Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Chocolate, clocks, cheese, neutrality, Fear of God, and Mine. This list represents my knowledge of Switzerland, superficial as it may be. This post deals with last in the list, a brutallic hardcore band of, you guessed it, the mid 1990's. Mine shared many things in common with other European contemporaries: the ferocity and metallic guitar sound of Luzifers Mob and Wounded Knee, along with the emotive qualities of Ego Trip and Dawnbreed. Although Mine released a 7" and at least one compilation track (all of which I have somewhere), their LP is by far their greatest achievement, and one of the high-water marks of the hardcore coming out of The Continent at the time. Much of the album consists of fast-as-hell drumming and catchy metallic riffs, but throughout there is a more than fair amount of slightly chunky/moshy parts, slow heavy intros, and even a little d-beat. The only thing missing is melody, but I don't think anyone will really miss it on this record. It would seem that these guys listened to a lot of Citizens Arrest before writing their songs, and even if that's false, the comparison is still valid. The overall sound is thick and intimidating, and anyone into any kind of good hardcore should give this disk a shot.
"Tetanus" was originally released collaboratively between Common Cause Records (Germany) and The Great American Steak Religion (Canada), which was Yannick's (of Union of Uranus, etc.) label at the time. As an overlooked release, it may still be possible to find it in used bins for mere pocket change. Here are my rips-- sorry if the quality sucks.
Mine "Tetanus" and split with Dawnbreed
Mine - First 7"
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Doing a post on Post Regiment here may be like preaching to the choir, but I can't help but fear the possibility that someone out there has yet to be anointed...
Post Regiment was perhaps the greatest punk/hardcore band to ever come out of Poland (yes, I said it... and yes my exposure to Polish bands is a admittedly limited), and one of the best ever world wide (I'm not retracting that either!). When I listen to either of the LPs depicted above, I often wonder if I need to listen to any other punk records ever again. Granted, that thought disappears when the music stops playing, but at the time it is truly genuine. PR fills me with such fist-pumping euphoria, I often lose my faculties. Their ability to do this lies in the almost-perfection of their all-encompassing sound, replete and often oozing with sincerity, energy, speed, controlled melody/catchiness, diverse song writing, quirky, slightly distorted guitars, pounding bass, righteous lyrics, and the most awesome sounding vocalist any hardcore band could want! Further descriptions will only cheapen PR's greatness, so I will stop here.
For a fairly complete and succinct history of the band, go here. PR has another LP where they collaborated with members of Tragiedia and covered that band's songs. This album ("Tragiedia wg Post Regiment"), as well as their recently released demos LP ("Death Before Metal") is widely available and highly recommended. Members are thankfully still gracing us with their talents in such bands as PESD (the guitarist) and EL Banda (the bassist), and their influence is everywhere (most notably: check out the recent album by Antidotum). Finding Post Regiment's first two albums anywhere outside of Poland, on any format other than cassette is a real B-word. If any band members or labels have issues with me posting these tracks, let me know and I'll take care of it.
Kneel down, and humble yourself! (or don't...):
Monday, December 3, 2007
I hope you'll humor my obsession with 1990's bands; that decade held most of my musically formative years, and I haven't exhausted the archives yet! Today's reason to gush is a 13 track 10" of hybridized grind from Germany's Systral. Recorded in 1995, "Fever" (Per Koro Records) skillfully fused many of grindcore's basic elements (blast beats, low end guitars, growled/screamed vocals) with the tropes prevalent in the burgeoning "modern" US hardcore "scene" of the time (frenetic bursts of energy and dissonant guitar meanderings most associated with bands like Merel, Heroin, and Union of Uranus). Systral managed to distill the essence of pure bleakness between their fairly sparse blast beat runs by slowing things way down, tuning their guitars way low, and cranking the distortion and volume way up. The resulting guitar sound, coupled with the creepingly slow tempos, cast a foreboding ambience central to this record's uniqueness and power.
Systral's catalog consists of this 10", a 7", a split 7" with Acheborn, some compilation tracks, and the "Black Smoker" LP, which was perhaps a precursor to the "Death n' Roll" subgenre that's all the rage with the kids today, but which was marred by the snide use of a canned audience track throughout the album. It's a good record, but it still does not come close to the EP posted below. Members' involvement in bands like Acme and Morser have brought attention to Systral, but only peripherally it seems. The lack of international availability of their early releases has only helped to enshroud their name further in obscurity (at least outside of Germany). But, alas, pioneering bands will never be truly forgotten, and the cult of Systral is thriving out there in the shadowy crawlspaces and damp basements of hardcore history.
