Monday, October 31, 2011

weapon abuse

I'm going to list a handful of similarities that todays post fodder possesses with yesterday's blogging. Here's the new split 7" between Ireland's Drainland and Florida's Cellgraft. Black wax. The following list may seem totally irrelevant in your mind, but to me it works. a)- It's been pressed again by Superfi Records out of the UK (in conjunction with IFB Records and De Graanrepubliek Records). b)- It came in the same package as the TEB/PHT split. c)- Both records use the imagery of a piggy as part of their layouts/themes. d)- Both are certainly going to battle it out for my personal favourite for artwork in a record in 2011. e)- In the last six months or so have I begun to speak regularly to members of one band on each record. f)- Said members are also very good mates from way back, totally unbeknown to me until recently. g)- Both records are comprised of bands that hail from differing countries. It all makes sense in my head at least.
I've already posted about Drainland on here in the last year. Downtuned, aggro hardcore from Dublin. Their two tracks here aren't totally dissimilar to a lot of their previous music, most obvious though is the improvement of one of the singers, Jamie's vocals. He sounds a lot more in control of his pipes these days and comfortable with his approach. Due virtually to this very fact alone, the two songs here come across as more entertaining to listen to than the stuff from their debut MLP and split with Grinding Halt. To me anyway. I'd try to make comparisons to other great bands but I'd more than likely get it wrong. Just think of a reasonably modern sounding, dark, down-tuned hardcore band.
I've never taken a massive interest in Cellgraft. I did post very briefly about their demo mid last year, but for whatever reason they've just never grabbed my interest like a lot of other modern grind bands have in the last five years. Aware of this fact, I kind of feel a little stupid, because their half of this split is pretty great. They'd quickly be compared to greats like Excruciating Terror, and even early Napalm Death I think, and as with most of todays good grindcore bands, i'd immediately parallel them to Insect Warfare. Maybe it's goofy, but that band almost seems like the benchmark for modern grindcore these days. Heavy, metallic production, dominant shorter song structures, loud, grunted vocals offset with lots of high end stuff, relentless blast beats, and the odd peppering of some cool groove based breaks. And with that blueprint, the band has run wild here. This would easily represent their cleanest and heaviest recording to date, and I don't doubt that fans of any of the bands I just mentioned would turn their nose up at these seven songs. Expect more posts about this band in the approaching weeks.
So as I mentioned, here's a contender for artwork of 2011 and I doubt I need to explain why to most readers. For once we've escaped a stock standard drawing or photo of a dead guy or a skull. I'm certainly no horror or gore freak, but I do find myself fascinated by this photo for whatever reason.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

qabalistic zero

Here lies the new split 7" between two of North America's noisier exponents of hardcore punk, Toronto's The Endless Blockade and Washington State's Pig Heart Transplant. 500 copies pressed by Superfi Records out of the UK, with, as Andrew from TEB so charmingly states, 'six panels of meat baby action'. Artwork by none other than the folks at Feeding, and it's arguably their best work to date. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything that they've done that I prefer. I will admit though that the sentiment is probably largely realised due to the fact that the screen print job put together by The Print Project is absolutely top notch (edit- not The Print Project, it was in fact printed by Heavy Rock Screen Print). The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was the stark smell of the rich ink and the feel of the premium quality matte card stock. Here's a record that evokes more than just the senses of sight and sound. This package could possibly be my favourite of the year.
So if you don't know by now you probably live under a boulder, but this more or less represents the final recorded output by The Endless Blockade. Recorded back in 2009, there's two songs on offer here, the first, this posts namesake, could probably be interpreted by most as a somewhat 'conventional' TEB song, being largely comprised of the standard guitar, drum, and vocal attack. The song is more of a grower though as it plods along at a reasonably consistent mid/slower pace. For over four minutes it rummages through various progressions, as Andrews patented noise effects gradually build momentum in the background, before it seamlessly rolls into the second track, "Your Curse", a complete noise track with randomly screamed vocals. I don't pretent to be this bands number one fan, nor to I know their entire catalogue front to back, but this seems like the most fitting Eulogy.
This post represents only the second time that I've ever had the chance to post about Pig Heart Transplant, the first being my post about their collaborative live LP with Iron Lung and Walls last year. The majority of this bands earlier work is very hard to come by as most of it was only ever released in very short runs. Coupled with the fact that I am not the biggest fan of dedicated noise/drone approaches like this, it means that I would never bother to grab PHT records unless they were literally within my grasp. What's to say here? Comprised most notably by Jon Kortland of Iron Lung/Feeding, their side of this split showcases just under five minutes of ambient, dark, random noise. Electronics, feedback, discordant drums and guitar. Gruff, belched vocals. Comparative to what previous PHT material I am familiar with, this isn't really at all removed from that stuff. I suspect established fans won't at all be disappointed.
If only more bands and labels were geared for releasing more premium quality packages like this. I really doubt that this splits sleeve and artwork will be topped this year.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

