Unkind – Harhakuvat

Back in August, when most of us were trying to get a bit of sunshine on our backs and find a long enough break in the rain to fire up the barbie, Finland was the setting for the unleashing of this furious slab of prime D-Beat from Unkind.  I know that it’s always tempting to refer to the dark/cold/extreme northern-ness of Scandinavia when reviewing a release from bands hailing from this region, but in this case, you can’t draw any other conclusions.  ‘Harhakuvat’ is a collection of despair and rage, with few let ups.

A five piece band, this eight track ep is their fifth release since 2005, and although there is an obvious influence of Discharge simply by virtue of this being classified as ‘D-Beat’, the influences on show here range from metal to downtuned all out punk that brings to mind the hellish despair of Wolfbrigade’s excellent ‘Damned’ outing earlier in the year.  Slow, metallic passages give way to all out headlong rushes into a snowdrift of angry punk.  I dunno if it’s something in the water up there, or if it’s the long periods of night time and the price of a beer [ok, that’s enough cliches thanks…..Finland Tourist Board] but something has got under these boys’ skin and they have produced a powerful, hard hitting slab of dark punk rock.  Have a bad day and then play this loud!

Ilsa – Faithful Crust with a Doom Flavour

I happened upon the Bandcamp site of the excellent A389 Recordings recently while checking out a couple of upcoming releases [EyeHateGod and Weekend Nachos since you ask].  I was checking out the wares when I clicked ‘play’ on this taster for ILSA’s upcoming [2013] double 12″.  It follows their OTHER forthcoming release, ‘Intoxications’ which is due in November this year, following their acclaimed split with Finland’s Hooded Menace, of whom I posted earlier.

This is good, heavy, slow, chugging Amebix/Antisect/Winter/Discharge style hardcore.  It takes me wandering back to the days of crust when I would find some obscure Antisect release with its inevitable black/white cover glinting seductively at me.  That fantastic, chug-along guitar riffing is all over this.  The slow, complex time signatures so beloved of the old UK crust bands is faithfully reproduced as well.  ‘Intoxications’ is a ten tracker which sees basic crust get mixed with a dose of doom to produce a thoroughly 21st century snakebite of rough cider mixed with – uh – alcopops!

My only criticisms when I first heard this were that the vocalist tends towards the ‘shouty’ – the kind of style a lot of the contemporary New York ‘tough guy’ bands display. But then, crust always had a place for a good old gravel-voiced throat ripping vocal style, and after a coupla listens I think it fits.  These tracks just kick right off like a bar room brawl, and then they lurch along like ‘Hear Nothing’ era Discharge – Bones, Tez and Gary  would be proud of these boys!
So, although breaking very little new ground really, ILSA have at the same time provided us with some really cracking, angry, dark crust punk which is well worth trading your Doom patch or your old bullet belt for.

If I ever get my Deviated Instinct interview back, then ILSA will be the next ones on the list for some questions!

Note – play it loud!

Liberty Crawls….but Deviated Instinct Stride

I posted a preview of this some time ago, but yesterday as I arrived home there was a package waiting for me, and its shape gave it away as a record. It was my long awaited copy of ‘Liberty Crawls’, the new 12″ release by Deviated Instinct. The sender’s address on the label revealed it to be from Stian, head of Nakkeskudd Plater, the Oslo, Norway – based label which co-released the record with the band’s own Terminal Filth label. Quite why I chose to get mine sent all the way from Norway as opposed to thirty miles up the road [or ‘ruud’ to be correct] in Norwich I am not sure…but hey! Enough of my yakking!

After tearing off the packaging in a fevered state, the record I held in my hands was clearly a thing of beauty. Not since I bought a well used secondhand 1972 copy of Led Zep II from Dead Wax records in Huddersfield way back in 1991 [not that I am in any way an anorak where music is concerned] have I felt such a substantial slab of vinyl. Thick, heavy, gorgeously packaged [the sleeve is hand made and features artwork by guitarist Mid, who has established something of a name for himself in the record sleeve artwork world] album hinted at the promise of the music within. And the promise was not a false one.

