Saturday, September 5, 2015


Disguise- "Signs Of The Future" MLP
First Pressing, 2015
Black Vinyl /??

More turbo charged d-beat punk from Dublin's Disguise in the form of their new 12". More or less just the same as the previous EP- chaotic, dipondant fuzz that takes influence from a lot of Scando and Japanese Hardcore. If anything, this new stuff is probably quite a bit rougher in recording nature than the older material. The music itself is probably more energetic too. Great band.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Violent Minds- "Paincave Sessions" Cassette (Blastphamous)
First Edition, 2015

The story behind this cassette isn't a short one. As the bulk of this bands material was released somewhat before this blog existed, bar my post from a few years back about a questionable demo tape secured on eBay, I have never really had a proper chance to blog about Canada's Violent Minds. All of the groups material prior to this release is some of the best modern hardcore that exists (and their first two EP's are easily the best releases of the 2000's), though for me, this tape has really turned my ideas about this band on their head. For the entirety of VM's lifespan, until this year that is -without throwing out there the label of 'mysterious' hardcore- this band certainly had existed in the realm of 'less known about' acts, due mainly to their active avoidance of things like social media, message boards etc. For years the only information I could find out about them would be from blurbs written up on various labels websites when pushing their goods, some coverage in Town of Hardcore, and from people I knew who had closer personal connections to central member, vocalist and main song writer Zach Amster. Other than a limited set of live photos of a menacing looking, heavily tattoo'd Zach, not much else existed. And then after a batch of releases in 2007 everything went even quieter for an extended period and I think most of us just assumed that he had dissolved the group.
Fast forward to 2012 and a few photos starting floating around online of Amster in the Paincave recording studio accompanied by hints that what we were seeing could be new VM material. And then everything went quiet again. Another shift forward to 2013 and No Warning announce plans for a new reunion EP that references VM heavily, accompanied by a back story eluding to the fact that the release would be employed to build funds for a certain member of a prominent Canadian hardcore band -and friend- who had been incarcerated in California for an undisclosed crime. I knew who they were were talking about immediately, I think some people missed it.
To much excitement on my behalf, earlier this year I started hearing about a new label that would be releasing all new VM material along with stuff from a new up and coming rapper with the stage name of Stretcherous. Driven by my natural curiosity I investigated this new label -Blasphemous Records- and the rapper. A white guy, long hair, heavily tattoo'd, though most of any pictures of him online had him hidden behind a pair of thick black sunglasses and a woollen beanie and as a result he certainly didn't look overly familiar. Much to my surprise it eventually dawned on me that this rapper was in fact Amster and he'd recently been released from his stint in prison. Since, he has been investing a lot of effort into trying to get his rap act off the ground- an EP, an LP -both that exist only in the digital format at this point-,  heavy social media presence, a very cheesy film clip, many rounds of typical rap group esque promo shots etc etc. Simultaneously, through the label he's also finally released that long hinted at VM material in the form of this cassette, while also committing to an LP of brand new material before the end of the year.
All in all these new songs are by no means bad, and perhaps the very fact that this tape is being pushed purely as a 'sessions' release should be indicative enough of the vibe attempted at, but I have certainly struggled to take to this stuff in the same way as any of the bands previous material. While normally I am completely stoked on the recording work of Chris Corry and the countless acts he has documented over the years, here his work comes through as thin and half done, and when comparing it to something as monstrous as the blown out recording of the "Riot" EP, it's hard not to be a little disappointed. Stylistically, Amster (backed by some of the all stars of the Boston Nu Scene) is gunning in the same direction that the later era VM music eventually mutated into- heavy doses of a gruff, no compromise early 80's East Coast USHC (most comparable to Negative Approach, Poison Idea and some of the Boston greats) spliced tastefully with a pretty prominent Motorhead scuzz rock vibe. Captured with an appropriate recording, I'm confident that promised LP could be a total ripper. Time will tell I suppose.
Like I mentioned though, my ideas of the band have been heavily altered this year with the reemergence of Zach and his very clear decision to push hard at making things work musically. Though I don't think I properly realised it until recently, I'm sure that a good portion of my attraction to VM since I first heard "Know It All" was my perception of Amster's total disinterest in any kind of sociality online or otherwise and my weird appreciation for it. I loved how the bands relatively heavy underground popularity had been achieved almost exclusively through the sheer quality of the material, and how it had nothing to do with any kind of networking, circle jerking or dick sucking. Not to say that this is what's happening these days -Amster has clearly made the decision that he needs to support his family somehow and perhaps a proper music career is his best option- but the fact that I know more about him now than I ever have has definitely detracted from that 'less known about' aspect of the band that piqued my interest more than 10 years ago. I suppose I'm the one that needs to get over it and just cross my fingers that any new music will be quality. Regardless of everything though, probably just because of association and history, this tape is a sure shot to make my top 10 of 2015.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Ajax- (2nd) s/t 7" (Static Shock)
First Pressing, 2015
Black Vinyl /??