foreign job lot

Bridge 9 Records just did a second press of their reissue of the Antidote 7". It's on clear vinyl of an undisclosed number. Read my original post about the reissue here.

paths of glory

Remember about six weeks ago when I posted about the Converge/Drop Dead split 7" and I bitched about how the original copy I purchased from Deathwish Inc never showed up? Well, it arrived yesterday, three months later. Red and black smudge vinyl.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

no alibi

It's been a great year for 7"s. And one couldn't be blamed for attributing part of that greatness to the debut Tremors EP, "Island Songs". Rough, abrasive hardcore punk straight out of London. Thanks to The Essence Records, I scored a pre order edition of 100 on red vinyl.
So I think the story with this band is pretty well told by now. The singer used to front that NYHC styled band Dirty Money; the bassist is an Australian ex-pat, formerly of a handful of great bands; Six Feet Under Records is pressing an American edition of this EP before the end of the year. I think most would be familiar with these facts by now, and if you're not, why not?
What's on offer here is a reasonably smooth continuation on from the demo. The recording is much the same as that former release- messy around the edges, fast, no real bullshit, catchy (even hooky) riffs and creative constructions. Just very well written and executed hardcore. The singers unique approach certainly defines the bands sound too, and it couldn't be more apparent here.
Number 77 of 100.
Like I said, gret year for EP's. Certain top tenner for 2011.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

planning is easy

I've definitely said some overly kind things about Northern California's Punch on this blog in the past. Chalk that previous enthusiasm up to a few things, most likely having just come away from the bands live show. I'll admit that they have one of the best live sets going of any modern hardcore band. I'll also admit that their last LP was pretty good. Perhaps not as good as I suggested in my post about it, but yeah, good, maybe even a little better than just good, but not great. And in true form, again, this, their new EP, "Nothing Lasts" is good. Blue vinyl. Pressed with the help of 625 Thrash, Deathwish and Discos Huelga Records.
So I can enjoy this band. I actually like the female vocals. I'm really fond of the blast beats and the general style of the songs. I'm also pretty into the recording style too. Rough in all the right places. But something about the band rubs me up the wrong way kind of. Like there's something that I genuinely don't like about them as a unit. Maybe it's their hipster, self important, pretentious lyrics, maybe it's their trendy fixed gear bike hats. Maybe it's even their denim jackets, I'm not too sure. I can't put my finger right on it, but I can't get into them as much as a lot of my friends seem to be able to, and as much as know I probably should. With that said though, this new 7" is just as good as much of their previous catalogue.
I'll leave you with that. Good EP.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

take it down

Major Damage from Richmond play a pretty obvious take on 80's Boston hardcore ala the greats (SSD, Neg FX, Impact Unit etc). This is a one man project from the guy in Direct Control and Government warning and this is the bands first outing via 7". S/T EP on black vinyl thanks to Even Worse Records. Bought this off a friend based purely on his good word alone. I'd never heard of the band before and I'll admit that I'm not disappointed.
Now with that in mind, this is nothing ground breaking, or even fantastic at all really. Just solid, rough hardcore. Spot on recording qualities, perfect structures, great tones etc. Just about every nail has been hammered with this EP so it automatically gets the thumbs up. It's just not amazing and barely warrants more than a single listen really. I mean this is upwards in quality tenfold compared to a lot of the records that have been released this year, but there's no real spark in the songs of the same intensity as similar recordings like this that have come about over the last 18 months. Compared to things like the demos from The Stranglah, Reckless Aggression, and even Skrapyard, this pales. Maybe I'll spin it twice though.
Worth the 10 bones you'll hand over, and maybe a little more.

