Hardcore Victim

Enzyme Golden Dystopian Age 12″

ENZYME is back with a second full-length album. It is a massive work that is rooted in noise punk, but aims to broaden the soundscape of the genre. Some might treat noise as a one-shot gimmick, but in reality, it’s a rather versatile element found in so much music. ENZYME built songs as they are aware of this, and listened to enough different records to understand how cacophony could be used interestingly. Traditionally, they left the bass almost undistorted, loud and clear so it can drive the songs and lay down the fundamental rhythm. Above that, the guitars go wild, hissing alien sounds, future riffs for demented minds. Electronic influences appear here and there, but if you’ve dug deep enough into the EXIT HIPPIES discography, then you will not hear anything unfamiliar. Yet these unusual influences are adapted in a tasteful way—instead of showcasing bizarre ideas, you get ENZYME’s crafted individual sound, although this originality creates its own dimension which holds back the record from being an ear-threatening sonic attack. But neither is the record dirty or dumb. It dares to be different, packed with ideas that keep me entertained even after multiple spins. Truly a boundary-pushing record.

Execution Silently It Grows EP

From Melbourne, EXECUTION crawls out of the sewers to shatter the social fabric with Silently It Grows. A piece of violent and chaotic piece of hardcore rawness that is on the faster and noisier side. The frantic energy they exude comes close to the ’80s Italian hardcore bands like WRETCHED and CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS. A must for fans of pure chaos, non musica.

Fükkheads Speed and Political demo cassette

Pure noise. Call your friends, lock yourself up in a basement with mold and bad acoustics, try some acid, and play out-of-tune guitars and rusty drums. Then, record everything with an old phone while a maniac screams as if the world was coming to an end. The result would be something similar to the latest FÜKKHEADS work, an indiscernible maelstrom of din topped with a voice out of a psychophony. A crust pandemonium just apt for the demented and fans of the most unhinged DOOM tracks (kind of the same thing). The A-side is a 10:32-long recording of a cave show; the B-side was taken from a squat gig at an abandoned factory. It seems more fun to play than to listen to, but as they say: “This release is an existential cry for help as the human race accelerates towards complete oblivion, wishing to return into the mycelium network from once we evolved from. It’s ugly but so is this world!”. I agree.

Hacker Pick a Path 12″

Melbourne tech freaks HACKER are on the mainframe again after their beast of a demo was released in 2019. Featuring seasoned veterans from countless Aussie punk bands, HACKER knows what they want and how to get it. POISON IDEA-styled hardcore done the right way, with futuristic dystopic themes embeded in the seven killer tracks that make up Pick a Path. Hardcore Victim is killing it once again!

Phantasm Conflict Reality EP

PHANTASM crept into existence just over a year ago in the Land Down Under, and has delivered a skull-crushing debut in the form of Conflict Reality. Pissed-off hardcore that doesn’t stop until everything is demolished. The sound is crusty and metallic, and it owes as much to DISORDER as it does to CONFLICT, especially in the vocal delivery which is very very angry and very, very passionate. The lines are very political and straight to the point. Ultra-aggressive vocals, pummeling drumming, crunchy guitars, and crusty bass. What more can you ask for? With seasoned members of HACKER and TÖL, PHANTASM is sure to carve out a worthy place in the scene.

Reaksi Esok Hari Kepunyaan Kita EP

Three immigrant punks from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore delivering an Asian punk blow in Melbourne, Australia. During the devastating COVID lockdown, these three seasoned fellows, from the likes of ENZYME, KROMOSOM, PISSCHRρST, and INTRUSION, locked themselves in the studio and came up with REAKSI. The result was five hard-hitting, Oi!-infused UK82 anthems that deal with the harsh realities of being an immigrant and especially being anti-authoritarian in countries that leave no room left for freedom. Singing in Bahasa only adds more fuel to the fire. For fans of both CHAOS UK and BLITZ. Tomorrow belongs to them!

