REVIEWS

The music....

100000 TONNEN KRUPPSTAHL – Teeth Fletcher – WOOAAARGH 
Hailing from Berlin, 100000 Tonnen  Kruppstahl like things as heavy and slow as possible. Teeth Fletcher is a vast, sprawling, sludge epic in 4 parts (each helpfully entitled Teeth Fletcher). Rather than individual songs, each track feels like a portmanteau of songs punctuated and sandwiched by the heaviest slabs of bread imaginable, and riffs, enormous riffs, come thick and fast. Let’s take the 26 minute beast that is Teeth Fletcher (1) for example. Imagine trudging relentlessly through dark Carpathian forests looking for Vlad the Impaler’s castle where you have been invited for afternoon tea. You arrive at the gates and there is an atmosphere of underlying menace which you can’t quite put your finger on until Vlad suggests lighting some candles, at which point he sets fire to a bunch of skewered peasants who shriek and wail in unspeakable torment as he pours you a cup of Earl Grey. I think that pretty accurately depicts the first 8 minutes. Woozy doubled-up vocals give the tracks a nightmarish quality and often sound like evil spirits being released from an ancient tomb. Think the backwards speaking  Man from another place in Twin peaks mixed with Papa Lazarou and you won’t be far adrift. The next track - Teeth Fletcher (2) – has a mastodon quality about it. Not Mastodon the band particularly, more like a real mastodon; enormous, heavy and irritated to the point of disembowelling. All the tracks are saturated with fuzz and echoing floor-toms so the inevitable comparisons are bands like The Melvins and Sleep but to my ears the tunes have a sparse bleakness that is more menacing and less stoner-metal than either. The tunes are huge, the riffs are like towering edifices of granite and 100000 Tonnen Kruppstahl are taking no prisoners. Some of the best riffs happen 10 or 15 minutes into the songs which is a slight shame as they deserve your full attention, but in fairness, my attention span lacks the stamina for 20 minute songs. By the end of Teeth Fletcher (4) the corpse candles are sputtering out and any stray mastodons trudge off into the wilderness. I am left with the impression that 100000 Tonnen Kruppstahl don’t actually stop playing, they just continue their punishing sludge out of earshot in a different forest.
WOOAAARGH (Alan)

ACTIVE SLAUGHTER  - Set the World Alight? LP - Grow Your Own
I have come to expect quality from Grow Your Own records and with this release they have really excelled themselves. Full colour, wrap around sleeve, great artwork, booklet (all printed and constructed by hand) and wonderful orange splattered vinyl meant I loved this release before I’d even heard the music; thankfully Active Slaughter deliver a stunning album of hard hitting, powerful, yet melodic punk rock. The driving music is the perfect vehicle for the lyrics, and with the human race seemingly set on a path of cruelty and self destruction they have plenty of ammunition for their fury, so capitalism, animal cruelty and the media’s normalising of the far right are just three subjects they get their teeth into; I particularly like ‘My Foot In Your Mouth’ about the senseless slaughter of farm animals for no other reason than the foot and mouth epidemic would harm profits, even though the animals could have been treated. There is so much to love about this release, and I have it on repeat here at the moment.
Grow Your Own (Tony)

ANTI SOCIAL - We The People CDEP - Serial Bowl
Anti Social originally formed in the early 1980s, in Los Angeles by Manny and Charles Cordova, they played with bands like MDC, JFA etc before splitting up in the early 2000s. They are now back and with lyrics that are right up to date (‘We The People’ starts with a sample of Trump chanting “build the wall’ ), but I’m guessing their subject matter being life in the US their words would have been just as relevant when they started. The songs are singalong punk, but they don’t just plod along, they have a punch, are catchy and although not super fast they do drive along at a decent pace. I have to admit that I wasn’t sold on first listen, but the more I listen I like these four songs more and more.
Serial Bowl (Tony)

