I started writing this before No Way Fest, and just got busy with everything. Since organizing this reviews post, I now have a new stack. What better way to spend one of the nicest days this summer staying inside and listening to hardcore records...
Double Negative- Raw Energy
Following last year's monstrous LP, this is their new EP. Production wise, it's a lot more raw sounding than the LP. Hell "raw" is right there in the title. The A side has a lot of weird echoes and overdubs, but the 2 songs on the B side are killer. I think I liked the LP more, but this some ripping shit here. The packaging on here is top notch as well, and the price was the same as a normal 7" (unlike those stupid Youth Attack releases).
Inmates- Now We Talkin Hardcore!
Sorry every other band, The Inmates are fucking back! Almost 10 years since releasing their already classic LP, here's the follow up EP. What more could you want but fast, weird, annoying Clevo-style HARDCORE. They clearly don't take themselves seriously, but they ain't no joke band. Gonna be hard to top this record for the best of '08.
Deep Sleep- Manic Euphoria
I was really into the first Deep Sleep 7", so I was glad to see they had a new record coming, and that the lineup now featured 1/2 of the Spark. I was expecting it to be a bit faster than the last record, but I think a lot of it is a bit slower. Not in a bad way at all, more in a Descendents/All type sense. Not Pop-punk at all, but I could see it appealing to that crowd as well as the punks.
Nightstick Justice- Claustrophobic
I really liked their demo 7", and I think that musically it fits the same sound. On this record however, the vocals sound more distorted, which makes it sound a lot like Look Back and Laugh. I suppose it gives it a harder edge, which is obviously a good thing. They have an LP and another 7" out that I need to get (you should too).
Search + Destroy- s/t
I honestly knew nothing about these guys before picking this up. I had some credit at my local record store, and the cover art seemed cool, and I had seen it in some distros. What a pleasant surprise I got. S+D play hardcore punk in a Germs style thats fast and snotty. Don't let the 3 dicks on the cover turn you off.
Sex Vid- Nests
This band seems to be real hyped, so I figured I'd check out their newest effort. I thought the Tania 7" was ok, not bad-but not mind blowing. I honestly think the other stuff I've heard by them is a lot better. Their style is heavily influenced by bends like Void/Die Kreuzen and Born Against, but I think there are other current bands that do it better. Maybe I'm being too harsh since they're hyped up, but they're a million times better than Fucked Up, who were way hyped a year or so ago.
Total Abuse- Demo 06
If you're a chump (like me) and missed out on the demo tape, here's your chance to redeem yourself. This record is killer. The recordings are obviously more raw than the Sex Pig EP, but the songs are just as good. Fans of Deep Wound and hyper fast early 80's HC should already own this.
Born Bad- Moron Music
Another band I took a chance on, and wound up pleasantly surprised. Born Bad plays heavy fast hardcore. The vocals remind me a bit of Deathreat, and they have a sound similar to Wasted Time.
Insomnio- Walking on the String
I really liked this record; it reminds me of the Zero Boys. The production has a real late 70's rock influenced punk sound. Real mid paced, but catchy.
Human Mess- s/t
VERY Germs sounding punk rock from these guys. Solid first release, with a real raw sound. It's got a dirty and lo-fi recording, like I said... very Germs sounding. Pretty good stuff, they've got an LP coming soon too.
Jean Mills Society Torch- Start Tomorrow
Apparently recorded back in 2005, and finally released now, I've never really heard of this band. It features members of some of the better MD bands of the past few years, but sounds faster than anything. Reminds me of the early 2000's 625 releases mixed with a Tear It Up type sound. It's too fast for the thrash scene, but definitely not falling into the grind/power violence scene. Not too bad, would have probably ripped live though.
Zhenia Golov- s/t
Local New Brunswick, NJ thrashers unleash their first proper release. They've gotten a lot better than their demo last year. Their sound is probably best described as crust influenced thrash. Too crusty for the thrashers, too thrashy for the crusties. I'd like to see a little more D-beat to the drums next time around. I hear hints of NJ bands' past like NB staples, the Degenerics/ Fanshen even a little Tear It Up. The lyrics are very politically based, but don't come off as condescending.
