbs me completely. A special record and big up to Anxious Music for putting it on vinyl with this neo-trash cover, different RPM for both sides, and cute/cool insert. If your colleagues ever ask you what sort of music you are into, show them this and they might never ever bother you with anything personal. 

Illegal 80 Den Endeløse Ende cassette reissue

Reissue of a demo tape from Denmark’s ILLEGAL 80, originally released in 1983. Emphasis on demonstration, since it is a half-an-hour-long tape with sixteen songs. Throughout, ILLEGAL 80 plays determined, raw and noisy hardcore clean from any tag-able association that has connected to these adjectives ever since. It is the pure form of top-class international hardcore: fast, fresh, youthful, angry, collapsing. It’s on the right speed—a bit faster than they could keep up with, thus the songs crumble under themselves—the singer has a great indifferently aggressive voice, the guitars leak all over the music and cover it with their dense, swirling distortion. They vary in a few slower jams, not to reclaim any attention because this tape never gets boring. I would believe that for these kids, it meant everything to record these songs, and they treat every second as such. Now this tape is available again—get it, study it, draw your conclusions how to be young, smart, ugly, and dangerous.

Giuseppe Carabino U Ruševinama 84–86 cassette

GIUSEPPE CARABINO was a hardcore band from Subotica, Yugoslavia. This tape with 31 tracks includes five different releases and live recordings of the seemingly prolific band. Again a great relic of our international subculture, now collected and reissued by Aftermath Tapes. The music is exuberant, and tries to be ultra-fast both with the thundering guitars and airtight drumming, laid on a hyperactive bass. While all the collective anxiety is on the loose, melody appears in a better-blended form than cheap tunes on the top of noise. They tried to write songs but were too impatient to play them in a boring, traditional way. When tension decreases, gloomy sounds surface along with the disgusted vocals. It’s an interesting duality how these kids from far away built their own universe on constantly collapsing songs. They capture the despair and it works, sounding original while it’s dumb since it dares to be dumb. It’s unpolished because it was recorded on impossible devices, yet it was recorded and decades later is still available, proving how some forces are unstoppable. If you like hardcore that is coming from less-known places and sounds different despite similarities in its fundaments, great stuff.

Urban Carnage Nihai Infilak EP

Even if powerviolence is a deterrent sign for you, listen to Nihai İnfilak. It has multiple stop-and-go parts, blastbeats, top-of-the-lungs screams, and tempo changes per-second, but still the heart of this record is raging and hateful hardcore. But in the case of URBAN CARNAGE, they are from Turkey, which is not an easy place to live and such background shines from each song. If you listen to CROSSED OUT even without being on crack and enjoy fucked-up heavy music with a modern sound, check out this Turkish powerhouse. I am just as dubious and picky when it comes powerviolence, but this is good shit. It is not aligned to posers like me, but I have to adapt and get what they play. It is both interesting and expands my perspective. 

Heavy Discipline Heavy Discipline LP

There was a period in my life when I though the best part of hardcore was when the mid-tempo, two-step-ish bridge parts exploded and, aside from the bursted tension, everything slowed down, opening more space to rampage. HEAVY DISCIPLINE uses such parts frequently, sometimes the extent is even switched to the detriment of the rapid riffs. Along with the cruising tempo comes a bit of hymnic, sort of power pop-ish aggression masked with rude yelling that seals the record since it works too well and draws all attention from anything that is beyond the gimmicks. So fucking what? Instead of my let’s-revise-hardcore failed attempts as reviews, HEAVY DISCIPLINE is probably already proud of this body of work that tastefully matches the most stomping riffs of DYS with the sheer catchy aggression of LAST RIGHTS, while it still could refer on the violent melodies of Oi! and keep the whole thing together. It’s current hardcore that avoids well both the bro-vibes and the stashed-under-your-bed serial killer materials too, focusing only on heavy riffing and stomping. It’s a fire record if you are into the Painkiller catalogue.

Krigshoder Krig I Hodet cassette

A transnational project between members of BLAZING EYE from USA and NEGATIVE from Norway, settling their sound closer to European HC, playing on full-throttle pace with mildly distorted guitars and restless songwriting. It’s top-shelf hardcore craftmanship from knowledge and enthusiasm for the music. I am sure the lyrics are dealing with exact issues—the vocals balancing between angst and irony—and it’s appreciated they are in Norwegian, although it’s obvious KRIGSHODER primarily loves merciless hardcore performed at neckbreak speed so the main event is when they realize they can be even harder and faster, so they try and play even harder, and it works. They are capable of doing so and it is entertaining, as a machine or algorithm which is fulfilling your desires. The worst thing I can say about this tape is I do not find my entrance on it. I do understand why people are excited over it, yet it does nothing to me even after a couple dozen re-listens. Neither does it bother me—it’s not that it is bad, but it has a similar function as those current labels whose main focus is putting out reissues. It’s cool, even if it is important, it makes a lot of people happy yet it’s weird and not in the way that makes the punk I love the best thing in the world.

Parnepar Dobar Dan, Izvolite cassette

Whenever I mention international hardcore or punk, I refer to the variety of the worldwide representation of this art form. I am aware of how archaic it sounds, because scenes as individual sounds and characteristics are on the brink of extinction. The local resonance is vanishing; instead we have a list of variations for punk that is followed internationally and strictly, recreating globalized forms, appearances and manners. The scenes are not providing distinguishable interpretations to the same influences when the reference point is a genre-defining band, nor do they express their own unique conditions in their own unique way. A great part of contemporary punk is basically worship-core. Then we have bands like PARNEPAR from Croatia that rely on the musical history of their region, yet it’s surprising how they are not trying at all to fit in with current punk and still they do. It’s not alien or old fashioned, just unique and refreshingly strange. Their approach is rather naive and introverted, the disconnection is keeping them from trying to prove anything. So they play barely distorted, fragmented to a demented rhythm art-punk/no wave with scary and alienated overtones. They draw influence from the Yugosalvian punk scene but—maybe due to its rarity—it does not feel reused and exhausted, their sound is modern but not in a polished way. It’s strange, fun, dissonant and haunted. While it has a great flow, the music is so fragmented it both motivates and enables listeners to move to. The slowly creeping guitars and the determined drums are taking the lead roles, vocals are barely more than spoken word presentation of the lyrics although it is never ridiculous for its seriousness, since this is not serious, it’s just art. PARNEPAR is an interesting, unique band who demands your time, openness and ability to see punk as a place for outsiders even among the outsiders.

Gag Still Laughing LP

After their disappointing previous full-length America’s Greatest Hits, I lost track of GAG and was surprised they still exist. I was also immediately interested in how they handle a second LP. Again their cover art concludes it well: Life is a strange mess, where overwhelmingly awkward events are at same time funny and frightening. So they laugh. There is an idea in which humor equals aggression and while this record is fun, there is a coping process that transforms their violent inputs into entertainment in a rather-laugh-than-cry way. It’s American hardcore rewound back to a crossroad where it already got jock-ish but kept its psychopath, lunatic vibe instead of its later form where it turned to ridiculously thugish. GAG’s record does as well, reacts angrily to the frozen madness of reality in an overpowering, unsophisticated way. Although here the anger invites, not deters. This comes through the riff-heavy record, where if one is killer then there is not gonna be any filler. The parts are ignorant but laid out in a meticulous system, tricked enough to keep the record constantly fun. It is fun if you love dumb hardcore, which despite how predictable it is, still transmits its physical influence. The imposing riffs are occasionally played in an airy manner, giving enough pace-space for the drums to break free from a forced, up-tempo simplification; the bridges are so effective it is ridiculous; elements from NO TREND-ish mindfuck appear and fit well. Not really getting the concept behind the intro/outro, since they sound so alien. Why they do not match with the body of the record is because this is not an experimenting, reinventing, transforming or redefining record of hardcore. It is and happens within hardcore. It can make fun of it, but even when it does, it does not demolish its walls, but reflects on the joy of the music. Which is great, and after all we are too trapped in a fucking celestial object and we got to make the best out of this imprisonment.

