Reviews

Mike Battleaxe

V/A …So This is Progress? 003 flexi EP + zine

The zine part of this fine package is a collection of show fliers from all over Ohio, going all the way back to NECROS and DR. KNOW in 1985. There are a bunch of sick ones from the late ’90s/early ’00s that took me back. It’s amazing how many ways you can draw someone’s head exploding. The flexi part is a compilation of solo COVID projects by punks from all across the US. All the best styles are represented, from MOTÖRHEAD scum crust to bong-ripping glam thrash, and all the hardcore grinding violence in-between. In all seriousness, all these tracks shred, and the glossy print, hand-numbered zine is hella clean! Grab one while you can!

Dropdead Arms Race / Give It Up 7″ flexi

This flexi features the legendary DROPDEAD covering a song each from BGK and POISON IDEA. It is a benefit for United We Dream, a youth-led community group fighting for justice for immigrants in the US. DROPDEAD is probably the most furious and raging band to ever shred. There may be faster and heavier, but something about DROPDEAD just brings the intensity to another level. Almost 30 years as a band and they can still bring it. If you’ve never heard them before, get this one and any of their other releases because they all rip, and if you already know, might as well support the cause!

Incinerated / PLF split EP

Here’s a double-stacked, transcontinental, gurgling grindcore attack featuring an UNHOLY GRAVE cover…you see where this is going.  Out of Texas, PLF delivers some vicious guttural grind mayhem with some seriously frantic death metal vibes. Like BOLT THROWER gone mince. Australia’s INCINERATED sounds like a tidal wave of toxic waste and human gore slamming right over you, followed by a stampede of diseased hogs trampling your tangled remains to dust. This is vomitus grind destruction at its best!

Loose Nukes Cult Leaders LP

This one is an old school thrasher out of Texas (and not to be confused with the recent Pittsburgh group of the same name) that falls somewhere between FINAL CONFLICT and Dealing With It-era D.R.I. This band’s style and lyrical themes give me the impression that they don’t give a fuck about anything that came out after 1989, but fuck the last 30 years ’cause this totally rips! It’s like, you don’t think we need another song about MK Ultra, but the subject matter is so punk that once you hear it you’re like “oh fuckin’ hell yeah!” If you love pre-crossover thrashed out hardcore and hate Reagan, you’ve got to check this one out!

Beyond Pain Born to Die; Why Are We Waiting? EP

Pummeling hardcore out of LA that throws in some notes of death metal and powerviolence. For the most part though, this one is a mosh-inducing beatdown from chug number one. Now, metalcore isn’t normally my favorite style, but these breakdowns are so tough that even I’m feeling the urge to start throwing some karate kicks and punching the floor. The overall theme of embracing death cause life sucks comes off pretty well, too. I say give it a spin!

Desolat Shareholder of Shit 10″

The first two songs on side B are called “You Fucks in Suits” and “Still Fuck You Suit-Man.” That, along with the album title, lets you know that this band out of Vienna, Austria isn’t fucking with any bourgeoisie. What they are doing is long-winded crust dirges that, while incorporating some sick riffs, don’t really ever go anywhere. They kind of ride the same groove for the whole album with no real explosive freakouts or heart-sinking sludge breakdowns, just a consistent simmering rage. This isn’t bad, but it’s not very exciting either.

Cold Hell / Corrosion Exposure split EP

Here’s a gnarly hardcore ripper out of Finland that will leave you ice cold. You know it’s going to be a good one when you think the record player is on the wrong speed, but nope, the band just sounds like that. That’s what happened when I put on the COLD HELL side and was instantly assaulted by squealing feedback and way too fast blast beats. This is straight up power-fucking-violence done in the West Coast style. Raw and raging! With no blast beats and more mosh-centric breakdowns, CORROSION has more of a East Coast hardcore style but they are just as raw and vicious in their execution, just like all the bands the West Coast powerviolence bands loved. Kind of like a sub-genre stylistic exploration. So, if you like INFEST and the bands that influenced them, then check this one out.


Chäpels Alight EP

Here are two songs of primitive metal out of Portland, Maine that dare to dip their toes into the petroleum sewage pond of stench core. This band is a little bit of a cleaner version though, like you can’t visibly see the stink lines coming off of them, but all of the essential elements are there. You’ve got the demon vocals, the constant double bass drum and the stoniest grooves. Think of a fresh-faced HELLBASTARD, and you get the idea. This is a solid first EP! I can see good things coming from this band!