Sepsis The Divide EP

Reviewing a record feels a little like dissecting a body at times—well, without the nasty smells and the graceless medical gown you tragically cannot sew patches onto. You first have to gently lay the record on the table and, before proceeding to the actual listening, you have to check and analyze, with medical precision, the visible clues of a given punk subgenre and its signifiers. This particular band is called SEPSIS, a nasty word for infection. They use a hairy font and the EP’s cover displays a gloomy Lovecraftian humanoid creature, drawn in an old-school death metal style, holding in its tentacled paw what looks like an agonizing human head. So yeah, not a skacore band. SEPSIS is from Melbourne/Naarm, and The Divide was released on Hardcore Victim, a brilliant label dealing in quality crasher hardcore noise crust punk. With such scientific observations in mind, I can claim, before even putting the record on the turntable that, congratulations, it is a crust record! And I love a good old-school crust record—no, I crave good old-school metallic crust records, and this band precisely belongs to that school of thought. SEPSIS is an all-female band that works on the classic “DOOM revisiting ANTI-CIMEX in a cave” template, with a revival stenchcore toolbox borrowed from AFTER THE BOMBS and a vibe not dissimilar to that of ARMISTICE. The recording could do with a bit more power, but it is dark, aggressive, and groovy enough to reach a solid level on the international scale of crustness. The shouted vocals are angry but comprehensible (to an extent, we’re not dealing with pop punk here) with an ’00s feel maybe, the guitar has that perfect crunch, and even the creature on the cover feels like a mate after these four songs. Now give us an LP. Ace.

Sistema En Decadencia Nuestro Legado LP

Two words: crasher crust! It’s one of those genres that you either love or hate, due to the repetitiveness of the genre’s tropes. But sometimes a band comes along that makes the genre a bit more rich. SISTEMA EN DECADENCIA is such a band! After an amazing split with FEROCIOUS X, Nuestro Legado sees the light of day. Nine tracks of blistering crasher crust, noisy and fuzzed-out, worshipping ’90s Japanese bands like the almighty GLOOM. These chaos aficionados come from Melbourne and play in EXECUTION, SOMA COMA, DEJECTOR, and KRÖMOSOM, for reference. They sing in Spanish and that only adds to the urgency felt throughout. If you like pedals and fast D-beats, get this record now!

Split Tongue Living in Sin City EP

Malaysia-based SPLIT TONGUE leaves a good impression on this 7″. The style is Oi!-tinged hardcore punk, not dissimilar to bands like 86 MENTALITY. It’s raging, it’s driving, and it gets the blood (not to mention the fist) pumping. This is a super solid record, and I really look forward to hearing more stuff from these guys. Recommended!

Swab Big City LP

Melbourne is a hot hub of hardcore punk nowadays—SWAB and their label, Hardcore Victim, are living proof of it. The band has just released their first album after a demo and an EP. Their latest work is a really fun record: thirteen songs in fifteen minutes of straightforward, direct, abrasive punk with no pretensions, artistic approaches, or pseudo-metaphysical lyrics. What could you expect of songs like “Hippies Still Exist (And I Hate Them),” “Pills in My Mouth,” or “A Real Punk”? They sound like a kid erupting in a childish tantrum, urgent but carefree, with a sloppy vibe but precise execution. No bullshit, just quality hardcore punk.

Thatcher’s Snatch Wapping Dispute EP

From its tongue-firmly-in-cheek EXPLOITED rip-off sleeve, down to its carved-into-a-school-desk naughty schoolboy name, the fellas from THATCHER’S SNATCH indulge in a form of worship of ’80s UK culture like they’ve got caught drinking Carling Black Label on Top of the Pops by Bruno Brookes. Normally this kind of carry-on has the whiff of a Kenny Everett skit rather than something to take seriously, but here’s the thing, right; it’s actually properly fucking good. Tackling targets as disparate as Antipodean egg-chaser turned professional bigot Israel Folau and striking printworkers in ’80s Wapping, it packs a rhetorical wallop in its eight minutes; and that’s not to speak of its lightning turbo-charged UK82, like if MENACE or ENGLISH DOGS had stuck their fingers in a plug socket.