Posts Tagged ‘Hardcore’

Human Worth – 3rd February 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

A shriek of feedback prefaces the gnarly blast of a monster rhythm section, thunderous drums paired with a snarling bass. And so begins ‘Short Distance Runner’, the first of six songs on Remove Viewing’s Modern Addictions. You know in an instant that it’s going to be good.

Of course, you know it’s going to be good before you hear a single sound.

Featuring members of Palehorse, Million Dead, Sly & The Family Drone, Nitkowski and Wound (to name but a few) is quite the underground supergroup. Plus, Modern Addictions is being released on Human Worth, which is in itself a guarantee of heavy, noisy shit of the highest calibre. So yes, you know it’s going to be good. But even then, it’s hard to be braced for something this good.

The guitar alternates between thick, sludgy chords and really sinewy lead lines that buzz and drill, twist and bend and wrap themselves around you and dig in like barbed wire. The tracks are backed back to back, making the cumulative effect of the heavy battering even more acutely felt. Single cut ‘Your Opinion is Wrong’, showcased here in December is broadly representative of the dense, chunky, churning sound of the album as a whole, but doesn’t fully convey the extent of its textures and variety.

It’s not all punishing density, and the band are keen to highlight that theirs is a sound that demonstrates a ‘broader sound that incorporates elements of hardcore, post-rock and shoegaze into the palette of sludge and noise-rock’.

There are some tight grooves amidst the racket, ‘Wasted on Purpose’ effortlessly transitions through a number of varied passages, from full-on balls-out riffage to delicate, evocative swirling post-rock chimes which gracefully convey a very different kind of emotional weight, and if the title ‘Cleveland Balloonfest ‘86’ suggests something bright and airy, sonically it’s more the Hindenburg disaster with it’s slow, low-slung growling guitar that grinds away at a crawl for six and a half anguish-filled minutes.

If ‘Watch Me For the Changes’ is a demonic dirge of epic proportions with a remarkably light ending (and you can’t help but suspect the title is perhaps a reference to the band’s directions for playing it) ,the final track, ‘A.B.B.A. ABBA’ springs an unexpected surprise as the band switch into disco mode. No, of course it doesn’t really. It’s seven minutes of dolorous doom, thick with atmosphere and dripping distortion. It’s the sound of weight so great that it feels as if it’s collapsing in on itself, decaying and crumbling on the way to a slow death, that leaves you feeling hollowed out and devastated. It’s the perfect finale to a superlative album.

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Oslo-based hardcore/noise-rock trio Hammok  has just shared a new track off the band’s debut EP Jumping, Dancing, Fighting, due out on December 9th via Loyal Blood Records, the label owned by Blood Command’s Yngve Andersen.

Get your lugs round it here:

18th November 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Following on from big-hitting introductions in the form of single releases ‘A Working Class Lad’, Manchester’s The Battery Farm hit us with their debut album, Flies.

They describe it a ‘an album about end times fear and societal breakdown. It is an album that tries to come to terms with the violent world we find ourselves in, and tries to reconcile with an uncertain future in world that we have decimated. It’s about the endless, screaming noise of 21st Century living and the squalid claustrophobia that entails. Driven by fury, black humour, compassion and a desire for hope.’

These are all things I’m on board with: it’s essentially a list of the top things that gnaw away at my psyche and my soul on a daily basis. Because to live in the world right now is to live and breathe all shades of anxiety.

Some people – mostly right-wing wankers and idiots on social medial, especially Twitter – like to jeer and poke fun at those who intimate any kind of panic over the state of things, laughing their arses off at those who perpetuated ‘project fear’ and the so-called ‘remoaners’ and scoffing at the idea that this year’s heatwave is anything to do with climate change citing the summer of ’76. But these are the same tossers who whine about health and safety and speed limits as being symptomatic of a ‘nanny state’, and also the same tossers whose kids will die after swallowing batteries or burn the house down lighting fireworks indoors.

