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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

THE LINE UP

Caged Grave- Gutless 7" (Self Released) 
First Pressing, 2014 
Black Vinyl with Large 45 Hole /12

A very limited version of the latest Caged Grave EP. 12 copies only with this 45 hole, distributed to friends of the band.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

RACE THE REAPER

Disguise- System Shock 7" (Milk Run) 
First Pressing, 2014 
Yellow Vinyl /500

A central group of Irish musicians continues to produce quality loud music, the latest of the batch being this debut 7" from Dublin's Disguise, "System Shock". I had more or less forgone any real hope of hearing new riffs from these guys until Milk Run announced towards the end of last year that they would be pressing the bands inaugural vinyl outing. It took a little longer than what I assume the label had hoped, but finally the record has seen it's release.
The band haven't made a huge departure from what the demo originally hinted at- harsh Japanese inspired hardcore is largely the order of the day here, though the recording if anything is of notably lesser quality than that of the bands previous material. Across the board with this EP, the band also utilise more often a higher tempo, and the reverb effects on Andy's vocals aren't as pronounced, while all the delay is still there. All those factors lend to a different vibe than the previous stuff. It's probably not as hooky as the demo, but it's got energy in droves.

TEETH EATING

Internal Rot/Manhunt- Split 7" (Lethal Dose/625 Thrash/Psychocontrol)
First Pressing, 2014
Yellow Vinyl /50

In addition to their contribution to this split, Internal Rot have just returned from a short tour of the US and released a full length album, so they've been busy to an extent recently. Their four tracks here are exactly what you'd expect from the band; relentless Grindcore ala Excruciating Terror and related nastiness. Recorded back in March 2012, these songs, plus something like an additional 16 were originally intended for their debut LP, but were scrapped due to the guys not being entirely happy with the quality. Between that aborted session and the one for the eventually approved "Mental Hygiene" album, they wrote a load of new songs, so these four have only seen a release here. Pure Grind superiority in my opinion and certainly Australia's strongest example of the style currently.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

ERADICATION

Coffin Birth- Demo Tape (Self Released)
First Edition, 2014

This is a tape that I was originally going to be responsible for releasing, though with my current finacial goals outside of music related things, it kind of went on the back burner. Coffin Birth have then undertaken the task themselves of putting their demo to the cassette format, and a clean result it is. Here the band have a crack at severe Grindcore and they're possibly the best (and maybe only) example of a band doing this sound right in Brisbane now. The recording is perhaps a little clean for my regular taste in this style of music, but the idea and vibe are still there. Josh from this band is in fact one of the guitars player for Sick People, and the now departed Downpour, two bands that I've released stuff for in the past.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I DON'T LIKE THE LOOKS OF YOU

Peacebreakers- Every Day Battle 7" (Rock 'n' Roll Disgrace)
First Pressing, 2013
Black Vinyl /500

I remember the Peacebreakers demo tape landing in 2012, and everyone losing their shit, to an extent, myself included. Though that release possessed a far from quality, yet characterful recording, the tracks presented were catchy enough to vito that poor sound and go on to generate more than a fair share of excitement around the band. Hailing from the Hardcore capital of the world definitely had something to do with it too. That excitement hovered for a good amount of time until the wider release of this first press of their debut EP, "Every Day Battle" emerged early this year. Maybe I just haven't been paying as much attention since I landed my own copy but it certainly seems to have dissipated slightly over the last few months. I can't see why it would though, everything that made that demo excellent is again on display here, albeit in a far more polished form. Six anthems of boisterous, bold Boston hardcore. Fans of the bands contemporaries Boston Strangler will surely bust a nut spinning this 45, as the parallels are many. Simple, fast constructions consisting mostly of crunchy power chords, gruff, throaty vocals, and contentious, 'edgy' lyrics.
While this is a more than listenable record, and worthy of any collection, I have trouble believing that this band would be experiencing half of the popularity that they have in recent years if they weren't from Boston. Good stuff though.