Systral's "Fever" 10"
Buy the CD (contains extra tracks):
Per Koro Records
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The idea of a guitar-less band with three bass players and an occasional violinist may reek of pretentiousness to many. But when it comes to the experimentation going on during the glorious 1990's, it isn't fair to jump so hastily to such conclusions. The line-up described above corresponds to Montreal's short-lived, yet mighty Seized. Finding information about these guys is a real futility frolic, but what is clear is that this band generated a mere nine brooding sludge dirges during the mid '90's that lull you at first, but then infect you virus-like while your guard is down. On their early tracks, which kick off the Seized Discography CD (Hater of God Records), the bass distortion is so thick, it's difficult to distinguish each musician's part. On these offerings, the band keeps its sound in the traditional sludge range, entrancing the listener with plodding, steady rhythms and ominous riffs. As the band reached its second phase, their sound adopted more progressive song structures and continued the use of their grindcore style vocals while adding a spoken dimension to them at times. The distortion on the basses is toned down a bit, revealing the interplay between them much more on these tracks. The musicians seem to have also found a new sense of liberation from the simple, 70's style rock/metal riffs, and dabble in a more expansive variety of stylistic arrangements. I wouldn't make too big a deal about the violin mentioned above; simple violin melodies are interspersed on the split LP (with Ire) tracks, but it is not central to the band's sound. I think I enjoy these later tracks better(#'s 5-9), and if you're new to Seized, I would recommend listening to the entire Discography before making up your mind about them. Is there any point to making comparisons? Pointing out the few likenesses to Man Is The Bastard is tempting, but inadequate, and all other such attempts will be similarly flaccid. So the only thing to do, is listen:
Seized "Discography CD"
Buy yourself a copy:
Monday, November 19, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
First two LPs
"Ugly" and Eps
Some members are currently in a punk band called Drunk.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Buy if for Cheap (Americans):
Crimes Against Humanity
Dist & Confused
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
"Life is Shit"
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Skuld only pressed about 2000 of these, but you can still find a copy here and there. For now, enjoy the electronic version:
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Chicago seems like a sleeping beast when it comes to good crusty hardcore... and it has awakened under the name Thin The Herd! Wrench in the Gears Records put out Thin The Herd's debut LP "Mournful and Overcast" about a year ago, and I don't believe it has received the attention it deserves. These guys bring the noise the way I like it: crushing and frantic drumming, heavy and dark rhythm guitar, and lead guitars that stagger the line between chaos and melody. Imagine the unrestrained ferocity of Hail of Rage's throaty vocals and steamroller crust rhythms, coupled with Kakistocracy's dissonance and urgency. This is one powerful record brought to you by potentially one of the best US crustcore bands around.
Thin The Herd is indeed still around, but it seems the members are focusing on their other (metal) band, Black September, quite a bit more at present. Perhaps with some encouragement, they'll at least leave us another great album before ceasing operations.
Crimes Against Humanity
Young, Angry, and Poor
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I can understand why labels are doing smaller pressings nowadays, but some records should NEVER go out of print! 625 Thrashcore Records has seen this EP fit for obsolescence. Until this changes, all the MP3s are available below. Hatred Surge has also released a split EP with Insect Warfare (OOP), and a split LP with The Endless Blockade. There are some exciting projects in the works, (including a split with Iron Lung) so keep your eyes peeled.
Download Zip Here
Friday, September 14, 2007
Buy the Wax:
Monday, September 10, 2007
Download Zip Here
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Along with the Crudos/Spitboy LP, I think the Sedition/Pink Turds in Space LP is my favorite split LP of the 90's. The record was originally released on Real to Real Records in 1990, and then reissued in 1994 on the great Flat Earth Records. Both bands have since released discography Cd's, but even those are becoming increasingly scarce.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Germany is my go-to country now for excellent melodic hardcore. With bands like Lost World, El Mariachi, Kobayashi, Inner Conflict, etc., it's no wonder. Chispas continue the melodic tradition on their only full length "Relax! Nothing Is Under Control." With all of the great political bands out there incorporating melody and a discordant, modern edge into their punk, Chispas breaks no new ground. But like a lot of German bands, they raise the quality bar. The music is mid-paced to moderately fast, with guitar melodies that tend toward a slightly darker range of tones, but without being too oppressive or depressing. The male/female vocal trade-offs are harsh, but very listenable. In fact, the female singer sounds uncannily like Tati from Lost World/Endrophobia/His Iro Is Gone, which is in no way a bad thing! Actually I wouldn't have any problem with more vocalists copping her grating brand of snotty punkness. The cover art is easy to ignore, so I thought I would present this record for those who may have overlooked it. Definitely a winner if you like Lost World, Ballast, Paragraf 119, To What End?, Bread and Water...
