Global Despair / Victor Charlie Fuck Qazaq Indie / 20000 split cassette

The bands on this tape are from Kazakhstan, and they are great. It’s two recordings from 2022 and 2023 put on a tape by No Name distro from Ukraine. GLOBAL DESPAIR plays loud and noisy hardcore that has hints of industrial and D-beat, although these are references rather than clueless genre worship. The sound of their recording is filled with mechanical noise played in an echoey cave. I love how the guitar sound turns each riff into a buzzing pulp, and the drumming is not that far from a hammer accurately hitting my brain. It’s a great recording with a non-stop momentum that pushes me through the great noise mist. The lyrics mostly reflect on scene intrigues, which is the only bummer about this release—otherwise, it is great material. VICTOR CHARLIE is a solo project of one of the members from GLOBAL DESPAIR, defined as middle-Asian Burning Spirits hardcore against Russian imperialism. Compared to the other side of the split, it is a much more melodic and less distorted bunch of songs. In general, Burning Spirits is way too epic and melodic for me, and these songs will not change my opinion. The lengthy songs give a lot of room for all the usual elements, especially large-arched solos. They also remind me a bit of MÖTÖRHEAD, although it’s more nasty and less rock’n’roll-ish. The unpolished nature of the recording keeps it interesting though, even for such picky assholes as myself, but VICTOR CHARLIE comes in second on this split. To balance it, their lyrics are heavily political, reflecting on the Russian government’s war criminal tendencies. Even in spite of the uneven strength of the split, this is a truly great release, and hardcore is best when international.