Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Unholy Fist Of Justice

There are two reasons I chose the Unholy Grave/PLF 7" for this third split installment: Pretty Little Flower and the record's packaging. It comes in a nice three color glossy gatefold, and it's pressed on thick wax. Sorry, but I get kind of nerdy about these things. So most of you know what awaits you on the Unholy Grave front: alright grindcore played at mid-pace (by grindcore specs). You get one song about landmines, and FOUR about terrorism. Yeah...

If you've been following the fruits of the Gulf Coast Grind offensive (Insect Warfare), then you're already excited about Pretty Little Flower! These Houstonians (or is it Houstonites?) play chunky grindcore that nods generously to your favorite grindcore bands (with grindcore, that can be said about any band, but whatever...). Fast brutality played by talented musicians with an overtly anti-macho band name... there aren't many better things in life. Well there are, but most can lead to permanent psychosis or brain damage. Play it safe...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Great Mass Of Despair: Silence & Burning The Prospect

There'll be no holiday cheer on this blog, not in the presence of Poland's mighty and brooding Silence! Say what you will about "neo-crust" and other such epithets; what it boils down to is that Silence plays powerful hardcore. Yes, there are song titles like the title of this post, and they've been known to throw in some piano and violin at times, but the proof is in the final product. The tracks on this split with Burning The Prospect are two of the band's best-- they're solidly written, crushing, and not as meandery as some of the band's other work. As always, check out the Box o' Songs for a sample. And if the more straight forward crust-core approach is more your thing, Burning The Prospect should not be missed. Their three tracks were recorded at the 1in 12 Club, if you know what that means. If you don't, let's just say that that venue is notoriously connected to acts like Doom, Police Bastard, Ruin, etc. BTP completely rages with some stomping, thrashy beats, and powerfully distorted guitars. The songwriting is not super typical, and keeps their modern crust sound from blending in too much with that particular over-saturated scene. Keep an eye on this band; needless to say, this split is highly recommended!

The Silence/Burning The Prospect Split

Another Repost Alert!
To rectify another injustice where I ripped a good record at 128kbps (unknowingly, of course), I have re-ripped Silence's "Mad Civilization" 10," this time at 320 kbps. They're not as tight on this early release, but they hold nothing back in laying all their guts and emotions out on the table. It's powerful stuff, but with song titles like "Suffering," "Tears Of Humiliation," and "In A Tunnel Without End," you probably shouldn't throw it on during your New Year's Eve Party!

"Mad Civilization" @ 320

Monday, December 29, 2008

Week Of Splits II: Acursed & Bonds Of Trust; Repost: Fallout/Acursed Split LP

Lots of stuff going on today... First off, we begin the second installment of the week of splits-- a chance to showcase some treats in one of my favorite vinyl formats: the split (especially 7 inches). It also helps me put the piles of records I want to post into some kind of order. When appropriate, I'm also going to sneak in some reposts since I have a little vacation time on my hands and I'm really not going anywhere special. So the first post for this week of splits and reposts showcases of one of my favorite contemporary Swedish bands, Acursed. These scandi-thrashers made some international noise finally with the release of their Prank Records LP, but today's split sees the band in their early years working out their stiflingly heavy and fast hardcore barrage. All four tracks are great, as is everything they've done. Bonds Of Trust are also from Sweden, but judging from the block letter logo, giant X's on the members' hands, finger pointing, and song entitled "Floorpunch," you'd think they were some thuggish band from NYC. The music absolves their posturing, though, with some more blistering Swedecore not unlike that delivered by their split-mates. There are no lyrics supplied, but I get the feeling that's probably a good thing. The music is great and meshes well with Acursed. Really good split!

Acursed/Bonds Of Trust Split

Repost Alert!!!

Act now, and you can get this re-ripped version of the amazing split between Acursed and Australia's Fallout. You should already know Acursed, and I promise their side will level you. I can promise the same for Fallout too, even though they have kept a low profile over the years. Just know that Fallout are one of the most underrated/under appreciated metallic "Powerviolence" bands out there, and mix adequate amounts of Siege/Infest aggression with a generous chaser of chunky/sludgy Dystopia heaviness. No bullshit... :

Fallout/Acursed Split (re-ripped loud @ 256 kbps)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Song Of The Week: "No Te Rindas" (Sin Dios)

