Author: Dylan Chadwick

Fucked Up
Year of the Dragon
Tank Crimes
Street: 4.21.14
Fucked Up = Fucked Up

Grandiosity, punk’s vilest anathema, has practically been Fucked Up’s lifeblood, separating them from their contemps and facilitating one viable single after another. Year of the Dragon marks the sixth in their 12-single Zodiac series, and their most ambitious music since 2006’s Hidden World. Fully utilizing their layered quasi-psych guitar assemblage, and letting it seethe, sputter and even twin-lead solo around Damien Abraham’s brash growling for 18 minutes might turn more spineless “fans” into web whiners, but those willing to listen will find shades of Thin Lizzy, Rush (!) and even Gustav Holst wriggling within the beastly title track as it decimates everything in tow. The B-sides are fine, chugging, Poison Idea–fueled hardcore, but the title track takes this cake. Those who wrote off David Comes to Life for its dense esotericism won’t come back for this one, but for those of us who never left? It’s exactly what we’ve wanted. –Dylan Chadwick

Photos:
Infectious Garage Disease
Self-Titled
Negative Reaction Records
Street: 04.09
IGD = S.O.D. – Sergeant D + Pre Crossover D.R.I. + Tesco Vee
Released in that pivotal time when longhairs started hitting the matinees and punx copped to liking Slayer (Hanneman RIP), IGD is as much Suicidal as it is Meatmen. I’d consider the blogosphere’s “no stone unturned” fixation on unearthing every hunk of recorded plastic a good thing (OMG Youth Patrol tape?). That being said, I can’t get down with EVERYTHING obscure receiving “classic” or even “cult” status just because it was made before Desert Storm. IGD is certainly more cult than classic, taking crossover cues and a smidgen of (shudder) gutter punk to make its mark. I’m slow to regard a song about pubic lice as anything “classic,” but it’s plenty solid. Good riffs, solid ‘tude and a healthy fascination with all things gross … nowhere near essential, but works on every level that it promises to. –Dylan Chadwick
 
Photos:
Weekend Nachos
Still
Relapse
Street: 11.11
Weekend Nachos = Crossed Out + Despise You + Hatred Surge
On Still, Dekalb’s long-standing jock violence unit continues mining the paths carved on Worthless, juicing on some of Relapse’s recording muscle to ratchet their sound a tad cleaner. The “jackrabbit fast bit/thunder-sludge slow bit” formula is very much intact, and played very much to perfection on “S.C.A.B.,” “Ignore” and “You’re Not Punk.” Still, the album manages to distinguish itself on slight sonic detours, like with the haunting middle passages of “Watch You Suffer” and “Late Night Walks.” John Hoffman’s vocal plasticity, which ranges from harrowing shrieks to guttural bellowing and intermittent grooving (“Yes Way” and “Broken Mirror”), compares to others of the ilk. Ultimately, though, the band plies their wares where the most bread gets buttered: punishing power violence with an occasional metal flourish. Unrelenting, cruel and occasionally even catchy, Still is yet another installment in a practically flawless discography. –Dylan Chadwick
Photos:
TOY

Join the Dots

Heavenly Recordings

Street: 12.10.13

TOY = Tame Impala + Holograms + Pulp

London’s TOY have already kicked up a stir across the pond, getting themselves on a number of high-ranking “Best Of” lists with their 2012 self-titled debut. Join the Dots furthers the idea of “psyche-meets-Kraut” by throwing out huge, psych-y dollops of fuzz-tone and synth warbling and then, through long and spacey mid-sections, peeling back the gazey veneer to reveal a churning and mechanic underbelly. It’s in the persistent thrum of the title track, the “spaceship landing” sequence in “Conductor,” the plaintive, melting quality of “Endlessly,” “Left to Wander”’s New Order–esque composition. It’s a captivating result, drawing listeners into something that’s explosive and persistent that ebbs and meanders with a metronomic conviction. It’s all-encompassing. It’s danceable. It’s got hooks for days. What more can you really ask for? It’s sure to make more critical lists in the future—this is space-post-punk done right. –Dylan Chadwick
Photos:

Honeyslide
Drippin/Deep Architecture
Critical Heights
Street: 07.23
Honeyslide = Weed Hounds + JAMC
This double A-side bucks most retro-brain nu-gaze trends by not trying too hard to ape MBV, and just sort of arrives there nonchalantly. Drippin comes from the garage, and not strictly Loveless—a discordant twee punctuates the occasional stretch of bliss, particularly on “Deep Architecture,” which drives itself into oblivion with the same guitar warbling of the indie-rock axegods Mascis and Moore. Four songs cuts it a tad short—these things generally need an hour to unfold—but cogent songwriting and enough sprawl to beckon conscious listeners into its shallow K-hole means the record is catchy and replayable where it needs to be. Though it always comes back to Earth in the end, it’s willing to stray from its own path for a titch. –Dylan Chadwick
 

Photos:

Warbringer
IV: Empires Collapse
Century Media
Street: 10.29
Warbringer = Kreator + South of Heaven–era Slayer
Re-jiggering the lineup to include Jeff Potts and Ben Mottsman (of Mantic Ritual) has seemingly infused Warbringer with a newfound experimentalism. Though Empires Collapse is certainly a capital “T” Thrash record, it also incorporate more doom, punk and even industrial influences than any previous record, as made evident on ominous pounders like “The Turning of the Gears” and “Leviathan.” For those hungry for the “classic” ‘bringer (an aggro take on teutonic thrash greats like Sodom and Kreator), fans will find it in spades on “Hunter-Seeker,” an album that morphs from standard thrash into some of the most grandiose guitar arrangements this side of Hammerfall. I have few complaints in terms of production (“tight as a drum, sir!”), and the leads are original and gripping like the Di’Anno-era Maiden fare, or even Mustaine-era Metallica (fight me!). I can see diehards being bummed on the clean riffing and some of the more melodic moments (like the extended end passage of “Scars Remain”), but it’s totally saved this band from becoming stagnant (“Dying Light” sounds like the grooving, post-millennial sonic cousin to Seasons in the Abyss), and left me totally ga-ga for more. –Dylan Chadwick

Photos:
Enabler
Flies EP
The Compound
Street: 10.01.13
Enabler = Integrity + Coliseum + late-era Entombed
Milwaukee metalli-crust cross bearers have another riotous go at H-E-A-V-Y (Their contribution to the Power of the Riff mix tape is a rager!) and achieve phenomenal results. Flies contains all the atmospheric weight, nuance and rage of a full-on heavy metal epic, manhandled into six cohesive cuts. The discordant strains of genre definers From Ashes Rise lie in the off-kilter melodies of “Shift” and “Flies,” but the band hits their stride when they slow the gallop and strut their thunderous grooves. Check the madcap riffing and primal concrete mosh of “Meaningless Life” and “Sleep Forever.” Enabler’s newest record is a thick, undulating, slithering mess of sludge-beast, far more compelling than its constituent sonic reference points. –Dylan Chadwick
Photos:

Filth Lords
Keep On Snarlin’
Self-Released
Street Date: 12.20.12
Filth Lords = Kid Dynamite + Police-era Fucked Up + Guilt Lust

Keep On Snarlin’ is kinda ruddy. It buries the frothy bawl of singer/axeman Alex Ortega ‘neath a thick lacquer of Nick Harris’ throbbing basslines, Swiz drums from Rio Connelly and frenetic gee-tar noodling, and it’s this grit that justifies the local power trio’s “filthy” moniker. Still, it’s when the furor thins and the bawdy melodies slip through (the bar-room chant-along of “Retirement Plan,” the closer of “Blackout”) that Snarlin’ rears its head as a fine hunk of spectrum-shifting melodic metalli-punk, earnest in approach and relentless in execution. From the incessant gallop of the title track, to the veritable “1-2-3!” of the final trio of cuts (the high point being the closer, “Vapid,” which rakes itself over a few plaintive chords before belching forth into a full-blown gravel-gargling hoopla), Keep On Snarlin’ is a memorable affair. It is hook-riddled, frantic and deeply rooted in the same angular angst that slung Jawbox, Black Cross and Paint It Black into the modern punk mix. Highly recommended for all genre-fringers. –Dylan Chadwick

Photos:

Poison Idea
Kings of Punk [Reissue]
Southern Lord
Street: 11.11
Poison Idea = Poison Idea
In the grand, sordid narrative of Poison Idea’s Kings of Punk (originally released in 1986), was the LP which saw these Portland dust-huff RNR gods tightening their spastic chops and honing in on a more streamlined "hard rock" sound (a sonic shift that’d eventually birth 1990s Feel the Darkness). Southern Lord’s love affair with reissuing old PI records hasn’t let up, and (for once) this reviewer isn’t complaining. These original 11 cuts (comprised of golden nuggets like "Made To Be Broken," "God Not God" and the proto-Discharge chug of "Lifestyles") all get a swift remastering (courtesy of Jack Control of World Burns to Death), three additional live sets’ worth of material (which includes plenty of acerbic Jerry A stage banter and a Motörhead cover) and extensive liner notes full to bursting with flicks, notes and archive flyers. Few hardcore bands deserve more praise than Poison Idea, and these loving reissues are a testament to that. "Trying to do the best that he can/watch this death wish boy becoming a death wish man." –Dylan Chadwick

Photos:
Rawhide
Murder One
Patac Records
Street: 06.07.13
Rawhide = Inepsy + Motorhead + Turbonegro
This is raucous death-flected RnR monster, which clutches at its NWOBHM and D-Beat influences with equal aplomb. The band’s a semi-mystery, with precious little information available online. What we can surmise is that they’re from Sweden, they recorded their record at the famed Sunlight Studios and they did it with legendary producer Tomas Skogsberg (Entombed, Hellacopters, etc.). What this reviewer can surmise is that Murder One is a gritty, heavy metal orgy: a sweaty, leather-draped Cuisinart of hard electric blues, punk-a-metal thrust and a gummy lacquer of sleaze n’ smut. Check “City Kids,” “Habit to Support” and “On the Attack” for maximum hessian chicanery, and check any other song (seriously, any of them) for an ultimate heavy metal party jam, which won’t shit on your street-cred, but won’t repulse your girlfriend either. –Dylan Chadwick
Photos: