Reviews

Rawmantic Disasters

Aargh Fuck Kill Ruled by the Insane LP

Better start cooking up that Knox gelatin, because this band out of Germany is throwing down some straight-up UK82 hardcore that will have you pissing cider all over your plaid bondage pants after passing out from too much glue. Some of the songs sound like DISCHARGE, some sound like VARUKERS, and others sound just like GBH. Does it break new ground? No, but they’ve got some pretty good riffs, and avoid the cheesiness that this sound can sometimes imply. If you’re one that likes to stick to the classics, check this out.

Absurd SS Absurd SS LP

This is what the apocalypse sounds like. Of course Absurd SS would sound as good as it does, since the members are seasoned noise veterans that played in the likes of GIFTGASATTACK, WARVICTIMS, FINAL SLUM WAR, DOZIX, NOCTURNAL SCUM, EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT, and SVART UT. I just got some tinnitus from just writing those bands down. This debut features fifteen raw punk chaos “songs” that could very well be on any FRAMTID or GLOOM record. Noise, not music!

Appäratus Absürd 19 LP

Worship mode on full blast, disguised as a Scandinavian ripper. APPÄRATUS hails from Malaysia although the music is homage heavy enough that it could be from anywhere. If anything, this is the central challenge of getting into this record; everything is in its place—mastered to crawl out of the speakers, riffs at a wall breaker pace, mercilessly pounding beats, great production and excellent delivery—yet it is only occasionally more than a plastic definition of raw D-beat mangel. I can see them being hyped to play these songs live, and there is no doubt that they are mad angry at the world (and I highly appreciate the “fuck it, we like this” attitude behind putting two cover songs, D.T.A.L. and D.N.A., on the LP) but I miss the madness. Without madness it’s just exercise. Danger makes punk great but here the only danger is whether they are able to perform what is supposed to be D-beat. Yes, they can play it, but greatness is not supposed to happen, it just does and then carelessly creates something new. In case you are not looking for a reinvention of the genre but rather a new addition to the roster of reliables, then Absürd 19 is a safe pick.

Asocial Aldrig Som Er 12″

ASOCIAL’s history begins in the early ’80s in the Swedish hardcore scene. They pushed the envelope with great EPs of crust and D-beat, and an album, How Could Hardcore Be Any Worse, an absolute beast of noise that had a great and lasting influence on extreme music worldwide. The band has been writing new music since 2017, and this EP finds the band revisiting four of its classics and presenting four new songs. I have to admit I’m not really into bands re-recording their old songs, but in this context, they sound as raw and chaotic as the originals, and the new songs are pure mayhem. The EP starts with “Religion Still Sucks,” one of the best openers I’ve heard so far this year. “Krossa Nazismen,” “Mïlitardiktatur,” and “Samhällets Offer” are all incredibly intense. A must-have.

Disease Death is Inevitable LP

Total eardrum massacre! This Macedonian trio worships the hell out of DISCLOSE and does one of the more consistent tributes to the whole “noise not music” page of punk. The sound is obvious on this one as they leave the formula unchanged, so think DISCLOSE and all the DIS bands and you can get the point. Sometimes you just want to hear this kind of noise and zone out of reality for a bit. Also, they have an impressive back catalogue of 23 releases in just nine years of existence. D-beat raw punk at its finest!

Dissekerad / Earth Crust Displacement Split EP

Two tracks of whirlwind Swedish kÁ¥ng from DISSEKERAD. The pedigree here is formidable (I’ll just mention AVSKUM and TOTALITÄR, because that should be more than enough), and the goods are worthy. A classic mid-paced cruiser starts off their side, and then they open it up with “Mardömmen Startar,” a pure fist-banging rager that leaves me reaching for 2015’s Mörkret Tilltar LP for more action. Germany’s EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT takes a little of the nuance out of the mix, opting instead for a relentless high-speed D-beat crust assault. Noisier guitars, and they don’t even take the time to warm up your ears with an intro—they just fucking unload. I like the combination of the two bands—different but equally effective approaches to a tried-and-true genre. The split EP is a much-maligned format (and perhaps rightly so), but this one is worth its weight in wax. I expected nothing less from either band, and they both delivered.