What I’m saying is that anyone who isn’t scared is either beyond oblivious or in denial. The world is literally on fire and drowning at the same time. Fittingly, Flies is an album of contrasts, both in terms of mood and style. There are fiery, guitar-driven flamers and more introspective compositions which are altogether more subdued and post-punk in their execution.

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The title track is but a brief introduction, a rushed, desperate spoken work piece set against – at first – a tense bass and a growing tide of swelling drums and guitars that in just over a minute ruptures into a full-on flood of rage. Distilling years of anguish into a minute and a half, it’s got hints of Benefits about it, and then we’re into the snaking groove of ‘A Working Class Lad’, that sees The 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster collide with The Anti-Nowhere League in a gritty, gutsy punk blast with a surfy undercurrent.

It’s the combination of gritty synth bass and live bass guitar that drives the sound of the album. The former snarls, while that latter thuds, and in combination they pack some serious low-end punch in the way that Girls Against Boys and Cop Shoot Cop did. The synth gyrations also lend the sound a tense, robotic edge that gives it both a certain danceable bounce while at the same time heightening the anxiety of the contemporary, that sense of the dystopian futures so popular in science fiction are in fact our current lived reality.

‘In the Belly of the Beast’ is a stuttering blast of warped funk. In contrast, ‘Everything Will Be Ok’ is altogether more minimal, with hushed spoken word verses reminiscent of early Pulp, and tentative, haunting choruses which exude a subtle gothic vibe. And it all builds slowly, threatening a climax which never arrives. But then ‘Poet Boy’ drives at a hundred miles an hour and burns hard and fast to its finale in three and a half minutes.

‘DisdainGain’ comes on like Motorhead at their grittiest and most rampant, and again shows just how broad The Battery Farm’s palette is. By their own admission, they draw on elements of ‘Punk, Hardcore, Post Punk, Krautrock, Glam and Funk’, and one of the key strengths of Flies is its diversity – although its range does not make for a lack of coherence or suggest a band who haven’t found their identity, by any means. What’s more, the diversity is matched by its energy, its passion, and its sheer quality. Full of twists and turns and inspired moments of insight, Flies is a bona fide, ball-busting killer album. Fact.

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Punk Slime Records – 11th November 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

I sometimes feel a twinge of embarrassment when I see press releases and reviews referencing bands I haven’t heard of, in that it makes me feel like I’m failing in my diligence. So when I see that So Young Magazine has described Manchester quartet Mister Strange as ‘An uncompromising cross between the manic charisma of The Dead Kennedys, and the contemporary fury of Melbourne rockers Civic’, I fleetingly think ‘shit, I’m behind the curve here’.

But then, you work with the reference points you’ve got, and this EP packs no shortage of raw punk energy, and plenty of unexpected turns, too.

There’s very much a vintage vibe to Nothing at All, and while the fuzzy, lo-fi production is an integral part of it, the fact that they play hell-for-leather garage punk with murky guitars and reverb-heavy vocals is the main factor. Back when The Strokes and The Hives and The Vines emerged to lead a garage revival shortly after the turn oof the millennium, I got the urge to dig out the various Pebbles and Nuggets compilations. Listening to this, the urge is sated by the gritty authenticity of the band’s lo-budget sound and full-throttle riiffery.

The title track leads off, starting with a raging feedback inferno before ploughing into a relentless high-octane psychedelic punk groove, before suddenly slowing to a heavy trudge that’s 70s heavy metal melted into 90s noise in the vein of Terminal Cheesecake, before reigniting the tempo and racing to the finish.

The remaining five songs aren’t quite such a rollercoaster, pushing instead a muggy, fuggy, grungy guitar style that pursues more sustained riffery and tempos, at least until they arrive at the relentless closer, ‘Rat Bench Alley’, which slugs hard.

In between, ‘Dead Weight’ is fairly standard garage fair, but it’s loud, scuzzy and punches hard, and ‘Crazy Lemon’ pushes a repetitive riff to the max. It’s pretty damn heavy duty, and it’s a decent racket.

