Crimetime …Let There Be Crime LP

First let me address the album cover. Band name, album title, and a drawing of the Hamburglar with boots and a baseball hat with a flipped-up bill. Simple, eye-catching, and most importantly, it really gives the listener no clue as to what this band is all about, which I actually prefer when going into hardcore records. Now, let’s talk about the record itself. Hardcore punk, fast and angry. Overall, pretty good. Some of the songs may be a bit too long for my liking when it comes to bands like this, but that’s personal preference. I think with a bit of spit and polish recording-wise, this could have been a pretty good-sounding record. Parts of it just don’t sound as good as they could, but all in all, a pretty decent outing. Even the last song with the ska parts didn’t bother me.

Dead 77 Demons LP

The first full-length from Los Angeles’ DEAD 77. Upon first glance, I fully expected this to be a street punk album, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more akin to the early A-F Records bands such as THOUGHT RIOT and the CODE. Gang vocals galore here, which act as a call and response to the raw, melodic lead vox. There’s a delicate balance to be had between both, and DEAD 77 does a good job of not overlapping them. It creates a strong energy that is unwavering throughout the entire record. This is also helped by the guitars, which are layered into a wall of sound, peppered with fiery leads throughout. Well worth a listen if you’re a fan of late ’90s melodic hardcore.

B-Side / Holehog To Have and to Hold split LP

Sacramento’s HOLEHOG and Boston’s B-SIDE (GLOBAL THREAT’s Bryan Lothian) have released a white-hot split LP, each playing their own take on UK82 street punk akin to CLIT 45, the VIRUS, and of course GLOBAL THREAT. Both bands really rip; HOLEHOG are a well-oiled machine with crystal clear production, razor-sharp riffs, and an angry and scornful message: the system blows. Check out “By the Throat,” a D-beat-driven blast of energy with a great breakdown and vocals that had to have left a sore throat. Meanwhile, B-SIDE takes a fuzzier and more raw approach, with songs about the trials of living in American society, from our relentless bombing of other nations and our inability to think in terms beyond black and white. On “Waiting To Talk,” Lothian enlists an unhinged guitar lead and demented vocals to great effect; it gives the song a paranoid and eerie vibe that fits the anti-colonialism message well. Overall, a very solid showing from both bands, but I really have to hand it to HOLEHOG here. Their sound is so dialed-in and so clean, it’s a great take on the style and I’ll be looking forward to hearing more.