Crew Cuts

Consolation Repulsive Reflections EP

Third release by this geographically-spread UK hardcore band, although the second was a super limited lathe 7” with two songs which are both among the six on Repulsive Reflections. The first side of this EP mixes up crust-adjacent hammer blows (“Abstain”) and creepy crawl trudging that explodes into wild VOID-like guitar mania (“Theft II”), and to that end makes for a pretty clear bridge back to CONSOLATION’s debut tape from 2019. On B-side numbers “Free” and “Stolen,” I pick up screamo vibes—at least one member of the band has a background in the 2010s UK iteration of that scene—in the guitars and vocals, like an Ebullition Records version of, say, PERSPEX FLESH. Works a charm for me. Speaking of charm, I really like the variety of people named in the lyric sheet’s “inspired by” list, including Kano (the grime MC), Shon Faye, and Bernadette Devlin.

Diall Rut EP

Six cuts of the hard stuff from the UK. Loaded with swirling and ominous riffs, bestial growled vocals, and a powerful stomp, DIALL’s gnarly hardcore is embellished with a smooth and pointed sound on this 7”. It’s got that dark, distorted, dystopian vibe laced with feedback like BIB, HOAX, GLUE, and the like, done pretty well and complemented by the apt production. Solid debut.

Drug Victim Mongrel EP

DRUG VICTIM is a straight edge band from Plymouth in England. If I lived in Plymouth I’d probably be straight edge as well, if only as an excuse to avoid its pubs full of off-duty army meatheads. Mongrel, their second release, crams seven songs onto one side of a 7″, balancing lyrics roughly equally between the politicised (factory farming on “Bolt Cutter”; religion, or some iteration of it, on “Dynamite Money”) and the negative/introspective. You can guess from the artwork this isn’t gonna be your corny youthcrew type sXe: I reckon DRUG VICTIM would prefer to think of themselves more on a COKE BUST or VACCINE kinda tip, with thick sludgy sections breaking up the powerviolence tempos. Of the four labels co-releasing it, two are from the UK, one from the US and one from Spain, should that info aid your purchase.

Dry Socket Cessation EP

Why fuck around with both sides of the record when all of your action fits on one? DRY SOCKET only needs three songs to make their point, so if you didn’t get it the first time, just go listen to all three again. The formula is simple: pissed, hardcore, punk. “Phantom Pains” delivers chills from the moment the needle drops with the band’s stance (no immunity, no freedom from accountability, there is no unity with white supremacy) and sets the stage for a pure assault. Dani’s vocals are dead on-point and the riffs are straight for the throat—check the start/stop after the intro around twenty seconds into “Red,” because this is the shit that sets the real bands apart from the folks who are phoning it in while projecting the “correct” image. Full endorsement from this eager listener…from content to delivery to presentation, Cessation is a fukkn beast.

Eyeteeth Negative Reinforcement flexi EP

Brand new EP from UK’s grinding straightedge violence unit EYETEETH. An electrifying blend of fast-paced rhythms, aggressive vocals, and raw energy that epitomizes the essence of straightedge hardcore. Four relentless tracks that go by as fast as they start, and everything in just four minutes. What a beating!?! The unwavering commitment to the straightedge ethos lives on!

Final Dose Void Inside LP

The first LP from London’s FINAL DOSE. For metalheads, it might be black-metal-influenced hardcore punk. For the punks, it might sound more like modern hardcore-influenced black metal.  Metal and punk have always had inseparable connections and have influenced each other for quite some time, but this one is a rather new approach for listeners of both early DARKTHRONE and surprisingly, SPY or GULCH fans.. Listeners of the latter bands might enjoy it more than the former. Noisy and raw tracks that still have a modern production punch.

Gimic Defer to Hate EP

This is the kind of hardcore I can eat with a spoon, especially knowing it’s exactly the kind of thing that makes bros in THROWDOWN hoodies take to the internet to rant about how the genre and scene are “totally dead.” The weirdos continue to take over the culture, cross-pollinating genres in a way that amplifies the raging core of the songs. There is a lot of melody packed into these songs, at times evoking ’90s emo/alternative as well as garage and even just straight up rock’n’roll. The bass lines are nimble, the drums are locked-in, and singer Harriet is utterly commanding. Addictively listenable.