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
The early '90's seemed to signal a new epoch in hardcore: musicians were staying in the "scene" longer and becoming more intelligent and musically proficient, and as a result their subsequent bands were all around better too. After the dissolution of Belgium's mighty Hiatus, at least one member went on to play in the also mighty Unhinged. This band was one of a handful that kept me interested in hardcore long enough to witness the flourishing "scene" that followed and continues today. Like contemporaries Zero Hour and Initial State, Unhinged took a darker and more passionate approach to the already crushing "crust" sound, and mixed in anguished female vocals to complete their absolutely devastating assault (Direct decedents may include Ballast, Jeniger, Kakistocracy...) The song writing is relatively complex for its time/genre, as was perhaps foreseeable from the final Hiatus 12" (which certainly improved upon the somewhat repetitive sound of Hiatus' earlier work). My favorite tracks by Unhinged come from their first two records: the "Resisting the Murder of Self" 7" and the "Win Our Freedom in Fire" LP. These two slabs are driving and raw, but still controlled and smart in every way. Their final LP "Crime and Punishment" was slower and a bit slicker, and I would certainly recommend it if you like the tracks herein. Nabat Records handled all of Unhinged's releases, and I am not sure about their availability. They seem hard to find, so I am posting rips from a CD that compiles these two records and some other early tracks (thanks to a generous "soulseeker" out there).
Thursday, August 2, 2007
"Keep the Faith"
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
A little change of pace here: die hard crusties may want to look away... After they broke up, Ottawa's Okara released their only full length, "Months Like Years" (Spectra Sonic Sound Records). They had already put out a 7" and a split 7" with Mothman, which were very poorly produced. "Months Like Years" has some recording issues as well, but it is far better sounding than those previous outings. And, thankfully, it is their best material as well. On this monster, you'll find 8+ tracks of somewhat mathy indie rock that might find a comfortable home in DC, as well as in San Diego (in the early '90's). The guitar is raucous, jangly, and off-kilter, but the man behind it is in total control. Competing with this is the rhythm section, which brews a dizzying concoction of hyper-jazz rock that at times would feel danceable, if it were not for its unpredictability. The competition is a draw, and the product is a very kinetic, forceful, and edgy rock record. Fans of Shotmaker, Three Penny Opera, and 30 Second Motion Picture may recognize the vocalist. However, his vocals are basically the only similarity Okara can boast of with these bands. It is a shame this 3 piece couldn't hold it together for a second LP... I can only imagine how good such a record could have been. I was hoping to post their entire record, but there are still couple of copies left out there, so I wouldn't feel right doing that.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
I am posting songs from Kolokol's "Tilbake Til Start" 7" as well, because it would be a shame for people to miss out on this excellent disk. Here the band cranks through 6 songs which were written in the '90's. These tracks are decidedly unrelenting and fast, and afterward, you feel as though you listened to an entire album ... it's that satisfying. On the LP, the band has more space and is more "mature," so they play around more with tempo changes and song structures. Whichever incarnation of Kolokol I listen to, I must conclude that they are one of the best hardcore bands in Europe. Give 'em your support!
"Ingen Mennesker" from "Flammer og Farger"
"Ny Tid Truer" from "Tilbake Til Start"
"Solgt" from "Tilbake Til Start"
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I picked up Schifosi's "Ill Winds from Outopia" LP a couple of years ago based on a one-line description. It probably used words like "dark" and "crusty," and most likely compared them to Tragedy. They have since become one of my all time favorite hardcore bands. The description was mostly accurate. The guitars are a dark, layered, and melodic frenzy, supported by what can only be considered d-beat drumming. They may start with slow, haunting intros on some tracks, but once the punishment starts you can expect fast-paced hardcore the rest of the way. Most fans will cite the vocals as the biggest distinguishing factor. The vocalist (yes, it is a woman) belts out a unique, gutteral roar that edges toward grindcore. Some gruff male vocals enter the mix, but the lead vocals are the shit! All their records are outstanding, but one really stayed with me...
The "Half Lit World" 7" is perhaps my favorite collection of Schifosi songs. All four are ragers, and two of them ("Drowning in the Aftermath" and "Law is Freedom") are the best songs the band has produced (only an opinion!). This ep brought their sound to a new level of darkness, with good song writing, and a heightened poetic sense introduced into their lyrics. Really great stuff!
Schifosi are from Melbourne, Australia, and I believe are still active. Members also play in Pisschrist and Abc Weapons (post coming soon on these guys). Although Schifosi toured parts of the US a couple of years ago and have plenty of fans here, I still don't think enough people know about them. In the future, don't be surprised if you encounter similar dark, female fronted hardcore bands on this site.
Schifosi/Slackjaw EP (kick start my heart)
"Ill Winds from Outopia" LP (CD includes "Half Lit World" songs) (endless blockades)
"Half Lit World" EP (aborted society)
"Absentium Existence" 12" EP (alerta anti-fascista)
"Drowing in the Aftermath"
Myspace Tribute Page
Get Schifosi Records: