Reviews

Jason Ryan

Negativ Projections LP

NEGATIV of Oslo plays metallic punk along the lines of POSSESSED and SEPTIC DEATH meets the SCREAMERS or RUDIMENTARY PENI. This extremely catchy LP is part BLAZING EYE redeye punk and dark riffing, and part double-kicking TOXIC HOLOCAUST metal. Pit-churning maniacal anthems from start to finish—this would have probably made my top ten if I had heard it when it was released in April. Densely and clearly produced. You will drool and squeal, bobbing your cavernous cranium along to this slab of lunacy. NEGATIV sounds finitely death punk and infinitely grim thrash simultaneously, all while powering through with unique bizarre measure. Can I go see them with ZYANOSE, PARANOID, SEX DWARF in early 2020!? Damn, fire gig!

Existence Into the Furnace EP

EXISTENCE of Stockholm fuse melodically charged, metallic Scandi-death metal riffing with an overt NYHC style. Imagine if AMORPHIS or KATATONIA had mixed it up with 25 TA LIFE, CRO-MAGS, and MERAUDER. The riffs are intoxicating, and the grunting and barking vocals are totally menacing. There has been a resurgence of deathcore as of late, and I’m kind of drawn to it again. Thinking of the MOMENT OF TRUTH/KRUELTY split… EXISTENCE here joins those rank beats, while retaining unique thrashing compositions that blend harmonizing ethereal death metal and Neanderthal pit-core. Themes include the struggles of fascism in Sweden and abroad, and also delve into cathartic perspectives on realizing one’s mistakes. Heavy on many levels, and a sonic rager.

The Restarts Uprising LP

The RESTARTS are at it again with gurgling, snotty, two-fingers-in-the-air London punk. Kieran hisses forth with an insane inferno in his throat. This record is as catchy as anything the band has done—I loved the System Error-era songs when I saw them in NYC a few times. But also, under its streetwise romping-stomping, there is sharp blade of political vitriol. The record starts with a quote from Greta Thunberg on panic versus hope. In all its pop punk nature and bright ska riffing, they return with a blistering, diminutive, punchy, outspoken brain beater. For fans of INFA-RIOT, CONFLICT, COCKNEY REJECTS, and even the RESTARTS! Favorite tracks: the snarling and powerful “Out and Proud,” and the glimmering macabre “The Fork.”

Osmantikos Survival LP

Crusty hardcore from Malaysia, with furious vocals and clean production. Survival features a dozen grandiose compositions that bring to mind TRAGEDY, the HOLY MOUNTAIN, and COP ON FIRE, as tracks ooze toward a more stenchcore sound. Anthemic passages from dual vocals; all-in-all a full sound from this three piece. Side B opens with some surprisingly upbeat riffs amidst slow gloomy hardcore, similar to GUILLOTINE TERROR or MOONSCAPE. A moody intro-as-intermission midway through the LP, then some more Motörcharged rhythms. With several styles of extreme punk going on, OSMANTIKOS have a lot to offer.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label Bullwhip / N.I.C. / Not Enough / Phobia / SPHC / Too Circle

New Skeletal Faces Celestial Disease LP

Just missing Halloween, NEW SKELETAL FACES play gothic post-punk crust, with dissonant sub-aquatic bass lines and discordant contemporary blackened metal riffing. Vocals are grim, sometimes screeching and other times howling, like SHADOW PROJECT meets ZERO HOUR. Songs sound like ROSETTA STONE channeling SATYRICON. Themes are ghoulish cemetery strolling metaphors about the dying planet and a perverse overestimated society. This three-piece make dire cacophonies calling to (or rather, from) the grave. The last songs on each side are my favorite, with IRON MAIDEN, EMPEROR, DEVIATED INSTINCT and CHRISTIAN DEATH flavors peppering them. Recommended for fiends of the dark crafts and infernal tones.

Grey Walls Honest Self-Deception EP

Gloomy, trudging hardcore from Germany with vocal akin to DYSTOPIA and DISRUPT. Proto-hardcore riffs summon a couple horseman of the apocalypse with an appreciation for MORSER and RORSHACH. Low-tuned strings buzz underneath abysmal tracks that end sporadically. Side two is an aquatic carnival of SWING KIDS-type punk, reminding me of the gothic side of INSTINCT OF SURVIVAL which is quickly torn apart by power-crust screams of torment. An avant-garde artistic approach to an easily categorized, abrasive, misanthropic corner of hardcore. I can’t ignore the intrigue. The skeletal artwork is beautiful: black-and-white pencil-and-wash drawings similar to KÄTHE KOLLWITZ, with handwritten lyrics in German and English. You’re not giving me a lot a space here, but I appreciate you, GREY WALLS.