Hardcore has saved me on so many occasions. From what, exactly? It's hard to say, but I feel like the raucous hammering and screaming has kept my thinking somehow... clear. It started with Bad Brains and Void in my early teens; then it was Econochrist and Crimpshrine entering young adulthood; His Hero Is Gone more or less sealed my fate... but as I was entering my chosen career, it was my discovery of Sin Dios that may be responsible for keeping me on the path for life. Coming out of the decade that dealt the death-blow to "punk," everything in the independent music world seemed ruined by imitators and colored by irony. Enter Sin Dios, who was like a brass-knuckled fist up the ass of that way of thinking. I was lucky enough to stumble upon them right when their masterpiece, "Ingobernables," was released. This was the first time the band felt the desire to reach out to the world beyond their compadres Españoles, releasing the album on German labels (Skuld & Twisted Chords) who in turn distributed it fairly well to all the global punk "markets." After about ten years, these anarcho-syndicalist punks managed to belt out hardcore anthems more explosive, full of conviction, and heavier than anything they had done prior. The lyrics and additional writings are full of the usual Sin Dios scholarship: rants about the virtues of the DIY ethic, topical diatribes on the state of European politics/direct action initiatives, and images/lyrics that show a strong atavistic connection to Spain's libertartian heritage. In short, these guys were the real thing- not just a bunch of fly-by-nighters sloganeering about nuclear war and such.

This post could be an album of the week post, since all 14 tracks are just awesome. I chose the first track, "No Te Rindas, " because its fiery message and energy encapsulates what this band and this album did for me at a time when the lure of the status quo could have easily won my soul. When you start to feel like there's nothing you can do to change the "way things are," and you're tired of making ironic remarks to cover up your sense of futility, crank this song about four or five times in a row...

"No Te Rindas" ("Don't Give Up")


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Repost: Zygote "89-91"

Long ago, I posted Zygote's "89-91" LP which collects their demo and five live tracks. By default, I ripped it at 128 kbps, not knowing exactly what I was doing (as if I do now, right?) So here it is again, ripped at 256 with overall better sound quality and the lyric sheet included. If you don't know Zygote, read here. Also, for similar music, go here, here, here, and here.

"89-91" (Re-ripped @ 256)

I'll be re-ripping other old posts as the weeks carry on; if you have any requests, don't hesitate to comment.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Spinal Wrench 2: The Splits

I hope to re-rip the two Spine Wrench EPs I posted a while back, and rip two additional ones in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, this post concerns the two split releases the band did: their first outing, and their last. In case you don't already know, SW were a sludgy metal band with industrial leanings, but are best known as the band MID (Rob Middleton) formed after the demise of Deviated Instinct (you also may know Rob from his art which graced many famous Napalm Death albums, and from his current work in the band Bait). The first split of the day, with Def. Master, was Spine Wrench's last release. The one SW track is easily my favorite from the band's discography. Through the cold, industrial atmosphere tears some anguished vocals and gut-wrenching, string-bending guitar eeriness. Based on this last remnant, I really wish the band had kept going...

Japan's Def. Master are a whole other trip. Their hyper-kinetic, electro-industrial adrenaline shot is both seductive and nerve-wracking (in too high a dose). The format follows a similar pattern to their "Fear Of God" 7", both of which consist of one booty-shaker and one metallic head-rush. As can be expected, the tracks are layered with all manner of electronic bells and whistles to keep your warped neurons from their inevitable atrophy; yes, our species is "evolving" to where ADHD is becoming one of our essential qualities-- Def. Master has kept this in mind during the composition process. Get DM's split with the almighty Discordance Axis here and a couple more DM goodies here.

For no extra charge, you can also download the Sin/Spine Wrench (or Spinewrench if you prefer) CD below. SW showcase their usual awesome, throbbing, grooving metal. This also happens to be the only release with Charlie (ex-Deviated Instinct) on drums before he left and and was replaced by his mechanical counterpart. The songs are pretty good, and, for me at least, blow away Sin. Maybe I'm just not accustomed to the flat, anti-dynamic, industrial influenced metal those guys produced, but I get a little antsy listening to Sin. I don't know, maybe you'll like them more, but I usually skip to the SW tracks.

