Sunday, August 17, 2014

USE ONLY AS DIRECTED

Oblivionation- "Cult Of Culture" 7" (Man In Decline)
First Press, 2014
Black Vinyl /335

Newish EP from Oblvionation, "Cult Of Culture" following their excellent demo tape from 2012. I was really looking forward to new material from this band, and while this record is of a very high standard in relative terms, it doesn't really stand up to the excellence of the demo. I think the biggest problem is the recording; it's just not as loud and as punchy as the earlier material. All the attitude is there though, the energy in the musicianship and excellent lyricism is all present, it just isn't conveyed as well.
This is the wider American pressing from Man In Decline Records on black wax. Two limited colours on yellow and maroon were also pressed and various reports getting around detail how the pressing is 'noisy' and the sound isn't good at all thanks to various faults of the pressing plant. My black version seems to sound fine in those respects though. People may suggest that my issues with this EP are a result of the bad pressing, but I don't think so. The MP3's that the band put up on the bandcamp sound just the same.
A European pressing was handled by Hardware Records on white and black vinyl, and last I heard, MID were planning on re-pressing this US version at a new plant with a better quality end result. I haven't heard anything more about that though. Following this EP they released a full-length ("Language Of Violence", of which I will post about next) but over the last few months the band have more or less completely resigned from any kind of online presence so it's hard to tell what else they have planned this year. Their last post on Facebook back in March explained how they were writing for another release entitled "Eyes On You".

Sunday, August 10, 2014

STREETS RUN RED

Battle Ruins- S/T 12" (Rock n Roll Disgrace)
First Press, 2014
Clear Vinyl 49/100

I think it would be reasonable to say that the excitement surrounding the new s/t 12" release from Boston's Battle Ruins has been documented extensively over the last six months on various blogs and websites. I wasn't a fan of the bands previous EP so when the promo tape release for this album surfaced in a hard copy and mp3 format last year I completely missed/ignored the boat. The two excellent tracks that were presented on that tape initiated a frenzy for those that missed out but I avoided committing the big bucks required to get second hand copies.
I did manage to snare one of these clear copies of the full album with screened red cover and screened poster limited to 100 copies when Rock n Roll Disgrace put them up for order back in May though. It required setting an alarm at something like 2am, but I got it. Word has it that this sold out in less than a minute and I know it's now fetching figures beyond $200 on various sales websites. And it's not hype. This is the real deal. It's the most original and seamless combination of hardcore, Oi!, and power metal that's ever been done. And it's easily the best long player over the last three years, if you can call seven tracks in barley 21 minutes a long player.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

COUSIN KISSERS

Friends of mine play in a local Grindcore band called Coffin Birth. I posted about their demo tape not too long ago. Well they've just upped their new EP, "Necrotic Liquefaction" on their band camp for free download. 9 tracks. Solid stuff.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WORLD WAR V

Twitching Tongues- In Love There Is No Law LP
First Press, 2013
Black Vinyl /900

Before this band's tour of Australia was announced earlier this year, I had never bothered listening to Twitching Tongues. For whatever reason, I always had this idea in my head of what they sounded like. I think I based these ideas on the cover art of this album of theirs, "In Love There In No Law", and some of the bands they tend to tour with in the States. One night I was driving with a mate and he had this album playing but I didn't know it was them. I was more or less instantly attracted to the thick and heavy thug mosh that I was hearing. Generally I don't get into new bands doing this style, but I found myself enjoying this quite a bit. So obviously I found out who the band were and looked into them more.
This is their second long player from 2013, following a much rougher 12" from the year before. Recorded by some members of the band, it comes across as a reasonably polished production, without being overdone. Without getting too descriptive, at it's core, this is relatively ignorant, moshy hardcore, held together by a crooning vocalist, and a lot of excellent, tasteful hooks. That combination makes it a little hard to compare to anything else, but I'd say these guys are likely drawing strongest influences from 90's bands like Biohazard, Life Of Agony and Only Living Witness (from where they take their name I would assume). There's also a locked groove on the B side that spins outwards that contains a 'secret' cover of the excellent SMD by the legendary Carnivore. To be honest, that was the thing that really clenched it for me. I love Carnivore.
Nothing but good things to say about this album really, except for the one fact that the mastering used on this platter lacks MASSIVELY in the bottom end. I've only recently obtained this record, up until then I'd been jamming MP3's, and after a few months of that, noticing the difference in levels is completely unavoidable. Bit of a shame, and I can imagine that it may be a little detracting for those hearing the band for the first time via this format.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

