Reviews

Roachleg

Dishuman Demo 2021 cassette

When this one was originally released back in May 2021, right at the crest of the pandemic, it came to my attention that it was made by three kids in a town near the town I live in. Being that most of the “DIS” bands are hit-or-miss for me, I was a bit skeptical. But boy, was I wrong! This is a killer demo, and they sure know their DISCHARGE really well! I was instantly hooked on this one and they became one of my favourite Portuguese bands. This excellent demo showcases five songs that sound like they were recorded in ’82 on Stoke-on-Trent, plus a DISCLOSE cover. Bright things will come for these youngsters’ future if they keep this level of dedication up.

Final War Gimme Speed demo cassette

An aggressively lo-fi demo cassette. This is what I call a non-stop pummeling of the senses. Musically, it punishes the ear and assaults the mind. It evokes the smell of a sweaty basement, stale cigarettes, and split beer. Really, this tape is the closest I’ve felt to a DIY hardcore show since the pandemic started. It’s so in-your-face that you can’t escape it and that is really fucking cathartic. Like therapy for gutter punks. The band doesn’t pull any punches or take any great experimental leaps with their sound, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s fast, noisy, aggressive, wild, and that’s all we really need right now. 

Garrapata Demo

MRR continues to accept interviews, so please, someone, go out and ask GARRAPATA about the recording session of this demo, because it makes zero sense. The music is the lowest lo-fi noise-core Á  la KUOLEMA and PSYCHO SIN. The drums are as recognizable as listening through thick walls to how your neighbor destroys his flat. The tape sounds so dumb, if a group of people’s first introduction to music was SIEGE and without any skills or experience of playing on instruments they were set free to express themselves. It is best demonstrated with how detached the flow of their music. The fragmented, stop-and-go structure lets the instruments breathe, just as the vocalist does, making them sound as separated attempts to notify angry existence. Hard to process that someone reached out to this aesthetic in current times, yet it avoids being gimmicky. Real primitive music for the lovers of barbarian art.

Hävittäjät Lost Tapes Collection cassette

Some Australian punks (ex-members of KIROTTU, KRÖMOSOM, and LEPROSY) singing in Finnish and playing Finnish-styled hardcore? Sign me up for that! Punishingly raw and dirty hardcore with a leaning towards KAAOS and TAMPERE S.S.. Released through Roachleg Records, which has been consistently putting out the rawest punk hardcore out there, with the help of Fuzzed Atrocities. Not much else to say about this one except you’ll feel dirtier after listening to it.

Impotentie Leopold II Is Niet Dood Genoeg LP

Pop quiz: can you name Belgium’s biggest genocider? We’re all (hopefully) filling in the gaps of our colonial histories and IMPOTENTIE is here to remind us who was behind the murderous Belgian mercenaries that caused an estimated ten million Congolese deaths in the 19th century. Disclaimer: you should not rely on punk lyrics for historical facts, but I’ll be fucked if punk didn’t at least nudge me down a morally rich path in life, and I don’t even owe any college debt! In this case, IMPOTENTIE is factually correct. Oi! music has seemingly become trendy outside skinhead circles in recent years and I think those comparisons might reduce the potency of this, so I’m gonna lean more into my appreciation for old Vögelspin releases, or how about the Alle 24 Goed! compilation? These two fellows are stationed in Montreal but sing in Dutch. Or Flemish? I’m not qualified to tell the difference. If you like the brutish, bashing punk sound with melodic highlights and a firm anti-colonial message, you couldn’t wrap it up much better than this. It would be the coolest thing to turn in as a project in history class! Also features Belgium’s most famous statue pissing on their most infamous statue—almost too perfect!

Mad Laughter Mad Laughter demo cassette

MAD LAUGHTER from NYC has a dark aura about them that is hard to describe. A dark assault of metallic hardcore punk that certainly evokes the ’80s UK bands that dabbled in metal like SACRILEGE or BROKEN BONES, but with a more primitive, furious approach. The vocals make this demo feel like a forgotten ENGLISH DOGS recording. With members of NOSFERATU, SUBDUED, TWISTED THING, and TERRORIST, these lot made an ugly, disgusting demo for the lovers of dirty music. Roachleg Records keeps delivering the goods when it comes to the raw stuff. Go get your fix!

Mr. Node I Don’t Go Out / Vaccinate Me flexi 7″

Two originals (plus a cover of DISCHARGE’s “I Don’t Care” with the digital version) from this freaky Brooklyn project. After a weird, French-accented appeal for MR. NODES’s help, “I Don’t Go Out,” starts with sloppy, snotty vocals gagging and choking over drum machine beats and fierce hardcore guitar. What sounds like straight chaos at first turns out to be a well-written, traditionally structured rock song. The chorus of “I don’t go out / They don’t come in” accentuates the feelings of isolation and loneliness the pandemic has brought on for a lot of us. The four-note guitar hook makes the whole thing catchier than the subject material would suggest. “Vaccinate Me!” is a fun synth punk anthem about COVID vaccines that should be a PSA. Imagine everyone chanting, “I want to go on a ride / I want to eat inside / I want to cheer on my team / I want to wet my dream.” Maybe MR. NODE really is here to save us. Oh, and the deranged, mega-reverbed DISCHARGE cover rules.