My copy of “Liberty Crawls’ is in heavy company as I sort my collection out.

Blunt Instrument‘ is an entirely appropriate name for the opening track. Slow, ultra heavy and with those metallic licks that have always characterised the band’s music, it lopes along angrily before Leggo’s barking vocals kick in. He has clearly become a lot more metal influenced over the past few years, his attack suggesting something between Tom G Warrior of Celtic Frost and newer bands such as Wolfbrigade. Thundering into a slightly faster verse structure, the track lurches into a mid paced battering ram which encapsulates its title perfectly.

At once, ‘Architect of Misery‘ blasts off from the starting blocks with a fast paced metallic sound. This really rocks – sounding almost full blown Death Metal in style, it delivers heaviness in spades and leaves the listener battered into submission, but pleased by the experience. Shared vocals between Leggo and Mid add extra interest.

Flip the platter with your by now shaking hands and you get ‘Thorn in Your Flesh‘ – which is my current favourite track. Starting slowly with heavy riffage, it breaks down into a thunderous mid paced stormer which really rocks. Once again, vocal duties are shared; Leggo layering on the growling attack during the verse, Mid delivering the choruses with savagery. This track also, for me, showcases the band’s awesome rhythm section. Snapa creates a massive, thick bassline and Tony is a revelation as drummer. His style is hard hitting, technical and damned groovy.

A wall of harsh, metallic feedback introduces the final of the four tacks, ‘Blandscape Slavebait‘, subsiding into eerie recorded sounds of disembodied voices layered with distant guitaring. The track kicks off with a – dare I say it – melodic introduction, before diving head first into a mid paced, powerful rush with chugging guitar chords overlaying the solid bassline. The mixture of tempos adds interest, and at no point does the band enter the dangerous waters of over indulgence.

This release is a revelation. I followed Deviated Instinct way back in my German army shirted, late 80s hardcore days. They always frustrated me because although their material was hard and raging, with the intrigue of metallic touches making it more exciting, their previous recorded output was disappointing. They were always let down by sound quality and production, and this meant that a lot of people became disenchanted with the band’s records.

Liberty Crawls‘ shows the world that this band has matured and developed into what we always hoped they would become; a band with shattering delivery, crisp, technical production [respect to Bri Doom and Brad Boatright], tight, accomplished musicianship and, quite frankly, the impact needed to blow your balls off. Well, that might not be a great selling point thinking about it, but hey! You know what I mean….

Get this now, you’ll also get some bonus download tracks too!

Future Ruins: Further Scandinavian Invasion

The stats I get for this website describe the readership by country of origin, and we get tons of interest from the States, Eastern Europe [Poland being notable], and Scandinavia.  But comparatively little from the good ol’ UK where we reside.  Now what does that say? I’m not sure really, but it would seem that apart from the oft-quoted cycnicism of British folk, perhaps there is just more enthusiasm at this grass roots level in those other countries.  I read Mid of Deviated Instinct saying basically the same thing somewhere recently – alluding to the fact that the vast majority of interest in his UK-based band is from, well, anywhere except the UK.  And in this vein, you only have to look at the places where people are getting in touch from, and indeed hooking up via social media such as Twitter.  Sweden’s Future Ruins being a case in point.

FUTURE RUINS are a five-piece metallic crust outfit hailing from various parts of Sweden (Skåne/Göteborg/Stockholm). It would be no exaggeration to state that this band really has its shit together.  An ultra-slick website detailing all you could wish to know about them, a great set of online music previews, and some cracking Scandinavian crust music.  This is a band whose lineage can be traced back to the band Massmord, which also spawned some members of Age of Woe, whom we featured a few days ago.  I’m following up the details of the links, and will post more on this band soon.

Musically, you have to hear them.  This is hard – hitting, heavy crust with the classic Scandinavian edge – the sound that has been honed over many years of bands playing this style.  Thick, driving guitars, cascading drums with the D-Beat framework holding things together, and those marvellous bellowed vocals that make bands such as Wolfbrigade and their like so great.  They released their eponymous EP last October, giving the world ten tracks of classic Swedish crust.  Play it loud, and I hope to post more on them soon!

