Wednesday, March 28, 2012

get real

New EP, "Derailed" from Californian band Zero Progress. Black vinyl, pressed by Piledriver Records which I think is the label run by one of the guys in the band. I don't really know anything about these guys at this stage other than what I've just said. I friend of mine recently turned me onto them and I was pretty into right away.

They play a pretty good take on a handful of varied early 80's styles. Most obvious sound I heard immediately was a pretty bouncy NYHC thing, most typified by the singers pretty youthful style. There's definitely a good chunk of the Boston sound ala Jerry Kids and the likes going on here too in some fast 'one two one two' drum bits.

A note included with this record told me that they have a new record on the way soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

crowd control interview

Last year I interviewed Ireland's Crowd Control for issue #5 of my zine, Downsided. Here follows said interview. I still have a few hard copies left of the zine for anyone who wants a copy. Attach enquiries here. Issue #6 (the last) will surface within the next fortnight hopefully. One interview only, with Toronto's Purity Control. I've been sitting on this interview since the end of December so it's time I finished the job.

Anyway, here's the CC conversation. Most of it is with Eddie, the bands bassist. Screamer Andy also answered a few questions.

You guys have been around for a few years now, with a steady collection of releases under your belt, and with an obviously noticeable progression of your sound since the first demo through to the newest LP. Can you you give me a bit of a breakdown of the sound progression? I mean I know the change isn’t polar or anything like that, but there’s certainly a difference. What was the idea when you guys first got together? How did that change? Was there a conscious decision to get HEAVIER or was it a more gradual process?

E - I wasn’t in the band for the demo but I think the lads were going for a straightforward Neanderthal rip-off at the time. By the time of the Mob Rules split Martin was in the band and was writing riffs too. The songs from around then were more mid-tempo and groove heavy where the demo had been faster and fairly brash. It was a gradual process but I think there definitely was a conscious decision to get “heavier”. We tuned down from C to A and spent more time on our tones than we had done before. The newer songs we were writing before the LP suited this tuning much better.

I hear so many favourites channeled through the new LP; obvious early 90’s death metal influences, late 80’s/early 90’s Californian PV styles, plenty of doom and down tempo kind of stuff. Were you trying to recreate any of these sounds on the album? I may be off point, but I hear heaps of Mind Eraser in there aswell, namely with a lot of the tempo progressions, and particularly some of those mosh bits on the B side. Am I wrong?

E - I don’t think we were necessarily trying to recreate anything but there was definitely a specific style of production we wanted on the album. In my head it was that heavy, dirty old death metal sound with sharp Japanese hardcore style guitars cutting through the mix. Totally blown out and overdriven drums and vocals too. If anything I think the LP should’ve sounded more fucked and filthy, but we had to work within pretty strict time constraints.

We all really like Mind Eraser so I’m sure it’s possible there’s an influence identifiable in there somewhere, though I don’t think we were listening to them much around the time we were writing the LP.

As I mentioned, notable with the second half of the LP are some of the more mosh elements. Especially with the HUGE breakdown in “Cokehead” and the pant shitting bit in “Childhood” where it progresses from that really catchy kind of ‘two step’ riff/beat into that deadly tremolo picking riff. Reminds me distinctively of one particular song by Cannibal Corpse in the late 90’s and also the second last song on “Cave”. Do you guys make intentional efforts to write songs that will make kids move when you play live?

E - No,of course not. It’s not like when you’re writing a song you’re unaware that people are more likely to dance to certain bits above others but it never influenced our writing on the conscious level. If anything we were probably overly conscious of not doing this, haha. I think it’s often pretty obvious when bands have put ‘mosh’ bits in their songs for the sake of it. I’d like to think in our songs that these types of parts fit well within their context and aren’t just stock or whatever.

Having said that I don’t even really think of the album as being heavy on the ‘mosh’ side, a lot of the parts that might sound like that remind me more of old death metal and even some UK82. Unemployed skinheads fighting with chains in an industrial estate rather than lads in Your Demise mesh shorts two stepping. Nothing wrong with that, just not what we're going for.

Do the kids move? What’s an average CC show like? Lots of crossed arms? Or do kids get punched in the face?

E - It varies I guess. I’m sure we’ve had equal amounts of each. The best reactions we’ve gotten were probably at the last few gigs where there was a pretty fun atmosphere and a tonne of people were fucking each other around and generally getting wild. It’s always flattering when people move around or whatever but the most fun reactions I found were when people fucked with us a bit. Andy got suplexed five times by a stranger at a gig in Sheffield.

