Hello loyal reader (I mean that in a singular tense, since I assume only one person tops reads this blog), I did another massive reviews post of some of the end of summer records I got. I generally don't get free records to review, but this time around I'm psyched that I got a bunch of cool free records from Mad World, Black America, Chainsaw To The Face/Backslider and Half The Battle. If you like my short 3-4 sentence profanity laced reviews, get in touch and I'll review your crummy band.
The Rival Mob- Hardcore For Hardcore
A much anticipated follow up to their "Raw Life" LP, which was awesome. This record is a little different, maybe a little more HC and less punk. Lots of divebombs into breakdowns, which there's absolutely nothing wrong with. Best lyrics of this release are "Nobody loves you, you've got the HIV, I don't care." Fuck. The cover art is a ridiculous painting of tigers attacking dudes on horses. The Rival Mob lives up to their current hype, god bless em. Includes a digital download.
Antidote- Thou Shall Not Kill
This here's a no-brainer. "Thou Shall not Kill" is easily one of the top 5 hardcore 7"s of all time. For those un-educated, Antidode was a NY HC band in a time before tough guy HC was considered the NY sound. Bands like Antidote, Urban Waste and the Abused were playing HC similar to the DC bands, but faster and angrier. Antidote's 7" always had a real clear recording quality, and the vocals are more screamed than grunted. Fuck, I already owned 2 bootlegs of this, but I said if B9 reissues this on green, I'm buyin' it! They did. Seriously, not a single lame song. "Foreign Job Lot" seriously has my favorite breakdown of all time, plus PC assholes find it offensive. "Something Must be Done," fuck, if a band covers this you're moshing. The sound quality is excellent as well compared to the shitty bootlegs or mp3 rips. The layout is an exact reproduction, and there's even a little background story by the guitarist. Essential hardcore for sure! Includes a digital download.
Knife Fight- Isolated
Knife Fight returns from the dead with a new record. I thought their last LP, "Crisis" was kind of a let down, so I was a bit apprehensive about this. It's definitely way better, and faster. Sound wise fits between their 2nd 7" and the faster LP songs. The lyrics are definitely a lot more dark. The cover art becomes a crazy 6 panel full color poster, which is cool, but too bright to fit the music and the bleak lyrics. Not bad, but I still prefer their early 7"s.Includes a digital download.
Knife Fight- Demo 2002
This was a limited re-press of Knife Fight's old demo, which I LOVED. These sold out pretty fast since there was under 200 of these bad boys for sale with "Islolated." I remember when this was originally released, and was real psyched on this band. Sorry to taunt you by talking about how good this record is, and you'll never get a copy. Go download it or something, because this was a killer demo of Negative Approach/FX sounding HC.
Vaccine- Human Hatred
Fuck "Human hatred is right, the hate just oozes through the grooves of this record. It's fast as hell, and over before you get a chance to catch your breath. Musically it is similar to fast as hell bands like Crossed Out, but with pissed off angry straight edge lyrics. I'm into it, and you should definitely be into it. Highly recommended!
Includes a digital download.
Cülo- Nuke Abuse
All I know about Culo is that they're from Chicago, and that "culo" is Spanish for butt. If this record sucked, I could easily say it "sounds like culo." Luckily for the sake of comedy it doesn't. On the contrary, it's quite good good fast thrashy 80's sounding hardcore. The music and art remind me of Direct Control, which is obviously a-ok in my book. I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this record, definitely give it a spin. Their next 7" will be on Deranged if that's a selling point for you.
Night Birds- s/t
Night Birds are from my home state of NJ, who features members of the Ergs, For Science and Hunchback (also 1/2 of SNAKEBiTE). Somewhat of a NJ pop-punk super group, though playing music more akin to Agent Orange, Angry Samoans, Adolescents, etc... The first song, "Prognosis: Negative" starts off w/ a real surfy guitar, and has a pretty good hook (also an obscure Seinfeld reference). The guitar and bass really know how to shred, which keeps things interesting throughout. The B-side has a pretty boring song and an instrumental. It kinda ends on a bad note, but I think the A side hits at some potential for this band. Overall, it comes off as a badass Dirtnap release, but a tame Grave Mistake release. Includes a digital download.
Bad American- s/t
Bad American is a new band from PA, with members of Carpenter Ant and Rancor. I was pretty psyched to check this out, since PA hasn't been cranking out too many quality bands lately. Their sound is somewhere between Wasted Time and the Rival Mob. It straddles the heavy punk with some mosh parts thrown in for good measure. One of the songs seems very close to a Verbal Abuse song, but hey- that's a good band to steal a riff from (ask Acid Reflux). This record is probably the best record to come out of PA in quite some time; I'd like to see them live some time soon.
This was a teaser release before their LP came out. It has my favorite song from the LP, "Paralyzed" and "Keep Waiting" which is exclusive to this release. The cover is a see through envelope, and the lyrics are etched on the B-side. Overall a cool looking record as well as a good sounding one. Now that the LP is out, these may be harder to come by, but if you do, check it out.