With the increase in popularity of bands doing this style of rough, blown out, 80's East Coast USHC style hardcore over the last 2-3 years, it's been hard to sort from the wheat from the chaff at times. This marks the 4th release (3rd vinyl foray) for New York's Ajax, it's my first exposure to the band, and it's without a doubt a prime contender for EP of the year. Their best material to date. Excellent, no bullshit stuff.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Violent Reaction- "Marching On" LP (Revelation)
First Pressing, 2015
Clear Vinyl /315

More output from arguably one of Hardcore's most busy bands, the 2nd LP from the UK's Violent Reaction, "Marching On". I've posted about the group many times over the last few years so I'd be repeating myself with anything here so I'll keep it brief. Good solid hardcore that takes stark cues from early Boston stuff and UK Oi! As most would be aware with each new release those Oi! influences grow a little more and the same can be said here. I think this album as a whole is a better product than the last one on Painkiller though- the recording is better, sharper, louder and the songs just seem to flow like a proper full length album. Good stuff.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Not Afraid- "Locked Out" LP (Powered)
First Press, 2014
Black Vinyl /500

I'd paid virtually zero attention to Not Afraid from Belgium before this LP of theirs came out last year. This kind of polished hardcore certainly isn't the stuff that I listen to normally so I'd kind of taken a less than positive opinion about this band until for whatever reason I listened to a few songs online. Thoroughly impressive New York styled Hardcore is what's happening here, and in very typical Euro fashion, the band is aping the heavier parts of the Revelation catalogue, most notably and very obviously- Judge. Now, I don't really find any interest in that band, but this is just excellent stompy, mid paced Hardcore. The songs are super catchy and the recording makes the band sound like they're coming straight outta '89. I think the singer from this band is also the singer from that group True Colors, while various members have done time in notables such as Justice, Dead Stop and Loud And Clear. That pedigree is probably enough of an indication of the quality here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Severe- "Distorted Views" Promo Tape
First Edition, 2014

The full vinyl edition of this tape has been released in the last few weeks, but this is the promo cassette for the "Distorted Views" 12" by Severe, self released t the end of last year. Meat 'n' potatoes hardcore from Toronto that's just done very well. Fast bits, stomp bits and some excellent vocals. Not a heap else to say really, except for the fact that I'll try and get my hands on the wax version soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Survival- "Forged In Iron" 7" (New Instinct/Powered)
First Press, 2014
Blue Vinyl /200

I was initially attracted to this EP by the excellent artwork. Obvious references to the work of K. Crowley and then later Spoiler would indicate the kind of music to expect here; Meat and Potatoes Hardcore that pays obvious homage to weighty NYHC all the way back to The Abused and similar. Survival though hail from the other side of the pond- Manchester in the North of England, yet they segregate themselves from the current crop of NWOBHC in favour of  slightly more professional recording. Generally speaking I don't always find much interest in stuff of such polish, but these songs are just so catchy, I find it impossible not spin this over and over. They recorded a demo and an EP before this one and to be honest, both of those initial releases are absolutely horrendous. Just stick with this record.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Shrapnel- "Frenzied State" 7" (Quality Control)
First Press, 2014
White Vinyl /200

More fodder from the monstrous cannon that is the current UK Hardcore scene. This time around in the form of the debut 7" from Northerners, Shrapnel. Another band that tends to differ from the more popularised Boston Hardcore style that's doing the rotations at the moment, as I mentioned when I posted about this bands demo tape last year, these guys dabble seriously in the styles of the heavy mosh from the mid to late 80's in New York City. This band will never escape the Breakdown comparisons, but I reckon that wouldn't bother them. This version is of the UK pressing by Quality Control Records, Triple-B Records also handled the work for the US market.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


DiE- s/t 7" (Sonic Terror Discs)
First Press, 2014
Black Vinyl /??