Tower 7 Entrance to a Living Organism cassette

TOWER 7 is a new band from New York with members of KALEIDOSCOPE and this strange tape is their debut. It’s way more advanced than a demo—even its runtime, almost 20 minutes for eight songs, is longer than most current hardcore band’s full-length 12″s usually are. Urgency is an appreciated feature in hardcore, although TOWER 7 dares to take their time and build a larger and more deliberate work than to rush through a potentially collapsing structure. Many of the songs are mid-tempo, recalling anarcho crossover bands like ANTI-SYSTEM, A//SOLUTION, a less hectic ELECTRO HIPPIES and SUBVERT. The this-is-more-than-music vibes reminisces the ’90s activist hardcore movement, especially within the vocals, and when the metal riffs lose rhythm they remind me of South American ultra metal bands. Quite a few influences to handle but TOWER 7 distills it to their own unique form and they offer enough space and time to digest it. It’s a gradual process to have the music grow over me, although the breakthrough is not guarded by my resistance; instead it is a playful experience to find my way among the many elements. If you are into crusty hardcore that is not blackened, atmospheric, didactic or any of those horrible sub-styles; but dirty, passionate and is about daily politics that are experienced by its performers, then TOWER 7 is a great choice. In short, if you like good things, check them out.

Aihotz El No Movimiento cassette

AIHOTZ from Bilbao immediately creates an exciting atmosphere on their debut demo tape. While the strangeness is rather within their sound, which when dissected, shows how the layers are not alien or renewed attributes of punk rock, only here paired and played in an unusual way. I got it, but would not go as far as the promo text which suggests a blend of PARALISIS PERMANENTE and G.I.S.M., but indeed, they use echoed to spooky vocals mixed with airy metallic power riffs. Both the echo and breezy chords create a lot of open space over which AIHOTZ has control and they are able to fill it with energy. The space separates the music from the determined and playful vocals and the two, parallel yet together, create the unique atmosphere, that tricks me to think more of them than a simple hardcore punk band. This demo is not a scam, though it tends to present itself to something wilder than it really is. Which is very human. Occasionally the bouncy rhythm wonders from dark territories to more direct hardcore/punk forms where high pace is agressively maintained, along the way we encounter strange parts and all of a sudden tempo changes to vary the spectrum. Some of these bridges are theatrically heavy and slow, that recalls too much of the MTV metal, here in an ironic, “let’s revise trash” way. Going further within the short record the charm of the band is based on the same autonomous fundament that is at the core of every good demo tape made by an enthusiastic group. AIHOTZ’s attempt is fun and promising, but this tape would get better if their upcoming record will be crazier.

Apsurd Derealizacija / Svemu Će Doći Kraj LP

APSURD is back, following up their well received demo, now on vinyl dividing one side to their debut and the other to a few new tracks. This Serbian band plays masterfully crafted hardcore punk, drawing from traditional sounds but not forgetting to be in contact with the present. They create a haunted atmosphere within noise that is at once the form of frustration and escapism. While the bass and drums are building a usually mid-tempo solid base, the guitars mix raging riffs with exploring, curly ornaments. A vibrant desperation blasts from each song, coating Eastern European metaphysical melancholy on uptempo melodies. APSURD recalls bands as TOZIBABE, SOLUNSKI FRONT, DISTRESS or even SACCHARINE TRUST and POISION IDEA, though they are not completely stuck in a proxy-nostalgia—they sneak enough original ideas onto this heritage, while cherry-picking the best parts and instinctively organizing songs from them. There isn’t a significant difference between the two sides/records yet the music never exhausts. This indicates the mature sound of APSURD. They can write proper songs and turn their batch to albums. Their challenge will be to stay fresh within this established sound but I have high hope in them.

Tappo Tappo = Kill! cassette

The members of TAPPO and I appreciate the same type of hardcore—fast, chaotic and wild. The reason why I love early age primitive hardcore is it reeks from the confused yet enthusiastic frustration of its creators. You cannot stamp an expiry date on rage although you could compare and lack any kind of evolution of a certain sound. The difference between TAPPO’s and, e.g., KAAOS’s fundamental sound is basically the development of recording technology. Therefore I cannot do otherwise but enjoy the raging hardcore of TAPPO that includes a singer with a mutating, screaming voice, straight ahead simple but aggressive riffs with screaming that comes across the sky solos. Cymbal clicks are building a wall of distortion, the pace is racing with anger, still there is enough space for radikal rock and roll. Only the release date of this demo remains foreign. TAPPO gives a master class of Fininsh hardcore replication, which sounds dumb because they are a hardcore band from Finland. What I am ventilating over here is the fine line between coping the same way with different frustration and breaking free from tradition. I too believe TAPPO’s influence is one of the best era of hardcore, therefore I cannot resist enjoying their demo, only when I lean on ration do I miss something. Overall this is a great demo.

Barcelona Residuos del Ultrasonido EP

Might be my emergency exit from burning out—anyway—I consider hardcore as a form of art. Even if it defines itself as noise not music, still it is a sonic expression of emotions and thoughts. A reaction to complex processes thundering in each of us. Hardcore is best when unadjusted, each layer of the music freely and indivisually explodes from the players but when added together becoming a bit more than several syncronised performances. Historically the cacophony of hardcore was written on the account of untrained musicians, who employed enthusiasm instead of education, although we must not forget how confusing the world is even when you seem to be able to function in its array of bullshit. It is much more hostile when you are young and reckless to start a punk band, where these kids were matching their songs to their experiences. Art could help to conserve these feelings reflecting on terror of surreal reality. BARCELONA had an artsy edge from the beginning, especially with their cover art, but with Residuos del Ultrasonido the suspicion shifted to hard facts: while they are a pure primitive force of destructive and radical hardcore, they are not only attacking year end top ten lists but the borders of hardcore. It is strange how internationally appreciated they are, yet almost no one is ripping off their sound. While it is not an insoluble formula, it is a continuation of beloved pioneers of radical hardcore and it carries the signature soundmarks of BARCELONA. The bass is a loud pulp, punching the space of the music with its extension despite with its power; the drums remind us to the visceral driver in mankind to beat the shit out of bang-able objects to create rhythms that match with our inner tempo; the vocals are towering over the music, setting a direction with raspy, ferocious screams which later go as far as imitating dog barks; finally the guitars are tying many knots with the strings when not blasting head-deforming riffs. It is a short 7″, but packed with so many layers it instantly becomes a classic. There is some discussion over the cover art, which even if improvised at last minute or meticulously planned, works as a great, funny fuck you. I love how it recalls the infamous What The… cover. It also reflects on that art is not necessary some academic, always high-brow happening, but it could be dumb and funny, yet meaningful; it could be anything. Probably a lot of people would be distracted by the cover if this would be BARCELONA’s debut EP, but if this was only the beginning it would be a fair price to pay. Amazing record.

مراة بركان (Mara’a Borkan) War / Revenge cassette

Two new tracks to follow up their previous tape, proving its quality was not novelty, more so MARA’A BORKAN is capable to write tense hardcore tracks even in a more organized headspace. Since these tracks are not restless, although angry and energetic, but it’s not a hot-headed mess. They have grown to be confident and deliberate. In exchange they introduce almost kraut-rockish repetitive hooks that pair well with the bouncy riffs and the still foreign melody of the vocals. They are great at keeping beats exciting, playing with emphasis and mixing hardcore with a bit of Arabic rhythms. While it is not at all challenging to enjoy them, the band expands the horizon of hardcore. The guitar sound has been refined, the sharp distortion is gone, in its place is a coiled, spooky patchwork of awesome riffs. They were great as a demo band, presenting fundamental angst, translating their environment to radical hardcore and they are great as a matured band too, who has nothing to prove. Instead, us listeners have to demonstrate that we appreciate unique bands from strange places. Tunis is a frequented resort for Europeans, one that is many miles away from the reality that explodes from MARA’A BORKAN’s music. I trust them and enjoy their tapes better than I would appreciate to be a dumb white tourist.

Alambre de PÁºas Venganza cassette

Second demo tape of ALAMBRE DE PÁšAS from Chile. Standard quality of their current scene, with sonic similarities: they play beat-driven, simplified hardcore punk, using frantic vocals and restrained tension. The buzzing repetition recalls a distant noise of a rolling chainsaw. In some of their moments they reminded me of the BOBBY SOXX 7″, with the evil mid-tempo mania, and MASTURBATION from Japan with the unsophisticated yet melodic approach. This tape feels like a puzzle piece for the recent Chilean scene. Alltogether they testify that genuine hardcore is played all around the globe at the same level and intensity. Many creators have been acknowledged as part of a movement instead of honored independently. Time will tell if ALAMBRE DE PÁšAS remain over the surface, but listening to their demo makes me appreciate their scene the same as I do the band, and via I appreciate how colorful the subculture is. Maybe I will not remember one single riff soon, but while playing the tape I think punk is fucking sick and sometimes this is enough.

