Reviews

D-Takt & Råpunk

Blinded Humanity Mind Control EP

Chucky and extremely aggressive gore-core from Australia. The intense speed reminds me of BASTARD filled out with the crustier rage of COP ON FIRE. Six tracks of inferno-core reminiscent of DEATH TOLL 80K with vocal hopelessness and a maniacal regurgitation/choking reflex on every track, which tranforms this EP even further into a bitter pill to swallow.

Extended Hell Mortal Wound LP

EXTENDED HELL has been with us a few years now—their two 7″s and their live gigs have caused a stir in the realm of the underground. The inspiration comes from bands like INFERNÖH, HERATYS, and of course, the antecedents like ANTI-CIMEX and TOTALITÄR, I also feel like some of the riffs and structure brings to mind Another Religion and One Struggle-era VARUKERS. Heavy riffs and guitar tone give this band an underlying drive that is relentless: a ceaseless pounding like a piledriver repeatedly hammering into the depths. Layered on top of that drive is an overlay of smouldering guitar pyrotechnics that are restrained enough not to be gratuitous, but hot enough to give the hardcore drive some rock sizzle. Lyrically and visually, EXTENDED HELL paints a picture of a bleak world. While a lot of bands follow the D-beat template and use war tropes as stand-ins for a message, it’s clear that more thought went into these lyrics and the artwork. Power and profit untrammeled have resulted in the complete dehumanization of the many for the benefit of the few. Interestingly, songs like “Operational Exhaustion” and “Disintegration” deal with dehumanization of the soldier and oppressor, while “Dissident” and “Mortal Wound” are written from the point of view of the victim of oppression. This brings to mind Camus’ Neither Victims nor Executioners. I have the pleasure of knowing cover artist Joe B, as he’s originally from Minneapolis. He’s done all their artwork, and this one continues the theme of the other pieces. A vision of a technological terror state controlling the city, where humanity is reduced to a ghost-like existence. The bleak, hollow vision of alienation is a stark contrast to the commercialized consumer culture vision of life in New York City. It brings to mind some of the writings of Mike Davis and Naomi Klein, who foresaw a future where the working class lives a segregated and surveilled existence while the elite lives it up in a “Green Zone,” with all the luxuries and amenities. Personally, while I appreciate the cohesive aesthetic of the bleak reality, I wish that EXTENDED HELL would offer us a ray of hope, because the music itself is quite liberating and uplifting. Just as a Goya or Kollwitz painting of an atrocity can still be a beautiful piece of artwork, this picture of gloom and horror also has the power to enlighten us and set us free. The music itself is quite empowering, even if its subject matter is man’s inhumanity to man.

Nervous SS Future Extinction LP

After a 7″, here’s a full 30 minutes of this “Totalitarian” D-beat band from Macedonia—”Totalitarian” in that it is in the mold of TOTALITÄR, not that it advocates a one-party dictatorship. The point of departure is, of course, TOTALITÄR, but this is no slavish clone. The guitar sound is a bit thicker and more metallic and there’s enough variety of influence here to allow this record to stand on its own. That said, the majority of the tracks are solidly in the realm of TOTALITÄR-style kÁ¥ng. My impression is that the creator of this comes a bit more from a metal background than hardcore punk, as the whole production has a crunch and heft and underlying subtext points more towards metal than, say, UK82 or ’77 punk. And noticeably absent is the kind of punk stomper TOTALITÄR would throw in on their releases. A few tracks have a bit of Motörcrust vibe as well, but all of these factors complement rather than distract from the overall impact. My only critique is the overuse of of SS as a suffix for a hardcore band name.

Nukke No More Peace LP

Now we’re fukkn talking, punks! Absolute fucking D-beat rager from Portugal’s NUKKE, with gratuitous metallic leads from a guitar EQ-ed to SICKOIDS 2012 (if that reference falls flat, then please refer to the band SICKOIDS and the year 2012…then you’ll understand). As with so many of the greats, there are undeniable hooks buried in this bombast, songs like “T.S.F.L.” that will get stuck in your head for days but are still complete audio destruction. No More Peace is 100% top quality fire—easily one of the best records I’ve heard all year!

Sex Dwarf Sensou Hantai EP

Here’s some noisy as fuck, raw punk chaos out of Stockholm. The guitarist employs the always-on wah pedal technique to deliver an intermittent low/high pitch harsh noise tone that sounds like a chainsaw slicing through a dumpster. It’s the perfect sound to scratch your eyeballs out to. Back that up with ferocious proto-Euro-crust smashing and you’ve got a real ripper. Check it out!

偏執症者 (Paranoid) Out Raising Hell LP

Sweden’s reigning D-takt kings are back with a monster (and a 12″ of outtakes as a companion release, because they are geniuses). The erratic fukkd up mania of 2015’s Satyagraha are all but gone, and a blackened mötorkång behemoth has risen in its place. Track after track of blistering, raw VENOM-meets-Kill ’Em All reimagined by veterans weaned on ANTI-CIMEX and ENTOMBED. I confess that the mid-tempo bangers like “光の館 (Hikari no Yakata)” are an adjustment for me, but this is a record to be listened to front-to-back (and repeatedly), and when “墓場の目 (Hakaba no Me)” comes lumbering, and then raging, in to close out the first side, I am hooked. I expected this record to be good—it’s better.