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Human Worth – 4th November 2022

That I’m a huge, huge fan of Human Worth is probably quite apparent by now, or really ought to be. As a label, they’re the absolute model of the cottage industry DIY label with a social conscience that’s matched by the quality of the music they release. How many labels can you name where absolutely every single release in their catalogue is an absolute fucking banger? And now, it gets even better, as the community spirit can be seen to be an integral aspect embraced by the acts on their roster, as the assemblage of the appropriately-named Fucking Lovely indicates.

Well, it probably depends on your taste, of course: it’s not lovely in the lilting, floral, melodic sense – more in the ironic or sarcastic sense, as this EP is every inch the gnarly barrage of noise you’d expect from the Human Worth alumni who feature in the lineup, which the bio describes as ‘an evolving noise project brought into being by Joel Harries from 72%. Featuring Luc Hess (Coilguns / Closet Disco Queen) on drums and Thomas Lacey (Cower / Yards / The Ghost of a Thousand) on vocals.’

They go on to detail how this record ‘came together through shared connections with Human Worth and brief meetings playing gigs in 2019’; and that ‘the music grew steadily from the initial guitar and drum machine tracks into the frantic and unnerving songs of “Catalogue Of Errors”’ which were ‘recorded remotely between the UK & Switzerland’. It seems like this is the way collaborations will happen from now on. This is probably a (rare) post-pandemic positive: distance and scheduling are no object when it’s possible record at any time and from any distance.

This feels like there is absolutely no distance: it’s the sound of a band playing at ten thousand decibels and right in your face, so harsh and full on that your eyes pop out of their sockets.

It’s brief and intense. Four tracks of jarring, jolting, stuttering riffs and shouting pitched against one another at obtuse angles and colliding against one another in the most awkward and ungainly fashion, for maximum ugly impact and packed into less than ten minutes. Oh yes, it’s fucking lovely alright. It makes your skin crawl and your hair stand on end, it makes you clench and quiver , makes your shoulders tense and your neck stuff. ‘Billy Boy’ is gnarly and full-tilt Jesus Lizard psycho, all dirty guitars, gritty bass and twisted manic vocals. ‘Maximum Exhaustion’ is a soundtrack of relatability, relaying the staggering, stumbling, lurching delirium of fatigue beyond fatigue – also known as life.

The full-on earth-shattering hardcore of ‘Bricked’ draws the EP to a close with samples echoing around low in the mix and the words inaudible, and while angry, sludgy acts are disparate but numerous, I’m reminded of Blacklisters here.

It’s a gloriously demented racket, and it hurts. And it most definitely is absolutely fucking lovely.

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Dead Cross unveil a third and final single, and video, from the band’s eagerly-awaited album, II (28th Oct, Ipecac Recordings) with today’s release of ‘Christian Missile Crisis’.

Justin Pearson explains the themes behind the song: ‘Christian Missile Crisis’ takes an obvious jab at organized religion, NRA-holes who clearly compensate for their lack of masculinity by fixating on gun ownership and gun ‘rights,’ and the fact that a large enough amount of Americans have the inability to negotiate peace and prefer oppressing others.”

Watch the video here:

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Accompanying the release of “Christian Missile Crisis,” is the launch of an online auction, in partnership with Fender, to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (San Diego chapter) and The Satanic Temple’s Religious Reproductive Rights Campaign. The fundraiser, features two custom Fender Player Lead III guitars, one black, and one beige. Both guitars have been modified by The Black Moon Design with clear vehicle wrap grade vinyl decals featuring art from the band’s album. The band said, collectively: “In light of the recent loss of our ex-bandmate, comrade, brother, and all around amazing person Gabe Serbian, Ipecac Recordings and Three One G will donate all proceeds from the beige guitar to help suicide prevention awareness. All proceeds from the black guitar will go to help fight laws that do not promote the health and safety of individuals in relation to bodily autonomy.”

