Alement Onward EP

ALEMENT is a crust band from Philly with a hideously dark guitar tone, trashy riffs, raspy vocals, fun solos, and furious tempos. Think AXEGRINDER, AMEBIX, and the like. Just three songs on this EP from last year, but you can expect a hell of a ride. “Sea of Consequence” starts with a full trash assault, reminiscent of ENGLISH DOGS in its most violently-induced slam riffery. “Dwell” develops with even more metal-sounding riffs, with some cool mid-tempo choruses and gigantic breakdown worthy of a wall of death. “Onward” ends the EP in a darker tone. It begins with a drone-y and doomy intro, followed by an amazing demonstration of killer after killer riff and epic solos, a real tour de force.

Alien Boys Night Dangers LP

Imagine, if you will, a world where the BOMBPOPS listened to too much later-era DISCHARGE and hair metal instead of listening to too much BLINK or whatever. Now imagine that they still had Fat Wreck production values. Imagine no more my friends, because ALIEN BOYS have made that fantasy world come to life! Not my particular cup of tea, but after a few listens I don’t wanna throw it like a Frisbee, so that’s something I suppose.

Butcher Return to Nothingness LP

BUTCHER’s second LP is harrowing chaos on overdrive. Jack Butcher snarls forth with a clear yet grizzly delivery, at times bringing Rob “The Baron” Miller of AMEBIX, or intense black metal straining to mind, while still retaining hardcore razor cuts. The guitar intros are metallic and extremely accomplished, and at times melancholic post-punk vibes are mixed with discordant blackened chamber metal. Everything is much faster than you even need or expected. “Beyond the Triple World” is my favorite track, with well-placed mid-tempo bludgeoning. The lyrics are formulated into mystical analogies and spiritual perditions, which resist the power of evil, though embrace its existence, expressed through words that are wholeheartedly nihilistic and minimal, while at once fluid and existentially vast. “Beware The Gnawing Nothingness” is especially poignant and depressing. Featuring members of FORWARD, WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, ASSHOLEPARADE, and LIFECHAIN, and with calamitous cover art by the uncompromising Tomohiro Matsuda. And just like that, it ends like a cleaver to the skull. Darker, denser, and even deeper than the
debut. Get this.

Extended Hell Call of the Void EP

Play loud! Megaton hardcore punk outta New York with Scandi tendencies, highlighted by the tough vocals and intense but focused drum attack. TOTALITÄR are an obvious primary influence, but there are moments here that line up very well with early TRAGEDY in terms of the expansiveness of the sound and the riffing. Couple the quality tunes with a very well-designed sleeve (that cover art is downright haunting) and a huge, warm recording, and you’ve got a top-quality punk record.

Headsplitters Headsplitters LP

Mad, clean blasts of highly aggressive D-beat hardcore fury from NYC. Vocal cords strained and lost, and the hopeless abandon in its essence sounds metaphorically lost as well. The drums piledrive through with tumbling, slightly sloppy fills, and I mean that in a good way. Solo piano moments break up the assault of furious hardcore. Some metallic crust riffs from HEADSPITTER on this one contrast with their earlier, more Scandi-style recordings, and classic hardcore riffs with optimist attitude are abound, counteracting the bleak tone of everything else. All the songs hit all the marks between two and three minutes, keeping the adrenaline pedal pinned. “At What Cost?” is my favorite track, with lots of variety. Sixteen tracks of quintessential jaded, brooding NYC hardcore from this powerful three-piece.

Hellish View Reaper’s Hand EP

Once you put on this EP, you hear bombs dropping and sirens going off! You get the familiar feeling that you know what is coming. This is a good premonition if you are into DIS- bands. Starting off with a mid-paced song and soon erupting into a DISCLOSE-worship fest, this one is a no brainer. DISCHARGE, DISCLOSE, DISCARD. That’s all you need to know!

Hellish View Demo ’21 cassette

HELLISH VIEW only worships three things: lyrics about war, D-beats, and Kawakami! Nothing new, no improvement, just good old raw hardcore the way that DISCLOSE and SHITLICKERS used to do it. As it says on their Bandcamp page: “New bassist and drummer, still worshipping DISCLOSE.”

Hope? Your Perception is Not My Reality EP

The hotly anticipated follow-up to 2021’s Dead and Gone cassette is finally here, and it fucking rips! Four tracks packed with even more crucial lyrics—Manda pushes the vocal limit beyond the brink, while the band plays an even tighter and heavier version of their D-beat-styled hardcore crust. Desperation and urgency are the strong emotional undercurrents that will pull you under immediately and get you slamming in short order. Opening with a brutal, beat-heavy treatise on gender politics, “The Patriarchy Must Be Destroyed” could be a standalone song, but there’s a lot more here. It’s followed by “Obey,” a warp-speed reminder of how fucked planet Earth really is. The B-side opens with “Take Back the Night,” a rocking tribute to punk life and a simultaneous decree of action. “Retrograde” closes out the disc with Kalvin throwing in just a pinch of psychedelic guitar that makes me want to listen all over again. If you liked the Dead and Gone cassette, then you’re going to love this 7”.

Humant Blod Flykten Från Verkligheten EP

Pedigrees don’t make bands, but they’ll sure as hell make you pay attention, and when Poffen (TOTALITÄR, MAKABERT FYND, DISSEKERAD, etc.) and Mattis (MAKABERT FYND, DISSEKERAD, etc.) hooked up with a trio of Americans from QUESTION, SAD BOYS, MERCENARY, POX, ZERO, CONDOMINIUM, SUBVERSIVE RITE (and others), people fucking paid attention. We all assumed it was going to be good, but HUMANT BLOD is better. Complete and total rage from start to finish—relentless, fist-banging käng. I feel like if anything, the students here might have inspired the masters, and the result is an absolutely classic piece of wax. The internet has already melted over Flykten Från Verkligheten, so I might be preaching to the choir, but holy shit, this is a great record. Choice cut, “Ingen Kontroll,” if only for the solo.

Languid Resist Mental Slaughter LP reissue

This reissue of the debut LP from LANGUID of Canada contains bonus material of their first demo as well, and the remastered production (by Kenko from EXPLOATÖR/VERDICT) rips. If you are not familiar, LANGUID play raw, distorted D-beat crust in the style of DISFEAR, TOTALITÄR, DISGUST, DISASTER, or ASPECTS OF WAR, with some hints of MELAKKA…you know the drill. It’s great. I only have the follow-up LP to this and then their third, so this comes at a perfect time as something I could never get. What was even more great was when I caught their set in Oakland—an endless barrage of rhythmic noise, which cut to silence for brief arrests only to detonate once more. LANGUID stands out on drum fills, sizzling feedback with a piercing edge, DOOM-ing vocal pace, a full grumbling sound that is equal parts fluid and harsh. The title track is particularly haunting. Did I mention all LANGUID cover art rules? You can’t go wrong here if you never got this or the demo. Like me.

Life Ossification of Coral LP

Tokyo crust veterans LIFE’s latest LP Ossification of Coral combines the influences of ’80s Swedish hardcore, English and Scottish metallic crust, perhaps some influences from their peers over the years; yet still makes it their own. With the implementation of slower, groovier parts Á  la UK crust bands (AXEGRINDER or DEVIATED INSTINCT), the tracks have more variation than in the past, but they still continue to deliver the raging fast SEDITION/SCATHA-like approach for which they were known. Lyrics consist of anti-military sentiments that not only point out the issues that we face, but also manifest anthems in solidarity and support of the victims of oppression in this society. Includes a cover of ’90s Tokyo scene peers ABRAHAM CROSS’s “Same As War” and artwork done by Nozaki of COLLAPSE SOCIETY/STAGNATION. This release is a great representation of how the ’90s generation of the Tokyo crust scene is relevant in the current generation; still absolutely raging as hard as it did even after a few decades of existence. Highly recommended.

Nukke Virtue Signaling EP

An EP of six tracks in eight minutes, released by Portugal’s NUKKE. Pandemic-inspired bleak metal punk with lyrics heavily influenced with sociopolitical content and a lexicon about consumer culture, the dark outcomes of social media and its sinister status machinery, social inequity and injustice, and even quite polemic thoughts and stances regarding the coronavirus and the world’s situation in quarantine. Metal-infused hardcore with good drumming and guitar riffing of a crude metal nature.

Taifun Demo 2020 cassette

German punks worshipping Japanese ’90s hardcore bands, featuring members of BURIAL (no strangers to this genre) and BOMBENALARM. Side A is pure pummeling Burning Spirits-styled hardcore going from BASTARD to FORWARD. Four tracks with all the style’s tropes: rock’n’roll leads, gang shouts, and an upbeat feeling. Side B is a vicious ten-minute noise piece about the mythological Greek giant Argus Panoptes that will melt what is left of your ears off. Overall a great demo for all the Japanese hardcore enthusiasts.

Warcycle Manifesting Barbarity EP

This is a D-beat barrage from Australia that is like a sonic scavenger on fire—that was actually meant to compliment them and describe the rad cover art. Drum fills cascade with intense fury, vocals are bellowed out until the last gasp, with a powerful range. Distortion is crasher-level red. This is hitting like ENZYME, FRAMTID, KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE, ANTI-METAFOR, or SYMPTOM. It has all of the ingredients to be served up generically, but it is not at all. Various rhythms and songs are linked together like an exhausting, raging raw live set with a dense production value, and moments of pause before the bombardment adds a unique quality of thoughtfulness for the style. This is the second EP from WARCYCLE and a first for me. Impressive crustcore D-beat!

Warkrusher Armistice 12″

I love it when BOLT THROWER gets worshiped by punks, because, in essence, BOLT THROWER was a punk band that played death metal! Crushing death metal with a clear vibe of Realm of Chaos-era BOLT THROWER, mixed with apocalyptic crust like classic AXEGRINDER and DEVIATED INSTINCT. The thing with the so-called “stenchcore” is that it has all been done countless times before, but Montreal’s WARKRUSHER really knows how to pay a proper homage to the war masters. From the logo, the cover, the songs, and overall vibe, they nail the fuck out of it. Enter the realm (of chaos) of Armistice at your peril. Crussssssst!