Monday, November 30, 2015
Tear Off//Clean Up/Don’t Get Bored split tape review
Tear Off//Clean Up’s melodic punk has a non-straight edge 7 Seconds vibe to it- very sing-songy, but with some energy behind the instruments. These guys should be the band that gets the beer drinkin’ beardos energized to see bands at Riot Fest, in a good way. Melodic and energetic in a way that says “You can mosh but you don’t have to”. I see fist pumps being more favorable here.
Don’t Get Bored is the kind of band that would fit perfectly in 1980s Midwest nowhere/anywhere. Snotty, contemptible, and juvenile, yet full of energy and honest, ya gotta love it. Sonically, it could fit in next to something like Pure Disgust, but the band taken as a whole definitely is a thing in itself.
Saturday, November 28, 2015
No/Breaks- No/Breaks demo review
This is hill-bombing, Natty Ice-guzzling, Kools-smoking, J-rolling hardcore punk straight out of the 1980s, in spirit if not in reality. This is the kind of demo tape you buy at the age of 17 and just listen to over and over and over again. What this lacks in tunefulness and snappy catchiness, it more than makes up for in simplicity and pure energy. Much like Pokemon or the first two Terminator movies, the replay value on this is about as high as one can get. That is, unless you’re Snoop Dogg or Sublime, and then you’re probably not all that into hardcore punk. High or not, this is the music of the bored, anxious, misanthropic Midwesterners with attitude problems and crappy jobs they don’t like. Just how we like it.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Coke Bust- Confined LP review
What else have you come to expect out of Coke Bust other than the most stellar hardcore punk this side of the Atlantic? They are known for their steady, excellent output of multiple short, fast songs- here’s nine more to add to that. Sociopolitical/cultural/personal lyrics over top of some rapid drumbeats and fucking crushing riffs (Neutralized will make you mosh no matter who or where you are) delivered with spot on production and precise playing from four highly dedicated individuals in the hardcore punk scene (they don’t just play D.C.- they play all over; in fact, as of June 2015, they’re going to Japan, and have been all over the continental U.S., Europe, South America, and probably Canada and Mexico to boot). This band is what all bands should aspire to be in terms of dedication and influences, one of which is a personal twist that makes your band your band. I expected nothing less and received nothing less.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Last Words- Last Words LP review
The title track is enough to warrant a positive review of this record, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg (or, idioms-wise, saving the best for last, since it’s the last song on the record). Vicious, shrill vocals will tear you the fuck up here- you wanna talk about hard… THIS is hard. Heavy as ever, fast as all fuck, and covers all the bases a hardcore punk record needs to. What more can I say beyond this and that you have to get this record? This is one of my most recent favorite LPs to jam- get it? Got it? Good.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Corrupt Leaders- self titled 7” review
Heavy grindy hardcore a la Dead In The Dirt, Napalm Death, and a little Carcass here and there. Usual fare for lyrics- anti-authoritarian, pro-individuality stuff; nothing new, nothing bad. This errs more on the side of heavy, though, and rightfully so- not enough grindcore is able to do that; it’s all fast-fast-fast and although that formula can work in hardcore punk, it gets boring really fast in anything else. Not too shabby.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Asylum- self titled 7” review
Primitive D-beat with some heavily reverbed vocals and cryptic lyrics. Has a heavy grindcore/classic anarcho punk layout on the inside of the record. Definitely a headbanger from front to back; feels like a couple of long songs, being kind of hard to tell them apart with no distinct riffs or choruses. Still, a nice slab of wax from some East coast cats. ABC D-beat.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Corrupt Leaders- Grindmother 5” review
This is definitely pure grindcore. I don’t know if it’s your grandmother’s grindcore, but it sure is loud, abrasive, fast, heavy, and appropriately annoying. A definite departure from their DOOM/Extreme Noise Terror vibe they gave off on their self-titled 7”. It’s short enough that it’s no harm done if you’re not into it, cuz the worst thing that happens is two minutes gone. Best thing that happens is you get 120 seconds of headbanging in. I’ll bet on the latter being more likely.
Monday, November 16, 2015
Criaturas- Espirita de Libertad LP review
A mix of crossover, D-beat, and straight hardcore punk with a shrill voice behind the mic and a unique mix of reverb. The production is clean but not slick, the songs are great, you can even bang your head… this is hardcore punk exactly as it should be. That is, evolved from punk rock, but not trudging too deeply into the thick monotony of NYHC-styled hardcore. Excellent.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Don’t Get Bored- self titled review
This is the godchild of John Brannon and Todd Swalla; pure, unadulterated, no additives, one hundred percent 80s Midwest snot. The only difference between the two eras is the higher production quality. The Necros vibe is almost unreal; I love it. Deep Wound and Jerry’s Kids also have a little influence here- maybe they have an uncle from Massachusetts. Just imagine if it were the 80s again, because this band perfectly embodies that vibe- the juvenile, nascent, short-sighted, live-for-today zeitgeist.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Eyesore- demo tape review
What if Murphy’s Law and Infest met, had angry flippant sex, and birthed a child on a shitty motel room floor on 8 Mile and Woodward next door to a guy getting pissed on and a guy who just got kicked out of his house in a messy separation? That’s Eyesore. Sonically, like Extortion, lyrically a lot less serious, this band knows what the old adage “less is more” means. Sixteen songs, eight minutes; this is for those who lack the attention span needed for good music. I love that.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
This is high quality, fast paced garage-y punk rock with a big pop element to it- imagine the Ramones with a female singer (not that different a sound, honestly) and slightly less intense instrument volume. This is catchy, melodic, well-written, well-recorded, jangly music with a “soft side of punk” vibe. This could almost be pop punk if not for the fact that this is no doubt a record written from a chronological vision before pop and punk were ever fused together. For anyone who understands where punk came from originally, sound-wise, or wants to. Excellent.