Both splits

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another Happy Customer (Korova)

You're probably gonna see Korova's "Another Happy Customer" CD reviewed on several blogs, because instead of resisting the download tide, the band has decided to ride out its inevitable current. They've made the CD available for cheap, and the mp3's free (see link below). Another reason you may see it around is because it's really good! Korova solves one of the problems with hardcore full lengths: keeping them interesting all the way through. The framework of the music is grimy eighties-style hardcore ("Pick Your King" era Poison Idea?) with pissed-off, yelled vocals (if you're tired of over the top grunting and screaming, Ian's got the remedy!). Throughout the experience, different nuances maim and enhance the band's MO: soured noise rock cacophonies, discordant modern chords phrasings, spoken word tracks, and enough literary references to provoke a few visits to Wikipedia. The result is one hell of a gritty and compelling listen from a band that has its boot firmly planted in the ass of the past, but whose bloodshot eyes aim squarely at the future.

Ian gave the go ahead (for now) to post the CD using his mediafire link. If you want to support the band, here are some ideas:

-Go buy Korova's CD and/or 7"
-Go say hello to Ian on his blog
-Leave a comment here so more people will become interested in Korova
-Go see Korova live in January if you live in/near Alabama
-Post this CD on your blog


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Destroy The South!?

Maybe we should keep Southern traditions intact after all, since that region harvests some damn fine bands! Four of them are gathered here on this early release by the great At A Loss Recordings, "Destroying Southern Tradition." Compilations are probably not high on your download priority list (assuming you have such a thing), so I'll just show you the track list and let you decide:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Song Of The Week: "Wind Of Pain" (Bastard)

Post number 200 happens to fall on a song of the week night. I told myself I would stop counting posts, but Blogger makes it hard not to. So, what am I in the mood for... well, in an Immoral Squad post, I was praising bands that turn simplicity into power: Discharge is a classic example, and tonight's featured band may already be too. Bastard are often touted as one of the greatest Japanese hardcore bands of all time, and I certainly agree. As with many superlative bands from that country, the labels played the cruel joke of making Bastard's releases very limited. I was lucky enough to find a vinyl bootleg of their LP and EP recently, but if you want originals, just understand that you'll be paying in the multiple hundreds for either of them; luckily there's the blogosphere to the rescue. So what makes the band so great? Everything: the insanely thick and heavy guitar and drum sound, the pissed off, traditional vocals, the cranking riffs... the usual things-- just turned way up in quantity and quality.

There's not a single mediocre moment in the bands' discography, so choosing a single track really sucked. The title track to the band's LP "Wind Of Pain" will do nicely. When I throw on the album, I eagerly anticipate the fist-pounding main riff more than any other. Great hardcore should illicit a violent reaction, and this jam doesn't fail in that regard. Seek out this band's work if you haven't already!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


If you were able to squint and see the band names on this 7" and know either Yaphet Kotto or Suicide Nation, you have probably skipped to the download link already. In case you don't know these bands: Yaphet Kotto were one of the better second wave Ebullition bands, who played dissonant and emotionally charged hardcore/rock. "Critical Response" is recorded rather muddily, and the vocals are difficult to hear; considering that they consist of indecipherable screaming anyway, I don't think that matters much. The track itself is urgent and intense, and deals with a certain empire's economic pillaging of third world countries. Being the only song of YK's present, you can't complain this time around that their songs sound too similar to each other. Now, the reason I combed the corners of the earth for this split was Suicide Nation. And man, was it worth it! "Collapse & Die" musters all of the band's conviction, musical proficiency, and 90's emotive angst into four of the most powerful, blackened minutes of the band's existence. The production is a step up from the first LP, but the songwriting is much in the same vein (which if you've heard it, is reason to rejoice!). Is this the best SN song of them all? Quite possibly! But I am a little biased right now...

Listen for yourself

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What Meaning You Live?!

It's a shame that Shikabane's full length, "Why Do You Live?" (Prank/Mangrove?, 2003) is out of print, and an even bigger shame if you don't have these tracks on your hard drive (there's a good chance you do, but just in case...). Building on the brooding thrash aggression of the last posted EP, the band added dirtier, more atmospheric production and more diverse songwriting to accompany their personal/philosophical lyrics (which are in English this time). Some of you may hanker for the raw power of their previous outings, especially during the acoustic and undistorted interludes; but I rather like the whacked out moodiness of this record and the "Ego And Desire" 7" quite a bit. As a matter of fact, this is easily one of my favorite Prank releases. Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter...

@ 320!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Song Of The Week: "Burn" (Life... But How To Live It?)

