Reviews

Black Water

Dead Hunt Dead Hunt LP

Oh great, another band that couldn’t exist without TRAGEDY. Not much stands out from the rest of the crust herd here, but nothing is awful either. Vocals are nice and aggressive, the production approaches stadium crust levels of cleanliness and loudness, and the riffs themselves are not terribly generic, but not super unique either. The best part of this record is the guitar leads, most of which sound like they were aped from IRON MAIDEN or something. Probably a better live band.

Death Ridge Boys (Don’t Let Them) Divide Us / Working 7″

You could easily file this under the “Hairy Guys Playing Oi!” category, but that would be a great disservice and you’d only be robbing yourself of a real kicker of a record. This is the guy from TALK IS POISON’s anti-fascist working class street rockin’ quartet from the mean artisan-coffee-drenched back alleys of PDX. The title track here is a complete “War on the Terraces” vegan leather boot stomping anthem. “Working” is little more of a hard rocker: regaling the woe-filled tales of clocking in yet another hard day at the bicycle collective. All jokes aside, this a scorching little platter with well-thought out lyrics and is well worth your wages.

Forward Apathy Kills People EP

Tokyo’s kings are still…well, they are still kings. Two more tracks of fierce, positive, life-affirming Japanese hardcore. A mid-tempo A-side with a chorus just begging for crowd participation (the songs are completely different, but I’m reminded of the times I’ve seen audiences competing with the PA during the chorus in “What’s The Meaning Of Love?”) gives way to an absolute burner in “Our World Our Own,” injecting raw JapanCrust fury into the anthemic hardcore that has become FORWARD’s signature over the last two decades. Ishiya’s vocals are gravel and fire, Souichi is still a fukkn animal, while You and Akiyama still manage to feel loose as fukk while remaining rock solid. FORWARD is very, very close to the perfect hardcore punk band, and this record (along with the full-length in the last issue) show that they have no intention of letting up.

Genogeist Genogeist LP

Hailing from PDX, GENOGEIST plays tidal waves of crushing static hardcore crust. Two levels of vocals are presented: a choking guttural dense layer, and a clearer digital affected top layer sort of reminding me of ACCION MUTANTE. Songs end and begin seamlessly sutured together. The compositions are at their root punk, branching out with cyber-botanical metal briars. That is to say they bang, hard, but are smothered in distortion. The guitars slice out with AGE accents. The drumming is exceptional, constantly holding a steady mid-tempo crust beat, then all of a sudden cascade and explore into a ruthless fit.  This album moves fast with its attack, but covers all areas of expert songwriting and never seems repetitive. Engaging riffs, punctuated vocal moments, D-beat piledriving, ghoulish momentary death metal solos. GENOGEIST haunts shit up from beginning to end. An epitome of crust’s origins while offering contemporary fresh individuality. Favorite track: “Systemic Shroud.”

Nightfeeder Exploited Partisans EP

Just yesterday, I messaged my pal Grant while I was listening to DEATHRAID to let him know how underrated I thought the band was, and he replied, ”you should hear their new band NIGHTFEEDER.” Well, I’m hearing them now—a band made up of four motherfuckers who were in DEATHRAID (and CONSUME and countless other Seattle/PNW bands) and seem determined to deliver whirlwind hardcore punk rock at any cost, and Grant wasn’t wrong to suggest adding NIGHTFEEDER to my “must listen” catalog. Dirty-ass rock’n’roll influence is shameless, modern hardcore punk of the highest caliber. Moral? Always listen to your pal Grant.

Rigorous Institution Penitent EP

As many of us already know, the influence of post-punk bands like KILLING JOKE, JOY DIVISION, and BAUHAUS was to shape the sounds of AMEBIX/AXEGRINDER (referring specifically to the ’80s era, and not their current incarnation). RIGOROUS INSTITUTION reminds me of those gritty, dark, gloomy aspects of the original anarcho/post-punk influenced crust punk bands that were coming out from the UK in the ’80s. They combine aspects of KILLING JOKE meets VENOM with the synth parts used in AXEGRINDER songs. It’s common to see people blindly ripping off anarcho/post-punk bands like EXIT STANCE, VEX or PART 1 this past decade, but RIGOROUS INSTITUTION doesn’t fall into that realm. It’s “crust” but not in the HIS HERO IS GONE-inspired neo-crust/’90s hardcore kind of way, nor another version of the mid-’00s “metallic crust.” It doesn’t comply with most people’s stereotypes of the genre (the ones who would be into that stuff would most likely be in the old school death metal scene right now). In this current day and age of easy access to an overwhelming amount of information to simply mock a certain style that’s considered cool or validated, I’m glad to hear a unique band like RIGOROUS INSTITUTION doing what they do. Highly recommended.

Rigorous Institution Cainsmarsh LP

Stark and grim, this album is a grimy soundtrack for the end times. Coming up with something to compare it to, my first thoughts were of AMEBIX and, in terms of mood and atmosphere, HAWKWIND. Undergirded by creepy, melancholic, droning synthesizers, Cainsmarsh is anarchic crust punk at its most eldritch. “The Terror” is a two-minute instrumental horror poem. “Laughter” picks up the tempo and raises the nightmare fuel levels to eleven. There are occasional metallic elements on tracks such as “Criminal Betrayers” and “Ergot,” but this is absolutely punk AF. With gravelly vocals, merciless riffs, pounding rhythms, evil lyrics, and a constant mood of hopeless gloom, this is one of the best, most psychotic anarcho-punk albums I’ve heard.