Mad World- s/t
I got this record without knowing much about the band, but this is awesome. My first thought based on the name Mad World is that they probably really like Corrosion of Conformity. While I get a slight COC vibe, it's not Animosity, but more an Eye For An Eye sound. It's fast when it needs to be fast, and slow when it needs to be slow. With a name like Mad World, you'd hope it's super pissed off sounding too, which they also deliver on. Kangaroo Records has a good reputation for putting out quality records, and this is no exception. Hope to be hearing more from these guys for sure.
Chainsaw To The Face- s/t
CTTF have been a band for a while, and somehow this is their first (and last?) solo release (aside from demos). CTTF play a crazy mix of powerviolence/grind that stays away from metallic sounding crap. The artwork/ layout is very dark, which fits the music/lyrics. This record I would say is the best possible end for the band, if you have any of their other records then this won't disappoint.
Government Flu- Demo 2008
Government Flu is another band I know nothing about, but I traded the label for a copy and it rules. For a demo 7", the quality is really good. Musically they remind me of Anti You, in that it's kinda an early 80's punk sounding, mixed with early 2000's thrash bands. Real good cover art as well, definitely gonna track done some more records by this band.
Sorry Excuse- Listen With Prejudice
The latest midwest HC sXe band to release some vinyl. On a side note, the midwest seems to be a hot bed of some raging HC and is definitely an area to keep an eye on. Sorry Excuse are no slouch for sure, they play fast angry sXe. Their singer has a real awesome brutal voice, where he could easily sing for an Integrity worship band, but this shit's much better. I have the tour press, but already they win the award for most X's on a record cover.
After a demo earlier this year, Boilerman made the jump to wax before their summer tour. Continues with their brand of pop-punk that's got a real No idea Records sound to it. It's got that borderline folky vibe, but stays pretty punk in a Dillenger Four kind of way. I could easily see this band playing the Fest in Gainsville. Great band to keep an eye on for sure.
I was familiar with HRT from the South Will Rise Again comp on Cowabunga Records. The song was real good, but I never heard anything else from the band. I guess the track was from this 7" session, which went un-released for a few years. Then a label in France, of all places, decided to release it as a 1 sided 7". Musically it fits with the vibrant VA scene of a few years ago, mostly Socialcide. A pretty cool record, don't know if the band is still together though.
Lackey Die- s/t
This is a pretty cool reissue of a band from VA's 2 demos from the early 80's. The A side is simialr to other VA bands from the area like Graven Image, God's Will or Honor Role. The B side reminds me of the NJ band Detention, in that it's a bit more quirky. The cover art is screen printed, and compliments the music well. This one's for the HC historians, and a cool document of a long forgotten band.
Chainsaw to the Face/ Backslider
This is possibly the fastest record I've gotten recently. Chainsaw to the Face in my book is the most underrated band in NJ. Their new stuff is faster than ever, bordering on possibly too fast (if that's possible). They're definitely more on the grid side than the power violence influenced side of things. It's really good, and I'm glad they have a bass player now. Backslider has improved by leaps and bounds since their demo. Their playing has gotten a lot tighter, and Logan must have finally hit puberty because the vocals are a lot more deep. Much like CTTF, Backslider plays fast HC somewhere between grind and power violence. Each band crams 10 songs on their side, so you're really getting your fastcore money's worth here.
Double Negative- Daydreamnation
After recording the damn record 3 times, DN's sophomore LP finally is out. Expectations were certainly high on this one for sure. I had seen them a few times, so I kinda knew what the new stuff was going to sound like. They've definitely gone into a more weird direction, than some of the straight HC of their first LP. Mainly the guitar is all over the place, which leaves the bass and drums to hold things together. The vocals are a little low in the mix, but it still sounds good. I think fans of bands like Pollution and some of the "mysterious guy HC" bands will be way into this. It's good, but I think I preferred their first LP a bit more. The overall package is awesome though, with the pink mirrored embossed cover. Includes a digital download.
Libyans- A Common Place
Libyans's second 12" takes a turn for the more poppy side that they hinted at in the past. Compared to their demo, this is a big departure, but the band had been slowly building into this direction. There's a definite power pop sound, while still staying on the hc/punk side of the spectrum. Some of these songs will definitely get stuck in your head, but I do miss the fast stuff. Includes a digital download.
C.I.A.- God, Guts, Guns, & More
CIA was a band from CT in the 80's. Some of these guys went on to later form 76% Uncertain, but I like CIA a lot better. This LP combines their 7", comp tracks and demo on an LP. I always liked this band from the old mp3s I had, but never heard the non-7" tracks. I will say the 7" is the best, but the other stuff rounds out the discography well. Awesome that this band got the re-press treatment, as I always thought they were underrated. Check it our for sure.