A while ago, I posted a shit-ton of Life... But How To Live It? tracks that I had downloaded. Back then, rumor had it that Boss Tuneage was going to issue a double CD discography for the band. Over a year later, and it has yet to be substantiated. Considering this, LBHTLI continues to rank as probably THE most detrimentally overlooked of the truly great "punk" bands the world ever produced. I won't insult the band by attempting to put the beauty they created into words... I'll just go ahead and present, for the third time on this blog, the band's epic diatribe on American hypocrisy, "Burn." It's tied with "Jealousy" for my all time favorite LBHTLI song; I hope you like.


"Burn" (Live)

Shikabane releases are dropping out of circulation like crazy, which may mean there's a discography in the works, and certainly means that it's time for some posts. Being a huge fan of dark hardcore, it wasn't long before this band caught my attention. My first exposure was the masterful "Why Do You Live?" LP, which was enough encouragement for me to explore the band's back catalog, such as their split with Agathocles, and this slightly more mature CD, "人のために生きるか 自分のために生きるか." By the late 1990's, the band dropped some of their speed, and adopted their signature, ominous tone. So this CD is a transition point: it's fairly traditional Japanese thrashcore with some added gravity. As much as I love Shikabane's more complex recent work, these eight tracks are great in their own right.

人のために生きるか 自分のために生きるか

1. 自滅
2. 虚構の現実
3. 生業 ~なりわい~
4. 悲観
5. 崩れていくもの・・・
6. 所業
7. 死ね!!
8. 人のために生きるか 自分のために生きるか

Friday, December 12, 2008

In A Glass Box Of Emotion!

Jake sort of requested the One Eyed God Prophecy LP, or at least that's how I chose to interpret it. I was looking for an excuse to do so anyway... Plenty of blogs have probably posted this thing, but as you can see already, I don't care. OEGP were a brilliant off-shoot of (Union Of) Uranus who released this 6-banger and I'm not sure what else (I've heard there was a super limited fan-issued discography?). The band played screamy and chaotic hardcore, but to dismiss them as some "screamo" band would be to miss the point (whatever that may be). What sets the band apart is tough to nail, but each track is like the detail of a larger panorama... a dark one where people and objects are painted in the same impersonal gray. Beneath the surface throbs a pulsing knot of every human emotion imaginable, but instead of breaking through, it only moves the murk in mesmerizing waves and sudden convulsions. This is the songwriting of a band that both rejected and embraced its own moment in time and space, and created something lastingly powerful, if not beautiful. Follow its chilling and turbulent movements, and see where it takes you...

@ 320

As with many records from my personal stash, this one has been a bit ill-treated and it shows in extra noise. Just thought I'd warn you. It sounds like it's been man-handled by a guy who got the munchies, ate an entire bag of hot Cheetos, and didn't wash his hand. I don't want to mention names, but let's just say his name begins with a B and ends in a -guano.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Immoral Invaders From Uranus

By request from Nick(throne), and because it just makes sense to post it, we have here the split 7" between two Canadian phenomena of the '90's, Uranus and Immoral Squad. Depending on what day you catch me on, "Believer" is either my favorite or least favorite Uranus track. It's a lot slower than the scathing rippers on the HHIG split, and more repetitive and hypnotic than the brilliant material on their double 7". The throbbing bass toward the end is all kinds of infectious, so you've been warned.

If you know Immoral Squad from their 7", then you won't be surprised or disappointed by the metallic-crust-Hell they unleash here. I like a little complexity in my hardcore, but these guys make simplicity work with that unbelievable power I mentioned last time. Everything they released on vinyl minus one comp appearance is available on this sight. Unfortunately, that isn't much.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Song Of The Week: "Night Falls" (Tragedy)

Since we're on the subject of Portland via Memphis greatness, how 'bout some Tragedy for the song of the week?! Sometimes I wonder if anyone listens to Tragedy, or if people just use their name to reference bands that sound like them. I would like to assume the former, because Tragedy is one the most sincerely powerful hardcore bands in the world today. Like many, when I heard the first Tragedy album, it had a similar effect as when I heard the first His Hero Is Gone 12"-- that is, it completely destroyed and rebuilt my life in it's 20 minute duration (part of that was just the joy of knowing these musicians were still at it). But when I reach for a record to play, it's "Vengeance" that I choose as a default. Not that the other two aren't completely awesome; they can stay over night at my turntable's house any day. But "Vengeance" was the record where the band took some time and space to explore their brand of bleakness on an epic level. The Swedish assault dominates many of the songs, but on a few, the band finds its way back to the heyday of crust with slow to mid-tempo ploddings. "Night Falls" is an excellent example, and when I think of this album, my mind immediately starts playing that simple and stark guitar riff with which the track opens. The word Heavy, and all of it's musical and emotional connotations also comes to mind. The listener is escorted with belabored and lethargic steps through an empty street in a war-torn nation. The tempo picks up when the soldiers come marching through, but as the lyrics explain, there will be no resolve for the sleepless masses who wait for peace in their darkened apartments. And you wonder why they chose their band name! But as the ancient Greek dramatists taught us, tragedy and catharsis are fairly inseparable.

