Reviews

So This Is Progress?

Body Farm Tower of Babel EP

Tripped-out hardcore with the sickest of breakdowns. Between spastic, unstoppable verses, BODY FARM shines brightest in breakdowns that are brutal and catchy with a metal influence. This might be the first time I’ve heard an actual sample of Trump on a punk record, and it’s definitely successful at being completely vomit-worthy. I hate hearing his voice, but have to admit they use it effectively to establish context for a song about the prospect of people being punished for having abortions. The fury and passion of the song are set off against a backdrop of the true-crime nightmare that is American politics. This is totally excellent.

Body Farm / Slutbomb split EP

There’s no shit going on here but the realest fucking shit. Insanely fast, high-energy hardcore punk that starts full speed out of the gate with BODY FARM’s “Mass” and seriously does not let up—if anything they get more intense when they slow down for the middle of their their side. The kind of slab that leaves you trying to catch your breath, and I’m struggling to inhale the rest of this band’s output all at once. On the flip, SLUTBOMB are great—very ’90s DIY political HC vibe, all over the map with femme/male trade-off vocals and wild wanks that crash recklessly into raging blasts. No genres for either band—no sonic constructs, either.

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.

TV Drugs FFO: Everything Terrible cassette

A nice solid blast of modern American hardcore punk. Guitars have a nice solid blast of catchy ’90s basement punk (“How Far?” and “Livin’ The Dream,” in particular) and there are some good creepy vibes—but it’s kinda funny because it sounds like TV DRUGS are going for the tough chain punk vibe and the fact that they land slightly off that mark is precisely what makes them feel right.

V/A …So This Is Progress? 001: Spring 2020 flexi 7″/zine

The zine is just as much a photo essay as it is the story of the creator’s move from Oxnard to outside Columbus, followed by discovering what was happening punk-wise in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and NYC, documenting it all with disposable cameras. Whether shots of bands or friends, the euphoria of the punk show—and in particular experiencing it in a new place—is captured and conveyed in a way that made me feel the excitement vicariously (perhaps especially since gigs are on hiatus until who knows when?) The five bands on this comp—all great, scuzzy hardcore with some grind-leaning moments, all except Pittsburgh’s PEACE TALKS being from Ohio—also fit into the greater narrative of being representative of making DIY punk happen in their given cities. Even with the bar for 7″ comps being somewhere in the Earth’s mantle, this is a keeper. Just press number two to actual vinyl, please!

V/A …So This Is Progress? 002 7″ flexi

This flexi mini-comp is included in a 16-page zine of disposable camera photos taken between 2001-2007 in California featuring 38 bands! So let’s get right to it; KIRITIERRA remind me of a more metallic NEGAZIONE; SACRIFYX recall CRUDE SS and FINAL CONFLICT; JEFFREY DONGER brought me back to LACK OF INTEREST and PLUTOCRACY. KRATOM seemed very OP IVY at first, then laid down a more BLACK FLAG sound. NERVOUS AGGRESSION plays like CAPITALIST CASUALTIES with the A-political voice of AXIOM. Pretty damn good and the photo zine is no slacker either. Photos of AFTER THE BOMBS, DYSTOPIA, MUNICIPAL WASTE, MELT BANANA, ANNIHILATION TIME, INSECT WARFARE and many others. A nice like celebration piece in a year where we can hardly see each other’s faces.

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!