Raw Nerve- s/t
I really liked Raw Nerve's demo and 7", but was a bit skeptical with the band doing a release on Youth Attack. I generally hate the whole YA mystique of black artsy layout, and overpriced records. Unfortunately this is no exception to that, and the record cost me $16 and really doesn't seem like anything more special than any other record. It comes w/ a poster, which is just a photograph that doesn't even say the band name on it. Musically, the A side is pretty damn good fast HC, but with a lot of reverb, but overall sounds a bit muddy. The B-side however is a lot of noise and jibberish, and honestly doesn't even warrant a second listening. If this record was a 7", I think it'd make a lot more sense. I feel like this band would be good live, but they need to cut the artsy BS and just release a regular fucking HC record.
*EDIT: it was brought to my attention that the noise track is the "C Side." I guess there's some sort of double side on the back. Either way, fuck them for doing that too.*
Holy crap, if this isn't the best LP of 2010 I'll be shocked. The Insubordinates have a sound that's similar to Agent Orange, the Adolescents and other KBD bands from the early 80's. They released a really cool 2 song single last year. The LP starts off with an instrumental, which I think makes a lot of sense on an LP (as opposed to an EP). The songs w/ vocals are a lot better, and vary in pace from mid to fast, to slow. The songs have some real hooks, and is complimented by the fact that all of the members really can play. There's some great guitar leads/solos as well as complex bass lines. Some of the songs even feature saxophone parts. The record ends with "Rockin' Rochester USA," which is more or less a Jerry Lee Lewis- style rock and roll song. For a band who lives nowhere near a shore, they really pull off the surf influenced punk sound well. It's just as much a hc/punk record as it is a straight old style rock n roll record, right down to the simplistic layout.
Half the Battle- What We Have
HTB is a band from the Philippines, who has a sort of modern youth crew sound. I know nothing about the scene there, so I'm not sure if this style is typical or not for that area. I can probably guarantee that this is the only band from the Philippines in my collection. The band actually features an American singer, so the songs are in English with good grammar (as opposed to many foreign bands that sing in English). It kind of reminds me of early Bane or Champion, and there's even a Rancor cover (yea, really). Overall the playing could be a bit tighter, but it's pretty cool. The art features a bunch of anime kids beating up a robot. Maybe the robot was a drug dealer, either way robots are cool.
Cobra- Hits, Rarities and More
Cobra is an Oi band from Japan, with some heavy british punk influence. Some of the other stuff I'd heard was almost bordering on new wave, but stayed in the Oi genre. This collection however must be from their later period, because it's way more new wave sounding. I'm not really into it. Someone needs to reissue/bootleg "Oi Oi Oi," because that LP rules.
The Comes- No Outsider
This is a bootleg of their classic "No Side" LP along with their songs from the Outsider comp. The Comes were a Japanese hardcore band that played blisteringly fast with a female vocalist. None of the songs are in English, but it doesn't matter because the riffage was top notch. They seriously had some great music here. I would compare more to a mix of the Stalin and Gauze. If you're down with the Japanese stuff, and haven't heard this, you owe it to yourself to get it. If you've already listened to the mp3s of this a million times, the LP is an extremely good quality, and worth actually owning.
Black America- The Process of Bitching Out
I got this CDr from the band, and was really surprised at how good it was. They said it was basically a free download/ free CDr give away release. The quality though is good enough to be put to wax, and it's not their demo. Musically it kind of reminds me of Warkrime in it's offensive nature, but being able to back it up w/ good music. They have a sort of RKL vibe. Apparently they're doing a new 7" soon, hopefully that gets the proper treatment. Go to the band's Myspace page and download it for yourself.
Rations- Anger and Disgust (pro-tape)
Rations is a new 5-piece (not 4 like the cover says) DC sXe band with members of Coke Bust, Sick Fix, Time to Escape, among others. This band however is not as fast as those bands, and has a heavy quality. Not heavy like Trapped Under Ice, more heavy like Feel The Darkness-era Poison Idea. Really good demo here, I just wish it came with some lyrics.
Night Prowler- Crime Wave (tape)
I bought this on a whim after it was described as a mix between 86 Mentality and Wasted Time. I hear that, but there's a heavy early 80's Boston sound to it, and some songs remind me of Last Rights and Negative Approach. If you're gonna bite riffs from any band, those are good ones to do it from. I listened to this demo a lot, and really want to see more from this band. The layout is nice and clean, and made to look like old cassettes w/ the LP artwork.
Noose is the newest sXe band from Chicago with ex-members of Poison Planet and Boiling Over (current members of Duress and Boilerman). Musically it leans more towards Poison Planet, which makes sense since Kyle wrote all the music on the demo and 7". It also has a somewhat harder edge like Judge or Confront, but still on the punk side. They lyrics are angry and hate-filled, just like I like it. I don't know what's in the water in Chicago, but their scene's been consistently churning out awesome bands.
Last Laugh (CD-R)
So when I got this CDr it wouldn't play in my CD player. Tried it in a few different ones, and nope wouldn't work. So I went against my own policy and found the mp3s, so I' reviewing them basically. The artwork looks dark, and the music is like Tear It Up ran through some crusty kinda filter. I think the band features some members of Criminal Intent from Nova Scotia as well. This demo is damn good, but you guys owe me $2 for that blank CD you sold me.