Extreme Noise Terror on Moshpit Tragedy

The admirable ‘Pay what you Want’ label Moshpit Tragedy has released a storming retrospective of Extreme Noise Terror’s greatest tracks.  Containing the definitive tracks from their history, such as ‘Bullshit Propoganda’, ‘Murder’ and ‘False Prophet’ amongst others, this tracks the history of the band from their beginnings in Ipswich.

These are original tracks, with the superbly raw production and dual vocal attack from the late Phil Vane and current founder member Dean Jones, along with guitar from Pete Hurley.  The sound remains clear and full-on, and it makes me recall the days when deHud and I would make our way to see them playing at some sleazy venue in Ipswich and inevitably be blown away.  But the sound also reminds you that they didn’t use to be a ‘grindcore’ or ‘metal’ act at all: as Dean has said in many interviews, ENT are at their heart a hardcore punk band.  This release shows that to be the case.

As the late lamented John Peel would no doubt have said, this brings a tear to my eye.

Go the Moshpit Tragedy and buy the release here.

From Ashes Rise new 7″ EP

From Ashes Rise, the long-serving Portland hardcore/metal outfit, are soon to issue a new EP on Southern Lord records.  Brad Boatright, a man who clearly works 25 plus hours per day, is a member of said band and he somehow manages to fit this duty into his incredible work schedule – he’s also the man behind the increasingly well known Audiosiege engineering house.  Recent technical feats include the remastering of Sleep’s famous stoner epic, ‘Dopesmoker’, the awesome new Deviated Instinct EPs, Seas Will Rise album, Nails, and much more.  His trademark style has brought the music alive on these recordings.  Now it seems to be the turn of his own band to shine.

FAR have been around for years, but have endured a long hiatus since their last release, ‘Nightmares‘, in 2003 [they did release a live album since then, but this will be the first genuinely new studio stuff].  The preview I have heard tells me that this is well worth the wait.  ‘Rejoice the End‘ is a five minute epic, with just the right balance of heaviness and tunefulness.  The guitar attacks with a really solid, almost crust style riff, but the tempo is slower and more considered than you might expect.  The melodic approach already evident in some of their earlier stuff is still there, but it has been developed, so that the tune gets priority over speed and rage.  This is a good thing in many ways; it shows a maturity and a development within the Portland band, whilst many of their contemporaries have been content to stand still and press the ‘repeat’ button.  It’s not a formula that will please the all-out crust crowd, but this release is sure to appeal to a wider audience.

Production on the record is, as you would expect, superb; there is a depth to the sound that conveys the band’s power whilst still enabling all the constituent instruments to come through in the mix – the bass and drums contribute to the track as well rather than just becoming lost in a general low-end rumble, and the vocals compete on their own terms.  Tempo and intensity and varied from the reflective, melodic parts to the heads-down hardcore/metallic passages.  It’s a satisfying, yet accessible release.

This is a release well worth watching out for, and will become part of the enviable Southern Lord release roster shortly!

Deviated Instinct – A Taster

Following my piece on Friday concerning the imminent release of the new Deviated Instinct 12″, ‘Liberty Crawls….’, the band have now posted a taster on their Bandcamp site.  And it does not disappoint.

Thorn in Your Flesh‘ is one of the four tracks on the 12″, and it plays out over nearly five minutes of heavy, slow metallic crust.  This really is vintage D.I.

I spend ridiculous amounts of time searching out and listening to new music, and although some of it is really terrific, you begin to realise just how many new bands there are with a lot to learn.  The slow, doom – styled metal sound seems to attract a lot of bands, and as a result there are a lot of musicians who think that two or three good, slow riffs will make a great song.  How wrong they are. The majority of newer bands in the genre are now formulaic and predictable; it takes old hands like Deviated Instinct to make you realise that skill and exprience – gained through years of slogging around sleazy live venues all over the world and playing together as  a unit –  are far more important.