Extended Hell Mortal Wound LP

EXTENDED HELL has been with us a few years now—their two 7″s and their live gigs have caused a stir in the realm of the underground. The inspiration comes from bands like INFERNÖH, HERATYS, and of course, the antecedents like ANTI-CIMEX and TOTALITÄR, I also feel like some of the riffs and structure brings to mind Another Religion and One Struggle-era VARUKERS. Heavy riffs and guitar tone give this band an underlying drive that is relentless: a ceaseless pounding like a piledriver repeatedly hammering into the depths. Layered on top of that drive is an overlay of smouldering guitar pyrotechnics that are restrained enough not to be gratuitous, but hot enough to give the hardcore drive some rock sizzle. Lyrically and visually, EXTENDED HELL paints a picture of a bleak world. While a lot of bands follow the D-beat template and use war tropes as stand-ins for a message, it’s clear that more thought went into these lyrics and the artwork. Power and profit untrammeled have resulted in the complete dehumanization of the many for the benefit of the few. Interestingly, songs like “Operational Exhaustion” and “Disintegration” deal with dehumanization of the soldier and oppressor, while “Dissident” and “Mortal Wound” are written from the point of view of the victim of oppression. This brings to mind Camus’ Neither Victims nor Executioners. I have the pleasure of knowing cover artist Joe B, as he’s originally from Minneapolis. He’s done all their artwork, and this one continues the theme of the other pieces. A vision of a technological terror state controlling the city, where humanity is reduced to a ghost-like existence. The bleak, hollow vision of alienation is a stark contrast to the commercialized consumer culture vision of life in New York City. It brings to mind some of the writings of Mike Davis and Naomi Klein, who foresaw a future where the working class lives a segregated and surveilled existence while the elite lives it up in a “Green Zone,” with all the luxuries and amenities. Personally, while I appreciate the cohesive aesthetic of the bleak reality, I wish that EXTENDED HELL would offer us a ray of hope, because the music itself is quite liberating and uplifting. Just as a Goya or Kollwitz painting of an atrocity can still be a beautiful piece of artwork, this picture of gloom and horror also has the power to enlighten us and set us free. The music itself is quite empowering, even if its subject matter is man’s inhumanity to man.

Final Slum War Agora Fudeu!!! 12″

“The shit has hit the fan” is the rough translation of the Brazilian slang used as an EP title for Barcelonians FINAL SLUM WAR. They have had enough with the constant oppression of modern life, and they are here to make their statement. Eleven minutes of hatred and aggression towards everything and everyone that corrupts the system in a vicious, raw D-beat fashion. BESTHÖVEN, DOOM, and EXTREME NOISE TERROR come to mind when listening to this one. Curious that the themes in this EP truly reflect life in Brazil, a constant struggle just to survive.

Earth Crust Displacement / Heavy Nukes split EP

I only heard the EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT side of this split, so HEAVY NUKES remain a mystery to me, though their name is leagues better than EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT, which I suppose could be some sort of reference to fracking or similarly evil geotechnical industries. Regardless, they present us with two ripping tracks of raw punk and a cover of ’90s German fastcore band MxVxDx (which got me to revisit the Stagnation of Thinking EP, which I highly recommend). EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT comes at things from a much heavier direction, with a delivery that reminds me of grimy classics like the SHITLICKERS more than the hardcore thrash of MxVxDx. It’s a short listen, but it’s a blast.

Crutches / Kontrasosial Chaos Riders Freedom Fighters split LP

CRUTCHES spit out nine tracks of clean-sounding Swedish D-beat in the vein of all your favourite umlaut-adorned and mispronounced backpatches, but with all the modern advancements of clean recording. It’s fine, I guess. Vocals could sound less shrieked, but I’m old now so what the fuck do I know; it’s just hard for me to get sucked into something so polished-sounding, especially when sonically, they just don’t manage to conjure that atmosphere of danger that I think is absolutely necessary in modern crust. I can hear all the shiny studs in this recording and none of the filth. KONTRASOSIAL gives this the kick that it needs with a slightly more metal approach and stomp that blows the other side outta the water, an unfair pairing really.

Tortür Never Ending Grief LP

Scaly, scaling, escapist rÁ¥punk D-beat noise from LA. Deliberate face-ripping riffs that flail through the play with no mercy. TORTÜR plays the standard D-beat formula, but the energy is many ticks above normal. Vocals are grimaced and the chords are buoyant. Drums pulverize—sticks tumbling with classic DISCLOSE openers and breaks, at a rate a notch faster than everything else, and it works—as TORTÜR ebbs and stabs in unison. The way a band like this should sound; slightly organic but still nailing it like the nightmare machine they are illustrating. Some surprising rhythmic change-ups, in the way I fell jawless skull-over-boots for WORLD BURNS TO DEATH some 20-odd years ago, in “Who Will Survive The Human Collapse?” which adds shock treatment to the overall seizure of this album. Basically, a blistering new chaotic D-beat album that excels with production fervor and speed. Might be on my top ten had I not already sent it in. Recalling TOTAL WAR, DESPAIR, ASPECTS OF WAR. Art by Robin Wilberg of SVAVELDIOXID (previously DISFEAR). TORTÜR, a three piece of LA, are a gift (GASATTACK), and I definitely recommend trying to find this raw physical slab, it goes for $666 on their Bandcamp, and was released this past September 11th, yikes.

Parötid / Zudas Krust Split EP

ZUDAS KRUST’s filth-kicking things off with the wrath and gnashing vocals of, well FILTHKICK, ABADDON, and lots of European crust of the early to mid ’90s. This is grotesque, noisy, and blistering muffled D-beat sung in the meter of classic crust hardcore of that era. No-fucks-given aggression, in three passionate tracks. Think ENYZME and FRAMTID contemporarily, with bestial wild force. PARÖTID plays more in the rhythm of DISASTER, with very buoyant loose disruptive bass. Lots of echoing reverb and strange speed changes, sort of weird, but totally intentional and impressive, where one might expect straightforward D-beat the entire way. I really like the way these two play off each other. They are distinctly different, in tone, polish, and speed, but compliment each other. “Humanism” is catchy as fuck! Getting lost in this one. Both bands are recommended, as is the split as a whole.