Had a few good things to say about DiE's sophomore effort back in December but mentioned how I didn't feel it was quite up to the scratch of this s/t EP of theirs, their debut from 2013. In that post I indicated how I was pretty keen to get my hands on this record, and in the comments section Mr. Massive Waste made mention about just how easy it would be to grab this online if I wanted it bad enough. He was right, but my only gripe was how much international postage costs these days is. I bit the bullet shortly after I posted that entry anyway (partly motivated by his comment) and committed to a purchase of this excellent 7" on Discogs dot com.
There isn't a huge amount of difference between this platter and their latest one. All of their recorded material to date is top shelf, outsider vibed Hardcore Punk. DiE are possibly one of the more unique bands that exists amongst this current tidal wave of excellent 80's inspired hardcore from England though, relaying less on blatant aggressive macho stomp in favour of a more weirdo, unhinged approach. Where a band like Violent reaction may take heavy influence from a group like Negative FX, DiE probably spin the first United Mutation EP more often. Everything about this release is fucking great and I don't have a bad thing to say about it. Great recording, excellent, catchy songs, memorable vibes.

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Rats Blood- "Low Life" LP (Distro-Y/Dogs And Vultures/Phobia/Imminent Destruction/Donnez Moi Du Feu)
First Press, 2014
Pistachio Vinyl /100

Apologies for the lack of posts for the last while. My girlfriend and I just bought a house, so I've been quite pre occupied with all that stuff.
Very little fanfare surrounded the release of the debut LP, "Low Life" from Dublin's Rats Blood at the end of last year. On one hand I like that this band isn't one that's been ruined by the masses and their hyping, on the other, I really think they're worth that attention. High energy, Scando influenced punk with the odd grooved out dance bit, they actually remind me heaps of Boston/LA act Obliteration because of this. This made my best of 2014 list. I hate how five different labels had a hand in releasing this though...

Monday, January 26, 2015


To The Point- s/t 3" (Behind The Mountain)
First Press, 2014
Black Vinyl, Lathe Cut /200

I like this band a little, they play a good, angsty take on Slap-a-Ham-esque Powerviolence mayhem. Their 7" from last year, "Give Me A Reason" is a record that I really need to get my hands on. This EP though, I didn't need. It's two songs and barely a minute of music and left overs from previous recording sessions. Had it been pressed as a 5", I doubt I would have bothered. As I don't have any other 3" records though (and I doubt I'll ever buy another one), I had to get this if anything just for novelty value. It's certainly a strange record to hold and look at in that context of small, novelty value releases.

Photo with Shrapnel 7" for comparative purposes.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Social Damage- "Eye For An Eye" 7" (Straight And Alert/Life To Live)
First Press, 2014
Black Vinyl /328

When I last posted about Social Damage from Indianapolis, I mentioned how much I liked the music presented on that demo collection 7", but I also spoke about how I didn't think that it was really necessary. Perhaps ironically, I could probably say the exact opposite thing about their debut EP, "Eye For An Eye". Obviously, it's almost always a prerequisite for any newish band to make their first vinyl or CD release in the form of an EP, it's just a pity that the songs here aren't really as good. The same thing's happening here as with both of their original demos though; accurate Straight Ahead styled NYHC worship, the recording just lacks something- not as punchy, and the songs, like I said, aren't as good- not as catchy.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Step Forward- 2nd s/t 7" (Painkiller)
First Press, 2014
Clear Vinyl /200

A record that probably would have made a lot of year end lists for 2014 is this second EP from Boston's Step Forward, and though I am certainly enjoying it right now while it's spinning while I write this review, I can't say that it's grabbed me the way that the bands first EP did. It's essentially the same kind of thing going on as the earlier material; menacing, fast, straight edge hardcore, and the recording is rough and excellent, but the songs just aren't as catchy. Maybe I just need to spend some more time with it though.
I'm not completely up to date with the info on this record, but I think it was recorded post humous with this being a second attempt. I also suspect that these are songs that were written well over six years ago. The story goes something along the lines of a tape demo being released in 2012 that was initially meant to be this record, but the guys in the band weren't happy with the sound so a vinyl release was abandoned and the music was relegated to cassette. I think for a while it was up in the air as to whether a newer version would ever actually be recorded. Well obviously it was, and here's my copy on the more limited clear colour way. I will get around to posting about my copy of the first 7" too. I thought I had but it seems I must have acquired it before this blog existed.