If for whatever reason you haven't heard Tragedy or "Vengeance," I can't urge you enough to rectify that. Keep in mind that many of their songs are actually fast, unlike this one:


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Urânus Is Gone

Hardly any one's enjoying the obscure stuff I've been posting, so it's time for a classic. The His Hero Is Gone/(Union Of) Uranus split 12" was one of the greatest things the nineties squeezed out of its fruitful, if irregular bowels. Whether everyone out there has these tracks already or not is irrelevant; I've always wanted to post this beast. HHIG were one of a few bands who revitalized my interest in hardcore at a time when I could have gone in some pretty embarrassing directions; so potent was their influence that here I am over ten years later, more enthused than ever about our little subterranean niche. They must have done the same for hundreds of musicians, as HHIG/Tragedy worshippers span the globe these days. Uranus' influence was more subtle, but they left their mark in a huge way too, and did so even more after their discography CD finally emerged from its icy, unmarked grave. The split itself was limited to somewhere around 500, and was sold exclusively on the bands' joint tour ('97? '98?). The Uranus tracks are of course compiled on their CD, but these recordings of the six HHIG ragers weren't ever reissued (don't quote me on that). These recordings also represent the last output by the line-up as heard on the "Fifteen Counts Of Arson" LP. The re-recorded versions (with new members, including Yannick from Uranus) would occupy the slab known as the "Fool's Gold" 7", which went through a confusing number of pressings on different labels. In addition to rougher sound quality, we're treated to a feverish, tribal-ish percussion intro that seems curious when held alongside the bands other work.

So, if you don't have these tracks, I've gone ahead and ripped this piece at 320 kbps, and included some pics of the insert and so forth in the folder (the photos didn't turn out great so I may post some better ones if the occasion should present itself).

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that these are two of the most amazing and important hardcore bands ever!

Right... Here

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Murder Is A Viable Option

A big thanks to R'nR Steve who reintroduced me to Enemy Soil by hooking me up with the their semi-discography, "Smashes The State." I hadn't listened to these grindcore "legends" since they were still a band, and I have now seen the error in my judgement. I won't post the double CD, because it's still extremely available. However, I did find the band's split with Japan's Desperate Corruption for cheap, and am more than happy to rip it for the rest of you grind-heads. Enemy Soil recorded their three tracks with only two members, Richard playing all the instruments and Doshu doing lead vocals. The signature power, bitterness, and suffocating heaviness of ES's later work is written all over these songs. As most of you know, members of the band formed/joined a bunch of noteworthy bands like The Index, Pig Destroyer, Drugs Of Faith, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, etc. Desperate Corruption were not as prolific, releasing only a series demos and a few splits (as far as I know). These dudes definitely practiced their scales and listened to a ton of Napalm Death. Both songs are impressive, but I couldn't say for sure what DS is about because no lyrics are supplied. All in all, this is a great split, and grindcore bands that consider the bass a superfluous instrument might think twice after hearing these tracks.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pisspoor & Ungrateful

If you checked out the "El Guapo" comp a while back, you know that Pisspoor were one of the more cacophonous thrashcore bands that you missed the first time around. Featured today is another tidbit from the Sound Pollution Records back catalog: their split LP with Ungrateful. Pisspoor's often uneventful riffs are made up for by the relentless drumming and bloody-murder vocals (see Ojorojo for a quick analogy). It's not about brilliant songwriting; it's about the rage, and these guys/gals have plenty of that. As do Kentucky's Ungrateful, who opt for the more old-school hardcore approach, but throw in scathing vocals and an occasional blast-beat part to keep the kiddies happy. I wish the guitar wasn't buried so deeply in the mix, but what can you do... this is DIY?!