Maldición Enjaulados EP reissue

This review should focus on the quality difference of the actual media, since Enjaulados has been released on tape and lathe cut 7″ forms in 2017 already, followed up now by Rock SVB’s take with a vinyl version from 2019. If this is your first encounter with MALDICIÁ”N, or you look for mirroring your own opinion: They are from Santiago de Chile, proving again what a fertile ground South America is for contemprorary hardcore. In their elements MALDICIÁ”N does not reinvent the wheel. The vocals are echoed to devilish scary, the music is subordinated to create a primitive beat at the edge of pogo punk and dumbed down black metal, something that has been familiar in international hardcore. When I hear such, the test is whether its repetition can hypnotize me into focusing only on the power and movement of the music, perceived by my body, instead of thinking on the actual notes. Based on that, it is not weird this record has been released three times already. It has the kick that lets me believe the familiar sounds belong to MALDICIÁ”N, instead of solely being lifted gimmicks helping the band to trick its audience. The straight-ahead, vicious power is coated in perfect rawness that still has some distorted edge, but nothing is overdone. It’s a safe pick to spin this record, if you do not like it, still it will not hurt, if you are in the mood for primitive pumping hardcore they are also great addition to the spectrum of current sounds.

Side Action Saykopatik Hula cassette

The Gauguin-esque cover is great—it suggests a rare creativity that is playful, fun, violent and cool. Then the music starts, soon all the noisy cacophony falls on the bass and I find myself at the imaginary scene of the cover. It’s hardcore, fast and simple, right when it got to be, although loud, distorted and rudimental enough that it sounds fresh. As if SIDE ACTION uses the tools of their environment instead of replicating its relics. The dynamics between vocals and music feels as if the former were on a higher RPM than the rest of the band. Together it’s brilliant noise, the atmosphere of the record is buzzing, while their chaos is controlled. Sometimes things are just so simple yet meaningful—and joyful they target our feelings instead of our intellect. Those gathered thoughts are personal and feel silly to share it with the public. So it will become a strange secret which in a way shared between you and the band. When outsiders feel to be connected to strangers due to a band, something special has been created.

Enfermo Protesting Suicide Revolution demo cassette

The tape starts with a strange prologue that might be from a movie, than immediately turns into blow-out raging hardcore, instantly erasing all previous guesses of the intro. The recording is over-driven noisey (that sort of “let’s get something really quick, since we should record, doesn’t matter if this is the lo-fiest equipment” distorted) which pairs well with how ENFERMO is super urgent, bile-splitting frustrated. This atmosphere suggests that this demo had to be made no matter what. They remind me a bit of ORDEN MUNDIAL, but with less USHC influences, as ENFERMO does not include groovy bridge parts, instead they are busy with constantly fucking shit up. Their song “Inocencia Perdida Por Malas Experiencias” has a looong howl that is ridiculous, both funny and brave, the self-confident approach of the songwriting later repeatedly demonstrated. It’s a great demo and I wish to hear more from the band. The Chilean scene is on fire!

Vile Spirit Scorched Earth LP

Scorched Earth is VILE SPIRIT’s debut LP led up by a demo. I knew and enjoyed the tape, due to its similarities to UNITED MUTATION. The LP, too, contains weird, even horror-esque excipients, haunted sore-throat vocals on music so detailed it becomes an unifying entity, that behaves in various tempers throughout the record. The edge of capital hardcore is deadened by shifting the hardness of the performers on the circumstanstances they perform against/about. Which makes the music tortured, but backs up the dense sound while avoiding any ridicule. The music is heavy because life is tough, instead of the members acting jock-ish. While the vocals are laid in mid-tempo, the instruments do not slack on their layers: The drums wonder into restrained blast-beat territories; the bass is distorted into a pulp filling up all empty spaces, binding the sound as glue; the guitars avoid both metal riffage and simplified three-chord hardcore notes; rather they function as a tidal wave, both loose and large. VILE SPIRIT is playful with pace, even if the artwork suggests some kind of still-in-the-basement, emphasis-on-core ’90s metallic hardcore. Scorched Earth is not an endless loop of chugga chugga, rather they imperceptibly mix with speed, blending different moods on a scale of hyper and almost zero tempo and remain confident no matter how shaky or swampy their ground is. Lately I have lost track of UK hardcore bands, no longer know whether this is still the new or now the neo wave of British bands, but due to the different references and execution, VILE SPIRIT differs the listening experiences I recall from their peers. If you tend to feel as the creature on their cover, you just as likely to enjoy the record. It’s a solid one.

Negativ Epicrisis EP

Epicrisis is a good punk record. It’s nasty, savage, noisey, short and intense. Contains insanity, angst and power. They operate with back-and-forth dragged riffs and tupa-tupa rhythms that never really turn into chaos, but flicks with intensity. Their sound is perfect for a guessing game regarding their influences, as it is rather a conclusion of a well-curated personal collection than exact references lifted into their songs. Somehow they remind me of DAWN OF HUMANS from recent times, but without the visceral art edge. Yet they fall for the same uniforming trap so many contemporary records do. While it is done by all the right people, talent shines through it, and yes it is a great piece of work, but it tells more about the current state of international hardcore punk than their own enviorment. The lyrics are about personal fears, a society that is constantly surveilled, but who cares anyway, because they are here to consume, live in cells called as homes and exist to work what serves their slave-holders. Then we have the music which is while being great—it truly is—does it dare to be not perfect? It screams fuck you, but does it mean that as well? It is unfair to pour on NEGATIV a problem of an era. My direct message is: Epicrisis would be way better if it sounded different from a great amount of current records. To be fair, I like this record because, at a deeper layer, among the psycho tension, it sneaks in creepy melodies as if Rikk Agnew and Nick Blinko were trying to write a ballad. NEGATIV has a natural impetus, being constantly present in each of their songs. The tempo sounds as it could be faster which creates expectations for the chaos to burst out, while it never happens and chaos is created in the listener. Well placed, sudden changes in pace and riffs create uncertainty that lends excitement to the music. The vocals confused, bile splattering, phlegmatic style mixes perfectly with the sharp, dystopian-vibe of the music. Most likely if you do not listen to this record for hours straight, you will just think: it is ugly and destructive; how sick punk records are.

Rigorous Institution Despotism / Survival 7″

By the third EP of RIGOROUS INSTITUTION, it should be obvious that they dig moody, black mass-vibe crust like AMEBIX. Within a short timespan and discography they mastered the creation and control of their atmosphere, just as a magician seducing its audience. As far as my interest reaches they are original with choosing a rare reference in today’s music. How are they more than a present interpretation of something from decades ago? RIGOROUS INSTITUTION not only layers their music but each layer functions different from the other. The keyboards could back up moody dream-pop songs, even if they are frightening; the guitars run between BLACK SABBATH-ish clean riffing and total, unidentifiable cacophony. As the layers live their own separate lives that add up well, the music’s main goal transforms to create an atmosphere than to entertain as a catalyst for body movement. Which feature can alienate those who are not looking for a big act. I still want to hear more.

Sial Tari Pemusnah Kuasa LP

This is the forth release from Singapore’s SIAL, remaining consistent, it picks up where Binasa—their previous 7″—ended. The same consistency solidified the sound of SIAL that is both their own and now is familiar to the listeners, though portioned on short records, it never gets boring. It tastefully combines rolling dynamics, occasional D-beat pump, echoed yet frantic vocals, guitars distorted enough to footnote noise, but held back as well to actually hear the sense of riffs, which balance between easy to interpret, direct attacks and more tense parts to bounce the whole room. This is a formula in modern hardcore, but SIAL took the effort to tailor it custom. The second half of the record takes careful turns to psychedelia; some songs are even chant-like, which is refreshing since it is constructed in an interesting way. All along we discuss here raging hardcore, still SIAL seems to be highly self-concious, what might control the chaos of their music, although they never sound artificial, but their inner angst is matched with certain relics of hardcore/punk and the creatively mixed substance is poured into a frame. Beyond the sonic facts, SIAL is able to make their music more than a case study of hardcore, as the record spins, their power takes over the atmosphere, which is tense enough to grab my focus on their energy. The record has an unnatural power, therefore what is best in SIAL, is what their record summons, not what is actually recorded. Could a band ask for more?

Garrapata demo cassette

MRR continues to accept interviews, so please, someone, go out and ask GARRAPATA about the recording session of this demo, because it makes zero sense. The music is the lowest lo-fi noise-core à la KUOLEMA and PSYCHO SIN. The drums are as recognizable as listening through thick walls to how your neighbor destroys his flat. The tape sounds so dumb, if a group of people’s first introduction to music was SIEGE and without any skills or experience of playing on instruments they were set free to express themselves. It is best demonstrated with how detached the flow of their music. The fragmented, stop-and-go structure lets the instruments breathe, just as the vocalist does, making them sound as separated attempts to notify angry existence. Hard to process that someone reached out to this aesthetic in current times, yet it avoids being gimmicky. Real primitive music for the lovers of barbarian art.

مراة بركان (Mara’a Borkan) demo cassette

MARA’A BORKAN (“Volcano Woman”) is from Tunisia, with female members. Fortunately, this review does not have to emphasize the political relevance of the previous sentence, since A) I am fucking dumb regarding world politics, and B) MARA’A BORKAN’s music is just as interesting as probably their background story is. The sort of low-key, rudimentary metal punk, paired with determined, loud, yet trying to be melodic singing is just as a weird mix as it was to hear G.I.S.M. for the first time. The stripped-down, raw radicalism of the music reminds me of FIRMEZA 10 and how they interpreted the core idea of D-beat; here MARA’A BORKAN, no idea what to try to reference, but it’s loud, visceral and entertaining. The vocals tend to employ melody bends, familiar from ’00s bro-core, that here, out of context, are one of the most memorable vocals I have recently heard. The band builds their sound from a few elements, still they are able to make it dense, the rawness of the minimalism resounds in each song. The glue between the instruments is the devotion that shines through the demo. MARA’A BORKAN comes from an uneasy place to play punk and to be a woman that is translated to their music. Reintroducing the power of this subculture.  

Sirkka Kuluttava Kone cassette

I love Finnish hardcore, but I would assign the exploriation of the legendary scene on labels who help archiving and sharing those wonderful demos, recorded by teens decades ago. When I saw SIKKA is from New York and seem to refer on the classic sound my instant reaction was: here is another band with the annual renaissance fair for Finnish hardcore. Even if that was their master plan, fortunately it failed—and as experienced, in punk failures lead to great things. SIRKAA employees nonsense speed, short-tempered guitar parts mixed with occasional no wave-ish confusion, a mountain-high wall of feedback but they do it in a loose way and the extra space offers room for originality. Therefore they experiment a bit. They remind me of a less crazy CUNTROACHES or nosier PYHÄKOULU, if we have to name a classic. The primitivity is the difference, which lacks here, as SIRKKA has control over the notes they play, furthermore they are thoughtful with the noise they generate—therefore it differs, while does refer on predecessors, yet they don’t copy the exact aesthetics, but translate how they might hear these bands, which is the best approach to form your own sound. This demo is a real surprise.

Axe Rash Axe Rash LP

There are records I listen to having only one of the instruments within my scope. I listen to JERRY’S KIDS for the drums and I can envision myself revisiting AXE RASH’s record mostly for the vocals. The almost gorey-ugliness of the vocalist is as surprising as it was to hear UNITED MUTATION for the first time. Wish the music was just as exciting and while it is good it never escapes to be anything else. As if they cannot fail, they do not fail, therefore there is no danger on this record. It is powerful hardcore punk, occasional crazy parts, every specific parts has their traffic sign placed in advance as we approach them. Those who say that whatever MRR berates is worth listening to should go and check out AXE RASH; if you are going for the quantity of daily good bands, go listen to them, you might find something that clicks with you. For me they are too compliant. But I will be first in line if their singer starts a DIE KREUZEN-inspired band, her vocals are sick!

Cankro / Vidro split LP

Oh, a split made for VIDRO’s Brazilian tour, originally released on tape and now put out by Byllepest on vinyl. This explains a lot, while both bands are among the better up-and-coming groups, VIDRO dominates the record. Already appreciated their previous full-length, now they are even better, playing fucked-up, mid-tempo hardcore somewhere between modern, riff-based groups and SSD/DYS stomping parts, while if you fell for daydreaming seconds, you can find yourself humming “Now I wanna be your dog” to their music, too. Their singer has a great, super pissed off voice; it pairs well with the guitars that dare to experiment beyond a few chords’ chunky riffs. While their side is as effective on moving my body as if someone shook me by my shoulders, I do not feel hypnotized into fist-pumping, but I nod my head owning total consciousness over my limbs. VIDRO deserves it. Luckily for CANKRO, the Byllepest version equaled out the production differences, thus the quality upgrade definitely elevated CANKRO’s side. Feels bizarre to use the word “promising” in a culture that glorifies immature groups, and their badly played rehearsal session demos, still I feel CANKRO is set for something more fucked up and crazy than what they present here. It’s already uptempo hardcore that recalls some of their countries predecessors, but I’m not reconciled with their rock-ish solos. It’s the worst I can tell about them, not as if I wish to, but again they flash a lot of potential to future killer records, already within these four songs. Kudos for Byllepest Distro for putting this tape on the coolest format.

Tuono Ho Scelto La Morte LP

TUONO is not only a band from Italy who plays hardcore but Italian hardcore. Reminiscing less chaotic, rather melodic, spooky-in-guitar sounded bands: BEDBOYS, CHELSEA HOTEL, STINKY RATS, STIGMATHE, KINA; merging urgency, post-punk-ish otherworldly echos and pogo-style repetitive, simplified beats; all captured through a modern sound. The atmosphere of the record is both desperate and frustrated. One song contains a dub-ish part, probably as a nod to the past—since nowadays it’s pretty accepted to maneuver a parallel career as a dub DJ if you dig the genre, although you are in a punk band. As everything is in place on this record, TUONO’s focus dominates their songs. Which makes Ho Scelto La Morte cautious, and this approach sucks out all air for surprises. That is not always a bad thing as TUONO’s debut full-length is a solid job, but as a subjective listener I cannot find what to hold on to.

Muro / Orden Mundial Sonido De La Negación split LP

Splits are strange records. This one goes even beyond, as it is to honor the memory of ORDEN MUNDIAL’s bass player, who passed away, but also helped out and recorded with MURO during one of their EU tours. The greatest splits are more than just two groups’ recordings. Their contrast either evokes debates between those who are obsessed with always picking sides, or are an exhibition game of an outstanding pair. Sonido De La Negación is closer to the second because even though the two bands differ sound-wise, they rather overlap and complete than contradict each other. It’s hard to write about MURO when most of my information channels propagate them as the best band in today’s hardcore. Therefore I have to work around these proclamations, because I care about their music instead of their perception. They operate with an unimpeachable energy that mixes urgency of Latin American hardcore heritage and Burning Spirits epic anthemism. The later feature holds back my devotion towards them because it offers too much for my taste, and makes me realize how they are able to repeatedly build truly great records from generic elements. Still, they keep progressing, since what was good on Ataque Hardcore Punk has become great here. The drums carry most of their music; it is a solid base for the exceptional energy of the band that is luckily translate-able to records, too. I am glad they introduce parts where guitars break away from extended, strummed-out riffs to more abstract territories. There is no They Live situation regarding MURO—what the whole world loves is actually real. ORDEN MUNDIAL was always my dark horse from the wave of Spanish hardcore marked by UNA BESTIA INCONTROLABLE and BARCELONA. I liked how they reminded me of a fucked up, glue-huffed-to-pass-out version of the most confusing parts of primitive USHC such as SSD. Just take the second song from their side, a crazy mid-tempo stomper, drowned into distortion and echo, an almost no-wave-dancy mind-melter. Lead up by a headkicker opening track, so dense it entangles into itself. The mid-tempo pace continues within another number, that reminisces both exploring, desperate on drugs and dizzy by recently acquired new musical abilities, at the doorstep of later-era hardcore, which also feels as cut out and looped to a full track version of tension-builder bridge part. Still ORDEN MUNDIAL annexes all their influences that expand their sound. Yes, it will be up there with WRETCHED / INDIGESTI, COWARD / GASMASK or—fuck it—FAITH / VOID.

Oblaka Insight 7″ flexi

OBLAKA is from Yakoutsk, which is proclaimed to be the coldest city in the world. When I listen to a band coming from such an uncommon land I am most interested in how it is to live in such a place, and I look for the bands to tell me via their music, instead of wanting the music to be elevated by its location. OBLAKA sounds isolated, damaged, weird; all attributives based on the liberating hopelessness, which is: they can do whatever they want at the end of the world. They remind me of less experimental TORPUR from current times and occasionally a less-evil SEXDROME. Sound-wise it’s loose, rock and roll-ish primitive punk/ignorant black metal with a lot more punk, and drops of metal in the vocals and rudimentary tempo. The mania and beat also recalls KURO and the SEXUAL, especially the flow of the record. During research I have found their 2017 tape that contained a VILE GASH cover. When a band does such a thing, it means they are out of reach from some main world, so they have to recreate it for themselves. OBLAKA not only did that, but due to their energy, they have escaped from their shell and now the world knows about them. It is a good story because their music is great. 