Back in the day, the previous recorded output of the band suffered from a less than decent production: they had great songs but the muddy sound never did them justice.  That’s all been solved here.  The sound is way heavier than the older material, crisp, hard-hitting and precise.  The involvement of Bri Doom during the recording, and then Brad Boatright of Audiosiege in the engineering has enhanced the sound massively.  I get the immediate impression that this is what the band were always capable of, and you can just feel them enjoying themselves playing this track.  Tony’s solid drumming, never overdone, underpins the slow to mid-paced music with its thick, hard-hitting slaps of rhythmic power.  Snapa’s massive bass sound intertwines with Mid’s classic guitar attack to give extra weight to those trademark D.I. riffs, whilst Leggo’s gruff vocals have been mixed to perfection, resulting in a track that effortlessly shows the newcomers how it should be done – slow build up, faster sections, those great MC5 – style call and respond vocal parts all prove that the band knows how to compose a song.  There’s quarter of a century of playing live and in the studio here, and it shows.  The primeval influences of early Antisect hover menacingly in the air, while the Celtic Frost styled metal influences lend the track extra excitement.

If the rest of the EP is up to this standard, and I have no doubt that it will be, then we are awaiting a classic release.  A full review will no doubt follow in time.  Now get out and buy it and see for yourself!

Prehistoric Punk

Rip It Up scribe Hud, being ahead of the game but in a low-key way, has already mentioned Austin, TX band Mammoth Grinder as his tip of the week a few weeks ago. But I thought this deserved some more publicity as it’s due out early June. It’s their new 7″ release, featuring three blazing tracks of hard, heavy-hitting, basic crust punk, with the added bonus of an Amebix cover.

This takes me right back to the early 1980s, when said Hud introduced me to his just-purchased vinyl copy of ‘Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing’ by Discharge. I remember being taken aback by the unrelenting fury of the tracks, and the sheer intensity of the attack as they spilled out of the dusty hi-fi speakers, each one seeming to last one and a half minutes or so. This is one of those rare releases where the same effect occurs. Neither too fast, nor too extreme, nor too shouty, this is refined punk rock that brings to my mind Poison Idea – thick drum slaps maintain a fast punk rock beat, while over the top of them a solid wall of distorted guitar chugs along, the roared vocals transmitting just the right balance of rage and authority.

This is Mammoth Grinder’s sixth release, which they corrected me on earlier! They already have a 7″ release from two years ago as well as one side of a split 12″ with Hatred Surge, released last year. The previous releases are of a similar standard, although the new release just trumps them for me.

Deviated Instinct Euro Pre-Order!

A short note of news – Nakkeskudd Plater has today announed European pre-orders for the new Deviated Instinct EP’s, with a provisional date of June 10th for shipping!

Click here to find out more, but if you’re in the US then see here.  I’m getting excited about this one: my order is already in……just need to get a record deck* now!!!!!

*Fear not if, like me you have no means of playing vinyl records.  The 12″ comes with a download card so you can still listen to the tracks while fondling the hand made sleeve and comparing the weight of the 180gr vinyl to your 1972 Led Zep LPs!

Deviated Instinct – New Release News

We featured the very welcome news recently that UK Crust Lords Deviated Instinct would be releasing a new LP and 7″ split vinyl this year.  News has reached us that the US release, on Profane Existence records, has now been chalked up for 10th July 2012, and they are now taking pre-orders for the vinyl release.  We expect Nakkeskud Plater, the Norwegian label handling the European release, will follow suit shortly, and we await with baited breath [if you’ll pardon the pun guys!!]

This album features four songs of epic proportions. Their sound on this record bridges the gap between d-beat style crust and heavy metallic doom. The songs are well thought out and skillfully played with top notch studio production. Includes a download card for a digital version plus extra bonus material. Profane Existence is proud to be apart of this release! Official street date is July 10, 2012.

Also, expect a lengthy interview with D.I. soon on this page!