Meatwound Culero LP

Metal hardcore fusion with entrancing passages. Life-gripping and grimacing; MEATWOUND plays pulverizing hardcore channeling MIND ERASER, HIS HERO IS GONE, INTEGRITY, COLD SWEAT, HOLY MOUNTAIN even DEAD MEADOW and PALLBEARER at times. This music is simultaneously downtrodden and chaotically aggressive, including spaceship-contacting cathedral-spelunking synth moments. This is very impressive proto-psych power thrash with occult undertones in a burning, spirited pulse with nature. Make no mistake, there are plenty of churning breakdowns within these sonic labyrinths. Thick green vinyl, an extensive booklet with illustrations for each song, a huge poster of the nine-eyed Baphometic/goat cover art by Vincent Locke, stickers, and other eldritch goodies. Total madness, calling itself MEATWOUND. Get this and zone the fuck out in their cosmic cacophony. This is some next level shit that I feel lucky to hear.

Future Terror Plague EP

Atrocious, galloping, guttural D-beat from Virginia that hisses with WARCOLLAPSE-type angst and echoing screams. A sheer blast of classic ’90s Scandi-style punk that sounds like a sonic battlefield. Totally brutal, buoyantly produced, thick and dirgy, and bound together with samples that take me back to the ’90s filth-core onslaught. Wild paces of that classic SARCASM, Phonophobia, ASPECT OF WAR sound, with time-signature changeups that leave a lump in your throat. So fucking ripping. This is an addicting release.

Protestera Kampen Går Vidare CD

The thrilling, epic, and chilling debut LP from Götenborg’s PROTESTERA is now available on CD. Bitter, metallic, and melancholic late ’90s/early ’00s crust, with harsh riffs, and drums that are fierce and tight: weaving D-beat with circle pit-ready mosh breakdowns. Spoken passages, dual vocals with static-filled hardcore breaks and vicious oration, and menacing, rhythmic gang vocals all put forth intense conviction. If you’re into CONTRAVENE, SCUMBRIGADE, POST-REGIMENT, OI POLLOI, FLEAS AND LICE, or ANTIPRODUCT, this is for you. The 30-page booklet oozes with photos, a history lesson, and squat scene nostalgia. We need more bands like this again. Such a level of solidarity and passion in a time of exhausting hopelessness. Digitally remastered to the highest standard since its original release on Skuld release in 2000. This will not disappoint.

Bonefire Fade and Decay LP

Third LP from these Minneapolis thrashing metal-punk veterans’ project—BONEFIRE features members of MISERY, SOCIAL SCHISM (UK) and TROUBLEMAKER (CA). Snarling anthemic hardcore with a no-fucks-given attitude. Lots of catchy breakdowns, a tight double kick pedal that won’t let up, and bass grooves that add a lot of ingenuity to pretty standard albeit furiously charged compositions. The guitars are fuzzy, the vocals are gargled, the riffs are dirty. Everything sounds filthy and punk as fuck, but the morose bridges are taken with pause, and the recording was handled with a lot of care. Oh geez, and this is an Enormous Door mastering job, who up the ante again. So good. Fade and Decay is easy to get into, and features signature sounds from said members’ bands, while putting forth a unique, shadowy, and saturated new offering. I’m reminded of KILLING JOKE, INSIDE OUT, HIGH ON FIRE, VARUKERS and CHAOS UK, all at the same time. I mean…

Malcría El Reino De Lo Falso LP

MALCRÍA of Mexico City plays rhythmic, punctuated macabre punk with the demented tones of RUDIMENTARY PENI meeting the urgency and chokehold of SIEGE. The bass bombards forth, while the guitars sizzle under smashing drums with feral unexpected thunderous attacks. Songs are short and tight, filled with raw power and unbridled energy boiling simultaneously as a lidded cauldron ready to erupt. Very tense, very real. The Spanish vocals are screamed and megaphoned across the spiraling, flaying hardcore tracks. As the play progresses, shadows of FORÇA MACABRA, CONFUSE, PART 1, SEPTIC DEATH, and RAJOITUS rear their ugly heads. MALCRÍA has concocted a fresh stab of distorted, demented, threatening hardcore. Cool your head with this all summer, and into the fall crispness. Songs as crispy as dead leaves on fire.

Game No One Wins LP

London jangling punks GAME play scathing, hexing, barking hardcore in the style of MUSHROOM ATTACK, the COMES, the STALIN, CHARGE, NEGLECT, and NO STATIK, orated with Polish and English command. Vocals are punctuated with pounding harsh rhythm, while the songwriting varies from anthemic circle pit hardcore to thrashing ’80s punk metal. This LP is powerfully energetic, with surprising changes yet flowing evenly from start to finish. Encapsulating, hasty, bewitching and in complete control. Its production is perfectly clear, as well as engineered to accentuate what makes GAME on top, making it an immediately engaging listen. Bizarrely kvlt art by Nicky Rat.

1919 Futurecide CD

The latest full-length from Bradford post-punk legends 1919 slinks forth with catchy melodic abrasion. Harmonies as mesmerizing as the CHURCH; serpentine cradle-shaking akin to BAUHAUS; contemporary angst reminding of the ESTRANGED, MOIRA SCAR, and SEX GANG CHILDREN; the twitching ennui of MIDNIGHT OIL; and even the pop spin cycle à la CULTURE ABUSE, with a slack standard of SUEDE. 1919 have composed at times an optimistic, albeit still-life and morose effort that’s smoother than their tribal ’80s death rock sound, exploring a goth-gazing that is absolutely worth checking out. Introduce yourself as if they were the newest sensation in this darkwave movement, as if they weren’t around 35 years ago already nailing that fresh pine coffin.

Discript 未知 Cassette

It is an honor to review this exhumation of a 1993 project by BEYOND DESCRIPTION’s alter ego. DISCRIPT play pulverizing, heavy D-beat fury with muffled riffs, china hits, cybernetic effects, putting forth themes of dissatisfaction with society and its inherent rudeness, all sung in Japanese with vapid flavor and viscous flow. Reminds me of the VARUKERS channeling CORRUPTED. Or an old obscure Swedish HC favorite VISIONS. What an intense combo—and DISCRIPT is killing it after 25 years of grimacing slumber. Sonic terror level red. If this were any louder I’d be knocking shit off the speakers. Five tracks of sheer awesome grunting bestial Japanese crust that have left all metal-grind preceding reputations in the dust.

Tragedy Fury LP

There was a time around the turn of the millennium that I was simultaneously obsessed with WORLD BURNS TO DEATH’s The Sucking of the Missle Cock and TRAGEDY’s Vengeance. You could not fuck with the raw aggression of either, and they both sincerely, mercilessly charged a wave of Bush Jr.-denouncing US hardcore punk. Though I’ve never been opposed to changing up an approach in musical style, if you have lost track of TRAGEDY on their last two LPs, I highly recommend you visit Fury: a threatening, intense return to form, with the poignant lyrical content they have impressed with previously. Fury hits hard, if not harder and more calloused, with unhinged emotion than the philosophic, metaphoric content of Vengeance. Dare I say the flavor is more ’80s Japanese HC in vocals and leads, and more Scandi-core in rhythm and percussion? Fury is technically an EP that feels like a full-story LP. If WARCRY emulates the dawning battle strife, TRAGEDY is the madness, a blinding flash at dusk and the more-recent NIGHTFELL the smoldering grave…but I totally digress on PDX killer bands. Fury is dark, harrowing, fast as wildfire, and an unexpected phoenix woke as fuck.

War Bison Acre LP

Powerhouse hardcore bursts with a disjointed NYHC flavor, thrash metal churning, and posi-core changes, with an undercurrent of old school circle pit mosh. The solos are flashy fire over a steady punk drum attack. There are vibes of BUDGIE, YOUTH OF TODAY, EXODUS, and BASTARD, but WAR BISON play feel-good party crossover metal with a punk sensibility and experienced musical arrangements. The delivery is expected and familiar in an inviting way. Gang vocals galore bring me back to Lower East Side hardcore matinees or metal shows in any old random American warehouse. Acre is a classic post-hardcore metal album. I once saw a friend in a WAR BISON scarf, and damn the thing looked cozy and varsity, but I noticed the lettering was that of AMEBIX lettering, so I knew I’d be in for a bit of a treat that was all over the place. I love the full-color medieval jacket art too.

Sago Flood Island

Anguished and furious hardcore punk from Toronto, with an overt anarcho-punk delivery. Breakdowns are everywhere, whether in the early ’00s screaming proto-grind or the dual-vocal ’90s euro-crust. There are some very ripping death metal riffs on here, with waves of pop punk, melodic hardcore, and D-beat. Songs clock in at about two minutes each, which is perfect, leaving me ready for more.

V/A Peace, Unity, Noise And Having Fun: Tekken Tribute & Remixes LP

So this compilation LP is apparently a tribute to the French fastcore band TEKKEN. I regret to announce I was not familiar with TEKKEN the band, but it looks as though they were around in the late ’90s and early ’00s, and with some video research, I have realized that they were pretty good! If you like to blast off with CHARLES BRONSON, SPAZZ, DAMNABLE EXCITE ZOMBIES, AGATHOCLES, or even FANTOMAS, or any bands that were forming when fastcore was really breaking into its stride, I have this recommendation for you! There’s also some really bizarre MIDI carnival music, which I must admit I am entertained by, if not perplexed.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label The Age of Venus / Alchimia / Amertume / Arabesque / Arrache Toi Un Oeil! / Aspidistra / The Attack of the Degoulinous Lombricus / Attila Tralala / Au Fonde de l'Impasse / Bad Card / Bad Karma / Bande Noire / Bonanza / BoomBoom / Boum Coeur / Brainless / BTK / Burning Emptiness / B.U.R.T. / Buzz Off / Chimeres / Coexistence Obscure / Concert Ou Pizza / Corn Dog / Crapoulet / Creepozoïd Productions / Deviance / Diabolik / Donnez-Moi du Feu / Echo Canyon / Emergence / Enterprises Marcel Daron / Eternel Détour / Et Mon Cul C'est du Tofu? / Exutoire / Fake Inc. / Fla-kultur / Friday Feeling / Gestalt / Guerilla Asso / Happy Dick Milk / High Hopes / I Feel Good / Jackhuze / J'apple les Flics / Kawaii / Kid for Life / Label Brasseuse / Langt Ner / Les Disques de Géraldine / Les Dictions de l'Ascenseur Mou / Los Discos de la Bestia / Lubic / Maison Acid / Major Threat / Molaire Industries / Mr Marcaille / Murder / Nagawika / New Wave / No Reason / No Way Asso / Offside / One Person Party Prodz / Orange Juice / Overcome / Palmipède Graphics / Paradoxicommanie / Paska / Peace & Noise / Perspective / Place St. Anne / Positively Negative / Pouna Disques / Puzzle / Radar Swarm / Rock’n’roll Masturbation / Rotten Eggs Smell Terrible / Rudeboi / Ruin Co. / 75 Records / Shinya / Slow Death / Small Budget / Solitude / Subversive Ways / Suicide Commercial / Tocsin / Tomaturj / Trahison / 213 Records / Unhurt / Up Front / Uproar for Veneration / Up to Eleven / Various Multiplex Multiformis / Waiting for an Angel / Wee Wee / Zone Onze

Mutant Scum Mutant Scum LP

Ambient tribal drums start this LP off, before breaking into galloping, hard rock rhythms that channel HIGH ON FIRE, DAMAD, early COC, and Connecticut crust-core slayers REACT, with a fine combination of southern blues guitar and death metal. The vocals are grimacing, strained, and well in key. A mid-paced guttural banger that, from aesthetics, I expected to be way more goregrind thrash. This LP has catchy diminutive chords, straightforward punk-tinged heavy metal, and excellent dense production. I’m quite impressed. Songs about wizards, sewers, creatively metaphoric environmental messages, and our subsequent mutations from its demise. Cool ’80s toxic horror cover art—this version of the vinyl is green, but like opaque Ninja Turtle green, a vinyl color I had yet to see.

Cloud Rat / The World Is a Vampire Split LP

A beautifully played piano starts out the CLOUD RAT side, coupled with delicate, warm, and haunting vocals. This seamlessly tumbles into ruthless, crust-stenched, abysmal riffs, with high and tight drums. This dark, dense, churning, hexing grind and crust reminds me of the terrifying sounds of EBOLA, the fury of INITIAL STATE, the metallic bewitching nature of CETASCEAN, and the chaotic maelstrom that came with SKARP. CLOUD RAT is all things steady punk D-beat, blasting grind, and blackened metal sorcery. THE WORLD IS A VAMPIRE calms the nerves with pulverizing, heavy drudge metal. The vocals spew forth like a cindering furnace, and the chords are subtly disharmonic, creating an off-kilter, unsettling hypnotic rhythm. Calculated but surprising effects pierce through the thick tones. Parts indie rock, parts cacophonous doom punk—I’m really digging this side too! The last track is a brilliant cover of TEARS FOR FEARS’ “Mad World.” Yes! This split is definitely recommended for the dismal, strange, and curious.

Bombanfall Åsiktsfrihet CD

It is remarkably bittersweet to be writing my final reviews for the print edition of MRR, but what a distinct honor it was to receive this reissue of one of the greatest Swedish hardcore EPs ever…that was followed up by nothing. As far as I’m concerned, this is pretty much the epitome of Scandinavian hardcore that captures both a melodic legendary folklore sound, and despairingly raw punk fueled with grandiose, godless hammering. Unless you want to spend $150 on one of mine, you absolutely must pick this up. It’s pretty much a flawless, organically played, sincerely furious, monstrously echoing, pulpit-orated, masterpiece of extreme/DIY music history, which inspired so many future compositions. I know that’s a lot of praise to print. Well, here’s my chance.