Sudor Causa General 12″

It surprised me SUDOR still exists and records. Causa General is hard to pin to a specific sub-style that generously offers its relics to successors, it is balancing on the edge between fast punk and low-key hardcore. The exceptional thing about the record is how it has nothing to prove—it’s not trying to be anything—and within this rail-lacking zone, they have to stand on their own. While the autonomy drips from every chord, and likely there is a huge archive as an inspiration, I am seeking for something to hold onto. Nothing is under or over-portioned and while it could be mediocre, the record avoids that trap, too. SUDOR sounds dry, which peaks in a scratching rawness, closer to a sandpaper than a chainsaw; a simplified but energetic straightforward momentum pushes all songs; among the polished riffs they tastefully place tiny bits of solos; the beat speeds but never blasts; their sober-angst eschews any goofiness, chaos, collapsing sounds, tension overdrives. The formless aesthetic of the record floats unmarked, within territories where we are spoiled with distinctions and culture related references. How draft-like they sound, the idea of other bands could fill the frames of SUDOR songs, although the act would feel forced. It is not a drawback to be untag-able. It’s more fun for me too to be challenged to figure out what the fuck to write about the record, while I do enjoy hearing it. Judging on the loudness and prominent role of the vocals I bet lyrical messages are relevant. This is suggested by the pamphlet-looking lyrics sheet and the postcard-like cardboard piece that illustrates church and military people waving together. While obviously I am sweating over this review, as a listening experience it truly is unique and might offer a lot more food for thought then anything that is precisely tailored to my taste.

The Tits Great Punk Tits LP

Rare moment in contemporary living when a band that formed in 2016 and has around eight different releases is unavailable on the internet, so people like me have to wait until the post-demo section of their discography gets released on a compilation. It is also tricky how you think of a country’s sound in a historical perspective, and how it is represented by current bands. I spent a great part of the previous years listening to loud flexis coming from Japan and I have not always succeeded when I tried to find present bands with sonic similarities. TITS was promised to sound like a modern version of pre-Stupid Life-era CONFUSE. It puts their predecessors into context as well, because when noise-core is made in a studio that’s output is not limited to cacophony, it takes away the chaotic randomness and all its magical mystery of the music. I like the loudest, noisiest groups because their glory is based on the chilling risk of failure, and while for normal people it is terrible shit, for me it is a great cultural achievement. TITS’ music is not adventurous, although it is good, since them and us are mutual fans of the same thing. That thing is reduced to a certain sound, an era, instead of an approach or method of expressions, therefore all enthusiasm is curbed; adventures turn to rituals. Despite it being decent, and for today rare music, it exists within well established grounds. To detail those grounds: some tracks have both guitars on full blast, linked to a chain gang of pedals; other numbers let dumb melodies sneak in, carried by a less distorted bass, that is a great nod to the best/most ignorant contrasting sound; very traditional. The cartoonish evil voice of the singer pairs perfectly with the ridiculously exaggerated noizzze. You really cannot go wrong with TITS if you dig this type of hardcore, and being an extensive collection of different records it is divertingly amusing how the course of track-packs mutate. The band is overshadowed by their forerunners, but instead TITS being a paraphrase, they turn the spotlight on their subjects of worship.

Zodiak TKY 2020 7″ flexi

Japanese band with a singer from America, not in the vein of JUNK SCHIZO, rather distortion equalized to maximum noise-core, with echoed-howling vocals and trash-can drumming. When a bunch of people from solid former bands play in a style that is so distorted, it basically could camouflage all individual handprints laid on the music, which circumstance can easily create an effortless chapter in the codex of random bands who sound OK. Maybe ZODIAK does not reinvent the wheel, but they are able to be more than just convincing. Treat it as an exaggeration but they sound as DISARRAY or ZOUO on a faster speed with CONFUSE guitars. ZODIAK is able to push themselves through all the covering accessories and be more interesting even over a timespan of flexi 7″. I would listen to more.

Arseholes PHL 2019 EP flexi

American band consisting members of POLLEN, MAUSER, etc. with a demo tape beside this flexi, sounding like Raped Ass-era ANTI-CIMEX. It could be an educational example of how to play that sort of destructing and non-stop chased hardcore. Normally I find the idea of ANTI-CIMEX riffs cheesy but I do love it when played by its inventor and ARSEHOLES is able to pull out this Excalibur and swing it with confidence. Like scientists or instinctive craftsmen, they apply the rules of thumb for playing such simplified music, that are: it has to be tight, loud and super noisy. The main feature of this record is that it sounds as a huge collapsing building and everything crackles and clatters in a large space. They sacrifice solos at the altar of lo-fi, shit-sound that is always a nice gesture because it keeps treasure hunt for later replays and I am rather interested in the unique production sound than how well could random people play their guitar. By the mixing they have created enough space for the horrific sound that is rumbled all around, so riffs have more room to fall on your brain. Even if everything is familiar here, it’s a short flexi that solely has killer tracks, and due to the format of music the sound will significantly disintegrate by each play, making the record harsher and harsher.  

Attack SS Mask of Those EP

Oh, wow. Wall-of-noise, energy-rush, noise not music, spiked hardcore. An advanced seminar of sound production, due to its on-full spotlight. ATTACK SS is not always fast on this record but even then the loudness, the blasted-echo cave drums, the grooves shaking the room of the record from wall to wall are making the whole 7″ so dense it is overloading my senses and places me into the middle of their own chaos. Although ATTACK SS’s chaos is not confusing, it solely operates with huge objects to test my impulse control that tends to surrender. All four songs are bit different enough to make the EP an adventure while a 45 with this production level would be easy to get away with, though they put enough creative energy to the writing as much as only the final number contains an LP-full of ideas. They prove their capabilities in different fields, whether it be a machine-gun-like tempo race in the opening track or a groovy, heavy-crusher mid-tempo number. This is a beast and they are able to control it, with a precision demonstrated by the stop and go parts of the aforementioned closing track. ATTACK SS is up there on the same shelf as FRAMTID, GLOOM, D-CLONE. Buy this and wish for a full-length. 

Glaükoma 4 Track 7″ flexi

Vol. II of Symphony of Destruction’s Flexickers series. GLAÜKOMA is from Belarus, an exotic place when it comes to playing raw hardcore punk. Listening to this record does not differ that much from the experience of attending a basement gig of a foreign band visiting from afar, with the main intention to consume a couple of this and that, then the band starts to play and by the second song all your preconception transforms into enthusiasm, so you leave with their tape and a great memory. The best feature of GLAÜKOMA is how sloppy they are, because these songs could not be better if played tighter, the air in between each one makes the band great and uncommon. It is a visceral attribute, whether luck or talent, it just works. The uncertainty why this is good, the constant chances of failure keep the flexi interesting. To not leave you in the dark, GLAÜKOMA plays threatening, raw but desperate hardcore, coated with the Eastern-European metaphysical sorrow. This is a short flexi with an OK band from an interesting place, I guess if you buy it, you will support Symphony of Destruction’s great mission to release more bands from lesser known places.

Hondartzako Hondakinak Bruiarta 12″

Terrible album cover—sorry, I bet a lot of efforts were invested into it, but even if I do appreciate some forms of landscape art this is still off-putting. I knew HONDARTZAKO HONDAKINAK already, enjoyed their previous 7″ and i was glad for crazy hardcore coming out from France. It might be a concept to place alienating elements as first and second impressions because the pointless and gawky intro, with an artificial-theme attempt just aggravated my confusion. Suffer it through, it all worth it because this chute slides you into a pool of sonic madness that recalls Dutch hardcore bands who mixed melody and neckbreak speed fluently well, such as JEZUS AND THE GOSPELFUCKERS, the BLOEDBAD/JETSET split or early FUNERAL ORATION. On this record speed becomes an effect, at its best shape the pace reaches a level when it sounds duplicated and inexact, which generates beautiful disturbance. Then they slow down but unlike in their intro, they can maintain the tension built previously by speed, and the swirling gravity of their songs capture all your attention. When they stomp with the beat, the guitar still wanders off to tangle riff fragments and create entertaining randomness. By melody, imagine even harsher tunes than the fastest HÜSKER DÜ tracks, something close to early OUTPATIENTS. HONDARTZAKO HONDAKINAK is a unique band with a broad spectrum of musical ideas and great skills to incorporate them to create something new, instead of a mix of multiple, and navigate their music around all genre rules. All checked out for a great record.