Who writes the stuff? I’ve found that with the majority of the good bands I’ve interviewed over the years, they normally rely on a core of one or two guys, the ‘brains’ if you will, to bang out the majority of the riffs and structures. I find that’s how a band retains a true focus; when it’s maintained by no more than two guys with a similar idea. How does a CC song come together? Who’s the brains?

E -It’s varied over the years but on the LP it was usually Andy or Martin that would come in with a basic song structure and then we’d all work on it in practice. Sometimes the song would stay exactly the same, other times it’d change completely. We never got to practice as frequently as we would've liked so there wasn't much room for 'jamming out', which I guess is a shame.

I could rave on about the LP all day and about the various elements that contribute to it being so good. One thing that’s immediate to me, and has been since I first jammed it, is the reverb on the vocals. Reverb brings to mind a lot of the 80’s Japanese burning spirits scene, and I’ve heard many comparisons of CC to that era of eastern hardcore, you’ve even covered Bastard. How did the reverb come into play? Was that an important factor? I only ask because it’s not hugely apparent on the previous releases (bar the B side of the 7” obviously). Did someone at some point say “turn up that fucking reverb”?

A - I wanted my vocals to reflect depression, isolation, and claustrophobia, and delay/reverb really put that into the sound I think. Also, with the death metal elements, I was looking at early Sepultura, and Ross Bay maniacs Blasphemy for the evil atmosphere.

Your bass tone is another one of those factors. Fuck. What a mess. I’m no musician so I don’t know how you go about achieving such noise, so forgive me if these questions seem a little naive, but how did that tone happen? To me it’s probably the most prominent element of the entire recording. I don’t think I’ve heard anything quite like it. Did you just decide to get down and dirty? Explain the tone to me if you can. Why and how it got so big etc?

E - Haha, I was actually pretty disappointed with the bass tone on the LP. People have asked about it a few times before, but I don’t really know why, I think it sounds a bit tame, at least tamer than it is live.

We wanted the bass to sound as filthy and heavy as possible while still having really strong definition. We cut a lot of the pedal distortion out for the LP so the bass could give a really defined low end to the recordings to compliment the sharp guitars. The best bass sound I’ve gotten was at a gig when I was playing through Andy’s fucked head and like a Metal Zone or some shit. People asked if the head and cab were broken, which was funny. They actually were as it turned out.

As I mentioned, you guys covered Bastard on the previous 7”, as well as Citizen’s Arrest. Both are done tastefully, personally I prefer the Bastard rendition, but I can see CA influence in the overall CC sound much more. Why cover these two bands in particular?

E - We all love them and think more people should listen to them.

Both covers are on the B side of the 7” and both, along with the Crowd Control original “Erosion”, were recorded in the same sessions as the LP. However, the A side tracks of the 7” were recorded at a separate session. Is there a story behind that? There’s such a noticeable step up in sound between the two sessions.

E - We recorded those three songs for a split with the UK band The Hard Way but that fell through. We didn’t want to just let the recordings go to waste so we did a short run of tapes with those 3 and the 3 we did with the LP on them for Life and Death Fest in Dublin last year.

Sam from Abolition who does Disposable Culture Records offered to press the songs onto 7” so we figured it’d be stupid to turn up the offer and went for it.

There’s a running theme in the artwork with the 7” and LP, some sort of dire planetary kind of scene, like a surface picture of Mars or something similar. The 7” also has a pair of figures in what looks like space suits walking up a hill towards the point of view. It probably goes right over my head when it shouldn’t, but what’s the idea with the theme?

A - This again comes back to creating a feeling of cold, dark, isolation. I don't think you can really highlight the absolute pointlessness of day to day existence better than displaying the elements of everyday life against a backdrop of the cosmos. Plus, space is fucking cool.

The first time I heard you guys was on the split 7” with Mob Rules. A lot of hype seemed to surround that band at the time of the release of that record, and because of that I think I kind of almost passed CC over in favour of MR. I still love the MR stuff (their best recorded material to date in my opinion), but these days, the CC side always gets priority. The sounds of both bands were very similar at that point, but you both seemed to have diverged in opposite directions. How did that split come about?

A - It was a pretty simple process. Jamie from SubHem asked if we wanted to a split with MR and we said FUCK YEAH. The rest was history.

Labels like ‘mysterious guy hardcore’ have been thrown around a lot when referencing both CC and MR, and I definitely had a lot of trouble initially getting into contact with you guys. I asked MR a similar question last year and I know you can’t speak for them, but what’s your opinion on such a monicker? Have you consciously made a decision to come across as ‘mysterious’? Did you go out your way to make it hard for people to get into contact?