IN HOSPITAL

Mob Rules- Nothing Left LP (Quality Control)
First Press, 2014
Claret Vinyl /100

I don't live in the UK so I can't be sure, but I certainly get the impression that the North's Mob Rules are generally regarded as one of the best and most highly respected hardcore bands in the country. It's been nearly four years since we'd heard any new material from them, and the fact that their online presence is virtually non existent makes it hard for people like me on the other side of the planet to ascertain if they're still in fact a band or not. Recently Quality Control Records quietly announced on their website that they would be presenting the bands new material in the form of a second LP, "Nothing Left" so surely a collective sigh of relief was probably made by many fans abroad. No massive amounts of hype surrounded it really, it just happened.
Simultaneously this record became available to buy on the QC site as well as the Static Shock Records site. I bought this from SS because they also had the Crowned Court demo for sale. As a result (much like the Violent Reaction EP) I wasn't expecting to land any kind of limited vinyl, but for whatever reason I was lucky enough to get this limited press on red wax.
The stark stylistic changes that the band decided to employ between initial early material and their first full length in 2010 are still largely evident here. A complete lack of anything resembling a blast beat or an A-typical modern mosh bit in favour of a mid-later era Black Flag vibe. The recording quality here is also vastly improved over any previous material which greatly improves the whole feel. It's a much more refined, realised, complete release.
Like Perspex Flesh, Mob Rules definitely don't play the style of hardcore that's currently exploding in the UK right now. Why this band may be regarded as masters of their craft is certainly made obvious with this new album though. Easily their best work to date.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FEEDING TIME

Perspex Flesh- s/t LP (Static Shock)
First Press, 2014
White Vinyl /100

The behemoth that is current UK hardcore punk continues it's immeasurable rampage with this debut full length from Leeds' Perspex Flesh. This is a band that I've made glowing statements about in the past on this blog and their previous EP was arguably one of my favourite records of last year. I still spin it very regularly. Brooding, alien, interloper hardcore that would claim stark heredity to bands like United Mutation, Void and similar early 80's groups is what you get, and throughout the bands lifespan they've always managed to capture a really on-point, gritty feel in each of their releases.
Various solid sources around the place have been making early claims about how this will be the UK LP of the year etc, and I hoped -even assumed- that I would really enjoy this album. And for the most part this is a very strong example in the bands chosen style, but maybe I have just become too comfortable with the previous 7", as I have had definite trouble getting into this recording as much as previous material. The sound here is essentially the exact same in terms of grit as older stuff and there are some great songs, but it just hasn't grabbed me as much as I thought that it would. I suspect part of the problem would be that with various life commitments, and other punk and metal releases that have surfaced in the last six months, I just haven't had much time this year to really focus a heap of attention on this LP, so I'm kind of hoping that I'll finally 'get it' with more time. Things like that have certainly happened in the past.
Regardless, this will certainly make my year end list.

Friday, July 11, 2014

MISERY

Bastard- Wind Of Pain 12"
Reissue, 2013
Black Vinyl /??

Seems almost perpostorous that this 12" wasn't reissued until last year. Originally released in 1992, I think it's probably fair to say that "Wind Of Pain" by Bastard swings a fair bit of weight and influence amongst a handful of today's Japcore crowd. Not that I am any sort of proper authority on punk of this ilk, but they've always been the band that I've referenced in my own head when it comes to stuff  from that country. Relatively well recorded for music from this era, it's just fast, relentless hardcore punk.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

HEAD ON A STICK

Internal Rot- Mental Hygiene LP (625 Thrash/Crucificados Pelo Sistema) 
First Press, 2014 
Blue Vinyl /??

Melbourne'a heathens of haste Internal Rot, continue their full aural assault on the ear drums of grind fans everywhere with their debut full length album, "Mental Hygiene". I've detailed on here numerous times over the years my fondness of this band and this record does nothing to change that. Complete and utter grind warfare, and arguably the most concise example of no frills grind since Insect Warfare. Doesn't get much better, grind your face off.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

HAMMER A NAIL

Crown Court- Trouble From London Demo Tape (Quality Control)
UK Edition, 2014

I'm doubtful about just how accurately I could describe the sound that Crown Court create with this new demo of theirs. You could certainly class this as one of the latest of the current lineage of British punk taking influences from various early 80's USHC and blending it with a classic English approach. At this point, this is probably the furthest that any current English band have removed that Boston feel though in favour of a more genuine Oi assault. Members of a handful of other well known UK hardcore bands, so some of that sound does shine through here and there. I listen to just about zero of the bands that these guys would rate as main influence, but I can safely say that the three songs here are massively catchy and stompy, and this will probably go down as my favourite demo of this year.  As far as I know this is sold out now, but I've heard that an American edition will become available soon. No idea who's handling that though.