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Photo Credit: Becky DiGiglio

Swedish crust/death-metal unit Industrial Puke featuring members of Burst and Rentokiller have recently shared a music video for a new track off their debut EP  Where Life Crisis Starts, released on September 16th via Suicide Records. 
The video for "Industrial Puke" was filmed by Mathias Coulouri and features Dödsvarg as guest vocalist, check it out here:

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Linus Jägerskog from Burst and Jens Ekelin from Rentokiller started Industrial Puke out of their common love for Disrupt and Dismember, along with a pressing need to make music for imminent affect release.

After a long period of writing, finding band members and recording, the debut single ‘Mental Taxation’ was released in June of 2022. The single spawned a partnership with Suicide Records for the release of their debut EP Where Life Crisis Starts in September and a full-length album titled Born into the Twisting Rope is already set for release in late spring of 2023.

The EP is a direct bombardment of crust, death metal and hardcore minced down to four relentless songs about failing yourself and the men that fail the world.

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Human Worth – 7th October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Since the launch of the Human Worth label, initially as an outlet for releases by Modern Technology, we’ve witnessed the label grow – although never beyond its means and never beyond its principles. Each release sees a portion of the proceeds donated to a nominated charitable cause, and it’s so heartening to see a label and its artists use their platform for social good. With this latest release, a 7” EP from Leeds makers of noise BELK, 10% of all proceeds are being donated to Action Bladder Cancer UK, who work to support patients, raise awareness, improve early diagnosis and outcomes, and support research into bladder cancer.

But let’s never underestimate the social good of music with meaning – and by good, I mean sincere and visceral. Anyone who has ever stood in a room being bludgeoned by a full-blooded sonic attack will likely appreciate the incredible release of the experience, and the sense of community it entails. It’s not easy to articulate the way in which something that’s ultimately private, internal, is heightened by the presence of strangers immersed in that same experience, in their own personal way.

In congruence with the rise of Human Worth, we’re also seeing a satisfying upward arc for BELK, who unquestionably deserve the exposure and distribution, and one suspects that being limited to just 100 hand-numbered vinyl copies, the vinyl release of this is likely to be a future rarity.

This 7” EP packs five tracks into mere minutes. ‘Warm Water’, unveiled as a taster for advance orders on September’s Bandcamp Friday, is a minute and eighteen seconds long. It’s fast, and it’s furious – a focused channelling of fury, no less, distilled to 100% proof, and there’s no holding back on this attack.

There are a couple of additional demo tracks, in the form of ‘Net’ and ‘Question of Stress’ from their 2022 promo as downloads.

It’s all pretty raw, and ‘studio’ doesn’t mean much more polish than ‘demo’, and that’s exactly as it should be BELK trade in proper dirty noise, the likes of which Earache specialised in in the eighties and early 90s, before they went soft and became a rock and blues label, releasing stuff by the likes of Rival Sons. Human Worth have snatched the noise baton in a firm grip, though, and the quality of their releases extends to the artefact as well as the art.

‘Net’ is a stuttering slugfest reminiscent of Fudge Tunnel, only with harsher, higher-pitched squawkier vocals that are more conventionally hardcore, and it all stacks up for one killer release that delivers a ferocious slap round the chops.

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Dead Cross, the SoCal band featuring Michael Crain, Dave Lombardo, Mike Patton and Justin Pearson, share a second single from their forthcoming album II (Oct. 28, Ipecac Recordings) with the release of ‘Heart Reformer’ and its accompanying video.

“’Heart Reformer’ was as much fun to write as it is to listen to,” says Crain of the song. “It’s a classic Dead Cross song. It’s a pit stirrer and a fist pumper!”

The short-film like clip, which takes the track’s title literally, was directed and edited by Dark Details (a.k.a. Chris J. Cunningham). Watch it here:

The band broke the news of II’s impending arrival with the release of ‘Reign of Error.’ The one-minute and forty-five second wake-up call of a song is matched with a Displaced/Replaced-crafted clip that offers a scathing critique of the U.S. Supreme Court.

