Record of the Week: NEGATIVE STANDARDS/WHITEHORSE split LP

23 01 2014

NegistanWhitehorseSplitOakland’s NEGATIVE STANDARDS turn in their best slab yet for this split. Despair-laden ambiance and a welcome return to the effective use of samples (an art seemingly left in 1998) crashes headfirst into a full frontal downtuned assault that puts absolutely everything on the table. Their power is in their diversity—both within tracks and between them. File this amongst heavyweights like COUNTERBLAST and SYSTRAL, with notable nods to modern black metal and gratuitous forays into noise interludes. On the flipside, Australia’s long-running doom masters WHITEHORSE do exactly what they do best: they crush you. A full side is sacrificed to one song, an exercise in patience and torture. Painfully slow devastation is tempered with electronic sound manipulations that eventually become the focal point instead of a mere distraction, as key to the overall impact as the guttural vocal bursts that sound like they are being removed from the singer as much as delivered by him. Whirlwind guitar leads start at about the six-minute mark—every time you submit, they add more torment. Dismiss this as another doom band record if you like, but it will be your loss.  (Vendetta Records)

—Robert Collins

January 23rd, 2014 by Robert


Record of the Week: COMPLETED EXPOSITION Structure Space Mankind LP

10 12 2013

CompletedExpositionLP

These maniacs were on the West Coast this past summer, so I pretty much knew what to expect when I dropped the needle…but holy shit is all I can say. A fastcore/powerviolence masterpiece of the highest order, COMPLETED EXPOSITION blasts through twenty tracks on this one-sided slab. Hyperactive Japanese thrash and crushing lows that serve to do little but give you time to breathe before the next installment of fury. I cannot imagine how a band writes this shit; dual vocals and song structures that absolutely defy comprehension. It’s almost impossible to mindlessly rock out while listening — Structure Space Mankind demands complete concentration. This is mind-melting otherworldly psychedelic grind, futuristic fastcore, a legitimately amazing wake-up call to an entire subgenre. “We will continue to search for insatiable quest for Powerviolence. Advance to the next stage, advance to the new dissonance world.” (625 Thrash/Psychocontrol)
—Robert Collins

December 10th, 2013 by Robert


Record of the Week: HOAX LP

24 10 2013

Hoax_LPHardcore as folk art; an American youth report…

Here is an LP that forms a look back at the end of the world with stark lyrics evoking Rudolph Wurlitzer, like incursions into desolate American landscapes and mindsets. It’s hard not to invoke clichés when discussing the sounds on this record; “pummeling,” “relentless,” “charging,” all words that make me think of the delivery of a TV sports journalist or someone discussing factory machinery in motion or something. Brutal music for intolerant hardcore fans, with vocals rendered in a bestial fashion over encrusted, treated guitars and an unrelenting rhythm section.

You probably already have an opinion in regards to HOAX; they are one of those bands that get written about by people that usually don’t notice hardcore. Hardcore, of course, doesn’t need outside attention; it exists on its own terms until it no longer serves a purpose. Some bands attempt to make something that is more than a collection of easily noted influences, a totality of experience for the viewer/listener, something that transcends the endless array of underground records that will end up in the 99¢ bin, forgotten in five years by all but a few.

Hoax_LP_insides

Does this record serve such a purpose?! I saw this band play in a cave right by the Pacific Ocean last month and listening to this LP doesn’t live up to that experience. I’ve listened to it everyday, usually whilst commuting to work, which is some sort of endorsement, although ultimately I don’t think legacy or longevity should be considerations in the MRR review section.

I’ve heard they made enough of these so everyone can have one, so don’t worry about limited edition freak-out sessions alone in your room in front of the computer. I also heard that this is their swan song. Who knows what HOAX’s fate is, or really cares; this is a time capsule for a certain sound/era of USHC, complete with a huge selection of posters by various artists and miscreants (from Sugi to Heather Benjamin, for you to wallpaper your room in total devotion).

(Self-released)

October 24th, 2013 by Layla


Records of the Week: Never Mind the Taqwacores… & CHORNAYA RADUGA EPs

3 10 2013

Out fourth and final Record of the Week feature focusing on seven new releases from Luk Haas’ incredible Tian An Men 89 Records label. Go to tam89records.com for more info on these releases, and check out Maximum Rocknroll‘s October issue for all of these reviews and many, many more!

