Sunday, June 29, 2008

Land of Eternal Stench

Here's a couple of Nor-Western bands that may not need too much of an intro. Hellshock is the advanced guard of the stench-core comeback and features a bunch of musicians from all of your favorite Portland bands. Their output has ranged from pretty good to outstanding, and I'd say the two tracks posted here are among their better ones. The band has released some EPs and two full-lengths, but many of their records are going out of print (perhaps this foreshadows a coming discography CD?); "Shadows of the Afterworld" may be purchased here or here. Sharing this EP is Consume, which is a Seattle-based band with a long history (members have played in Disrupt, Shitlist, State of Fear, Decrepit...). Their attack resembles that of their predecessors, and they have an uncanny way of making simple riffs that are engaging and powerful. You can still pick up their excellent split LP with Born/Dead here, and if you search hard enough, you may find their LP which collects their split and EP material.

The Hellshock/Consume split 7" was pressed by Blackwater Records in a series of presses that totalled 2000. You may still be able to find a copy here. The awesome cover art was done by Dennis Dread.


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Friday, June 27, 2008

Dark Freaky Circus Music of the Northwest

The final EP for today comes from the Seattle masters of gloom: Wormwood. Many genres claim these guys: doom, hardcore, black metal, goth... you decide. This EP is Wormwood's debut on vinyl, containing the two tracks, "Circus," and "Seven." If you're familiar with their album "Requiescat," then you know what to expect: guitarless, plodding bass mayhem with angry vocals and eerie organ-style keyboards. It's as if Man is the Bastard and/or Seized were asked to compose the soundrack to a Vincent Price movie, and it turned out good. All descriptions will end up sounding goofy, so if you're curious, just give the band a try. Perhaps it's needless to say, but Wormwood is no longer; their two full lengths are fairly easy to find and are highly recommended.


Endless June Gloom

There must be something in the water up there in Washington-- a toxic level of gloom (or maybe it's just that lingering, oppressive overcast)! Öroku embodied this gloom with dreary down-tuned guitars, fairly slow tempos (mostly), and relentlessly caustic vocal snarls. This untitled EP provides three doses of gloom that remind me a little of the bands King of the Monsters Records used to specialize in (metallic, but not metal... hardcore, but not typical of any one particular style... always heavy, though). Öroku also released an excellent LP, but unfortunately they fell victim to the slash-and-burn trend of many Seattle bands these days, and broke up prematurely. Cool band... check 'em out.


Northwestern Deicide

No, Order of the Vulture are not concerned at all with Harry Potter. They are, however, hellbent on celebrating all things blasphemous. The Order's debut EP "Christ Killer" is a venemous onrush of metallic hardcore with black metal vocals, themes, and aesthetics. They have refined their sound a bit since, as may be apparent on their highly recommended LP (on Aborted Society Records). The tracks from this EP will be made available again on the CD version of the LP, which Aborted Society is working on now. Keep an eye out for that, but I also recommend tracking down the vinyl version of this EP. The band did it up nice with white vinyl, a nice insert, poster, sticker, and patch. DIY is still the shit!


Northwestern Blight

It looks like I'm locking myself into a theme this week: wicked, gloomy bands of the American Northwest that may or may not have broken up. All the EPs posted today are presumably out of print and fit the above description (if you know them to be in-print, please comment so I can remove them). First up is a powerful, pre-Sanctum grind/crust-core band called Blight. This EP is their only vinyl release, as they broke up entirely too early. There are six crushers packed on this slab... for fans of Disrupt, Masskontroll, Infekcja, ENT, Napalm Death...


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Sanctuary, and No Sanctum Either?

I thought I heard/read somewhere that Sanctum were breaking up. I hope that's not true, because they have been a powerful entity in the Pacific Northwest crust revival. The band plays/played dreary and brutal crust-metal not unlike Deviated Instinct engaging in D & D battle with Bolt Thrower. This 7" (2005) is the self-released press of their first record, "Enslaved" (another batch of 500 was repressed with different cover art). Aside from some recording flaws (I'd like to hear more vocals...), this is a solid debut from a formidable band. For more listening agony, track down Sanctum's other EP, split LP with Stormcrow, and recently released LP, "On The Horizon."

Listen here

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fugitive Equilibrium 101: A Retrospective Mixtape

Before I go on with post number 101, I'd like to say hello and thank you to the folks that stop by every once in a while and read/download. And, of course, a much bigger and sloppier thanks is due the to the handful of you kick-ass people who have left comments in the past (and hopefully in the future) as well as to the bloggers who have been kind enough to link this site (if you have me linked but I haven't returned the gesture- let me know!). Those who have mustered the volition and time to leave comments know what blogging is all about, and realize how crucial the sharing of encouragement, suggestions, stories, information, and opinions are to the on going dialogue (it also helps direct our future posts-- a sort of participatory blog experience). So thanks again to all of you.

