Reviews

Unlawful Assembly

Alambrada Muerte Preventiva EP

I love debut 7″s. Bands tend to showcase their virtues in a raw and colorful way, like they have so much to prove in just a few minutes. ALAMBRADA is a new Colombian band, straight from Bogotá with members of beloved MURO in their ranks, and this is their first EP, one of the best of the year so far. Eight songs of noisy-as-fuck yet incredibly hooky guitar riffs, a rhythm section that splits your head open with uncompromising determination, and a voice so thick in poisonous spit, it can melt metal. Their sound is so vicious and raw that it can sometimes veer into total chaos, but just this close enough of atonal oblivion. It is actually hard to have a favorite track, but I can tell you to go straight to the double-decker of “Control Total/Un Acto de Lealtad” and you can thank me later. So it goes.

Democracy Western Relaxation cassette

Five minutes of filthy hardcore rumbling from Milwaukee. It’s a smoker. Nasty, ripping punk that’s been vomited on by manic, monstrous vocals. I suppose you could obtain this tape from the esteemed Unlawful Assembly label via traditional mail order, but I believe it would be distributed more appropriately if copies were left to be found half-buried in the dirt in random spots around the country.

Desintegración Violenta Desintegración Violenta cassette

This is some nasty and dark hybrid punk/metal. Think of the weird hardcore but quite metal Japanese ’80s punk bands, HELLHAMMER, and obviously, DISCHARGE. The band is a collaboration from Bogotá and Berlin, the lyrics are sung in Spanish, the riffs are heavy as a brick, vocals are demonic, the D-beat is omnipresent, the bass tone hits you directly in the face, and guitar solos are demented. All of that in only sixteen minutes. I think they are truly following the path of Colombian underground extreme metal legends like PARABELLUM or BLASFEMIA and I celebrate that. Get it as a cassette, all the proceeds (also the digital ones, btw) go directly to the band to be distributed to local collectives in support of the national strike in Colombia.

Fashion Change Devil Laugh EP

In just four short tracks, FASHION CHANGE put all of their cards on the table. This is really some good old-fashioned, no-frills hardcore punk with all of the audio fidelity of recording in a rotten dumpster. Hey, maybe that’s the way punk was designed to sound. The vocals are close enough to fit on a screamo record, the drums endlessly beat the listener, and the guitars growl like chainsaws. This is one that just isn’t for me. It’s just too grimy and loose to get into, but I have no doubt there is an audience for this EP. If you like the feeling of being trampled in a mosh pit, then this is about as close to that feeling as you’ll find in a recording.

Genetica Genetica demo cassette

Just four short and ripping tracks of Midwestern hardcore, this tape brings enough energy to get you slamdancing alone in your room. There are flashes of SURFBORT and ALIEN NOSEJOB in the lo-fi sound of this tape. It seriously hisses with attitude. If you want some absolutely ballistic, bombastic, off-the-wall hardcore tracks, then this tape is what you need.

Innuendo Losing Again demo cassette

Simple, straightforward, and brash, the head-bobbing hardcore on this three-song demo hits the spot. This Wisconsin band’s rockin’ mid-tempo style channels O.G. punk spirit in the vein of early BLACK FLAG and NEGATIVE APPROACH, and it sounds awesomely refreshing right about now. This one even slid onto my Top Ten for 2020 based on its pure potency, and get this—it’s just two guys: a vocalist and an everything-else man making this excellent racket. With any luck this strong little tape is just a teaser for a more comprehensive INNUENDO attack to come.

Living World Future Built for Self/Ubuntu cassette

LIVING WORLD is from Pittsburgh, baby, and they don’t care what you think about the majestic hoofed mammal on the cover of their cassette. They just want to hit you with the punk, which in this case is some messy, echoed vocals beamed over a frenzied hardcore thrashing drenched in panache. Unique breakdowns punctuate each distortion-strewn song and there’s a ton of character to these twelve tracks. One of them is a NEGATIVE FX cover, which should give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. These guys have a knack for song titles too (“G-Bong,” “Crack Mountain,” “Crime Person,” etc.) Go listen to it, already.

Organ-ism Nací Muerto cassette

Incredible debut of this Milwaukee band. It’s nine short and punchy tracks of a very streetwise and very violently aggressive D-beat. Paradoxically, it feels quite intimate. Lyrics en Español, but the hate is universal. “Pudre Por Me” is one of the best punk tracks I’ve heard in 2022.

Peacemaker See You Dead / Greed cassette

It’s truly a gift to be able to make antisocial hardcore bile come across like top 40 hits, and Milwaukee’s PEACEMAKER has it. These two songs are unabashedly hateful and also catchy as hell, reminding me of some of Drew from SICK THOUGHTS’ best efforts of the last decade. “Alright folks, that was Need To Know’ by DOJA CAT, and now here’s a real toe-tapper from PEACEMAKER, See You Dead’!”

Slogan Boy Slogan Boy demo cassette

This tape is just a pure bit of fun and chaos. It’s demo tracks, so keep in mind they are unpolished, but this still rocks pretty hard. The highlight of the bunch has to be their cover of VOID’s “War Hero,” which is worth checking out if nothing else. There isn’t much else to say. Give it a listen!