Rigorous Institution Despotism / Survival 7″

By the third EP of RIGOROUS INSTITUTION, it should be obvious that they dig moody, black mass-vibe crust like AMEBIX. Within a short timespan and discography they mastered the creation and control of their atmosphere, just as a magician seducing its audience. As far as my interest reaches they are original with choosing a rare reference in today’s music. How are they more than a present interpretation of something from decades ago? RIGOROUS INSTITUTION not only layers their music but each layer functions different from the other. The keyboards could back up moody dream-pop songs, even if they are frightening; the guitars run between BLACK SABBATH-ish clean riffing and total, unidentifiable cacophony. As the layers live their own separate lives that add up well, the music’s main goal transforms to create an atmosphere than to entertain as a catalyst for body movement. Which feature can alienate those who are not looking for a big act. I still want to hear more.

Rigorous Institution Survival / Despotism 7″

As I write this, Portland, OR and the entire Pacific Northwest is suffering a siege of wildfires and noxious smoke pollution. In suit, RIGOROUS INSTITUTION plays their signature brand of highland war-wandering metal punk for the scorched earth doom parade. Awkward choking vocals and bizarre echoing dark-castle-like synth moments ooze through the tracks. A dirging medieval Battery Humans-era AMEB-oid, VOIVOD-ing, STONE THE CROWZ-eque cloak of brutal esoteric toxic existential gloom crust with non-light vibes of later DARKTHRONE. I picked up their The Coming of the Terror EP last year and was very stoked to receive this for review. Way into this band, a voice in my frustrated corroded 2020 mind.

Secretors Antidote for Civilization flexi EP

Primitive, filthy and savage. What else can one say about this debut from New York´s SECRETORS? And what a beast of a debut! The guitars and bass are as harsh as they can be, the bellowing vocals are delay-drenched, and the pounding drums are saturated to the core. Their sound really hits the spot if you are into ’80s Japanese primitive hardcore, evoking the chaos and destruction of SODOM (ADK Omnibus), ZOUO, or GHOUL. With members of WARTHOG, SUBVERSIVE RITE, and URCHIN within their ranks, Antidote for Civilization isn’t for the faint of heart.

Subdued Over the Hills and Far Away LP

The hype is completely justified on this one. Classic UK anarcho stylings injected with a fury and menace fueled by the new reality. “No More” is a perfectly sinister, cranked-up punk banger; “Wander In The Park” is a dark pogo masterpiece showered in descending guitars; it seems like every song stakes its own individual claim on the wax. Dark and brilliant, you’ll turn new stones with each listen…but the root of everything here is furious intensity.

Suffocating Madness Destroy Me EP

Roachleg out of Brooklyn is a crucial living archive of the current wave of gutter scum world-ending hardcore coming out of New York, and this release is a perfect example of why. Clocking in at four tracks in just over five minutes, SUFFOCATING MADNESS is relentless metallic D-beat from hell that satisfies as it crushes your lungs. The short runtime is good, too, because the production here is hot, like ear fatigue hot from the wild cymbal work alone. Throw in the furious blown-out riffing and cavernous vocals and it’s a lot to take in. In a good way. Brain-erasing hardcore punk just the way it should be played.

The Annihilated 6 Song cassette

Maybe I’m completely making this up but I recall reading or being told that OUT COLD had written a good chunk of their stuff without ever hearing NEGATIVE APPROACH and refuted the idea that they ripped them off. Again, I could be mixing things up but ANNIHILATED sounds as if OUT COLD had indeed heard NEGATIVE APPROACH and were blatant in nodding to their inspiration. I’ve returned to this cassette much more than I expected to. True roots American hardcore played by fuckin Brits who, if they keep this up, will be flagrantly stealing our culture and heritage.

Tower 7 …Peace on Earth? LP

Entrance to a Living Organism was an excellent start of a career for TOWER 7. On D4MT Labs they were able to stand out as an outfit, as most of the bands that come from that label do. Fast-forward to …Peace On Earth?, the new LP out through both Roachleg Records and D4MT. This NY band goes straight for the jugular. The fast parts are fast as can be and the slow parts contrast really nicely. Insane tempo shifts that disorientate and an overall suffocating feeling about their music. TOWER 7 is a great fast-paced hardcore band worth the listen!

Violent Christians No Speed No Punk cassette

Once again, we reach into the “hardcore band name imagery” lucky dip bucket and pull out VIOLENT CHRISTIANS, an Austin ensemble whose debut tape comes via the frequently good Roachleg. You could probably convince someone that No Speed No Punk is an authentic unearthed artefact from some Midwestern scene circa 1984, assuming that wasn’t their specialist subject to start with. “Body Bag” exhibits relatively melodic tendencies to kick us off, but thereafter it’s the kind of ramalama blowout where the vocalist nearly-but-not-quite falls over his lyrics, guitar solos enter and leave within a few seconds and at the end of “Up Your Arse” (these MFs said “arse”), a DIE KREUZEN-like shredder, someone asks, “Are we done?” Hopefully not!

Violent Christians New Blood for a Dead City EP

Following last year’s amazing sold-out-before-it-existed No Speed No Punk tape, Austin’s VIOLENT CHRISTIANS make the long-lasting commitment to wax thanks again to Roachleg Records. They continue with their classic yet modern take on ’80s US hardcore via JERRY’S KIDS, NEOS, DIE KREUZEN, and a bit more of the almost but never totally falling apart rhythms of VOID on this release. You can almost hear Jeff Bale’s whiny voice saying “totally thrashing stuff,” as this would be right at home on the old KPFA show. Kicks ass throughout, and can’t wait to see them live if that’s ever a thing again. Now get away from me. You’re way too close.