Human Failure / Throne of Blood Stock Pile split EP

These two likeminded but very different bands out of Baltimore deliver total sonic pandemonium with this one. HUMAN FAILURE hurls three ugly tracks that land somewhere in between BOLT THROWER and UNHOLY GRAVE, with BASTARD NOISE-style harsh electronics piercing through the whole thing. If there was a god of war, this is what it would sound like if they threw up.  THRONE OF BLOOD mixes old school hardcore punk rage with noise rock delirium. Like if D.C. punks in the ’80s were into free jazz and psychedelic freak-outs instead of dub reggae. You want to fuck up your reality? Start here.

Sore Throat Who Killed Gumby? CD-R

This is the never-before-released, first recording by these bile-inducing, poser-crushing, noise-grind originators. This shit was recorded in 1987, in one of their bedrooms, with the drum-less “drummer” just banging on a desk or something, and a young sibling coming in at the end screaming at them to shut the fuck up. Other than that, it’s all blast and hideous noise, similar to their other early releases. The last track is a ripping live show from the era that features a real drum set and an average recording. This one’s a bad place to start but a fine place to end up. Welcome to shit-grind hell, fuckers!

Existence Out of Time LP

Blown-out, driving noise-crust that is constantly on the brink of total collapse. When I say blown-out, I mean the feedback pierces like twisted steel through your already burst eardrum, and bass rumbles unintelligibly like the moment right before the doomsday earthquake hits. They successfully take the typical D-beat crust formula to maximum chaos while delivering crushing and devastating impact. The whole thing is just ugly and furious. Check it out!

Hellmaistroz En el Cielo Está el Infierno LP

I hope you’re ready to go fucking nuts, because this one is some solid-as-fuck crusty hardcore out of Monterrey, Mexico that will have you solo-circle-pitting your bedroom ’till you puke. This is that straight-ahead, heavy-hitting D-beat pummeling that few can deny.  It’s as they say: all killer, no filler. Lyrics are in Spanish, and from my limited understanding of the language I gathered that they think that Nazis and politicians are shit. Features a cover of “Stepping Stone,” the MINOR THREAT version, but they made it about beer …I think. For those that hate to rock: stay well clear. Everyone else, keep an eye out for this one.

Shitload Flatten the Curve CD

Primitive, one-person thrash-crust with a drum machine and a quarantine theme. This is the kind of solo act that proudly declares their total incompetence in musicianship, recording and especially drum machine programming, but still must rock their bedroom closet studio into rubble. Sure, it’s kind of terrible, but it made me chuckle a little. It’s worth a spin, but probably just one.

Doldrey Invocation of Doom LP

Like a modern-day raw punk take on old school death metal, this one brings bloody hell out of your imagination and into the streets. These shredders out of Singapore sound like an ice-cold OBITUARY with a mullet-hawk and a serious pogo habit. This record really hits all the marks. They’ve got tons of speed-picking, CELTIC FROST-style dirges and black and white cover art with demons, swords and skeletons—all with a sneering punk undertone that is undeniable. It’s like they made a record just for me. Not to be missed!

Squelch Chamber Down So Low cassette

Here’s a brain-cell-blasting total freak out from Pennsylvania. This one is essentially electronic noise, some drumming and shouted vocals. The songs are structured but no riffs or melodies, just hisses buzzes and drones. Drumming ranges from solid stone-outs to industrial dirges to spastic blast beats. Trying to get weird? Look no further.

Fragment Serial Mass Destruction EP

Maddening raw D-beat out of Nova Scotia that leans toward the ANTI CIMEX side of things. They take the Raped Ass sound, cut the guitar leads, and add blast beats, vocal echo, and even a breakdown into the mix. None of that, however, takes away from the crashing chaos that drives this record full speed ahead towards a sheer cliff with the brakes on fire. If you’re ready to take that ride, then give this a whirl.

Aargh Fuck Kill Ruled by the Insane LP

Better start cooking up that Knox gelatin, because this band out of Germany is throwing down some straight-up UK82 hardcore that will have you pissing cider all over your plaid bondage pants after passing out from too much glue. Some of the songs sound like DISCHARGE, some sound like VARUKERS, and others sound just like GBH. Does it break new ground? No, but they’ve got some pretty good riffs, and avoid the cheesiness that this sound can sometimes imply. If you’re one that likes to stick to the classics, check this out.

