Chaos Tribal Warfare EP

Yet another band named CHAOS hits vinyl, this one hailing from England (though it’s not CHAOS U.K., whom we know and love). This outfit delves into a mid-tempo Brit-punk approach with good production and terminally uninteresting songs; all three songs seem to be mired in musical ennui.

Disaster Area / Die Schlimmen Finger split EP

“Mommy, can I go out and skate tonight?” starts off the DISASTER AREA side, a German punk approach with a complete MISFITS appeal to it. Probably the first German skate-oriented band, DISASTER AREA doesn’t thrash, but just brings up a good, powerful assault with lots of choruses. DIE SCHLIMMEN FINGER are very similar to DISASTER AREA, yet more melodic with good, creative harmonies; an English Oi sound is close to their sound. Both bands are fun listening and deserve their own respective releases.

Harnröhrer Manchmal Habe Ich’s Satt EP

Somewhere in between CHAOS-Z and DAILY TERROR we got HARNRÖHRER. They are a German garage band with heavy guitar sound similar to that of early U.K. punk. The production may not be great and the songs are rather monotone, but they are charming. Is this the real German underground?

Honkas Das Lied Für Fritz EP

HONKAS are a very raw punk band from Germany, and the production on this record only accentuates their primitivity. Some of the songs here almost degenerate into an undefined mass of guitar distortion, but others (like the title track) have more focus and drive. Pretty sharp.

Malinheads Probegepogt Aus Spandau EP

A lot of German thrash bands have a tuneless quality that makes it hard to distinguish individual songs, but the MALINHEADS have more of a catchy, well-produced attack, like many new Swedish groups. Highly recommended for that, and the noteworthy bass playing.

Malinheads Medical Fame EP

This four-tracker from the MALINHEADS has all the elements of great thrash: stop on a dime instrumentals, passionate, throaty vocals, ripping production, and roller coaster energy. The fact that nearly every song here is distinctive doesn’t hurt matters, either.

Olho Seco Isto É Olho Seco EP

A new EP’s worth of chunky thrash from one of Brazil’s premier hardcore outfits. There’s one studio side featuring both their excellent “theme” song, with its distinctive guitar riff, and another piledriver; the flip contains three less-appealing, roughly recorded live cuts. But since the studio material is killer stuff that satisfies all expectations, you should look for this one.

The Varukers No Hope of a Future / Never Again 7″

Both sides contain that old VARUKERS power, although a bit tighter but more restrained before. A good comparison of past and present comes by playing the B-side back-to-back with “Never Again” from their 1981 EP. Something’s gained, something’s lost.

Vorkriegsjugend Heute Spass, Morgen Tod 2xEP

Another extraordinary German hardcore band. VORKRIEGSJUGEND (who shouldn’t be mistaken for noise merchants VORKRIEGSPHASE) offer a potent mixture of tight, powerful thrashers with ultra-catchy choruses (like “Ratten” and “Haute Spass, Morgen Tod”) and slower, anguished sing-alongs (“Vaterland” and “Bombe”). If groups like this keep arising, Germany will become the new center of high-quality European punk in no time.