Reviews

Destructure

Années Zéro Nique EP

Heavy hardcore punk with a bit of a creepy deathrock undertow. Growly vocals, accented with reverb, drive the songs with unstoppable energy and there are enough intelligible riffs and dynamic changes to keep things interesting. This record expands on what could easily be a formula for punk songs—short, angry verses over repeating guitar chord progressions—but it is so much more than that. Incorporating the occasional melodic, chorus-drenched guitar lead or unusual rhythm changes brings in a ton of nuance and keeps it sounding exciting and fresh. Definitely recommended. Record comes with cool fold-out poster artwork.

Bitpart Eat Your Mess LP

Emo-ish pop punk from France. The whole time listening to this album something was bugging me. I couldn’t figure it out. The feeling got worse as the two singers harmonized. Then I realized what it was. They reminded me of a certain band, but for the life of me I couldn’t place it. Finally it came to me. This band sounds like the ANNIVERSARY minus the keyboards. I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but this just sounds dated. That’s not meant as a slight, it’s good, it just sounds like a certain time and place, that’s all.

Bleakness Functionally Extinct LP

The bleak piano intro sets the stage for darkness to come. Uneasy melodies and a sense of melancholy play the leading role on Functionally Extinct, while steady and catchy hardcore punk serves as a backdrop for this post-punk outfit. BLEAKNESS couldn’t have chosen a better band name. This a great modern French post-punk record sure to brighten (or darken) your days.

Bombardement Bombardement LP

Bordeaux’s finest purveyors of chaos BOMBARDEMENT drop a huge-ass atomic bomb in the form of this self-titled LP. This is pure D-beat in a DISCLOSE-meets-MEANWHILE fashion with the classic DIS- formula in place, with nods to The More I See-era in songs like “Warriors Of The Night.” The sound is not too clean, nor too ear-shattering, just the perfect balance of “noise not music.” Eight tracks of pummeling dis-beat with viciously angry vocals, a precise rhythm section, and anthemic guitar leads. Coming hot from above!

Hondartzako Hondakinak Bruiarta 12″

Terrible album cover—sorry, I bet a lot of efforts were invested into it, but even if I do appreciate some forms of landscape art this is still off-putting. I knew HONDARTZAKO HONDAKINAK already, enjoyed their previous 7” and i was glad for crazy hardcore coming out from France. It might be a concept to place alienating elements as first and second impressions because the pointless and gawky intro, with an artificial-theme attempt just aggravated my confusion. Suffer it through, it all worth it because this chute slides you into a pool of sonic madness that recalls Dutch hardcore bands who mixed melody and neckbreak speed fluently well, such as JEZUS AND THE GOSPELFUCKERS, the BLOEDBAD/JETSET split or early FUNERAL ORATION. On this record speed becomes an effect, at its best shape the pace reaches a level when it sounds duplicated and inexact, which generates beautiful disturbance. Then they slow down but unlike in their intro, they can maintain the tension built previously by speed, and the swirling gravity of their songs capture all your attention. When they stomp with the beat, the guitar still wanders off to tangle riff fragments and create entertaining randomness. By melody, imagine even harsher tunes than the fastest HÜSKER DÜ tracks, something close to early OUTPATIENTS. HONDARTZAKO HONDAKINAK is a unique band with a broad spectrum of musical ideas and great skills to incorporate them to create something new, instead of a mix of multiple, and navigate their music around all genre rules. All checked out for a great record.

Litige En Eaux Troubles LP

This is the third release from Lyon, France’s LITIGE. A ten-song escapade, this album is loaded with nostalgic, at times melancholy, melodic punk. Think early FASTBACKS, or the STOPS—driving mid-tempo with winding lead guitar melodies sailing over heavy riffs. Lyrics oscillate from French to English, and themes range from “Nique Tout” (“fuck everything”) to “Remue-méninges” (a method of generating new thoughts and ideas). Yep, that pretty much covers it.

Shock Futur Noir EP

I swear, some of my favorite hardcore records of the past few years have come from France, and Bordeaux’s SHOCK doesn’t disappoint. Heavy NYHC influence on this five-song EP, as well as some clear influence from NEGATIVE APPROACH, and maybe even BOSTON STRANGLER. Lots of driving riffs, a couple banging breakdowns on “Futur Noir,” “Nuit de Brouillard,” and the three-minute “Guirre a la Guerre,” and some cool effects sprinkled in here and there.

Zone Infinie Dégats EP

Saint-Étienne-based rock urbain outfit ZONE INFINIE is back with a new EP of soaring melodic streetpunk. Like their contemporaries SYNDROME 81 and LITOVSK, their post-punk flourishes temper the gruffness one normally associates with the scruffy bastards in streetpunk, and these nuances only help to add some light and shade to the proceedings. It’s a pleasantly mixed bag, especially for a genre that can lend itself to one-notedness too, with cacophonous drums and spartan guitarlines accompanying the more recognisably streetpunky vocals too. Worth a go.