Friday, October 14, 2011


In last night's post I mentioned that I won that record along with something else. This was the something else. The limited orange variation of the Chaos In Tejas cover for the latest Extortion record, the "Get Fucked" 5". Black wax, Regurgitated Semen Records. I did originally post about the red variation of this this cover a few months ago, but at the time I was totally unaware that there also existed this orange version. I was more than annoyed when I heard of it's existence, as most would know about me, Extortion records are by crutch. Why? Because man will always be man.
I think that's a '28' of 100.
All I really need at this point is the transparency cover of the demo 7", and those elusive gold and silver release covers of the split 5" with Rupture from a couple years ago. Based on what Rohan told me, something like five or six copies of the gold version exist, while it's something like 20 of the silver.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

seizure at the circus

Here's a bit of a gem that I've had filed away in the back of my head under 'get eventually' for a few years now, the Infest/Pissed Happy Children split. Now this is the 7" repress version from 2000. This split was originally pressed as an 8" flexi back in 1989. It was Slap A Ham Records #1. Perhaps fittingly, this version is touted as SAH #1.5. Unsure of the numbers, but I know that this blue variation was a mail order edition only.
I kind of hope that any explanation that I give of this record is presumedly a waste of time, as most should know the story with what's on offer here. PHC was Eric Wood's band pre everything. While they ran a more similar vein to that of Infest and the like, fast and gruff, you can still definitely hear a heap of early Neanderthal and MITB isms in their infancy. Wood sounds remarkably younger with this band than with his later stuff, and that iconic MITB bass tone is ever present. Infest, is/was well... Infest. Duh.
What's on offer here is live music from each band. The Infest side consists of tracks pulled from the demo, "Mankind" EP and "Slave" LP. The recordings are of a very reasonable quality for this era of recording abilities, better than I expected it to be. The PHC songs are pretty rough sounding. Only three cuts, originally from their s/t LP.
I won this for the handsome price of $17. I guess being a repress, it's not going to fetch the same asking price that the original flexi does, but at least I can play this one without fear of ruining it. Postage wise, when coupled with another record that I won from this seller (to be blogged about later), things weren't too shabby.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

it's a M.A.N.S. world!

I think the general consensus when it comes to best era Napalm Death lays with either "Scum" or this, their second LP from 1988 "From Enslavement To Obliteration". Personally, this one's my pick, and here it is. Earache #8, black vinyl. Secured via eBay for a modest buy it now price. So much influence was spawned with this album, just about every great modern grind band would openly admit to taking direct influence from this album in particular. You just can't argue it at all.
Obviously Scum more or less spawned grindcore, but this LP cemented the genre indefinitely, and truly displayed the band firmly settling on an idea and an approach, even if they did progress on from this style pretty quickly with the following material. One could argue that with 'Enslavement, Harris certainly hit his peak in the drumming department, the centre piece that undeniably powered the band. The recording here is obviously cleaner too, more succinct, and more together, a luxury that was afforded to the band with the Earache deal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

skateboard bikini wax

Eddie Brock from Baltimore play a pretty rugged brand of powerviolence heavily reminiscent of "Trapped Inside" era Lack Of Interest, I think I am most so reminded of that band because of the singers vocal style here. Burly, throaty and powerful. This is their debut s/t 7" thanks to Photobooth Records. Pre order of yellow/green of 80 copies. Obi strip too.
What differs from the aforementioned influences is a few things. First, the recording is noticeably cleaner and what you would call more 'modern' sounding. Just generally neater and tidier. With the modern tone comes a slightly more accessible style in general too. Blast beats and sudden tempo shifts are prominent still, but they're coupled with many more bouncy riffs and mosh parts etc. To me with this style it almost seems like a natural progression for the genre
I doubt fans of the modern state of this style of music will be disappointed with this. It possesses all the elements to please a reasonably wide fan base. I can see the more purist types being less than satisfied with this though, but I guess it comes down to personal interpretation. Take it or leave it, it's worth the $7.