Zoe - From Hell

ZOE
FROM HELL

Crust War

They’ve been described as “total Amebix-worshipping raw biker metal punk,” and all I’d have to add is, “with Slayer solos!” The recording is raw but really full. Zoe sounds like they’re always on the verge of full-on thrash metal but constantly stick to straightforward drum beats and riffs instead of veering into blast-beats and speed-picking. What you get is extremely filthy, fast and metallic hardcore punk played with the utmost conviction. Listen From Hell!.

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, September 2004, Issue 189.

EFFIGY GRINDING METAL MASSACRE

EFFIGY
GRINDING METAL MASSACRE

Crust War

Side A starts with a somber intro that builds up to a plodding, heavy pace, just like Amebix. The main riff sounds a lot like Antisect, so Effigy is still within crust-punk territory. Uh oh; the thrash metal riff just started. The singer sounds like he did time in Gorguts! There goes a blazing guitar solo! By Side B, Effigy sounds like Metallica if they had survived nuclear Armageddon and recorded “Ride the Lightning” on a tape deck with one microphone hanging from the ceiling of their fallout shelterwhile they were high on paint thinner. In other words, if you don’t like this, you’re clearly a poser who drives your mom’s Audi to shows.

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, September 2004, Issue 189.

 Reality Crisis - Who Is Your Messiah?

REALITY CRISIS
WHO IS YOUR MESSIAH?

Crust War

This sounds a lot like Conflict when they used to write two-minute anthems instead of lengthy anarcho-epics. Of course, being a Crust War band, Reality Crisis turns the “crud” settings on their amps up to 11 and gouges eardrums with their Extreme Noise Terror-inspired screaming. Still, there’s no Dark Angel on this record, just abrasive, memorable hardcore punk.

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, September 2004, Issue 189.

BASTARDS SIBERIAN HARDCORE

BASTARDS
SIBERIAN HARDCORE CD

Propaganda Records

While Appendix showed varied songwriting and influences from ’77 punk to proto-hardcore, Bastards stuck mostly to fast Discharge-inspired ‘core with few slow or melodic parts. Discharge has inspired tons of generic-ass punk bands, but Bastards have chops that make their songs interesting and memorable despite the faster pace. This isn’t the thrash of today that sounds like a badger fighting a wolverine in a metal garbage can, this is fast hardcore punk with discernible vocals, catchy-but-mean guitar work and no blast-beats.

 

Those From Farther To Whatever bands have zero awareness of hardcore punk’s history, so why not listen to the bands that were a part of that history instead? Propaganda Records can be reached at www.propaganda-records.com for discographies, ordering info and other shit. You can also find tons of good stuff about Finnish punk on the Kill From The Heart web site at www.killfromtheheart.com

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, October 2004, Issue 190

 

MONEY IS NOT MY CURRENCY_appendix

APPENDIX
MONEY IS NOT MY CURRENCY CD

Propaganda Records

Collector scum will pay close to $1000.00 for Appendix LPs, making them completely out of reach for every punk I know. Propaganda’s CD includes the Money Is Not My Currency LP plus their songs from the Russia Bombs Finland comp for $13.00 including shipping, so the vinyl vs. CD argument is fucking stupid. Anyway, even some of the best Finnish hardcore bands blatantly worship Discharge, so Appendix stands out with a dark edge more comparable to early L.A. greats like The Germs. Then after you just heard the best plodding, violent punk song in your life, Appendix will tear through an almost-thrash rager with the best punk-as-fuck songwriting you’ll ever hear.

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, October 2004, Issue 190

Caustuc Christ

CAUSTIC CHRIST
GOVERNMENT JOB 7″

 

Some punk bands never get famous enough to appear on MTV, play Warped Tour or even have their music played in the background on TV shows about snowboarding. Some punk bands don’t get famous enough to upgrade from a Ford van to a small motor home. Lots of punks never even get famous enough to quit their crappy day jobs, but they still play fast hardcore punk clear into their 30’s and 40’s because that’s what it takes to deal with decades and decades of the daily grind. You could imagine that people like Caustic Christ, who stick logos on coffee cups by day and do what they really want to do after they’re off the clock, have an appreciation of hardcore punk’s history—decades of experience as social rejects and a way of putting their rage to music that major label “punks” in their late teens will never know. The Government Job 7″ sounds vaguely like vintage Circle Jerks played at the speed of Poison Idea, but instead of a controlled Keith Morris yell, the vocalist sounds like he’s about to break something in his neck and fill his mouth with blood. Mad-at-the-world hardcore doesn’t get any more bitter than this. (write to Caustic Christ at PO Box 71287 / Pittsburgh, PA / 15213, or e-mail them at causticchrist@hotmail.com

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, January 2005, Issue 193.

