Reviews

Discos Enfermos

Aihotz El No Movimiento cassette

AIHOTZ from Bilbao immediately creates an exciting atmosphere on their debut demo tape. While the strangeness is rather within their sound, which when dissected, shows how the layers are not alien or renewed attributes of punk rock, only here paired and played in an unusual way. I got it, but would not go as far as the promo text which suggests a blend of PARALISIS PERMANENTE and G.I.S.M., but indeed, they use echoed to spooky vocals mixed with airy metallic power riffs. Both the echo and breezy chords create a lot of open space over which AIHOTZ has control and they are able to fill it with energy. The space separates the music from the determined and playful vocals and the two, parallel yet together, create the unique atmosphere, that tricks me to think more of them than a simple hardcore punk band. This demo is not a scam, though it tends to present itself to something wilder than it really is. Which is very human. Occasionally the bouncy rhythm wonders from dark territories to more direct hardcore/punk forms where high pace is agressively maintained, along the way we encounter strange parts and all of a sudden tempo changes to vary the spectrum. Some of these bridges are theatrically heavy and slow, that recalls too much of the MTV metal, here in an ironic, “let’s revise trash” way. Going further within the short record the charm of the band is based on the same autonomous fundament that is at the core of every good demo tape made by an enthusiastic group. AIHOTZ’s attempt is fun and promising, but this tape would get better if their upcoming record will be crazier.

Aihotz Matar al Superhombre EP

Latest release by Basque punks AIHOTZ from Bilbao. Their sound is psychedelia-drenched, international ’80s punk/post-punk, a third-generation mixtape copy meets UK82-style street punk like something that comes out of NYC on Toxic State, or the La Vida Es Un Mus school of punk—art school dropout, yet still quite unclassifiable. For fans of RAKTA, BARCELONA, and UNA BESTIA INCONTROLABLE.

An Slua How Ya Gettin’ On​?​ EP

Irish fockin’ Oi! Enough said! This EP has everything you can ask for in an Oi! record: memorable hooks, melodic “feel-good” guitar licks, and a steady groove. What sets this band apart is their political views, particularly when it comes to veganism, which is an integral part of punk (or it should be). As someone who cares about animal rights, it’s really appealing when a band comes up with such views. Also, these four lads add a bit of post-punk influences here and there, making it even more special. Remember to eat your veggies!

Arrest Pobre i Perrillos EP

Barcelona has one of the most enigmatic, powerful, and unique punk outputs in my opinion, and ARREST is no exception. ARREST presents with a straightforward streetpunk flair that is mid-tempo and melodic under gravelly vocals and vibrant chords. Part the BUSINESS with a vocal rasp à la SPITE UK and the dissenting tones of DESENTERRADAS and earlier BELGRADO. ARREST is enigmatic, as they sound somewhat UK82 with a gothic post-punk sheen. Percussion tumbles through and the rhythm remains constant throughout, yet the pace never tires, with maniacal laughter taunts throughout similar to INYECCIÓN. My favorite track is a seething, circle-pitting romp called “Fakin Many Nen,” which really rounds out a very solid, mid-paced anthemic punk EP. Recommended for its trashy attitude and classic crudeness that feels familiar and well-versed in an older Oi!-meets-post-punk scene. ARREST definitely pulls this balance off.

Autopsia Sistema y Poder LP

This is the long overdue reissue of Lima, Peru legends AUTOPSIA’s 1985 demo tape, official and on vinyl. Around for a barely two years before imploding and going on to form worthwhile successors like GX3 and ATAQUE FRONTAL, they left us all wanting more with these sixteen songs, varying in style from the rawest of political Spanish-language hardcore to catchy-as-hell punky sing-alongs. Just listen to the song “Autopsia” into “Mayoria Equivocada,” and one can hear  this clearly. They share the brutal guitar sound of early peers LEUSEMIA, without the RAMONES worship. They are more of an early LOBOTOMIA or GUERRILLA URBANA in spirit to me, but really, this needs to be appreciated on its own merits. Mandatory.