E - No,of course not. We’re just not very organised and don’t like using Myspace or whatever. If people want to contact us they can e-mail, simple as that. The mysterious thing doesn’t make sense really, we’re hardly purposefully trying not to make our music available to buy to seem cool or something, we’re just all really busy with other things and rarely get to discuss band stuff. If we’re hanging out it’s more likely we’re smoking, drinking, acting cool than discussing band shit. It's not ideal being in a band when we're all fuckups, but it's definitely fun.

A relatively stock standard question, but can you please list off the entire CC discography for collector scumbag purposes (just me)? I know of the demo (tape?), split 7” with Mob Rules (colours, if any?), s/t 7” (colours, if any?), and LP. I’ve also heard rumours of limited 7”s with alternate, rejected recordings of the spit tracks. What exists? Any unreleased recordings and if so, can I get em?

E - Everything so far has been on six different colours, you failed to mention three other releases, and you can’t have any of them.

The actual release of the LP; it’s been really drawn out and any fan of the band will know what I am talking about when I say things like ‘overdue’ and ‘too fucking long’. What’s the story? I heard it was pressed in something like September last year, but still hasn’t really seen the proper light of day. I had to virtually steal one from Jamie at Suburban Mayhem Records.

E -Being unorganised and busy isn’t much of a story.

Now for some standard questions from the geographically challenged. Apart from you guys, and maybe two other bands (bands that I’ve only discovered after researching because of CC), I know nothing about the Irish hardcore scene. Is there a scene? Is there a division between the north and south (would that even have a bearing on the situation these days? Sorry if that sounds dumb)?

E - The North and South thing isn’t really relevant, both scenes have plenty interaction. The Dublin hardcore scene isn’t nearly as divided as it was maybe two or three years ago. There used to be a fairly obvious divide between the more modern hardcore scene and the crusty punk scene but the lines are pretty blurred now. I think Dublin’s better for bands now than it has been in a while and looks set to improve for the next while anyway. There’s not a massive amount to cater to my tastes really but the bands are of a high standard and gigs are fun. I think everyone should check out Contort, they’re a new band and are way better than CC. I like Frustration (who Martin plays in) and Fag Enablerz a lot.

Now we spoke of the split with MR, an English band, so there’s obviously somewhat of a connection with the UK in terms of scene, but to what extent? I have never been to that part of the world, so I know nothing about how distance would have an overall bearing on things like that. Is it one big united thing? Or is it vastly different and divided?

A - It really just comes down to the UK being our closest land mass, making touring there relatively easy compared to other places. We've also made a lot of good friends over there, which may have been helped by irish and english culture being pretty similar. I wouldn't really say Ireland and the UK are one big scene, but there are strong ties due to the previously stated geographical/cultural factors.

What music are you keen on in particular at the moment? Doesn’t have to be Irish, doesn’t have to be punk or hardcore.

E - I’ve been a bit obsessed with old power pop for the last year or two and am totally out of touch with new hardcore. Lately I’ve been listening to lots of Exploding Hearts, Koro, Buzzcocks, old Northern Irish punk/powerpop, and old Northern Soul comps. Listen to Protex and Big Star.

Through various conversations I’ve had with you over the last few months I’ve been given the distinct impression that you’re not really sure about what’s happening with CC in general, and I know you’ve got other things to concentrate on in the form of your other band Loose Nut. Any further developments on the subject? More shows? More music? Or is it done for?

E - We’ve yet to all get together and discuss it. We’ve all been really busy with college, work, other bands and the usual shit. Who knows what the summer holds.

Tell me about Loose Nut. I know of a demo, is there anything else at this stage? Will there be?

E - There’s a demo up to download online and there will be a split 7” with the awesome Control from the UK out over the summer. We’re recording for next week. Our bassist Gary is moving to Canada in early May and I think we’re adding a second guitarist so we’ll have some new blood soon. I’m looking forward to us writing and recording new stuff, I think a lot of it will be a good bit different than the demo.

Any last words, thanks etc? I can’t muster up anything more I don’t think.

E - Thanks for the interview. Watch Billy Madison.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Remember a few weeks ago my rant about RSR? Well here's the other record I eluded to in that post. There exists three more records I need to complete my Ex collection. Please be kind and sell me both of the limited covers of the first press of the Ex/Rupture split 5" (they exist in a wider edition of silver cover and a band press of a gold cover), and the transparency cover of the demo 7". Thank you.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

disconnect me

I doubt very much at this point that pretty much anyone at least semi attached to or even familiar with the wider international hardcore/punk scene hasn't heard of this LP and the absolutely ludicrous hype that it's developed over the last few weeks. I speak of course about the debut LP "Primitive" from Boston Strangler. My copy is on black vinyl, pressed by Fun With Smack Records, the label run by one of the guys from Free Spirit, from what I have heard. From pictures I have seen about three other colours were also pressed, amongst a run of something like 1000 copies (maybe?).