Today's mixtape is a sort of "best of" sampler of the bands I've posted. It serves two purposes: 1) It gives newcomers a musical treasure map of previous posts (and some motivation for those of you who have not downloaded something because you suspected that you wouldn't like it or that it wasn't worth the wait to download). 2) It's a really rockin' playlist of some great bands! To keep this thing within the bounds of the 100 MB limit, I had to cut a lot of bands (very reluctantly). I first cut bands that only appear on split EPs, then had to cut some remaining ones because they are already fairly well known. It sucked to have to do that, but the mp3s for those records are all still up and ready for download if you scroll around. However, some of the download links on this sight are going to be removed soon for one reason or other (Post Regiment, Zero Hour, Life... But How To Live It... Just to let you know.

The Bands: 1. Zero Hour 2. Jeremin 3. Unhinged 4. Daymare 5. Hatred Surge 6. Zygote 7. Abc Weapons 8. Life... But How To Live It 9. Seized 10. Systral 11. Post Regiment 12. La Casa Fantom 13. Mine 14. Saké 15. Suppression 16. GOB 17. Waifle 18. Acursed 19. Fallout 20. Bonescratch 21. Sink 22. Silence 23. Asebia 24. Plutocracy 25. Spine Wrench 26. Short Hate Temper 27. Harsh 28. Quill 29. Damad 30. Brainoil 31. Dearborn SS 32. Grimple 33. Logical Nonsense 34. Arma Contra Arma 35. Bad Influence 36. Stapled Shut 37. Strychnine

Link has been removed.

Attention: Sweaty Collector Nerds!

Post number 100 (and it took just under a year, all right!) comes by way of the fulfillment of a request. Cliff commented about the "Make the Collector Nerd Sweat" comp. a little while back. This 10" is a classic and features two of my all time favorite bands (Crimpshrine and Jawbreaker), so I scoured the earth (not really) and found a good copy for, well, a non-collector nerd price. Not that it matters, but the one ripped here is the repress from the early nineties on Too Many Records (originally Very Small Records, but it's the same guy). If you haven't figured it out already, this comp falls more into the "pop punk" category, so if you're exclusively crusty in your listening habits, you may want to skip this one. However, if you like good and catchy punk rock, this comp is really great listen and, as mentioned before, a classic! Other super star standouts include The Mr. T Experience, Sam I Am, and Plaid Retina (Coffee & Donuts crank out a surprising good, moody instrumental number too). So, if you're into this sort of thing... enjoy!

Click me.

Back Cover & Track List:

Yes, it's THAT Offspring. Apologies in advance.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Unholy Princes of the Split

We finish up this noisy split-week with the runners up in the race for split EP proliferation: Unholy Grave. These far-east dudes can always be relied upon for raw, yet unpredictable grind/hardcore. This split presents six roughly recorded UG tracks; supposedly they were recorded live in 1998, but the only actual "live show" recording seems to be the unlisted sixth track. I've heard mention that the band has somewhat dubious stances on certain current issues in the world. At least one track backs up that notion: "Just Another Terror?" Here the band rants that terrorists "Must be stopped!!" However, they don't mention at what price this stoppage is to be carried out. Isn't there enough fear-mongering in the mainstream?

Anyway, Depressor is a band I can completely sink my hooks into! These east-bayers shroud themselves in a bit of mystery-- releasing their records in small quantities, and generally not using much pomp in their "self-marketing." I kind of respect that, but I also think a lot more people out there should check these guys out. Depressor plays "Amebix-crust," and started even before the huge Nor-Cal/Pac-North West stenchcore revival. The band was first called Charger, and then gathered more troops and renamed. The recordings on this release are definitely from their more crusty era (they are heading more in the direction of early death metal these days). Tempo-wise, the band is not fast or slow, but every second of each song is heavy with distortion and rage, conveying the desperation cum defiance of their lyrics. All the songs in some way reflect the human desire to break free from the imposed order of things, but for me "Mold" hits home the hardest. This one explains how traditional forms of education systematically kill our creativity and only prepare us for life as a functionary in the profit machine. Original? No. But it's powerful in its stark presentation and in its stripped-down honesty-- the theme song for the paradox that is my life...

"A Reality that's infinite
And yet they're telling us how to think
Creativity is kept on a short leash....

