Bloodstained Downfall Magnificant LP

Over-the-top apocalypse metalcore from Poland, hitting so hard from the opening bell that it might take a few tracks to catch your breath. Metallic ’90s hardcore taken to absolute extremes—BLOODSTAINED delivers with a ferocity that will win over even the most negative with their unhinged sonic negativity. 

Bulbulators Nie Nie Nie LP

Long-running Polish label Enigmatic is back on the scene after a fourteen-year hiatus from 2005 to 2019. Curiously, they chose to resurrect the BULBULATORS’ second full-length album from 2002, and reissue it on vinyl. Free of any nostalgic ties to this release, I struggle to get my head around why this needed to be dredged back up. That said, after a few spins, I admit that some of the songs have started to grow on me. There is a certain charm to the way they blatantly ape first-wave punk like the VIBRATORS or RAMONES. And while the BULBULATORS don’t actually sound much like either of those bands, it is clear that they genuinely embraced the spirit of ’77. I have a feeling that this album may, for some, inspire a glue-sniffin’ trip down the gutter of memory lane. For my part, I’ll stick with my worn-out copy of Pure Mania.

Faul Techniczny Dalej Pójdę Sam LP

Here’s a band I’d never heard before, FAUL TECHNICZNY (or “technical foul” for you non-Polish speakers) from Poland. They’ve been kicking around since 2017 and have compiled and released their first three LPs here as Dalej Pójdę Sam. NYHC-inspired fare with gruff vocals, frequent breakdowns, and absolutely no frills. In fact, there’s really no fat anywhere here—every song is very direct with little to no deviance from the formula that they’ve obviously found works for them. Unfortunately, this makes the songs blend together a little from time to time. Overall it’s not for me, but I know a few punks back in my hometown who could get down to this.

Inhalators Inhalators LP

Some straight-up punk rockin’ out of Poland here from INHALATORS. It bops along at a nice canter with some classic-sounding RAMONES-y buzzsaw riffs, and has a very slick and modern studio sheen to it which perhaps belies some of the more puerile nose-thumbing lyrics, which even the most ardent teenage edgelord would dislocate their retinas rolling their eyes at. All in all, it seems extraordinarily radio-friendly, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them mid-afternoon at a big Euro fest.

Kanada Kanada LP

Now here’s an obscure one. This album is a reissue of an ’80s punk band from Mikołów, Silesia, not far from Katowice in South Poland (just in case you are too lazy to actually check the location on your smartphone). I suppose that if you already know KANADA, a band with former members from AWERSJA and GARAZ W LEEDS, you were probably a young Silesian punk rocker between 1987 and 1989. It would be a euphemism to point out that those were not exactly the easiest times to play political punk music in that part of the world, and most music from Polish punk bands in the ’80s was taken from live tapes or rough studio recordings, which is the case here. In retrospect, especially if you are familiar with what Polish punks were up to, you could say that the sadly short-lived KANADA was quite unique because of their heavy UK anarcho-punk influence. Their rather tuneful and versatile punk rock style with snotty dual male/female vocals reminds me a lot of ALTERNATIVE, CHUMBAWAMBA, and TOXIC WASTE, and “Apatia’’ is even a reworking of a POLITICAL ASYLUM song. The closest comparison with another Polish band I can think of is the criminally underrated STRACONY, but they would only start to play five years after the demise of KANADA. The first ten songs are taken from a live recording from a gig in Wodzisław Śląski and were originally released on tape on Svoboda Records in 1990. The sound is unsurprisingly a little thin, although KANADA were pretty tight indeed. The two last numbers on the LP are studio songs and hint at how great a proper KANADA album would have been, especially since the lyrics are passionate and highly political (‘’Pray, vote, and die,’’ they shout). This wonderful piece of punk history is released on Enigmatic Records, a label that had been running prolifically from 1989 to 2005 and came back to life in 2019. Fans of traditional British anarcho-punk will love this one. A real enigma remains: why call your band ‘’KANADA’’? Had they been a terrible ska act, I would have understood ‘’SKANADA,’’ but I admit I am clueless here.

O.T.D.S. Co Ma Wisieć Nie Utonie LP

1980s Polish mutant punk revived and repackaged for a new generation. Total mutated drum machine punk, recorded and originally released on cassette in 1989 and given the (deserved) vinyl treatment from Enigmatic—think SPITS meets DEZERTER. The world of “essential” reissues can get overwhelming as everyone keeps turning over rocks from past decades, but O.T.D.S. is an absolute score. Fans of primitive punk and freak sounds (like me) are going to love this.

Rottweiler Nie Ma Spokoju LP

This second tape from ROTTWEILER originally came out in 1997, by which point this Polish band was a well-honed unit. Bringing mischievous and menacing hardcore with a skate punk lean, these tunes are fast and sharp with tight, rapid-fire drum precision, metal-edged guitars, and the type of pronounced bass lines that were so popular in that era. And they just keep coming for 48 minutes and change, so if you’re into this, there’s lots to chew on.

Visitors From Hell Bon Appetit! CD

Six-track effort from this self-described “punk and roll” quartet from Warsaw (that’s in Poland, apparently). They remind me a lot of the driving metallic hardcore of STRAW DOGS, without the guitar solos. I guess early MOTÖRHEAD would be the obvious gold star. I’ve always been partial to this particular style, and they do it well.