Cell Rot / World Peace split EP

Here’s a quick little ripper from two bands out of California that hits like a brick to the forehead. CELL ROT lays down some beefy mid-tempo, crust-ridden hardcore. There’s plenty of oozing sludge breakdowns and blasted-out fury thrown in to keep it interesting, but it’s a steady ride to bleak oblivion throughout. WORLD PEACE delivers some bare bones, bass-and-drum powerviolence that is all low and all go! I’m talking about that four-songs-in-three-minutes type of shit. Like if early GODSTOMPER were more into NO COMMENT than NAPALM DEATH. Don’t pass this up!

Remissions Ultra Vires CD

Brooding, metallic crust out of Finland that is likely to please both stenchcore freaks and thrash-holes alike. The agonizing dirges will have you clutching your head as if that’s the only thing keeping it from bursting, while the driving verses come at you like a runaway eighteen-wheeler, begging you to get out there and fuck shit up. The lyrics follow those lines, and are as well crafted as the music. If you’re looking for a soundtrack to the current apocalypse then give this one a spin.

Sex Dwarf Sensou Hantai EP

Here’s some noisy as fuck, raw punk chaos out of Stockholm. The guitarist employs the always-on wah pedal technique to deliver an intermittent low/high pitch harsh noise tone that sounds like a chainsaw slicing through a dumpster. It’s the perfect sound to scratch your eyeballs out to. Back that up with ferocious proto-Euro-crust smashing and you’ve got a real ripper. Check it out!

Pig City Terminal Decline LP

Take DYSTOPIA’s misery dirges, mix with some of HIS HERO IS GONE’s pitch-black crust and throw in a bunch of TERRORIZER blasting and you’ll get the idea of what this Arizonian band is trying to tell you—that everything’s fucked and we’re all going to die in a grave that we dug. I don’t know about you but that’s a message I can get behind. If you’re a fan of dark crust from the mid to late ’90s then check this out.

Asocial / Distrust Live at International Youth Center 28/4-84 CD

Here’s a CD reissue of a split live tape that brings the noise all the way back to the beginning. This unrelenting käng chaos will have you dunking your head in model airplane glue and spray painting “DISCHARGE” on a police station wall. The recording is from a live show they played together with MOB 47 in 1984 and doesn’t sound much different from a lot of the studio recording from that era. It’s raw and noisy, but you can hear everything well enough, for D-beat. It also features some live bonus tracks from each band that I assume are from the same show. This isn’t just some collector’s item for Swedish raw punk completists, it’s great for anyone who hates music.

Fetus Eaters Fetus Eaters LP

This single-sided LP rips it to festering bloody bits with some sickening old school death metal out of Los Angeles. The goofy song titles and in-between song samples indicate that this is one of those “funny” bands. Usually, funny death metal bands make me want to barf, in a bad way. Death metal is serious fucking shit, dude! But this band sheds so hard I can’t deny it. I guess my rotten pustule heart can stand to laugh a little every now and again. Cover features babies being eaten by skeletons, now that’s funny.

Insect Terror / Grossel Split 12″ EP

Here’s a double shot of raw grindcore that hits like a jackhammer to that metal plate in your skull. Germany’s INSECT TERROR is pure fucking mince annihilation. Eight songs in like four minutes. Vomitus vocals. All fast, all blast. You know the vibes. It’s the same general idea from France’s GROSSEL, except a little more feedback, and a little more noise. They also have a few songs that are over a minute long. Fuck music forever!

Total Annihilation …On the Chains of Doom CD

Totally ripping ’80s thrash metal worship out of Switzerland. This recalls a time when death metal, still unnamed, was rearing its ugly, decomposing devil head into an ugly decomposing society. While there are nods to METALLICA and SLAYER and the like, they are more akin to bands like POSSESSED, and KREATOR. This however has far fewer epic, shreddy solos than any of those bands. There are a few, just not that many. It must be said that this album is not punk in any way, but if you’re an old school extreme metal freak, then give this one a spin.

Strawberry Cinder Block Slice of Life CD

Here is a one-person death-grind metal-punk project out of St. Charles, Illinois. This is the kind of shit you hear late night at the rock bar when the metal dude is working. It’s got enough guitar squeals to make you make you puke up hoppy micro-pint, too. It’s also got an anime theme in the cover art and between-song samples, which I don’t really know what to make of. All and all, this one ain’t great, but it could be much worse.