So I'll do a basic run down for those not in the know about the situation. Fun With Smack have no official website, online store, or internet presence what so ever. All the records pressed have been gradually distributed out to various label's online stores for the past fortnight in what seems like reasonably limited amounts each time. Every time a label lists their new stock, it all sells out within a minute or less. I picked my copy up about two weeks ago from the Sorry State Records webstore in the exact same situation. I just managed to get lucky I suppose. I feel a little silly to be honest, I don't even think this thing is that good. I mean, in terms of a punchy, powerful hardcore record, this will certainly make the top ten for the year, but there is no way that I rate this as high as many of it's contemporaries from the last 12 months at all.

I originally posted about this band at the end of 2010 when I spoke about their demo tape "Outcast". Now that was a good demo. Coursing much a similar vein to this album in terms of approach, but with a really cool, old sounding recording. That's what I am really missing here. With "Primitive" they've presented a very tight quality sounding record almost like a big budget studio sounding job, in comparison to the mentioned demo anyway.

Good, but not great. I'm happy to own my own copy and pay stock price for it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

who's next for the nazi dentist?

This is my next little piece of work, DR#08, the Nazi Dentist demo tape. A few members of a couple of the bands I have already worked with in the last 12 months playing fast hardcore most likely inspired by late 80's / early 90's Southern Californian bands like No Comment and Infest. Add some pretty blatant mosh elements to the mix and a dual vocal approach typified by a male/female attack and this tape is the result. 50 copies initially of which the band will be selling tonight at their second show with American queer grind/noise unit HIRS and a handful of other locals. If demand necessitates I may sort out a second run.

DR#09 will be ready to go in the next fortnight. It will be the new demo tape from The Sunshine Coast's Draw Blank. 50 copies of nasty NYHC revival. Dudes vocals remind me heaps of Switch from Justice so in turn I guess these guys also remind me a lot of The Abused. DR#10 is also in the pipeline and more info on that will follow shortly.

Friday, March 23, 2012

cold storage

Two new tapes from the Lurk Sleep Kill label.

I came across Whorelord when the Cvlt Nation website posted about this new demo tape of theirs recently. Now I wouldn’t say that I often stumble across many gems by way of that site, but I will admit that I have been massively impressed by the quality of this debut demo. 4 tracks in about 11 minutes of horrendously scum drenched, filth laden punk/death/black metal. The recording is murky, the fellow’s unhinged vocals are reverbed and delayed through the roof and it just sounds like total shit in general (in a great way). What’s smart about this demo though is the underlining sense of catchiness. On multiple occasions the band utilise some really cool mosh oriented riffs and hooks. There’s also a few really nifty leads. I’d put my dick in my roommates new meat grinder before admit that this will appeal to your average Deathwish Records kid though, but it’s something to be aware of.

Nuclear Witch differ slightly from the previous in that they settle on a foundation set more in a traditional black metal approach. Less of those aforementioned groove and thrash metal leanings favoured by Whorelord, replaced with a barrage of tremolo riffing and shrieked vocals under layers of disgusting reverb. Both tapes possess the very rough recording qualities that I enjoy and Nuclear Witch own the rougher of the two.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

moment of death

Today's record seems like a bit of a no brainer. To me anyway. Last year's reissue of the brilliant 1989 Bastard 7" "Controlled In The Frame" courtesy of 540 Records. Regardless of how fond of or familiar you are with this band, it's definitely an essential addition to any self respecting punk record enthusiast's collection. This is on black vinyl. From what I can gather, presses were also made of red, orange and blue vinyl, and a few random coloured screened covers were also created. It was bootlegged once at the beginning of the noughties, but this is the first time since it's original form that it's seen an official repress.

One can't deny how much of this band's sound has carried on in hundreds of today's current groups. I'd argue that just about any modern crust/d-beat/metallic hardcore punk band from anywhere in the world would be able to trace some kind of origin back to Bastard, this 7" and their LP that followed. Purely timeless Japanese hardcore that defined so much and transcends many boundaries. Classic underlining d-beat with simple riffing and leads thrown in, all pinned up by a throaty fellow who sounds ever so angry.

Now someone reissue "Wind Of Pain".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

point of view

I grabbed this new s/t Face Reality 7" from Youngblood Records at the same time I bought the new No Tolerance EP. If I remember correctly, originally Youngblood put up pre orders for this record on blue vinyl, which I ordered, but at some point issues arose with that blue press that managed to delay the shipping of the record. Sean from Youngblood sent out emails to those who ordered blue and asked if they wanted red instead. I took him up on that offer.