Permission Organized People Suffer LP

I think more of PERMISSION than I listen to. While they are one of the most reliable current bands in case of ripping hardcore, they also project outsider energy, not mysterious or edgy but very different from their contemporaries. Their music is pure hardcore; this purity carries a lonesome determination that puts PERMISSION’s music into a frame—one that could contain their cover art, too—that separates them from whatever goes on in today’s punk. I already liked NO, their previous bands, and just as the incredibly heightened speed of their music, neither did my attraction ever stop. I dig their consistent aesthetics, it does not feel alienating due to their art-lean, although makes me think that hardcore could connect to other sources than to its own historical self-references. Thus, whenever I hear PERMISSION, they sound as the fastest band alive. Which they are not, but they let me forget about the world outside their music, and while their speed could refer to HERSEY, RIPCORD or NEOS, PERMISSION does more than rebuild their idea from known elements. They practice discipline with never slowing down for mid-tempo stomps or bridges; no, they exist on a hyper-level and whatever idea they have, it must be solved within their self-created physics. While this discipline avoids a cheap show-off of some meticulous precision, even if the songs feel thought-through they are able to disintegrate even when performed in a recording area, which is the biggest achievement when someone is this fast and mostly plays linear riffs, instead of free-form guitar juggling. Each song connects and slips into each other, therefore the whole record makes up one chaotic organization, as their record covers are different caught moments from another single alien world. If the Bruegel-crowd had a soundtrack it would be PERMISSION. Buy their whole discography!  

Carnivorous Bells The Upturned Stone LP

Kudos for the self-invented label Cave Prog. Although CARNIVOROUS BELLS is not a BUTTHOLE SURFERS cover band but a new group of known names from CULT RITUAL/SALVATION circles. Bands who peaked a decade ago and the bits and pieces of hardcore-foreign influnces are testifying that in the past few years these guys might went further in their playlists than MECHT MENSCH and UNITED MUTATION. There is a lot of guitar playing that is experimental and moody enough to evoke some meaner Flying Nun bands while the rhythm section is swinging between jazz and Amphetamine Reptile/Touch & Go noise-rock broken beats. Poured down with hardcore tension while kept in a less distorted, raw-by-loudness enviorment. Occasionally they forget to remain within a song and rather start to jam, and it’s interesting how the influences are laid parallel, never really emulsifying with each other but somehow all adding up to an interesting clamor of adventurous hardcore. Should I go back and check the late-era of SST or October File? I get that CARNIVOROUS BELLS likes hardcore the idea as much as they do enjoy strange sounds from different scenes and they are very confident and successful to blend these alien worlds together. It creates an interesting album. Is it for everyone? Hell no, that would be like recommending Antonioni to a devoted fan of the Die Hard series, and if you do not get what the fuck I am talking about then just leave this record alone. 

Conducta Erratika Represión demo

This release is among the very few best new music. I stopped being optimistic about wonderful-demo bands but dealing with the present, this tape is the essence of great radikal hardcore. It is falling apart between the battle of enthusiasm and pace, therefore it’s as urgent as it grabs and drags you; anger-based total chaotic music from Chile that recalls manics like WRETCHED and ANTI-DOGMATIKSS or the bands and their collective sonic mind fuck of La Ciudad Podrida Vol. I comp or ephemeral group VIXENS. CONDUCTA ERRÁTIKA is unique because they recall and not replay the aforementioned names. Either they understand or relive equivalent frustrating conditions that they are able to translate to music in a similar approach but indistinguishable style. Therefore their music becomes free of the burden of the history of hardcore since it does not have to fit into any templates. The music is raw and careless, raging in each track, its purpose is to create noise that here equals reprisal. The quality of the recording coats each number well, and tells about the circumstances of the band. Everything here integrates into one swirling thunder that aimlessly rumbles. This tape embodies CONDUCTA ERRÁTIKA via all possible features. This is the noise of their lives and I am happy they share it with us. Highly recommended.

Crudez Jungle Jeopardy EP

CRUDEZ looks and plays punk like you imagine the enemies of Robo Cop would prefer. Nasty, Riot City Records soundmark sonic jet guitars, as a pipe of fuzz, laid on a solid but simplified beat. Although the combination between the music and vocals reminds me a lot of classic Swiss bands: the KICK, GLUEAMS sort of distant emotions as the singer exists in her own world, far from the language she sings on, far from the dirty, jiggly guitar sound an inbred mix of MANISCH DEPRESIV and CHAOTIC DISCHORD. It blends great with the additional variety of pogo melody and street blitzkrieg-vibes. The songs do not differ from each other, therefore nine of them in a row is a bit stifling although each song could be 7″ material. Let them be your daily dose of international punk!

Out Cold Living Is Killing Me LP

OUT COLD was labeled underrated throughout their whole career—it made them enter the category of your favorite band’s favorite band. Although right now I cannot really name particular bands they have influenced. How Living Is Killing Me sounds has become unique in today’s hardcore as it is raw in a different sense than what the meaning of raw has transformed into. OUT COLD reaches for the purest, unfiltered form, just turning on and up the amp and adding a little distortion, not making it thin, sharp, clean; behind which probably is a thought that this is going to be enough to sound harsh and hard. It’s a brave and wild idea even if a significant part of this LP was recorded at least ten years ago, before Mark Sheehan, their vocalist/guitar player, tragically passed away. How trends circle, this record feels alien today, as if it travelled through time. Although it does not make it ridiculous or even clumsily nostalgic but a lonely beast, something OUT COLD was called in their whole career. It reminds me of those classic USHC bands that are gateway drugs to this culture, but unlike being influenced by predecessors OUT COLD has worked themselves into this established sound that now feels as their own. The tempos are divided between straight-ahead fast and mid-tempo with tension which tracks wander away to rock-ish territories. As an achievement it is wonderful this record has been released. It is the final chapter of OUT COLD but isn’t it silly to always expect that at the end something amazing will happen? It adds to their story but as in life there are peaks and lows and mostly that sedating middles, still it worth to make it through and release everything we can because what is the worst that can happen? Even if you fail at least you fucking tried.

Spraut Det Smutsiga Livet EP

Wish I could judge a record by its first 30 seconds. Then I would be head over heels with SPRAUT since the chaotic, psychedelic start is so good, it would be great to have a record as its extension. I had to collect myself from the shocking moment when they turned it into D-beat and never really came back to experimental-core. Few minutes later I was no longer disappointed—despite the classic gestures of the genre are all here, SPARUT dug backwards to DISCHARGE’s rare moments when their beat turned into rock and roll and you rather care about moving your limbs than ventilating over the Falklands war. Which does not make SPARUT a rock and roll band but the width of their sound is not as expanded as most bands at their playground and this introduces a great contrast between the frightening/threatening atmosphere and the bouncy rhythm of the music. The focused vocals are unique, as it rises over the music and rages on the edge of hysteria. As a matured version of the singer of HUL. Another great thing is the vibration, the way the whole music moves along the record. Overall a solid EP that draws a lot from early European hardcore but self-concious enough to cherry pick the finest parts of it as a modern interpretation.  

Unarm The Voice from Forced Silence EP

UNARM is not a newcomer to the crasher game, this release is the 7″ version of a promo tape made for their Scandinavian tour in 2018. Took several listens to cut through the usual gimmicks of the style—the wall-of-noise sound, a pace so fast its density makes the rhythm billow, how overwhelming the whole production is. Which are great features when you would like to listen to modern crasher crust/D-beat/high energy hardcore played in boots, but without much else these easily do blur many bands into one featureless bunch. Then what is special in UNARM? They do not drench their whole sound in the noise-not-music aesthetics; instead they occasionally introduce a good amount of melody and their pedals are not only here to blur the guitar sound but to elevate it. I love how the bass sounds in the third song when it switches from being this huge physical thing that, along with the drums, rolls over everything to a groovy psych element. The chaos of the last song is great, almost makes the whole record a warm up for that. If you pay enough attention, there are pieces of a puzzle scattered all over the record that make it a bit more than a great exercise of an already solid artifact. I would like it to be more radical but fuck me, UNARM does whatever they want, and if you are up for exploring entertaining tricks within a sonic warfare, this record can be your field of experiment.