Black Aubergine Black Aubergine demo cassette

BLACK AUBERGINE is a unique band. The amalgamation of influences, reminiscent of bands like HOAX, HELLHAMMER, NAUSEA, or even GODFLESH, creates an interesting auditory experience. The diversity in styles adds a dynamic quality to the demo, from the most primitive of hardcore to the darkest electronica, showcasing the band´s versatility and creativity. However, the challenge might lie in maintaining a cohesive identity amidst such genre diversity, which BLACK AUBERGINE achieves! Overall, an interesting compilation of songs that could appeal to fans of experimental and boundary-pushing music.

Blessure Ekaitza / Sabaté 7″

More Basque Country brilliance on BLESSURE’s debut release here, with the Bilbao quartet channelling a classic French Oi! sound on this bilingual 7”. There’s touches of CAMERA SILENS and R.A.S. and even more contemporary skinhead chanteurs like RIXE, too. A real good time.

Bosque Rojo Tiempo Vacio LP

From the start, Tiempo Vacio sets BOSQUE ROJO up for greatness. This power trio from Montreal plays post-punk that leans more towards the punk side of the spectrum, but done in a perfect manner. They definitely have a gloomy aura about them that sometimes gets mixed with some Oi!-style hooks, and the vocals in Spanish just add to the dramatic and urgent effect. Like a darker version of the WIPERS. An essential record for 2022.

Caverna Nueva Paz 12″

Another hardcore band from Colombia, and yes, they are great, too. Each song is violent and intense, although most have an interesting blend of different tempos, unexpected bridge parts, and smart stops. The record has the power of running into the wall and continuing to crawl forward through the cracks, yet CAVERNA operates with rather thoughtful coloring of, at their core, raw punk songs—these extra thoughts do not tame any of their songs. Each is killer, recorded in a great form that translates their power perfectly. If not, and they are in fact even better live, then I would love to see them. For real, this is a great record; there is the powerful urgency, the drums are beaten as if each slam would hit my brain, and the record has a non-stop noise current that pushes each song into my face. It’s super pissed, tastefully diverse, and lacks any gimmicks. I should stop writing this and instead try to find a copy for myself. Highest recommendation.

Codigo Neurotico Totus Tous EP reissue

When a record starts with some Gregorian chants, you know it’s gonna turn out to be something else. Barcelona’s CÁ”DIGO NEURÁ”TICO makes exemplary first-wave punk rock: snotty, fun, with buzzsaw guitars, great basslines, and conceited vocals. The overall sound reminds me of Killed by Death bands in style and content, with very tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a healthy dose of adolescent humor, reminiscent of Spanish bands like SINIESTRO TOTAL or M.C.D. “Totus Totus” sounds like a WEIRDOS song played by KAKA DE LUXE, with a chorus that’s a real earworm. “Pega a tu Mama” has the ANGRY SAMOANS’ shock value energy. It’s dumb and it’s fun. “Quema Tanques” is a pure adrenaline rush with lyrics concerning WWII while “Las Malvinas” continues with the rush and war themes with an irresistible sing-along that you will have stuck in your head for weeks. “Cotolengo” is yet another manifestation of their incredible ability to create a gem of beautiful trash. You can get the 7″ on red vinyl. Les sugiero que lo hagan.

Denim Ski Mask Justice EP

Wallop! This demo from a duo of Austrian recalcitrants ticks a lot of boxes for me—namely, it’s short, sharp and almost entirely lacks any fucking about whatsoever. Raw enough to cause salmonella, this is hard-as-nails Oi! stripped back to its component parts. Full of menace and the threat of aggro kicking off at any point, barely concealed within three songs that say all they need to in fewer than two minutes. Listen to this! You have been warned.