Many hours a day of mindless drudgery
Is training for what will be the rest of your life"

from "Mold" (Depressor)

Note: I wasn't sure where exactly the track "Subsystem" begins, so I did my best to estimate (it runs together with the previous track). Also, I put Depressor's heavy and noisy cover of "Largactyl" on this mixtape.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Agathocles: Lord of the Splits

This wouldn't be a proper "split week" without an offering from the kings of splits. This time Agathocles team up with LA cult grind legends, Excruciating Terror. Four tracks from ET, and 2 from Agatho. No pretty intros; no melody; no bullshit. Just the purest cuts of raw hatred.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lash Out & Burst

This EP may not come from two of the most obscure bands, but it's out of print, and the bands are great, so here it is. Lash Out play what has become known as metalcore, but don't let that deter you. I'm starting to think I should be a little less prejudiced about that (rather overplayed) genre. LO play with a ton of scathing conviction, sincerity, and technical skill. Only one song from them, but it leaves an impression, for sure. The two Burst tracks are outstanding remnants of the period of time just prior to their "going Relapse." I enjoy their Relapse releases quite a bit, but in some ways I love their more hardcore work better. If you dug "Conquest:Writhe," or "In Coveting Ways," these tracks come from that era. Very "modern" and intricate, but still full of raw hardcore fury!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Nuclear-Blackened Gates of Hell!

So I've heard that you like Japanese bands. Well, not all of them are good. There are two or three bad ones I'm sure, but that's irrelevant to today's post. The two bands of the day shouldn't disappoint you, even if you've been less than impressed with Disclose in the past. The G.A.T.E.S./Disclose split EP was originally released as a 7", and repressed here as a 10" (Plague Bearer Records). It is now sold out again, so it's time for a post! Maybe I haven't listened to later Disclose much, but they seem less formulaically Discharge-y this time. I consider this a good thing (And, yes, their "more is better" theory of distortion/volume usage is still in effect!). But, I'm going out of order, and need to mention that G.A.T.E.S. is one of the many great rock 'n roll hardcore bands coming out of Tokyo these days. Their three tracks deliver the goods: heavy drum production, raspy, traditional hardcore vocals, rockin' riffage, a little guitar solo wankery... I'm hooked! Keep an eye out for more from this band! But for now...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Week of Splits

This seems like a good week to unload some great split EPs on you- each day will bring a new one (ending Saturday). Some super stars you can look forward to hearing include Burst, Disclose, Excruciating Terror, etc. I'm fairly sure these are all out of print, but I can't be sure they haven't been posted elsewhere. Honestly, it's easier just to post something than check all the awesome blogs out there first. So, here is installment #1: They Live and Ruination (Deadalive Records, 1998?). They Live are alumni of the Infest/MITB/Spazz school of ass-pummeling, and Ruination take a more modern approach, resembling the angst-saturated chaos of Born Against, Kitchener, and/or Spacehorse. Both bands dominate (!), so you know what to do...


Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's Hittin' The Fan Now!

The Bay Area hardcore stuff I've been posting doesn't seem to be getting much download love. Maybe people out there don't realize how good it is! There's nothing like the "Shit Gets Smashed" comp. (East Bay Menace, 1995) to reveal that goodness! On this bastard you'll receive a veritable 40 oz. of dirty and/or crusty hardcore that evokes some serious punk rock inebriation, and which will leave you dizzy by the curbside, wretching your guts out by the end. If you love Grimple, Econochrist, and Filth... then I highly recommend this to you (even though those bands don't actually appear on this thing). I also recommend "SGS" if, like me, you're a sucker for female-fronted dark crust along the lines of Zero Hour, Unhinged, Jeniger, Children of Barren Wasteland, etc.

Synopsis (Band List)

Hot Rod Shopping Cart - Rock'n Roll hardcore. Pretty good... don't know what else they did.

Multi Facet - This band and OJOROJO (see below) shared the same singer. Both bands played awesome dark, crusty hardcore like the bands mentioned above. Some members also played in Grimple, Talk is Poison, El Dopa (1332), etc.

OJOROJO- see above

Mickey and the Big Mouths - Old school hardcore with hints of melody. Really good!

Loaded - Melodic hardcore not unlike early Grimple.

Squat - Very melodic female- fronted hardcore punk. "Misery" is a great song!

El Dopa (aka 1332) - Great dark and menacing hardcore. They had a name change and put out a 7" on Prank Recs and have an early discography CD available on Tee Pee Recs.

Strychnine - Rockin' Poison Idea-core. Two early recordings that would end up on "Dead Rats and Oakland Dogs."

Apeface - Great modern hardcore band. On these early tracks they sound like a mix a Filth and Econochrist. For a more emotive and "mature" Apeface, visit here.

Masterbaiter- Darker hardcore than their name would suggest. Good stuff, not unlike El Dopa, etc.

Smash Some Shit!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Beer. Beach. Bike. Blogging?

It's summer (fucking) vacation!!! For the last five years I have opted to teach the toughest age group of all: 8th graders (that's 13 and 14 year-olds in case your country has a different grade system). Every summer break is more of a necessary period of recuperation than a vacation. It's a time to undo the knots and smooth out the psychological kinks that twist up inside us from six hours a day (and 180 days) dealing with hormonally charged wrecks (who can be downright mean at times!). I'm gonna miss them. But that doesn't mean I'm not REALLY glad it's over!

So with all this time on my hands, that means more frequent posts, right? Not necessarily. With the lack of comments and the sun blaring bright outside, I don't think my motivation will increase too much. Who knows... it may vary from week to week...

But the first post of this season of fun is from a band that I associate with fun too: Operation Ivy. I used to consider them a "guilty pleasure," but after so many years of OPIV listening and skanking joy, I can fully admit that I love this band! The " '69 Newport" EP is an early sampling of Operation Ivy's uniquely great brand of ska-punk that has won over thousands of punks of many persuasions over the years (their battle cry of "unity" seems to have worked!). These two tracks ("Hedgecore" and "Left Behind") have been compiled on some OPIV collections in the past, but in case you haven't heard them, here are some rips from one of the original Very Small Records pressings.

Link has been removed. I believe Epitaph has just released a CD with these tracks included.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Strychnos Nux Vomica

The last post was an appetizer while I got this 17 track feast ripped. On "Dead Rats and Oakland Dogs," the motliest of East Bay crews, Strychnine, serve up all the tracks from the "Fucked Up Inside" EP (minus the Poison Idea cover) in re-recorded form, plus 13 more high gravity, rocked-out detonations. The production does wonders for the band's thick and gritty attack, as does the fact that these tracks were ripped from a pretty well-preserved piece of wax. Many of the masters recorded for East Bay Menace Records were tossed in the garbage (from what I've heard), so it's possible that this LP won't be released again (but stranger things have happened...)

Listen here!

Purchase some in-print Strychnine releases

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Choose Your Poison

Among the sweet and pristine breezes of Bay Area pop punk, Strychnine was a lung-full of hot, dirty, urban stench. Over the years, the band would gather its soldiers from such great Nor-Cal outfits as Crimpshrine, Econochrist, Capitol Punishment, Filth, etc. Armed with a love of Poison Idea, a love/hate for alcohol, and a bitterness brought on by the years, Strychnine has been sickening thousands for over a decade with their poisonous spew of burly rock-infused hardcore and chant-along choruses. The band's two earliest releases are long out of print, including this great "Fucked Up Inside" 7," released by Reform Records (Denver) around early 1996. Here you'll get 4 doses of the hardcore described above, but with some Crimpshrine-esque bass work, and a cover of Poison Idea's "A.A." If I get motivated enough, I'll post the "Dead Rats and Oakland Dogs" LP later this coming week.

Check it out here

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Leave Nothing Die !!!

I finally got my hooks on one of these! Since finding out about this great split between Sink and Hellnation (Sound Pollution, 1997), I have made it a little side mission to find one for cheap. So here it is. I believe this is the only other release Sink did other than their great 7". These four Japanese ladies have been brutalizing me for about eleven years, always finding some way back onto my turntable. This time they crush and grind us with three more raw, dark crust stampedes. Vocally, the band is more varied, throwing in some painful screams and yelps rather than the crusty barking prevalent on their other outing. No disappointments here! All three tracks kill-- especially "Life."

What needs to be said about Hellnation? If you're into grind or any fast hardcore, you probably have a ton of stuff by these Kentuckians. The split 7" format is the best way to enjoy this extremity of noise, primarily because the piercing vocals can be overbearing in too large a quantity. The band offers no fillers here. Nothing but the best Hellnationization! (they even flatter their split-mates with a cover of "Leave Nothing Die").

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Puro Desmadre

Blasting the Lack of Interest/Stapled Shut 7" again after so many years re-piqued my interest in both bands. Since Stapled Shut are the lesser known, and never released an LP or even a split LP (that I know of), they are the perfect post candidates for a blog like this. SS (sorry that's just their abbreviation) finished their career playing infectious and simple thrash with fast d-beat drumming and simple riffs, played through fuzzy distortion that was as dirty as the most soot-encrusted freeway sign in LA. The band managed to make this formula powerful and interesting through tight playing and short songs. That split with Lack of Interest and the EP posted here, "World of Noise" (Clean Plate Recs, 1996?) represent this climactic point of SS's life, and are therefore recommended to be played first. Being such a generous dude, I have also loaded their tracks from the Despise You/Stapled Shut split EP, and tracks from three different comps into the folder below. I'm not sure if those are all the comp tracks they ever did, but they are the only ones I know about (The Despise You tracks were left out because you can find those with good sound quality here, there, or even maybe over there). Stapled Shut never supplied lyric sheets, but based on the song titles, they are either about how fucked up the world is, or about gettin' stoned. So if either of those sentiments fit your mindset today, Stapled Shut has composed the score...

Stapled Shut/Lack of Interest split 7" (in case you missed it before)