Friday, June 27, 2014

SHUT UP

Violent Reaction- Dead End 7" (Quality Control) 
First UK press, 2014 
Black Vinyl /500 

They've just signed to Revelation Records and they're due to release a new LP this year, but before that, Violent Reaction have managed to produce this excellent new EP, "Dead End". This version is the UK press committed by the mighty Quality Control Records on black vinyl. Perhaps foolishly, I opted to purchase this from Static Shock instead of directly from QC as SS also had copies of the Crown Court demo. As a result though, I missed out on the limited white press of 100 copies of this EP. Not to worry, PKR have just handled the US release with a limited variation that I think I was quick enough to land.
It's not credited on the record sleeve anywhere, but discogs dot com states that this thing was mastered by Will Kilingsworth, perhaps a reason for the loud result, that could arguably result in the bands strongest release to date. Where I felt the "City Streets" album suffered slightly in the less than loud recording, here they've more less combined all the best factors of their two previous releases. That top shelf sound captured on the first 7", and all the more UK Oi! influences they started playing with on the LP. Here they probably take that UK approach further too with the distorted guitars completely eliminated in favour of that clean guitar sound.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM

Stone Dagger- The Siege Of Jerusalem c/w Black Clad Rider 7" (Electric Assault)
First Press, 2014
Black Vinyl /500(?)

Following the initial tape release of this single from Stone Dagger at the end of 2013, finally the vinyl version has surfaced with thanks to Electric Assault Records. This first press sold out in a bit more than a day. A second press is due soon. The more I listen to these two songs, the fonder I grow of them. Very excellent record, and through the power of suggestion on the label's behalf, I suspect we shall hear more from this group in the future.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

NO SUCH LUCK

Extortion- Degenerate LP (Blitz/Deep 6)
Third Press, 2014
White and Black Vinyl /??

Considering all the records that I own by this band, after some searching it looks like I've never made a dedicated post about what is arguably Extortion's best work, their first LP originally from 2006, "Degenerate", which I'm a little surprised by. This is another press -the third- handled by UK label Blitz Records with licence from Deep 6 on what the label describes as white and black, but seems more like a smudged grey. From the initial earlier presses, apart from the colour way, this thing varies in no way at all.
I'm confident in saying that this band isn't responsible for a single sub par release, though it all certainly exists along a scale of 'fucking excellent' down to 'not as excellent'. Sandwiched between the bands 1st and 2nd EP's, this record would definitely exist at the strong end of that scale and from many conversations I've had with people over the years, it seems it's all down to opinion on which of the first three of their records is their best work. I will admit that my opinion on the three tends to switch depending on my mood, but this album normally ends up being the one I spin first, mostly just because there's simply more music presented here and I don't need to be flipping between sides as often. I'd argue that the recording captured here is probably the best that the band achieved too- nice and loud and blown out without getting too 'studio'.
For the last couple of years the band have been completely inactive, though around the time of the release of their split with Cold World Rohan did make mention of a heap of material they had recorded for a handful of split releases with some very excellent bands. He did also talk about another full length. I haven't heard anything since then, but it would be good to see some new music from the band, considering just how prolific they were during the end of the noughties.

Friday, June 20, 2014

COME BACK

Rot In Hell- Ruined Empire LP (Organized Crime)
First Press, 2014
Grey Vinyl /??

Through all of the general pointlessness and unwarranted hype generated around Record Store Day every year, I normally tend to find at least one release that interests me enough to make me chase it down. Last year it was the Insect Warfare/Napalm Death split 7", this year it's this new collection LP from Rot In Hell, "Ruined Empire". This record serves as a sequel to the bands first collection LP, "Hallways Of The Always", and more or less works the exact same way; a collection of nearly all of the music that they have released on smaller formats since that last big record. What is different this time around though is that the band have opted not to record any new music specifically for this record; everything you get here has been released previously, admittedly though, some of it in extremely limited pressings.