Chörnobyl / Deny split EP

A double-trouble split from two Swedish bands that immerse themselves in the Swedish hardcore sound. First up is the veterans DENY, whom you might recognize from their Dystopia LP, mangeling since 1995 and delivering three solid, classic Swedish hardcore tracks in the good tradition of WOLFPACK. Then the newcomers CHÖRNOBYL, who share members with MYTERI, bring three more songs to the table with a darker DISFEAR approach. At the end of the day we have two bands, old and new, that celebrate one of the most recognizable sounds in hardcore history and further the Swedish D-beat tradition.

Gefyr Gefyr LP

Now Sweden, you are just being unfair; you are taking the piss. Seriously. Of course, käng hardcore was born from your womb, so it makes sense that your progeny would master the style. But still. A study from the World Hardcore Agency recently revealed that the ratio of D-takt/käng bands per capita in Sweden was as high as two in major towns, meaning that each Stockholm or Malmö inhabitant plays in at least two Scandicore bands (one of which has to start with the prefix “dis’’ by law; what an odd country, right?). For comparison, we in France have one D-beat band for ten million. I had never heard of GEFYR from Hudiksvall, which is almost insulting since I am a massive sucker for that style, but it appears there are just too many ace bands in Sweden to keep track of. GEFYR’s album, released on Gothenburg’s Flyktsoda, is a pummeling, furious slice of käng with a perfect production for the genre. It has relentless power while keeping a certain hardcore rawness. What a massive kick up the arse. The band is heavily influenced by classics like TOTALITÄR and NO SECURITY, and INFERNOH or PROFOSS also come to mind if you need a modern point of comparison. How could GEFYR fly under my omnipotent radar? The thing was mixed by Jan, engineer at D-Takt Studio and an actual dis-legend—pretty much to Swedish D-beat what Cristiano Ronaldo is to hair products—so it makes sense that it sounds so good.

Ein Zwei Die! / Shaking Heads Split EP

Split record by two Swedish punk bands. This is EIN ZWEI DIE’s (as far as I can tell) only release to date, but it was recorded in 2011, so they’re not exactly a “new” band. Probably a cool story as to why these two songs are finally gracing our ears some eight years later. No insert, no internet, only mystery. They’re cool: like if GORILLA ANGREB was trying to do FILTH covers. SHAKING HEADS are actually a new band, and five dollars says at least one of the members has a DEAD MOON tattoo. They’re dark, simplistic, anthemic, and gritty. True punk. I feel like I’ve listened to this record a hundred different times in a hundred different punk basements, but it still puts a smile on my face.

Antigen / Socialstyrelsen A Sense of Dread split LP

Phobia Records from the Czech Republic won’t stop delivering crust punk D-beat bands. On these eleven tracks in under 25 minutes, we encounter ANTIGEN and SOCIAL STYRELSEN. ANTIGEN offers four tracks led by a crust-cut female voice pitching high choruses, filled with desperate feeling along with a painful screaming. Solid crust punk with hardcore drums, pretty much all straightforward. SOCIALSTYRELSEN blasts crunchy D-beat crust punk with demonic high vocals, guitars like non-stop chainsaws, and ranting drums. A chaos sound from another era with modern nods. The Swedish language hits hard, with such suffering-infused voices fueled by violence. Suggested tracks: “Knivad” and “Hata Mig.”