V/A- Sick of Fun
Compilations these days are pretty sparse, especially a 7" comp w/ a ton of ripping bands. I was half expecting this to be similar to the old Slap A Ham Bleeeargh comps, where a bunch of good bands throw 45 throw away songs on a 7". Not the case, there's bunch of bands, but it flows nicely. Standouts include the obvious bands like Socialcide, Reprobates, Broken Needle, and No Thanks contribute their classic "Are You Ready to Die." My main gripe is that the order of bands on the back cover and in the insert aren't in the correct order. Also the font used on the cover makes it look like "SILK of Fun."
The Darvocets- Are New Wave
They're back! If you haven't heard the Darvocets before, they play punk in a style similar to the Crucifucks (weird), and have lyrics about UFOs and government conspiracies. So yea, they rule. This record definitely ups the weird level, and probably not the best for newcomers. They play a heavily KBD influenced mid paced punk sound, and add parts where it's just vocals and finger snaps. Idiots won't get it, but this rules.
Straight Jacket Nation- s/t
Holy shit, I didn't know what to expect with this band. What I had heard online was killer, so I was stoked to see them twice on their recent tour. This LP is great. Real fast and raw hardcore in a similar style to 9 Shocks Terror, H-100's and all associated bands. Probably the best band from Australia currently.
Systematic Death- Systemania Vol. 1
I was lucky enough to get to see Systematic Death when they came to America and did a few shows. Needless to say they were fucking great. For those not in the know, SD was a classic Japanese hardcore band from the early 80's. Last year a Japanese label released 2 2xCD discography CDs, which were re-pressed as 2 2xLP records in time for this short tour. I was only able to pick up the first volume, but hopefully these show up in distros soon. The first Vol of Systemania is more for the die hard fans. It features demos and early comp tracks. The layout is a gate fold with tons of pictures, flyers and scans of the original releases. Vol. 2 I assume would be all their classic studio material, so if you're new to SD, go for that first.
Unseen Force- In Search of the Truth
CLASSIC 80's hardcore from VA reissued by the fine folks at No Way Records. Members of this band were ex- White Cross and 2000 Maniacs (whose 7" I just picked up), so you know you're getting the real deal here. I've been a big fan of this record since getting mp3s of it a few years ago, so I'm glad to see it getting the vinyl treatment. If you're a fan of some of the older VA bands (Honor Role, White Cross), or current VA bands (Direct Control especially), you're gonna love this.
Burial- Never Give Up...Never Give In
Pretty charging hardcore punk here, you'd swear they're from Japan, but nope... Germany! Great guitar riffage, and strained vocals give a real traditional Japanese style of hardcore sound. Definitely sound a lot like Tragedy, but without the stupid piano and violin interludes.
Insomnio- No Escape
I liked the 7", so I picked this bad boy up as well. The music stays true tot he 7" (since this pre-dates it), and the production is really raw. This has a Dead Boys quality to it, of a real pre-hardcore punk sound. The record closes with a cover of the Stooges' "Search and Destroy," wish I think loses a little bit with the foreign accent.
Disfear- Live the Storm
Disfear's back again with another anthemic crust/punk influenced metal record. I'm normally not into anything like this, but these guys know how to fucking play. They play a style of D-beat with a real clean production. When they played in Philly recently, the singer was doing a lot of Bruce Dickinson style moves on stage.. it ruled. Songs like "Get It Off" and "Testament" will be stuck in your head and get your fist pumping.
*no demos this time around, but I figured I'd give a plug for myself. My band, SPG has a new demo that we finished in March. first batch of 100 are almost gone, and a new batch of blanks are on the way. Reviews have been good so far; I've been told it sounds like Discharge meets Jerry's Kids.*