Electrika Agonia EP

Oof—this is a good one. Super-pissed, lead-heavy hardcore from Mexico City that mixes elements of crust, D-beat, Japanese hardcore, and even a little crossover in some of the drum patterns. Imagine H.H.H., GAUZE, maybe a sprinkle of HIS HERO IS GONE. It all adds up to a short, nasty treat that is perfectly accentuated by the throat-shredding shrieks of vocalist Diana. The first two tracks have pounding, mid-tempo, rolling drums and distorted bass that give them a crusty feel, while “Tormenta” speeds with D-beats and double-kicks. The effect is like a punch right in the middle of the chest—it knocks you back and takes your breath. I wish I had the Spanish-language lyrics to translate, and I also wish this EP were longer. Check it out.

Farmaco Descolonizar EP

Latino punk might not be the most technical, the most virtuoso, or the most groundbreaking, but it surely is the angriest of all the punk scenes. Hailing from Buenos Aires, FARMACO is no exception to this rule! And anger you can expect! The first half of this EP (“Descolonizar” and “Mundo Inmundo”) sounds like primitive Japanese Hardcore like LSD, and the second half (“Alquitrán” and “Sulfato”) reeks of DEATH SIDE. Do I need to keep on writing? Go get this!

Hez Panamaniacs LP

HEZ has been around for ten years now and I have kept checking for their releases, which concluded with a demo, two 7”s and a mini-LP. I liked them, but always saw more potential than what they actually showed. Finally, Panamaniacs arrived, and it is great, overwhelming hardcore. Great riffs and hectic guitar playing varied with effects scattered around tastefully that sound like a malfunctioning computer. A bunch of plays with tempo usually introduce tense, mid-tempo stompers that also include pedal-manipulated guitars, and also a lot of echo/delay on the vocals. It did remind me of the great DESTINO FINAL, and Panamaniacs could be put next to Atrapados. It’s that good, and it’s that different from the current overload of new releases. HEZ also has their references, but finally they have their own form—it’s hard to achieve quality and features which distinguish you from the others. Even if punk was born from a “live fast, die young” ethos, I welcome when bands take their time, remain together, and craft more releases rather than throwing out a couple 7”s, taking a vacation in Europe disguised as a tour, and then breaking up. If you stick together with your friends in a band and focus on writing sicker songs, it will pay off—at least, I am super happy that HEZ did so, and now I can blast Panamaniacs.

Hez Guerra Interior EP

This is a real blast of mutant matter. Noisy, with pissed-off vocals full of echo and delay, dirty guitar, the bass like a constant drone, and a drum kit that invites to a crazed slam—you can almost feel at certain times that the violent inertia of the music is about to derive in absolute chaos, specifically in the subsequent disintegration of the songs, which you could argue happens in a couple of occasions. These guys from Panama deliver a short and sweet EP with an absolutely beautiful cover. After listening to legions of limited imitators, I think we finally have a band that extends the legacy of classic Mexican bands like RATAS DEL VATICANO or INSERVIBLES.

 

HHH Intelectual Punks EP reissue

Great gem rescued by the essential Discos Enfermos—a 1986 EP by HHH, a band from Girona, Spain. Their debut EP in fact, after having recorded a demo, Sin Identidad, in 1985.  Here we have nine vicious, ultra-fast songs, very much in the vein of early D.R.I., where they scream against nuclear energy, industry, war, the city of Barcelona and the then-upcoming ’92 Olympics, and the punk scene itself. Real sonic beatings. A classic of Spanish hardcore.

HHH Solidhardcore LP

HHH or Harina de Huesos Humanos (which translates to “flour of human bones”) was a Spanish hardcore outfit formed in 1985 that was of significant importance in the ’80s Spanish punk scene. The trio was heavily influenced by Scandinavian punk in their early work and sidetracked into thrashcore-oriented territory in their later days, leading up to their demise in 1993. Ten songs of nonconforming, solid hardcore (think SHITLICKERS or RATTUS) at its most primitive form, with two unreleased tracks “Paz” and “Psicosis” and a faithful reproduction of the original artwork. If you like primitive punk, this is a no-brainer!