TAM89-NeverMindTheTaqwacores

Never Mind the Taqwacores Here Is the Real Deal compilation 7″
Of course I’m fascinated by this compilation of Pakistani bands. I want to know to what extent expatriates versus native Pakistanis are involved in these bands and scene(s). Unfortunately, for the bands that do have contact information, some of the links (to Facebook) seem inoperable. Scoping the others didn’t answer my questions, so I’m still ignorant. From listening to the comp I can tell you metal and grind are big influences. MARG gives us a bouncy, mid-tempo track with languid vocals and some noodly guitar leads. The lyrics (translated into English) critique society. CORNHOLE‘s track, “Beards in Power,” is catchy enough through the verses, losing something on the chorus. BVLGHVM plays a standard nasty grind with rather short songs. CHOOTS (which apparently translates as “vaginas,” though any subtleties there may be lost on me) play a quick, fast metal track, with the vocals dominating over the music. “There isn’t a tunnel with fucking light, ain’t no pearly gates, ain’t no Satan to torture you, there is nothing.” MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION plays a heavy grind attacking religion with lyrics in English and a native language. FORESKIN precede their track with what I believe is a sample of the BAD BRAINS, before attacking “faggots” who don’t headbang. “Break those mental barriers and run to the fucking front.” This song is about 25 seconds long. GLORIFIED WHORE MONGERS play some demo-quality metal, which I prefer to the work of BATHORY, who seem an influence. KAFIR E AZAM has a short, well-executed grind track. Overall I’m more excited about there being kids into metal and grind in Pakistan than I am for much of the music here, though a few of these songs I’d be glad to hear wherever they’d originated from.

—Jeff Mason

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CHORNAYA RADUGA – All of Us Will Fly… EP
This 7″ appears on the always-interesting Tian An Men 89 Records, that has been putting out records by punks who live in parts of the world where they lack the resources to do it themselves. The label is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. On this release, they bring us Bender’s (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) CHORNAYA RADUGA, who belts out four songs of post-metal that is informed by emotional hardcore and melodic punk. The first track, “War,” begins with a bomb siren and launches into a depressive, downtrodden song about the business of war. The other three songs delve deeper into the post-metal side of their sound and almost resembles nu-metal in a few moments, but those moments are (thankfully) brief. There are also some solid, confident guitar solos taking up a good chunk of time in these songs. This is a solid release for fans of this style.

—Greg Harvester

October 3rd, 2013 by MRR


Records of the Week: BEIRUT SCUM SOCIETY/DETOX split EP & MAZHOTT EP

26 09 2013

This month our Record of the Week feature focuses on seven new releases from the amazing Tian An Men 89 Records label. For decades now, Luk Haas has traveled the most unreachable corners of the globe seeking out punk and underground rock scenes, and releasing music on Tian An Men 89 that the rest of the world would never otherwise get a chance to hear. The man is a true hero!

TAM89-BeirutScumDetoxSplit

BEIRUT SCUM SOCIETY/DETOX split EP
Punk from Lebanon! The first track on the BEIRUT SCUM SOCIETY side sounds like a slowed down FLAG OF DEMOCRACY’s “Madhouse.” The second song is more of a rock ‘n’ roll oldies/rockabilly, complete with harmonica, then the third continues in this vein with a more punk vibe to it, à la VIBRATORS with snotty vocals. DETOX reminds me of early 45 GRAVE with some RIK AGNEW-related moments, complete with keyboard. Then there is a hardcore jam that moshes into a punk breakdown mess in “Play a Fucking Instrument”—there is a lot going on here, but it’s cohesive and good. This definitely diverges from a path at times, but it’s firmly rooted in early ’80s punk, yet more aggressive than melodic—creative, weird and carnival-esque very early punk mixed with art punk shit, using irony and humor to address serious issues. I love the DETOX tracks on here, but the whole record is good and seriously solid if you wanna get weird…which I do.

—Mariam Bastani

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MAZHOTT EP
Wow, writing about a Syrian punk band while shit is hitting the fan over there seems rather surreal. Tian An Men 89 has done it again, yet again delivering the goods! The first track has a street-punk beat that blends with a guitar solo that could only have been produced in the East: rich and intoxicating like pipe smoke or potent herbs. The second self-titled track sticks to a similar style, with some funky drumming and some cow-bell, while on the flip “Bakaloria” goes in a more rock ‘n’ roll direction, with choppy guitars and a dancey melody. The final track (“Sai’een”) is performed live and starts out with a ska-sounding guitar which turns into sad solo, accompanied by lyrics which I can tell are filled with pain, anger and sincerity. Who needs to speak a common language when you have music like this? A real gem that will be appreciated by anyone who understands what punk actually means, as opposed to (only) what it may sound like.

—Layla Gibbon

September 26th, 2013 by MRR