Monday, January 28, 2013

Run with the Sheep, or Dance with the Banshee

If you weren't already a happy bastard today, the album art above should take care of that.  If that fails, give the music a shot.  Unless you're one who considers melody a ghastly scourge upon hardcore, these Eugene, Oregonians will surely free the closeted, illicitly-begotten child within all of you and stir your loins into such a tizzy you'll want to accost strangers, beget more and start the bastard baby boom!  But seriously, these bastards create a real threat in the way they coat pure subversion and defiance in a glorious subterfuge of sweet melody and driving rhythms, reinventing hardcore punk as something dangerous and new again.  We all now it's not actually new, but for a moment or two, while listening, I actually forget I'm a jaded fuck.  Fans of Burning Kitchen, Sado-Nation, Godless, and Harum Scarum should take special interest in Happy Bastards, and to spread the creed I'm offering two splits.
 The first is a 7" with the UK's Kismet HC, who bring together the best aspects of One By One, Ebola, and Disaffect, with a touch of Life...But How to Live it?  On this one, Kismet blast Happy Bastards away.  They're just way on top of their game, and HBs have hollow production and much less energy than they had on the next split (except for "Damn Nation" maybe).
This next split is an LP, and although both bands are from Eugene (not international, I know), the Happy Bastards tracks are just too incredibly good not to post.  These eight anthrax Jell-o shots go down so smooth and just rip you the hell apart.  I was an instant fan; no latency period required.  Side A is occupied by Human Certainty, a band who seemed young and full of ideas.  Like many bands of this nature, putting it all together yielded uneven results, although I do enjoy their music quite a bit (not so much their vocals).  Stylistically  HC could have come from Arizona, bringing to mind the metallic yet emotional fury of bands like  Absinthe or Jeremin.  

Recent Re-ups:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Seven Inches of Songs About...

In sorting through the mess of split EPs I've got lying around me right now, I once again felt the need to choose a theme to make sense of it all.  I've arrived at an international theme, as in the next few splits will have bands from two different countries.  Having stated that, both 7"s tonight are linked by German melodic hardcore workhorses, Inner Conflict.  When I first heard this band's second LP, I wanted to dislike them due to their "processed" vocal sound and the fact that they played with a drum machine.  But the driving riffs and melodies were too much for my sanctimonious knees, and an inevitable collapse took place, followed by a surrender.  The usual adjectives-- energetic, catchy-- associated with bands of this style are ever so appropriate here.  This first installment sees the band paired up with a Finnish band whom I liked a great deal; then they recruited vocalist, Arja, and it morphed into a love affair!  Juggling Jugulars has got to be one of the most explosive and distinctive bands in Europe today, and they only seem to get better with each release.  This time around they treat us to four tracks so charged and ornery, you'll never get a chance to nail them to any one genre within the punk (dis)order.  Each band also covers a track from the other's back catalog, thus solidly rounding out an already rock hard piece of wax.
 Inner Conflict's Spanish friends on this next split hopefully need no introduction.  For me, Sin Dios have been an intermittent crutch, anchor, and a slap in the face for many years and will continue to be even though they are long deceased (as a band).  "El Poder Mundial" is sadly only two short jabs, displaying the band's fighting spirit even as it was sinking to its knees.  If you've heard the other splits and the last CD the band put out, the tracks are along those lines.  While I regard "Ingobernables" as Sin Dios' pinnacle, the material just afterward was still better than most punk or hardcore out there.  As mentioned above, Inner Conflict take side B honors with two of their best tracks.  "Down" follows the band's usually style, mixing faster hardcore tempos with slower, more anthemic moments.  But it's "Scene" that has stuck with me since first hearing their side.  It's easily their most fist-pumping, gritty anthem, holstering their melodic weapons, and reaching for the switchblade instead.  Both sides go by way too fast, but hopefully the other 7" will offset this disappointment.

Both splits here

Contact Twisted Chords to get hard copies!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Succeeding Where Celtic Frost Failed

Fast-forwarding 16 years from the last post, this split series continues with an outstanding pair-up from last year.  Side A is (I believe) the second outing from San Diego bros, Death Crisis.  From their name, you probably guessed one band members were in previously.  DC are hardcore for the fan of bullshit-free bands like Out Cold, but whose ADHD is lighter on the "AD" and heavy on the "H."  Tried, true, but still relevant themes of media brainwashing and apathy are strongly represented, as well as a new one: douches who bring their dogs to hardcore shows.  While I've never experienced this first hand, I can understand their irritation (but for the record: my dogs do/did like hardcore... still wouldn't bring them to shows though).  Death Crisis also have out a 7", and another split 7" with 80's San Diego D-beaters, Diatribe; a burgeoning website can be found here.

Side B brings perennial FE favorites, Same-Sex Dictator, in what might be their most primal form.  These two tracks were written and performed straight from the brain stem, and given the option of fight or flight, I'm thinking SS-D choose the former every time.  In describing the band's inimitable and incredible LP, Justin (drums) felt that his band was more caveman than the proggy descriptors I used.  If you've heard the "Descend to Syncope" tape then you know what he means, and on this outing the band has gone positively neolithic!  It's also possibly their most blackened offering, considering the faster speeds, atmosphere, and less-than-sparkling production values.  This time the lyrics take a blunt ivory implement to the skull of themes like system moochers ("I'm Not Paying for Your Failure") and the Orwellian/Kafka-esque world we drones inhabit ("Removed By Paperclips").  The split is still available in two formats, so I'm supplying my crappy vinyl rips for a limited time.  Yes, music is digitized, but real people are putting in real time and resources to make this all happen.  Please support them.

Buy the vinyl here
Death Crisis digital tracks here
SS-D digital tracks here (awesome Eyehategod and Joy Division bonus cover tracks available!)

Vinyl rips here.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

To Show You How Much You Meant

I got delayed again, but this series of splits is happening for real this time.  The first two will be more deliberate; the others a bit more random, but no less awesome.  First off, the indestructible and unstoppable Despise You/Suppression split 7" is being reposted for two reasons: Roman requested it (dude, sorry for the delay... again) and because it's got be one of my top five powerviolence/grind records of all time.  Don't ask me about the other four-- it would take some hair-pulling deliberation to work that out.  This one requires no such ordeal.  When I first posted it a few years ago, I probably ripped it at a crap bit rate, so here it is again, with graphics and all.

The Despise You/Suppression split 7" (Slap-a-Ham Records, 1996)

Recent Re-up:

Never Healed/Violent Minds split 7"