Black Uniforms Faces of Death CD

Splattering metal punk from the Scandinavian hive of hardcore: Malmö, Sweden. BLACK UNIFORMS play motörcharged D-beat raw punk for all the moonlight rambling crashers. You get G-ZET, INEPSY, NAILBITER, and DIS-BONES style bammers, and heck, it even sounds like AMEBIX at times. This CD has both the original 1989 version of Faces of Death and the 2001 remastering. You know you want it!

Vaaska Inocentes Condenados EP

Austin, Texas’ VAASKA play six ripping tracks of high-pitched, ’80s Finnish inspired hardcore, echoing brutal flavor and a buzzing guitar tone that is stinging, with confident lyrics in Spanish spat forth with furious power. Crushing hardcore along the lines of MELLAKKA, RAJOITUS, and LAMA. I can’t say anything bad about the release, and yet I struggle to find a particularly stand out thing about it. It clobbers with D-beat fire, and the tones are freakishly coarse static hissing. That’s the big takeaway. My hearing loss.

Sheenjek Volume 1 EP

Hypnotic, shoegazing psyche-influenced bar rock with a grunge twang that I kind of love. The vocals are great, and definitely have a punk howling that has matured like fine mead. All the good parts of FUCKED UP, the Twin Peaks soundtrack, and the MERMEN. A solid, timeless, rock release. A short and sweet EP, like this review.

Organa LP

German anti-oppression powerviolence and grindcore that sounds like the industrial soundtrack to Brazil meets HIS HERO IS GONE, COMBATWOUNDEDVETERAN and the most downtrodden riffs from the CURE. Neo-crust breakdowns, blistering grindcore attacks, and open intermittent D-beat sections that are so brief you can’t ignore their ingenuity. Gnarly charred vocals spew out lyrics in both German and English. Lyrical themes decry the ugly existence of fascism, racism, nationalism, sexism, and homophobia. ORGANA, lay down six brutal tracks through shattering noise and fury. Production is super heavy—well done. This is a one-sided LP with a circle of barbed wire etched on the other.

D.N.A. Retrospective CD

Retrospective comprises all of this guttural Swedish D-beat band’s output. They have the vibe of early ANTI-CIMEX and the heaviness of SVART PARAD or BOMBANFALL, with funks-not-dead baselines that come to the forefront, and some slower-knuckle dragging ghostly rhythms as well. Think ATTACK SS, late-era RUDIMENTARY PENI, or even RADIO BIRDMAN, with macabre twists, turns, and gothic mangel. They cover “Green Onions,” for crying out loud. And the hardcore parts are raging. Not-as-talked-about ‘80s Swedish skit punkers, but certainly recommended.

Dissekerad Domenatten EP

Supergroup of sorts featuring members of BRAINBOMBS, AVSKUM, TOTALITÄR, and a buncha other Swede greats. Unfortunately this lil EP is nowhere near as exciting as any of those bands, but it’s not a total waste. The riffs hold this back—I coulda sworn I’ve heard them on a couple of dozen records before this one! The redeeming grace is Poffen’s incredible voice, still snarling and snapping with the same desperation and fury he had decades ago. Despite that, this record is still pretty forgettable.

Butcher Return to Nothingness LP

BUTCHER’s second LP is harrowing chaos on overdrive. Jack Butcher snarls forth with a clear yet grizzly delivery, at times bringing Rob “The Baron” Miller of AMEBIX, or intense black metal straining to mind, while still retaining hardcore razor cuts. The guitar intros are metallic and extremely accomplished, and at times melancholic post-punk vibes are mixed with discordant blackened chamber metal. Everything is much faster than you even need or expected. “Beyond the Triple World” is my favorite track, with well-placed mid-tempo bludgeoning. The lyrics are formulated into mystical analogies and spiritual perditions, which resist the power of evil, though embrace its existence, expressed through words that are wholeheartedly nihilistic and minimal, while at once fluid and existentially vast. “Beware The Gnawing Nothingness” is especially poignant and depressing. Featuring members of FORWARD, WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, ASSHOLEPARADE, and LIFECHAIN, and with calamitous cover art by the uncompromising Tomohiro Matsuda. And just like that, it ends like a cleaver to the skull. Darker, denser, and even deeper than the
debut. Get this.