Chrome Skulls The Metal Skull EP

This band out of New Jersey lays down four tracks of nonstop blaring D-beat in the vein of IMPALERS. They kind of sound like if a warhorse ran up to you, busted out some sick metal licks, and then galloped off to annihilation. They also sound like many other bands doing this kind of thing. That being said, this EP is solid as fuck so who cares if they don’t stand out from the pack.

Witchtrial Witchtrial LP

What do you get when you mix the more “extreme” NWOBHM like VENOM with modern D-beat like IMPALERS? Washington DC thrashers WITCHTRIAL is what! As you probably guessed from their name, this band is heavy fucking metal that runs an influence gamut that includes SLAYER and CANDLEMASS, among others. That being said, the D-beat vibes persist throughout, making this one a dangerous gateway for punks who dabble in metal. Be careful with this stuff, kids. It’s all fun and games until you’re forking over $80 to see JUDAS PRIEST and DOKKEN on a Tuesday night. Highly recommended!

Horrible Pain / Sulfuric Cautery split LP

This one-sided 12″ is just oozing with mincecore contempt, and is sure to make your head pop like an infected pustule. HORRIBLE PAIN out of Winnipeg barfs out some sickening, bile-grind that hates music, and has no time for anything but full-blast filth. UNHOLY GRAVE fans take note: Dayton, Ohio’s SULFURIC CAUTERY likes music even less, and rolls right over you like a tidal wave of medical waste. There is megaton distortion, foul growls, and a machine gun snare drum tuned so high, you’ll wish you were never born. I recommend this for the most deranged grind freaks only. Everyone else should stay well away.

The World Is a Vampire / Torture Garden Split EP

Here are two bands out of New Orleans that want to fuck up your reality. TORTURE GARDEN brings some deadly D-beat crust that is both furious and mournfully melodic. They keep it extra heavy, with just the right amount of driving, epic crust. THE WORLD IS A VAMPIRE seems like a band that I would not like at all. First, I hate that song they’re named after. Second, this sounds like some goths trying to play freaked-out, blackened D-beat. It all just seems like it should be an awful disaster, but somehow it all works, and this band is fucking awesome! If you’re a grim weirdo, then check this out.

Art of Burning Water / Stuntman Split EP

France’s STUNTMAN bring us some pummeling metallic grind. This is a band that can do the hair-pulling sludge agony just as well as they do the machine gun maelstrom. Grindcore forever! The UK’s ART OF BURNING WATER throw down a little bit of proper powerviolence—maybe too little. My issue with their side is that the first and longer song is OK, but it’s more like a buildup / intro song. Then the second song is fucking sick as shit, but it’s only like twenty seconds long, and that’s the end of the record. It’s like, dude, you gotta save that intro song for the LP. That being said, it’s still a pretty cool listen.

These Bastards Old… and Pissed EP

Here are some old thrashers out of San Francisco showing the youngsters how to shed for real! No fucking bullshit, blaring hardcore chock full of blastbeat venom and foaming-at-the-mouth rage. Like most folks from the Bay Area, their anger is directed squarely at techies and the rest of the Silicon Valley nightmare, even invoking the Unabomber in one song. If you love ’90 Bay Area powerviolence and hate your smartphone, check this out.

Endorphins Lost Seclusions LP

This one is a straight-up grindcore ripper. While this Seattle band has some metallic tendencies, there is defiantly a heavy west coast powerviolence thing going on here. Not only that, they throw in just enough smoldering sludge riffage to keep us from burning out on the blistering blast inferno. Like TERRORIZER peppered with moments of CROSSED OUT and BRAINOIL. Sure they have a familiar sound, but this shit is well-crafted and solid as fuck! Check it out!

KARBORÄTOR Cease Fire 10″

Crusty D-beat sludge from Orlando. Now, I call it sludge, but it never really gets all that slow. It’s just got that heavy duty riffage, and a few stoner metal moments, but don’t worry kids, the driving D-beat that we all love is always king here. It’s as if IMPALERS got really into BRAINOIL and EYEHATEGOD. Throw in the sick hand-screened cover featuring snakes, skulls, and barbed wire and they’ve got me sold.

Geld Soft Power EP

Horrifyingly psychedelic, raw punk madness out of Melbourne,
Australia. It’s like tearing out my brain in chunks with over the top, effected noise, then ripping those chunks to pieces with some shredding guitar solos. This is might be what FLIPPER would sound like if they were a really pissed off D-beat band, and could actually play their instruments. If you’re looking to live the chaos, look no further.