Hotza Demo EP

Once again I find myself researching the mineral content of the water supply in Euskara, because this region has once again produced a near-instant classic. Eight minutes of heat over four blistering tracks from Bilbao with this release, which doesn’t let up for the entire time. Scratching that traditional French Oi! itch you didn’t think you had, ticking the same boxes that RIXE and IENA did, this is just the tonic for those tired of milquetoast, by-the-numbers Euro bollocks. Rumbling bass that sounds like tank warfare, over tight and taught guitar lines giving you that brickwall sound that is sorely lacking these days. A suitably raucous 4 SKINS cover rounds it off, and back on repeat it goes. Excellent stuff.

Hyökkäys Antigobierno EP

HYÖKKÄYS translates to “attack”. And attack they do! This is pure Suomi hardcore worship played by Basque punks. Little is known about this band, which keeps things interesting, and one can solely focus on the music…erm…noise they make. Antigobierno is made up of eleven tracks, two of them are covers of HHH and KAAOS, and this mixture pretty much sums up their sound. Raw, primitive, and to-the-point. Another great gem from the Spanish punk scene.

Inyeccion Porquería LP

I’m really, really excited about this record, and haven’t been able to stop listening to it since it came out—definitely one of the best things I have heard in a while. This band has people from different places from Latin America and they all play in different amazing punk bands, so for me this is the perfect mix. The whole record is incredible, amazing Latino “tupa tupa.” You should not miss any second of it, and it will not take more than twenty minutes to finish the whole album, as it should be. If I have to choose a favourite track, it is “Ejecutar” for sure.

Inyeccion Vicio EP

Creeping, raw, and vicious is how I’d shortly describe INYECCION’s sound. Hailing from Chile and Argentina, these punks create a form of hardcore that is an absolute blast to listen to. Bashing drums, chaotic vocals, and grinding guitars are perfectly arranged to create a form of punk crudo that I want more of. This EP maintains a similar sound to INYECCION’s earlier demo, but with a tighter and more refined presentation. A collaborative release between Barcelonian label Discos Enfermos and Japanese label Record Shop A-Z, this EP is well worth adding to your collection as the packaging is a work of art on its own.

Inyeccion Ejecutar demo cassette

This band is from Chile and Argentina, this is their first release, and beyond that I have no context in which to place INYECCION—apart from these ten songs amounting to the most perfectly realised shit-fi pogo-punk I’ve heard in a minute. The drummer has got that oompah beat down so pat it’ll make your heart sing; there are two vocalists, though it’s Cromi (also of FARMACO from Buenos Aires—hey, there’s some context) who indubitably rules the roost with her irate squawk. Guitar and bass merge into a singular conglomerate of amp fuzz, save for about 30 seconds of unlikely jangly guitar during “Atentar Dinamatar,” the last song on the tape. This rules and I want another INYECCION release already.

Lumpen Corrupción 12”

I mentioned in my review for their debut EP that LUMPEN is the spirit of South American punk dissidence, and this opinion hasn’t changed. This is what punk should be! Ravenous yet catchy UK82-styled hardcore punk with the wrath of a thousand dissidents who are fed up with all the violence and corruption that they were born into and who took matters in to their own hands in order to change things. Corrupción is as amazing as their debut Desesperación, but it has a few surprises. Aside from the CHAOS UK-meets-CRIMINAL JUSTICE hybrid, they managed to do a post-punk-ish song called “Anti-Patria” which is pretty bleak, and I could hear a whole album of songs like this. To end the record, there is a kick-ass ULTRA-VIOLENT cover, but with Spanish lyrics that prove that bands don’t need to succumb to the pressure of singing in English to sound good or get included. LUMPEN and fellow countrymen PRIMER REGIMEN are for sure the best Latin punk bands at this moment! Renuncia a tu vida!