V/A Diamond Distance & Liquid Fury: Sonny Vincent Primitive 1969-76 LP

Sometimes when punx who exclusively listen to punk rock accidentally encounter music from somewhere else and it does not suck, in their confusion the review and redistribution of the modified definition of punk rock starts to tame their minds. This explains when some tried to convince the world that a certain type of fast, electronic music is the new punk, or free jazz is punk. Occasionally it gets real chaotic and hardcore is called folk music. Side note: right now it’s 2020 and even if you have the words punk and hardcore tattooed on your body it is fine to own parts of the Acutel series or microdose yourself at some contemporary classical music event and tell your fellow radical rockers: you had a great Tuesday evening at this gallery where the performance took place. You basically can do whatever the fuck you want and within this freedom I state: this record is not punk at all. Which does not mean it is bad, because it is decent music that my dad would appreciate, too—but don’t worry, he does not possess a leather vest, nor wears a man bun, instead he was jamming me MC5 and ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO when I was around eight years old. This record sends me into that period when playing rock and roll was a radical act, tap water contained LSD, hippies started cults and robbed banks, and wars were either proxy or cold. Although it is a compilation of bands (FURY, DISTANCE, LIQUID DIAMONDS, TESTORS) which all had SONNY VINCENT, the proper curation made the record consistent yet varied enough not to ever become boring. Sound-wise the tracks are on the edge of psychedelic rock but no real chaotic mumbo-jumbo, rather large, extended solos. Everything is sweaty-face-in-trance-desperation tight, mostly mid tempo and big riffs accompany male sorrow. The atmosphere of the record is dirty, tired, coming down from a trip and looking either for epiphany while staring into the rising sun or for scavenging for an early breakfast before fainting onto a dirty mattress. It is closer to ROKY ERICKSON than to STOOGES, definitely not glam at all and also distant from the proto-punk art rock of the VELVET UNDERGROUND. In case you are done with the one-finger solos used on two-thirds of your hardcore songs, here is a whole catalog to lift ideas from, or in case you like to consume weed and get lost in classic sounding but still rocking albums or to be a rock dad with obscure knowledge, this can be your pick. It’s a fun listen.

Gess Suffer Damage LP

I was afraid I would fail trying to tell the history of GESS, but the insert helps me out. They formed in ’83 when they were 15 years old and this record—which is their demo tape—came out a year later. Not until ’86 did members from CONFUSE and SIEG HEIL join. If you are into this sort of history, go get General Speech and More Noize zines and get educated and laugh on my ignorance. Anyway, this release is the first vinyl edition of the demo tape of the band that is pure noise-core madness. Guitars are distorted into one annoying line of noise, and within this chaotic thread of buzz I found all the beauty of the world; the bass is interpretable and dynamic compared to some of their successors where it is just dumb (but great) poking. The beat is constantly pumping although the endless noise, introducing a sort of monotony that prevents you from catching a heart attack. Makes me wonder if it is the beat that is monotonous or the guitar, though I focus on the guitar; the whole band is all over the place and it feels as if it is spinning around in a museum. Synthesizing what’s going on here would result in rudimental punk songs performed with enthusiasm, but the point is that you should synthesize my ass! GESS is great because 15-year-old kids in Japan thought that they would make the noisiest music that sounds as my grandma would imagine hell—the singer does sound like a possessed person—and how they heard DISCHARGE and possibly DISORDER in their head. What’s even better is that decades later whole record labels, festivals, genres, lives are spent on hailing this radically pioneer approach that sadly has become a strict establishment that is rarely renewed despite the liberating idea of the brave approach of creating a unique sound. Beside the Suffer Damage tape on side A, there is a live recording on side B and props to then-current technology that both recording sound the same. A CD is also included with two gigs from the Violent Party Gigs series, but I have no idea where to put that in. The vinyl plays great both on 33 1⁄3 and 45 rpm. The review is based on both paces.

Salón Dadá Ensayo 1986 EP

Rehearsal recording from a Peruvian band, playing post-punk that is delinquent, fragile in the best possible meaning. Four songs balancing on the sharp edge of melancholy and beauty, reminisces me of depressed Sunday afternoons that I spent in the piss-like yellow light of the setting sun in rotting post-Soviet buildings. It is that sort of post-punk where the band takes punk towards its establishment; the music starts to wobble and everything gets interesting. SALÓN DADÁ’s energy is between the sharp leads of their exploring guitar and the low-key singing that, due to the recording quality, feels sometime as whispers. The sound is dragged through and it’s hard to decide whether to dance to it or start chain smoking. I wish the sound quality was better, while I appreciate that music makes me wish, so I can relate to their struggle—listening to songs that should have been made into a proper recording so they could be played at dance nights for misfits, and now it only lives in my imagination, therefore it feels personal. I wonder if a rehearsal tape of a Peruvian punk band recorded in ’86 is praised in 2020 then what is not possible? Go start a band!

Wardogs It’s Time to Fight! LP

I love Italian hardcore and I have never heard of WARDOGS although this is not a review of how big a poser I am. Rather a praise to F.O.A.D. who restored this demo tape from ’83 and added a live recording too, as a tip. No idea how this band could get lost because they play top quality Italian hardcore just as urgent and weltering around as WRETCHED or early RAPPRESAGLIA, although WARDOGS include strange but great intros for some of their songs that remind me of lo-fi, damaged Our Band Could Be Your Life post-hardcore room recordings. The live recording is even crazier, super fast and recalls Finnish hyper-speed bands like SORTO, sparkled with one-finger solos, then they go into a rage that runs between DEEP WOUND/early SEBADOH that is followed by SIEGE-esque proto-grind and their Grim Reaper madness. The band just does not stop and even when the songs seem to be over they keep making nonsense noise. Even if I haven’t heard of WARDOGS before, I love them now. 

X2000 Pensionär EP

X2000 awakes heavy BETONG HYSTERIA vibes on their first 7″, blending spooky and headstrong chorus-drenched riffs with determined minimalist punk beats. It’s either how the record or the band sounds, but the repressed energy and craziness under a sealed surface reminds me of RUDIMENTARY PENI. X2000 guitars are not minimalist repetition but wired through the whole music as a snake traps its prey, almost Paganicons-ish, yet X2000 is a hardcore band that channels a lot of anarcho-punk sounds and sinking world feelings into their sound. Their singer has a great desperate voice, one that sounds like he filters the world through some of the previously mentioned band’s booklets. The world is rotting and X2000 documents it genuinely. The band is from Göteborg singing in Spanish. What else do you want to know? Consume it you idiot!

Appäratus Absürd 19 LP

Worship mode on full blast, disguised as a Scandinavian ripper. APPÄRATUS hails from Malaysia although the music is homage heavy enough that it could be from anywhere. If anything, this is the central challenge of getting into this record; everything is in its place—mastered to crawl out of the speakers, riffs at a wall breaker pace, mercilessly pounding beats, great production and excellent delivery—yet it is only occasionally more than a plastic definition of raw D-beat mangel. I can see them being hyped to play these songs live, and there is no doubt that they are mad angry at the world (and I highly appreciate the “fuck it, we like this” attitude behind putting two cover songs, D.T.A.L. and D.N.A., on the LP) but I miss the madness. Without madness it’s just exercise. Danger makes punk great but here the only danger is whether they are able to perform what is supposed to be D-beat. Yes, they can play it, but greatness is not supposed to happen, it just does and then carelessly creates something new. In case you are not looking for a reinvention of the genre but rather a new addition to the roster of reliables, then Absürd 19 is a safe pick.

Bayonet Taste of Piss 1982-1983 LP

Everyone and their mom in Finland at the beginning of the ’80s were in a hardcore band that played the best music. BAYONET is another good example of how obscurity does not always equal mediocracy. On the contrary, they should have been mentioned among KAAOS, SORTO, KANSAN UUTISET, BASTARDS, etc., yet their demo was stuffed in someone’s drawer. Now the Italian label FOAD—who are making crazy reissues—are serving justice to BAYONET, collecting and dusting off their demos, rehearsal tapes, and live recordings. All of it raw stuff within the timespan of a year, documenting young folks forming hardcore with their ideas and going dumb savage on their instruments, using them as channels for their angst to explode. There is no filter between them and their music, it is the way it is because that was inside them. The freedom is bursting from the songs: uncontrolled, unadjusted, unaligned zig-zag riffs, one-finger solos, mindless drum beats, and the ceaseless uptempo of the whole band guarantees a loony bin vibe where the crazier a sonic idea is the better. Hardcore is international and BAYONET is a great addition to its history.