II, while both a raucous hardcore collection, and at times, a politically-charged opus, has its roots in friendship, with the band rallying together after Crain received a surprise cancer diagnosis. "Words can’t even begin to describe how much this album means to me. It’s birthed of pain and uncertainty,” adds Crain. “The slow, excruciatingly painful, and nauseating recovery from cancer treatments were the catalyst for every riff and note on this album. However, my will to live and be with my brothers Justin, Dave, Mike, and co-producer Ross Robinson, got me out of bed and running into the studio every day to get it all on tape.”

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Dead Cross II cover by Eric Livingston

26th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

How did this happen? How?? I mean, it’s no bad thing – quite the opposite, in fact – but somehow, a joke band so jokey as so seem almost mythological has broken through, not just on the local scene, but nationally and with songs being played on high-profile radio stations like BBC introducing and even 6Music. They’re a way off beating Shed 7 as York’s most renowned act, but they really are gunning hard for national status right now, following the success of Oh I Don’t Know, Just Horse Stuff, I Guess and now Please Note Intentional Misspelling of Horse.

To look at the covers of early Petrol Hoers albums – or indeed, alboms – is likely enough to deter most sane people – cartoon horses with toilet-wall scrawled enormophalluses provide the housing for messy combinations of hardcore techno and grindcore, the most improbably of hybrids imaginable rendered cheaply and with not only a knowing, but a gleeful lack of sophistication.

So what happened? Not much, really, at least on the face of things. The material is still very much centred around shameful horse puns and so on, and their sound is still a weird mash-up of techno and industrial metal, kinda like Revolting Cocks gone even wronger than on recent tours. The cover art’s been toned down a bit (Horse Stuff featured Danny elegantly draped in a dressing gown in his horse head mask), and some hard touring alongside mates Horse Bastard turned the nation on to all things equine seems to be about the summary of the turn in favour for the act whose most renowned merch is a T-shirt that was born out of a hilarious misunderstanding with the printers, bearing the slogan ‘“PETROL HOERS” IN COMIC SANS CENTRE FRONT BIG AS YOU CAN TA’.

Danny Buckley isn’t daft, and the whole HOERS project is very much an escape for him – but he does it all so well. From the relentless, eye-bleeding block caps posts on social media to the tie-dye T-shirts and pants, HOERS are the full package, so to speak.

Lead single, ‘Captain Me Space Daddy’ has already had some radio play, which is an incredible achievement, considering that it’s an aggressive shouty racket that switches from grating aggrotech to some kind of cheesy Eurovision pop shanty meets early Wax Trax! that’s 100% what the fuck.

It’s exemplary of the album as a whole: fast and frantic – Ali G rapping over chiptune Cossack disco in a head-on collision with full-on raging metal abrasion with raw-throated hollering vocals. It is utterly absurd, and even knowing what to expect, you still find yourself dazed by the audacity of this insane hybrid that singlehandedly knells the death toll for postmodernism, because now, it really has all been done. The thing is – and make no mistake, it’s absolutely genius – even if you absolutely hate it, it’s impossible to deny the audacity and to admire it. ‘Honk if You Like Donk’ is pretty much self-explanatory, while ‘You Can Give Horse a Buckfast’ is a balls-out rager that slips into some kind of lederhosen-slapping ho(rs)edown. ‘You can give a horse a Buckfast / but you’ll never see me drink’, snarls the tee-total Hoers. Wait, he does this shit sober? Oh yes.

It kicks off – and boy, it kicks off – with the Hi-NRG happy horsecore / doom-grind crossover of ‘It’s Just a Mask’, and one feels for all the horseplay, there’s something quite insightful and honest about this. ‘I Would Die for Mr Crunchy’ finds The Hoers spitting vitriol about politicians and the monarchy, and again illustrates that for all the frippery and puerile puns, there is some genuine substance here, and Hoers are by no means completely crass and two-dimensional.

Closer ‘Biblically Accurate Horse’ is a pumping techno tune that invites worthy comparisons to PIG and KMFDM. It’s a bangin’ finish to a bangin’ album, and yes, yes, it really does bang all the way. It’s completely barmy, and that’s precisely why it’s brilliant.

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