Lumpen Desesperación EP

LUMPEN is the spirit of the South American punk dissidence. With an UK82 backbone to their sound, product of much time spent listening to CHAOS UK or CRIMINAL JUSTICE, they create a similar approach to what fellow countrymen PRIMER REGIMEN do: a pure anthemic, unrestful Latin punk sound. Three Colombians and a Canadian relocated to Barcelona, with help from Lexton from UNA BESTIA INCONTROLABLE, LUMPEN managed to impress with this great debut, five tracks of pure “desesperación” of growing up in a violent corrupt country. Just look at the amazing cover by bass player Mateo Correal and you will get a taste of what is inside. “Tribus a la calle.”

Pöls Agrieta el Asfalto LP

Love it when bands like Madrid’s PÖLS get me to listen to styles I haven’t been exposed to or cared about in decades, such as melodic hardcore. Along with Barcelona’s ACCIDENTE, this band has taken that suburban sound and infused it with themes of anarchism, animal rights, ecology, and self-empowerment. And they do it by mixing up youth crew energy, heavy breakdowns, lots of “wooaahs,” and even rap. The contrasting relationship between the girl and boy voices keeps you interested for the whole record. They also feel free to experiment with flamenco-ish ending in “Barcelona” and rap with the last song “Pöls.” Intense energy and creative songwriting. Get it on vinyl.

Primer Regimen 1983 EP

Been waiting for this one for a while, as PRIMER REGIMEN is one of the best Colombian bands out there, and it’s a pleasure to listen to this EP in-depth. After two great EP releases (No Futuro / No Solución and Ultimo Testamento) which were straight-on UK82 pogo-inducing bangers, one might expect more of the same, and this is where PRIMER REGIMEN throws us a curveball. “Hegemonia” opens the EP with tribal-ish, tom-heavy grooves (think What’s This For…!-era KILLING JOKE) that set a more bleak tone for what’s to come, while the follow-up “Líderes” returns to their brilliant brand of passionate and aggressive UK82-influenced tupa-tupa that takes no prisoners. This succession of songs just shows the evolution of the band as they rely more on ambiance this time that on previous records, so this is an important EP for PRIMER REGIMEN, as they are silently perfecting their craft and pulling out different influences, mainly post-punk and anarcho-punk. 1983 is also a very political EP, relaying the bloody story of Colombia that still has a shadowy grip on their people today.

Primer Regimen Ultimo Testamento LP reissue

This is a 2023 repressing of PRIMER REGIMEN’s debut LP, originally released in 2018 on cassette by Discos MMM in the US and on vinyl by Byllepest Distro in Europe—now the great Discos Enfermos has taken care of them, probably for their European tour. Think about the things you did five years ago and wonder whether or not you would put them out now. This is basically what PRIMER REGIMEN did, and it tells you that they must be satisfied with the material. Why wouldn’t they be? It’s a well-recorded, tight, UK82-inspired record, balancing between crude melodies and straightforward hardcore rush. Nothing is complicated on this record, everything is set in order, yet there is a tension that fills the gaps and elevates this LP from the randomness of Oi!-influenced hardcore. It’s great, partly because it makes you wonder how these songs would sound live. Sadly, I missed them when they played here. but their records make up for it.

Pus Pus II LP

A dark Peruvian chamber under a tomb is where we descend with this LP. Raw, distorted, fast-paced, dark blackened hardcore punk that will drive you mad. You can tell they are looking toward chaos and blackened deathrock and punk. A hellish voice echoing from an abyss, chanting deep, desperate screams in a gloomy hardcore atmosphere. Heavily recommend seeing the band live, tearing everything apart. Savage, dark realms from the grave from one of the Latin American bands that has managed to synthesize their own true sound of deathrock and blackened punk. Suggested tracks: “Fosa Común,” “Danza Sombría,” and “Noche.” One of my current projects (EMBOSCADA) did a split with these crazy people, and we are now cursed. A modern must-listen for MOROI and NOSFERATU followers, and seekers of darker sounds in hardcore punk.

