Reviews

Chain Reaction

Clusterfux The 7″s cassette

Compilation cassette compiling all recorded CLUSTERFUX tracks from 2004—2007. Two recording sessions that became sides of three split 7″s with some leftover tracks all included here. CLUSTERFUX seem mostly like a thrashcore band, but some of the unexpected genres I hear when I listen to this makes it feel as if the band is somewhat living up to their name. There’s some crossover metal riffs, some rip-roaring thrash metal solos, vocals going back and forth from sounding akin to DRI to sounding like they’re recorded for a crust punk band, and even sounding oddly screamo-inspired at times. Unexpectedly, I think some of the songs on the “You” side of this cassette rip harder than everything contained on the “Fuck” side, which is surprising since that side is all the tracks that didn’t make the cut on the band’s vinyl releases. A few of those songs sound more straightforward crossover thrash, which seems to suit the band the strongest.

Buff / Cress Government Monster / Choose Your War split LP

Apparently CRESS is a functional project again, and they have picked up right where they left off from Monuments and the DOOM split in the late 1990s. Their brand of spaced-out anarcho-punk fills a modern void, and I feel like the songs on their side are simultaneously present and timeless…a sound that is simultaneously familiar and inspirational (or maybe one because of the other). I listened to the CRESS side three times in a row, I confess that I was prepared to be disappointed by the flip and didn’t even want to turn the record over (but I have a job to do)…BUFF blew me away. Epic UK space-crust along the lines of IOWASKA or MUCKSPREADER, blatant HAWKWIND homages driven by electronic manipulations, later SUBHUMANS drawn-out reggae/dub interludes…and they have no problem delivering chaotic crust detonations. Far from a scattershot collection of sounds, Manchester’s BUFF treats their side of the split like a journey, and the listener is invited to join. I feel like I reacquainted with an old friend and I made a new one—absolutely brilliant split release.

End of Hope Cease & Destroy LP

Heavy rock’n’roll-tinged stoner jams, pulled through time from the mid-1990s “noise rock played by old punks” brand of heavy alt. The difference is that END OF HOPE still opens it up from time to time, and maybe it’s the variation that sets them apart. Massive guitar tonnage and killer riffs, Cease & Destroy hits hard and swings hard, like a thinking person’s grunge/stoner hybrid. Distinct piercing growls from former KRAUT frontman Gunner ensure that this record doesn’t sound like anything else on your shelf. Self-released on CD in 2019, slapped onto shiny green wax by Chain Reaction.

Motherfucker Teresa Old News is Still New News cassette

Erratic song structures and a recording that leans heavily on the high end amp the intensity of this dual-vocal Denver outfit. MOTHERFUCKER TERESA would have fit in nicely on a mid-’90s Gilman bill with BLACK FORK; jumpy lurches turn into nasty, guitar-driven political punk—and with tracks like “Me and Mitch McConnell in a Dark Alley,” I think you can pick up where they’re coming from pretty quickly.

Poison Tribe State Sanctioned Violence cassette

Full-throated crust churn—another killer contribution from the folks at Chain Reaction. The vocals are exhausting, lyrics descending into a breathless “aaaarrrggghhhh“ instead of words, and trying to keep up with the all-go low-end attack. Five songs here—definitely looking forward to more in the future.

Roäc 4 Song Mini LP 12″

Excellent combination of pure depressive power and the ability to unleash when necessary. MISERY and DEVIATED INSTINCT comparisons are easy, but they are also warranted here—the responsible personnel have been in the game for years, and it shows. Four doses of unassailable doom-laden crust, peaking with “The Path” that starts the second side with instantly familiar dark melodies, helping the listener realize that this trio bows to the same sonic idols that have brought more “recognized” bands something like underground “success”— somehow it hits just a little harder when you see a band churning it out in relative isolation. Even if you just casually dabble in the world of epic crust, ROÄC will straight up level you.

Life Once Flourished Here / Roäc split LP

ROÄC plays loose, grizzly crust reminiscent of MISERY, DEVIATED INSTINCT meets HIS HERO IS GONE, themes of desolation, despair, and a stark realization of darker days ahead. The pace remains gloomy and macabre almost throughout their side, harkening the ’90s finest metallic crust on the more composed and tight, less chaotic side; WINTER, the metric delivery of GODFLESH, the double bass pedal of BOLT THROWER…. but hotdamn, when they gallop off at a DEATH STRIKE pace, ROÄC rips. There’s a lot to offer on this side from the twelve-string acoustic guitar and tambourine to the pulverizing, more EFFIGY/AXEWIELD riff-driven tracks. You’re getting a lot for half of a split. LIFE ONCE FLOURISHED HERE delivers one track, “Land That God Forgot,” a sonic landscape of JACK ROSE-esque primitive guitar on the side of ALARIC or ATRIARCH. A melancholy and harmonic slightly prog or Krautrock escape under socio-political spoken word. Feeling a message and mood of AXIOM and BLACK KRONSTADT here as well, as the intro grows into a discordant hardcore attack. I think this is an important split LP for the eco-conscious free-spirit cruster—an ally to love and peace. Neither side disappoints.

Rotstrotter Rotstrotter LP

Monstrous non-stop D-beat with some motor-charged vibes. For fans of HELLKRUSHER, DISASTER, POLICE BASTARD, WARCOLLAPSE, and DISTRAUGHT. Vocals remind me of DEVOID OF FAITH, the music is as fast as DISGUST, E.N.T, and DISFEAR. ROTSTROTTER isn’t rewriting the book here, but their speed is definitely up there with the most insane of them. The transitions are smooth and the riffs melt together in excellent D-beat harmony. Some solos almost sound like computer gibberish and that’s fucking cool and different. ROTSTROTTER debuts with a powerful LP that grasps you right away. It’s simple, but it is real kängpunk turnt up a few notches in its truest form. You can tell the members of this band are no freshmen to this sound. 100% D-beat hardcore from Denver today that reeks forth like Europe thirty-something years ago.