Green Beret- The Cult of State 7” review
Boston hardcore plus old-school D-beat equals one of my favorite current bands. With a slightly different approach than their 12” but with the same hard-as-nails anti-war vibe, they plow through six ragers in as many minutes, commanding attention with a droning, bleating voice that sounds like the voice on an air raid siren. The drums are no doubt in the front seat driving the song, but everything flows together so well that it’s difficult to say which is more important, in terms of instruments. This is everything a hardcore punk 7” should be.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Violent Reaction- Marching On LP review
This is what I’ve been waiting for! The steady improvements that Violent Reaction have been since their flexi (when I started listening, anyways) have culminated into this monster of an LP, one of the best I’ve heard as of late. The blue-collar straight edge skinhead/Oi! influenced hardcore punk they play hits harder than any mid-tempo band who focuses exclusively on breakdowns and sloganeering lyrics ever could. The vocals are booming, the guitars are tuned and distorted just the way they should be (normal EADGBE and high-EQ distortion, I think), giving off a bit of an 86 Mentality vibe but better, the bass is bouncing like their Doc Marten soles, and the drums hit on all cylinders, large and small. The lyrics are no doubt primitive at times, but still provoke enough though to be worthwhile and still fitting of what is no doubt a genre best left to the realms of simplicity. From the brutal intro of M1 Stomp to the almost Blitz-ish Marching On, this is THE LP to get if you like hardcore punk, no matter who you are, or what subgenre therein you like. This is the New Wave of British Hardcore, and VxR are the ones marching on into battle, waving its flag.
Friday, November 6, 2015
Harm’s Way- Rust LP review
Imagine a cinematic sequence of a movie version of Streets of Rage: Four guys surround you; one has a machete, one has a pipe, a third has a knife, and one more is unarmed. The guy with the pipe swings at you, but you dodge it and hook him, knocking his featherweight ass out; he drops it and you pick it up. You swing it up at the guy with the machete, who is coming at you, blade raised in the air. You knock him back, stunning him briefly as he drops his weapon and the knife wielder lunges at you, the blade drawn and pointed right at your midsection. You lean far backward, your assailant just missing his strike as you drop the pipe in your left hand. With that same hand, you force your fingers into his throat and rip out his Adam’s apple, pitching up his knife as the two remaining assailants close in once again. You swing the knife in the direction of the unarmed assassin, causing him to take a step back, while the Jason Voorhees wannabe gears up to slice you. As he brings his blade down, you do a 180° spin with your right arm at shoulder level, with your own blade traveling in the direction of this armed assailant, who just misses you as the blade passes only three inches away from your back. The knife swiftly enters into his neck; he almost instantly drops his weapon, clutching at his neck as you let go of your stolen knife. Seeing that your one remaining adversary is right behind you and moving in, you let out a spinkick and do an about-face to confront your final enemy. You pick up the machete from the ground and glare at your only remaining adversary, staring almost all the way through him as the urge to scream in anger rips through your body. Your final assailant turns around and runs away in fear as your mouth open to bellow out all the rage that’s festered inside you all these years; finally, you unleash it…
You realize you’re the singer of Harm’s Way, an extremely heavy metallic hardcore band from Chicago, Illinois, and your assailants were members of Weekend Nachos, the last surviving member (the one who turned tail and ran, the turncoat bastard) being Snyder. You realize that you have to finish vocals for your new record, and you get back to the studio to lay down the last few tracks. Heavily influenced sound-wise by death and industrial metal, you lay down a similar albeit different style of vocal more akin to a hoarse version of Mike IX Williams from Eyehategod. The records comes off as sounding as heavy, pissed, and full as ever, though the lyrics indicate you are a man of few words. Just as it should be. Truly a progression just as much as it no doubt a Harm’s Way album.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Tear Off/Clean Up- demo tape review
This is blue collar melodic hardcore punk with a heavy sing-a-long vibe a la 7 Seconds, Frank White, early Descendents, and the like. It’s well put together, but doesn’t perfectly match up with the rhythms of the song, which is part of what gives it the soul that it has. It’s clear, but not clean- hell, you could give this to a crusty in between their shitty Contravene discography CD, Disclose bootleg tape that they paid $100 for and it still sounds like shit, and a still unwrapped LP of Mischief Brew’s latest record, and it would fit in just fine. These are some cool catchy guitar driven punk rock songs. Buy a pint of R&R and a pack of Native Spirits for the complete TO/CU experience.
Monday, November 2, 2015
Prohibition- Demo 2015 review
This is a decent demo- what one might expect is certainly delivered. There a tinge of New Breed era NYHC, Keep Deep In Shit, the Reaper Records sound, and modern youth crew. Take the cheesiness of Bold, the sounds of Disengage, and the singer of Plagued With Rage (or any skramz singer, take your pick), and you have Prohibition. Beefy power chords, a steady stream of bass lines, pounding drums, and a set of vocals that are akin to Freddy Cricien fronting Agnostic Front in the late 80s- it sounds like your little brother who watches your band got up on stage and started singing. Not bad, but it could be better. As for the lyrics, let’s just say this IS a demo, and it’s all up from here. Think early-era Madball, and how basic and simple those lyrics are- this is pretty much on that level. Instrumentally on point, at least tone-wise (songs are okay- neither great nor terrible), weird but decent vocals, and lyrics that make you glad you aren’t fourteen anymore.