GAUZE CITY ROCKERS 7″

GAUZE
CITY ROCKERS 7″

Gauze are approaching their 23rd year as the most talented and crazed hardcore punk band on Earth, yet still show no sign of allowing anyone to legitimately re-press their very hard to find records. Rumor has it that several years ago Gauze found out someone bootlegged one of their records, so they did the detective work to find out who did it and flew from Tokyo to Seattle just to kick his ass. This 7″ is a new bootleg of Gauze’s 1982 demo that originally appeared on a compilation with other Japanese hardcore bands. The bootlegger is probably dead now, but at least he left behind something for the rest of us. On their demo, Gauze hadn’t yet developed the multi-layered whirlwind thrash they’re known for now. It sounds a lot like early Discharge and Varukers weaned on ‘77 punk but starting to experiment with apocalyptic hardcore thrash. Gauze has proven their dedication to DIY punk over the last two decades, and now you can hear what they sounded like before they were as old as your parents.

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, January 2005, Issue 193.

Retroactive Abortion Venomous Concept

Venomous Concept
Retroactive Abortion

Venomous Concept’s album Retroactive Abortion has received mediocre to poor reviews in magazines larger than SLUG. I doubt any writers from those magazines spent their youth in rural Utah County searching for anything weird or obnoxious to counterbalance daily threats from rabid hicks. I don’t think anyone who looks for “pop sensibilities” could understand molten thrash made by spare Melvins, Napalm Death and Brutal Truth members.

 

Venomous Concept aims to make thrashing hardcore punk inspired by legends like Discharge, Gauze and Poison Idea. Much of the time their thrash is straightforward and authentic to the style of early 1980s hardcore. I can listen to generic thrash all day long and still enjoy it, but what I really like about Venomous Concept are the moments when traits from their “real” bands subconsciously creep in. The song “I Said It Before” has a riff that could’ve been lifted straight off DRI’s first LP, but with Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth) bellowing like only someone who’s been listening to metal for decades. “Run Around” sounds like Utopia Banished-era Napalm Death but with punky drumming instead of Napalm’s trademark blastbeats. My personal favorite, “Braincrash,” sounds like what the Melvins would sound like if the Melvins were sketchy metal dudes on crank instead of the nice but extremely weird people they really are.

 

These stubborn old farts are excellent musicians, but the lyrics are way generic and the album art looks like it was rushed through Photoshop. Cheesy skulls are much cooler when they’re hand-drawn instead of copied off the Internet. Still, Venomous Concept play under-produced ugly thrash, and under-produced ugly thrash is what I eat, sleep and breathe. (Ipecac Records/P.O. Box 1778/Orinda, CA/94653/Ipecac)
This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, February 2005, Issue 194.

Massgrav Napalm Ofver Stureplan CDMassgrav
Napalm Ofver Stureplan CD

Sound Pollution

 

Now here’s a record that’s right up my fuckin’ alley. These fat Swedish drunks wear their influences proudly on their sleeves. They love the heavyweights of Swedish hardcore like Anti-Cimex, Moderat Likvidation, Mob 47 and Crudity, but so do I. Oh yeah, and lots of Discharge, too. Swedish thrash is the best because it somehow manages to be really catchy, really memorable, really raw, and really Discharged, without being really generic. MASSGRAV have a perfect punk-as-fuck vibe that comes natural to them but seems corny as hell coming from all those giant mohawk bands. I also like their subtle references to black metal, like thanking Nifelheim and calling one of their songs “Grand Declaration of Massgrav.” Listen to Swedish punk so your friends will think you’re lame.

 

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, May 2005, Issue 197.

YDI Will Fuck Your Spotlight Up and Make You BleedAre you ready? All right!
Ready to die? Not without a fight!
I am not your mindless sheep
Follow no shepherd to the slaughter
I can make blood flow like water
I think murder day and night
But you can’t put me away
Not without a fight!
–YDI, “Not Without a Fight”

So it’s the beginning of winter, it’s cold as fuck and it gets dark earlier every day. Usually it’s the beginning of a three- or four-month period when I sink into a mild depression, put the Uniform Choice and 7 Seconds records in storage and listen to nothing but black metal. This year I may not get my Viking on because I found the YDI discography CD, which matches black metal in pure world-hating rage without having to burn down churches, murder homosexuals or eat pieces of your dead friend’s brain.

YDI has got to be the most sketchy, gnarly American hardcore punk band I’ve ever heard. The discography CD has their demo, their 1983 A Place in the Sun 7″, two compilation songs and their only full-length, 1985’s Black Dust LP. YDI wasn’t the fastest or even the most original hardcore band around, but there’s just something in the way Jackal, their gigantic skinhead vocalist, delivers his venomous lyrics that you know he’s as scary in real life as he is portrayed in their records. Maybe it’s their songs about raping rich chicks or walking down the highway at night high on PCP. Either way, Maximumrocknroll Magazine was definitely bummed out by this band.

The Black Dust LP has to be heard to be believed. Think Motörhead crossed with Celtic Frost crossed with, um, Oi!? There are plenty of great punk-as-fuck riffs, but everything is down-tuned as all hell, there are metal solos, and Jackal sings more gutturally than any death metal band that was around at the time.

YDI—the perfect band for all two people in the state of Utah who like The 4-Skins as much as they like Hellhammer. You can get their discography CD from Parts Unknown Records at P.O. Box 4835/Toms River, NJ/08754.