Having only heard their demo originally this was kind of a gamble for me as I wasn't overly excited about that recording. Turns out I've come up trumps as this is a bit f a good EP. Hard, angry core is the theme of the day and these guys do it well. Thick, chuggy riffs, cool fast breaks and a vocalist who really sounds like he's ready to break bottles over people's heads. He has certainly come a long way since that demo.

Detroit hardcore. Turns out another 7" exists between this and the demo. Might track it down.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

end of the line

Here's the new, and much hyped 7", "No Remorse, No Tolerance" from Boston's No Tolerance. Pressed by Youngblood Records, I didn't realise it as I was quick to the punch but apparently this press of gold vinyl sold out really quicky and now people are paying silly amounts for it.

I can't say a huge amount about this new record that I haven't about previous material of theirs in the past, or any other good Boston hardcore band of this style really. Six punchy, manly songs built around a pretty steady division of the fast bit and the mosh bit, all punctuated by DFJ's typical yelling style spewing arrogant straight edge and related lyrics. Bouncy riffs and sharp snare fills complete the package. While this may not hit the exact brilliance of their demo, the best song they've ever written can be found here in "Empty Words". A noticeable step up in production also gives this thing a good wallop of power.

At one point quite a while back I remember the word getting around that these guys had another 7" due too. Curious to see if that will happen, aware of the fact that the assumed writing center of this band also both do time in about a million other groups.

Monday, March 19, 2012

the hammer and the anvil

More fantastic stuff from Doomentia Records, this time the debut s/t 12" EP from Italy's Barbarian. Having never heard a thing about these guys before Doomentia announced they were releasing this album I was almost immediately completely stoked on this band. Barbaric heavy metal that takes blatant inspiration from Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost. Black vinyl of the first press of 500 copies.

What isn't to like about this record? A really on point Hellhammer rendition, though it doesn't just limit itself to that bands influence. All of the base points are here- simplistic riffs and structures. Basic but clear and precise recording. Gruff vocals with heaps of groans and grunts thrown in. Here though they seem to utilise a few more leads and cool drum fills and structures. The riffing and drumming just comes across as a little more technical in general too. Whether they made a conscious decision to intensify their sound more or it's just a natural product of talented musicians is not for me to say. I'd bet on the latter though. And look at these dudes and their names. How could this get any better?? It can't. It won't.




Poster included.

Can't wait to hear if these guys write more material.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

selling shirts

I am selling 39 shirts. If you read this blog often enough you'll know my taste. This sale is pretty indicative of that. There's some pretty cool shirts in here. There's also a few that I am more or less willing to give away, provided postage is covered. Most are of the slimmer fit, some a bit bigger. Most just don't fit me anymore. Click the below link, check the shirts, then hIt me up for more details. Simple.

instruments of eternal damnation

Hooded Menace are undoubtedly the most hyped band in current metal. It's proven every time a release they're involved with sells out within a matter of hours. Case in point today; their recent split 12" with fellow Finns Horse Latitudes. Mine is from the first press of 500 copies which sold out in less than a day. Blame the mighty Doomentia Records. I may be wrong but I think low stocks remain of the subsequent second pressing. Do your worst.

One track from each band, the Hooded contribution is pretty much what you would expect, reaching into the 9+ minute territory. Slow, dark, extremely heavy. New full length from these guys this year. Having no experience with Horse Latitudes prior to hearing their one song here I can't really make comparisons to previous works. It's slow and heavy and perfectly couples with the Hooded side. Different influences inspire these guys somewhat though, taking less from traditional death metal and more from stoner and old doom.

This first press was released with what the label has described as a faux leather sleeve. Doesn't really feel at all like leather, and of course it definitely doesn't smell like it, but I guess it looks so. All of the text, logos and headers etc are then embossed into that faux leather. As always, it's an A+ set up from Doomentia.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

son of man

Here's the debut vinyl release from Perth's Helta Skelta, their s/t LP. Self released by the band on black wax in a press of 200 copies. Members of a few other notables from that area I've read. Originally this thing was put up for pre order around October last year, when I ordered it, but for whatever reason the guys missed it or something so I've only received this in the last few weeks. Early orders went out with a free cassette version of the LP too, I should have got one, but yeah like I said, the guys missed my order some how.

Hardcore punk with clean sounding guitars and yelled vocals. Overall a pretty clean sounding recording, for a current Australian band these guys take a pretty unique approach. One of the better Australia albums in recent memory and a noticeable step up from their much lauded demo from a couple years ago.

Hand numbered as you can see.