P​ö​ls Instinto LP

This album starts with an instrumental track and then kicks into high gear with a pretty good blend of punk, hardcore, and a dash of emo for good measure. The vocalist has a sugary-sweet voice that compliments the music quite nicely, but it’s the backup vocalist(s) that really adds that extra something special that hooks me.

Slevy Volumen 2 LP

There was a time in my life when I thought surf punk was for suckers. I heard one single and thought “what, are the BEACH BOYS smoking PCP now?” I’ve got to say, though, this LP has really changed my view on the genre. The album isn’t strictly surf punk, but about half of the songs here sound like they came straight out of Repo Man. The other half of the sound is deeply influenced by early European New Wave and punk bands. Think DECIMA VICTIMA or CAMERA SILENS. Instrumentally, the LP is pretty stripped back. Drums, bass, some overdriven or chorus-laden guitars, and a bit of synth occasionally. The vocals are delivered in a real grating growl that sometimes comes off as sweet in a TOM WAITS kind of way. I can’t tell you that this is an album that’s going to stay on repeat, but it’s pretty damn good, and worth a listen.

Sublevacion No Hay Futuro EP

Solid-as-a-rock hardcore straight from Barcelona. SUBLEVACION checks all the boxes in keeping the Spanish punk tradition alive. This EP is angry, raw, and punishing as Spanish punk should be. “There is no future” is the dread that gets to you with every listen. Did they borrow their name from INTERTERROR?

Total Nada El Camino Más Fácil EP

Somewhere I read that to repress libidinal energy is to repress the genius of creativity. TOTAL NADA, with this debut EP, seeks to do precisely the opposite. They build, with just six awesome tracks, a space of liberation for those libidinal energies to emerge and birth autonomy and personal expression. The band is from Canada, with a Colombian vocalist singing in Spanish, and a sound where the different axes of the global hardcore cartography converge. One senses the brutalist monotone of RUDIMENTARY PENI but also the manic aggression of South American hardcore of the late ’80s and early ’90s and the overwhelming force of the best Italian punk. It’s gorgeous, it’s fun, it’s sweaty, and above all, it’s brilliant. It is the light that guides us out of the ideological labyrinth in which we live.

Total Nada II EP

Following their self-titled 7” from 2021, II features seven new tunes from Montréal’s TOTAL NADA. With lyrics in Spanish, the bands’ taut hardcore approach is cast in looming post-punky shadows that lend an heir of dread to the spirited music. It’s fiery, battle-cry-laden punk slathered in dark moods that range from jaded dissatisfaction to full-on impending doom. Powerful and pouty, this would make a perfect soundtrack to being trounced by a gothic MMA fighter.

Venganza La Fiera EP

Another heavy-hitting Spanish hardcore punk record courtesy of Discos Enfermos, this time from Saragossa. Picking up where their Tu Patria LP left off, VENGANZA delivers the goods with La Fiera, a four-song EP that displays all the great qualities about Spanish punk: the anthemic quality, the fury, the rawness. A solid punk record for any fan of VAASKA and Spanish punk in general.

X-Intruder Punished for the Crime of Lacking in Judgement LP

This is heartless punk with all the flesh melted off. Yes, it’s a Terminator on the cover. Yes, it’s a perfect metaphor for the sound. Sometimes a band’s clarity of vision makes my job that much easier. Guitars here are dialed in for assassination, and the rest of the band sounds cruel—especially the pummeling electronic percussion. The band isn’t without melody, though, with tracks like “Never Let Your Public Down” hitting like NO TREND with hooks. The vocals, though, are vicious. Catchy aggression will take you very far in this genre. Anyone can sound like they hate you—it takes a real mechanic to leave just enough heart to stick with the listener. The guitar leads that soar above the rest of the chaos do a lot of heavy lifting, but the engine running it all runs strong from start to finish.