Reviews

Convulse

Blood Loss Who’s to Blame? EP

Blood Loss is carrying the torch of Denver Hardcore from bands like CADAVER DOG, CIVILIZED, and CITY HUNTER with this pulverizing 7”. The music, the lyrics, the production, the artwork, it’s all gritty and dark as hell—a common theme in Denver that gives the scene its personality. What sets BLOOD LOSS apart from those bands though, is the grooviness. Tracks like “Who’s to Blame?” and “Double Life” have a very YOUTH OF TODAY-type moshy feel to them. But like NO TOLERANCE, BLOOD LOSS takes a much darker approach to that style. Much of that comes from the lyrics, which are super angry: both at the world and at the person screaming them.

Goon Natural Evil LP

GOON is one of a number of noteworthy hardcore bands coming out of Denver as of late. For the first few songs, the primary sound is, but not limited to, the intersection between a stompy yet heavy contemporary hardcore sound—I’m not going to use internet-conceived genre descriptors, but, um, S.H.I.T. might be one reference point—and more abrasive and outright mosh-ready hardcore. Things get a little more free-form from the relatively more sparse and jangly “Spit” through the eight-minute(!) closer, but all the pieces of the puzzle: the flow of the songs, the frequent change-ups, the pedalboard noise accompaniments, and the art-damaged visual aesthetic all form a cohesive package.

Militarie Gun My Life Is Over EP

Snotty, melodic hardcore with a Dischord lean tackles the JESUS LIZARD. It’s mid-tempo, it’s chunky, but it’s catchy and it’s probably just barely on this side of the line between punk and heavy rock. Strangely, the most interesting song, the final track, is the lightest one here. It’s melodic and head-nodding with a Revolution Summer feel, but with harsh, screamed vocals. Four solid songs, not a stinker in the bunch.

Punitive Damage We Don’t Forget EP

We Don’t Forget is PUNITIVE DAMAGE from Vancouver, BC’s latest output. Plenty of breakdowns and moshier grooves with punchy parts, and a more modern-sounding hardcore approach. Urgent political lyrics relevant to current times, PUNITIVE DAMAGE’s output is coming from a more personal place, yet it’s something many of us across the board in different scenes can relate to. In the DIY punk scene where it looks like there’s a political consensus for certain topics, oftentimes it still tends to lack critical analysis of what the slogans actually mean, which PUNITIVE DAMAGE brings to the table. They push back with honest, real-life-based output that isn’t just a reiteration of slogans without critical thought. For fans of PUNCH, LIFE’S BLOOD, NO JUSTICE, CARRY ON, and LIMP WRIST.

Rash Hivemind LP

Echoing chamber-cold crusty hardcore with mammoth sound from windy, good olde Chicago. I haven’t heard such pile-driving fire-fast changes that border on pit-core and thrashing crust since RITUAL CONTROL. That band ruled, and so does this. Venomous vocals, slightly cyberpunk-effected guitar and drum tones, hypnotic artistic passages that suddenly pull you down into a blender breakdown. Bass elbows in for some peaks and valleys, showcasing a reverberating lid on all this chaos. This album is thoroughly impressive. The songs are easily embraced thrash hardcore, such as early CORROSION OF CONFORMITY with the abominable precision of MIND ERASER or COLD SWEAT. The cover art is disturbing and awesome, like low-res DISCLOSE skull, GISM confrontational, awesome. Really digging RASH. All-in-all an absolute face-grind of embittered, ruptured punk.

Sex With a Terrorist S.W.A.T. demo cassette

There is a rule in films that say you have to trap the viewer in the first thirty seconds of footage. I don’t think S.W.A.T. are filmmakers, but they know for sure how to apply that principle. The opening riff immerses you in a crumpled sound, a crossover between LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS, VOID, and SCHOOL JERKS. This is weird punk, receiving direct influences from the Californian hardcore punk tradition and turning it into a fresh sound. Something fast, with breakneck riffs, but with enough space to experiment and improvise. Especially on “Screenshot Hardcore,” the last song of the demo and the longest, with strong vibes of the last OILY BOYS record. This is an album that requires several listens for one to capture its true essence. A great first impression. I’m looking forward to more releases.

Yambag Posthumous Pounce! LP

This is this shit that my jaded-ass reviewer ears are looking for: relentless fastcore. Guitars are clean and super fukkd up sounding, drums have a HELLNATION-meets-teenage-blastbeat awkwardness (and they are kinda recorded like shit in the most endearing way), and just 25% of the tracks top the 60 second mark. Put me in a space machine and send me back to 2001, but with all of the anger I feel in a 2020 reality, and boom I’m ready for some fucking YAMBAG. Choice track: “(O)Possum,” but there are seriously no clunkers to be found here. Thank you!