Mars Mars Archives Volume 3: N.N. End LP

Collection of live recordings of the No York epitome. It’s live in a barely-produced way, not making favors for the listeners who have to get into both MARS and this recording quality. MARS was the type of No Wave band that focused a lot on guitars. It feels in general as though we were teleported into the body of a guitar—that is how loud it is. Instinctively primitive or thought-out compositions, I cannot tell, but it is as experimental as art, which makes people feel uncomfortable. So heads can be scratched to what the fuck is happening here, but all you need to focus on whether you enjoy it or not. It’s super noisy, chaotic, destructive, sometimes violent, sometimes dreamy guitar music. It’s dense but not fast, as repetitive as meditation while never getting boring. Songs sound like someone just recorded how rusty iron bars were drawn around on a rustic surface while some disturbed person was yelling in the back. Or a car was beaten with baseball bats while people had intercourse in it. But it is a record; therefore you can enjoy all these surreal soundscapes from the safety of your home, or be brave and take it out to anywhere with your portable listening device. The idea is that you are just as free as MARS, who here are collecting some of the extremes of being human and playing it through who knows what. You can study art and have some highbrow opinion of what they do, but really if you like noise and you think life is crazy, then take a try with this record.

TST Gimme Gimme the Shock Treatment 2xLP

Double LP compilation of TST’s early records between ’81-’83, excluding All Through The Night and its stadium hair metal vibe. A lot of songs, but what is more challenging is to wander away from listening to them. Somehow the whole collection carries this natural flow to it, while the songs vary between STOOGES-wanting-to-play-hardcore and the whole palate of KBD melodies, heaviness, nastiness and pace demonstrated in a first class style. I prefer the songs that are held back by some sort of a Sunday afternoon hungover melancholy, when you are slow enough to realize the cold war is still on, you are an outsider, and it just passes but never ends. When they go hardcore they avoid becoming ridiculous, although this is not the spiked mangel you might expect from a Swedish band. Beside being TST’s early discography, this collection presents how punk had transformed within a short timespan, and how that time was packed with influences that easily penetrated a band’s sound. Even in the swirl of changes, TST could keep an individual sound—yet my advice for listening to this collection would be to take breaks, and search for your favorite era and sound because in its whole it starts to feel like a kid flaunting that they did all their homework.

Vole Dej Bůh Pěstí LP

This album is a strange beast. It’s loud, unstoppable and integrates savage moments from out-for-blood, no-mercy hardcore à la the Youth Attack roster; evil noise rock without the high-brow irony; blast-beat chaos from those hand-drawn, creature-covered basement tape death metal bands; feverish psychedelia; and mixes all together as it becomes this weird pulp what’s only purpose is to fuck you up, while it avoids being an embarrassing mess where you only hear the influences and not the unique vision of a band. Dej Bůh Pěstí is self-confident terror that reveals the ugliness of human minds. It’s great with how much ease the band drops their different ideas throughout the songs, whether it be tempo changes, spoken word-ish ramblings, squeezing all life out from the guitars. Crawl out from your pathetic comfort zone and check out VOLE from Prague!

Aktitud 69 Zonas Marginadas LP

AKTITUD 69 is actually MASSACRE 68 from Mexico, and these songs, despite being released in 2019, were recorded not long after the band’s great ¡No Estamos Conformes! LP (probably in 1991). Why does the cover have an AKTITUD 69 label stamped over probably a MASSACRE 68 logo, why did it take this long for the songs to resurface, why the name change? These questions should be answered by investigative journalism and not by dumb record reviews. MASSACRE 68 was in line with the tupa-tupa cave beat, occasionally chaotic-fast/ocassionally groovy-three-chords hardcore that was not afraid to torture some of the high strings with solos. Topping it with their singer who has the voice of a maniac leader, spitting his furious rants. For context, their contemporaries were XENOFOBIA, SEDICION, M.E.L.I., ATOXXXICO, and SOLUCION MORTAL. Since this is all lost and found, there is no question that they rip. It’s fast, intense, frightening hardcore that flirts with tension building, epic atmosphere, and other unusual parts that vary from sheer brain hammering. They both can, and enjoy, performing this record. But song after song, something is lacking. The sound of an album is the invisible instrument of the band. Shit-fi quality supports a great hardcore record—Zonas Marginadas sounds large, as it has the ambition to meet the virtual standards that no one actually ever sets, but when it’s pursued in a manipulated environment, it always traps the music. Although here, the urgency is able to sneak fractions of songs out from the engineering dungeon. This is the interesting conflict of the album, as it struggles to sound self-confident in a foreign role, but the best parts are when the music is about to fall out from the band’s hand, because they forget about themselves. It is still enjoyable, but the length of the songs, the distance between the band and how their record sounds, and some of the writing solutions degrade it to background hardcore. Those who hate the lo-fi noises of early recordings should get this because AKTITUD 69 is a great band who has an OK record for you.

Impulso Costante Ossessione EP

Second 7″ from Trento’s IMPULSO falls on the listener as an unstoppable bomb that has your name written on it. Sounds clean as most of the modern hardcore records but it also makes the writing ability of the band transparent. Most of the linear riffs are balanced with interesting switches on the rhythm formula; even the mid-tempo songs are full-speed-ahead-paced but held back on a chain that is about to break. There is a great use of the two guitars and a bouncy groove roams between each part. As if I were standing under a waterfall—this is how packed the devastating flood of these songs hits. The only thing I cannot do is to throw around classic Italian hardcore bands as comparison points. Unlike other current acts who exist from the predecessor’s influences, IMPULSO rather understood what made that scene great and they brought back the idea to be inventive and fuck all rules.

Malaria! Compiled 2.0 LP

MALARIA! was a German experimental/weird proto-electronic band, and Complied 2.0 collects their singles from 1981-84 and their debut LP Emotions. For those who do not consider MALARIA! essential: they play minimal beat/rigid vocal, heavy-restricted-power-therefore-tension-overdosed music that today would fit rather the vibe of Wire rather than MRR. Each song has a limited amount of tools by which to fill the sound space, and most of the time, there are just one or two additional elements to the music other than the beat and vocals: be it mutant synth, loud piano, sharp guitars, or tortured saxophone. Yet the songs are masterfully crafted and sound much more, exemplifying the idea that you can do whatever you want with whatever you have. MALARIA! was able to reach it, and they still sounded pretty radical. This music will not cheer you up, but this is not gloomy post-punk, it is possessed proto-techno that focuses on people and everyday life within industrialized loud cities and robotic behaviours. It’s several great records packed as one that also emancipates you from scam artists who would swear they are selling you the original copies in near-mint condition, and then you would have to investigate what the hell those weird stains on the cover are. Get this!

Rakta Falha Comum LP

RAKTA  seems to be constantly all around the world, dropping new records, changing members along the road while not only maintaining but upgrading their sound. All the events around them did not exhaust but enforced their sound. For proof here is Falha Comum, another LP from one of the hardest working bands in the business. They create an otherworldly environment with multiple layers of spaced-out sounds based on the collision of bass and drums that are primal instruments and electronics that supply the unclassified noise ornaments. Rhythm-centric music covered with alien noises both feels as a ritual and the epiphany itself, thus a whole process that moves you through stations. It travels via a childlike state where due to unfamiliar surroundings and confusing circumstances everything is frightening and enchanting at the same time, but time seems slower due to the eventful ceremony. It works as well as the songs after a point evolve to scenes that blend in to an experience. The spooky, surreal, beautiful atmosphere is almost touchable and through its pigeon holes leaks the haunted, echoed-out howling which reminds us that the environment has been created through people. The density of the record is loading a lot on the listener, yet when it’s over, silence sounds harsh.

Sniper Culture Combat Rock EP

Judging by the cover, what would you think? Well, Oi!-influenced hardcore is cognitive dissonance. I get the fetishized ultra-violent skinhead vibe, male gazing a male fantasy but Oi!, after all, is pub rock and power pop about working the worst shift and fighting, and it’s hard rock with your neighbor yelling at its tough sound. These bomber jacket and combat-obsessed bands are more influenced by Romper Stomper than BLITZ. If I were blindfolded and not aware of the title of the record nor the weightlifting dude on the cover, i’d say the following: SNIPER CULTURE sounds like a contemporary hardcore band who were too lazy/troubled to bring their own gear to the show, so they borrowed everything from a CHAOS UK/DISORDER-worshipping band, left all the settings unadjusted, and just started to play their simplified, but arrestingly groovy hardcore. Reminds me of URBAN WASTE who, without context, are more a noise band than New York Hardcore. Repeated listens help dig through the layers of noise. The tempo changes smoothly between lose-your-shit-fast and push-the-whole-room-mid-tempo. Then it all ends with a cover of “Bloodstains.” This is good, and if this is only the beginning, then it is even better.