I Recover Until I Wake LP

It’s surprising how far small changes can go in HC/punk. If I RECOVER’s guitars had a little more bottom, they would be a pretty tight melodic HC outfit. Instead, the guitars sound a little lighter and looser than they could. The expressive drums and anguished, hoarse vocals help give the whole record a pensive, emo-ish feel. The songs are catchy, but the band doesn’t sound too focused on it. As their name suggests, the lyrical content is introspective and sincere.

Last Gasp The Storied Weight of It All LP

Cleveland’s LAST GASP has somehow successfully managed to make a record that merges fast hardcore with breakdown parts that don’t sound out of place and a vocalist that wouldn’t sound strange singing in something poppier. Almost reminiscent of RESTRAINING ORDER with more “welcoming” vocals. I can see this growing on me more and more with every listen. Extra points for the nod to Cleveland legends DEAD BOYS with the opening ring-out of “Sonic Reducer” on their song “One Last Drink.” A fun easter egg and classy nod to their city’s punk rock history.

Perp Walk The Chain of Infection EP

Cardiff’s PERP WALK have done quite well making a name for themselves in a relatively short amount of time, opening for the likes of the CHISEL, FUCKED UP, and CHAIN WHIP. They’re poised to become headliners themselves considering the strength of their debut EP, The Chain of Infection. Playing straight hardcore punk with a sprinkle of garage rock weirdness (think the aforementioned CHAIN WHIP with a dash of TY SEGALL/OH SEES energy), PERP WALK has a fully realized sound that is both politically charged and rabid. Check out “Dogwhistle” and “Moral Compass” to hear what I mean.

Plastics Plastic World EP

God, this is good. Pummeling and crunchy, with winding riffs that dart around with speed and precision, and hollering vocals that reverberate off the walls with chilly stoicism. If societal collapse has brought us anything, it’s brought us the best global hardcore scene in history. Let’s be grateful for that silver lining on a toxic cloud. This stands strong amidst the newest crop of art-tinged hardcore bands that smartly knits post-punk angularity with ’80s-indebted ferociousness to great effect.

Skrewball Wild Cats EP

With rough and snappy charisma, SKREWBALL from Plymouth, UK pumps out four solid youth crew pounders on their debut 7”. This mostly mid-paced “street punk” stomps firmly in between classic NY and UK hardcore styles, aided by an awesome sore-throated vocalist and bursting into fits of speed at the right moments. Maybe this will arouse fans of both GORILLA BISCUITS and ANTISOCIAL?

Suspect Demo EP

Five-song banger of a demo by this German outfit. Hardcore punk songs that all clock in at under two minutes. This has everything you’d want in a band like this. Fast parts? Check. Slower but not overdone breakdown parts? Check. The only downside to this is the recording itself. It’s a demo, so one should not expect a full-blown, highly produced recording, and really it’s not too bad. There’s just something off about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. That aside, this has potential to be awesome.

The Dweebs Goes Without Saying EP

This EP from Plymouth, UK’s the DWEEBS is ten tracks of British punks playing fast ’80s-style USHC akin to the earlier Dischord catalog and bands like YOUTH OF TODAY or UNIFORM CHOICE. Reminiscent of another USHC-inspired band from the UK, the STUPIDS, but despite having a similar fast approach to their sound, it’s still quite its own thing, a product of its own environment. Still nasty-sounding enough for the MRR realm, yet it’s straight-up circle pit music. Straight-ahead, full-speed attack of action-packed hardcore.

Thought Control P.M.R.R.T.W. EP

Damn, THOUGHT CONTROL has been eating their Wheaties since releasing their 2021 Shock to the System 7”. That record was a solid slice of old school, but on this new EP, the band has grown into an even sharper and more formidable unit. Titled P.M.R.R.T.W. (“Psychos, Murder, and Rape Rule the World”), this six-song 7” does the neat trick of making that old classic hardcore style fresh again for a few minutes. They rock back and forth between blazing fast numbers and chill mid-paced head-bobbers, sounding a little bit like Atlanta’s underrated JOINT D≠, especially on the excellent “Violence for Violence.” Good to have you back, THOUGHT CONTROL—always a pleasure. “Aunt Suzi Has An Uzi” has some real hit single potential, if you ask me.