CROCODILE GOD - 13 - Brassneck / Crackle
It's been quite a few years since these guys got together and released Stella back in the late 90's. To be honest their sound hasn't changed too much, which is a good thing. They are still pumping out good, melodic, tuneful punk rock. It's fast and frantic, plenty of hooks and tempo changes and it is relentless, 13 tracks of catchy, toe tapping music. I'm thankful that Mark Croc sent me this to review and hope I can do it justice, I suppose all I can be is honest. It's a much more 'polished' release/sound than their earlier stuff, it's the kind of thing years ago I would have put on a tape and taken down the beach with me and the boombox, so that everyone would have had to listen to it before I got my head kicked in by some idiot who didn't appreciate tuneful punk rock being played loud by a teenager enjoying a few beers and the summer sun. There are hints of The Parasites, a faster Mega City 4, quite a few of the old Lookout Records bands but still remaining quintessentially with their own style and sound. They just sound like they had a lot of fun making this record and that comes across in the musicianship and lyrics and that sense of fun travels through the record. I first fell in love with Crocodile God at an all day STE gig, they were on quite early in the day and even though there were some bloody fantastic bands on the day, it was Crocodile God that stood out for me and this new LP has brought back those memories. All in all and at the risk of repeating myself, if you like fast, tuneful, catchy, well written and certainly well played punk rock goodness, then this is for you. It comes out towards the July and I can honestly say, it is the LP of the summer for me so far. It's a joint release by Crackle Records and Brassneck,  go on, buy it, you won't regret it.
Brassneck (Stuart Armstrong)

DESTINAZIONE FINALE - CDEP - Serial Bowl
This is ace; fast hardcore punk just the way I like it. The band are from Tuscany, and have absorbed their Italian hardcore heritage as they take a Discharge template for the opening song, crank up the speed and career off in a whirlwind of blistering energy and crashing drums. There’s a great guitar sound, distorted bass and barked vocals which all add to the exciting punk rock maelstrom, an exhilarating sound that also has a touch of early Bad Brains swirling round in there. Only five tracks, but they are all great, and I have had this on repeat for the last half an hour.
Serial Bowl (Tony)

F EMASCULATA - Take Me Home - Various
X-Files-core, is that a thing? It might well be now as F Emasculata come storming out of Cornwall with 25 tracks (this has their previous two EPs as well) of X-Files worship and blazing hardcore. The fast bits will knock your socks off with a straight ahead attack reminding me of F-Minus; then there’s the slower, heavier stuff that pummels you in the face while sounding like a mean fusion of Nirvana and someone like L7. I used to watch the X-Files, I would even say I enjoyed the show for several series, but I can’t claim to be an expert, so I had to look up their name (The F. Emasculata is a parasitoid, a bug that carries a parasite. In this case, a deadly parasite that attacks the immune system), and I have to admit that I don’t get all the song title references; but that doesn't matter, you can enjoy this even if you have never seen the X-Files, you’ll be able to get into the raging music and enjoy the rasping vocal attack. I love the music, and I even like the idea of a band dedicating themselves to a TV show, and now I kind of want to go back and watch those old X-Files episodes. If you haven’t heard F Emasculata yet, then do yourselves a favour because they are pretty great.
F Emasculata (Tony)

51st STATE - Plastic 10” - Grow Your Own
A duo from Devon who comprise of just two people, but two people who create unique sound that comes at you in various forms; driving punk, spaced out swirling soundscapes, ska beats and even speeding blastbeats. Each song is different from the last, but also has its own twists and turns, so that each has a lot going on musically; for example ‘Beats & Slaves’ sounds like Subhumans, Stranglers and Fugazi all at the same time, and it works! Lyrically they focus on the modern world and the way that we are destroying it and ourselves, usually while posting, blogging and tweeting about it. Despite the chopping and changing, the brilliant bass sound and crashing, yet solid drums, mean you never get bored of this, and I don’t think I have another record quite like this, and that’s not only surprising, but also very welcome. Did I mention it’s also catchy as hell, but not in the usual way of having a memorable repeating chorus and tune, this is catchy because of its quirks and intertwined ideas, I find that more often than not this is the record I reach for at the moment.
Grow Your Own (Tony)

THE FLEAS - A Flea In Your Ear 10” - Grow Your Own
I have always liked the 10” EP format, and with this being on colour vinyl it’s on to a winner before I’ve even listened to it. Luckily, The Fleas deliver 11 brash, outspoken punk rock gems, so I can enjoy the music as well as the format. I like that the guitar is not too distorted and that their stripped back, straight ahead approach gives these songs a real exuberance that always makes for the best punk songs; there’s also a snarling attitude about the band providing a bit of a “fuck you” edge too. Several times I’m left thinking of Action Pact, and once or twice even Hagar The Womb, but both those bands have always been amongst my favourites, so that’s all good with me. Lyrically they pull no punches, and why should they? This is a great release.
Grow Your Own (Tony)

ALVIN GIBBS & THE DISOBEDIENT SERVANTS - Your Disobedient Servant LP  - T&M
UK SUBS long-term bass slinger Alvin Gibbs has released his first solo LP, and fans of the SUBS who’ve stuck around thru their latter day releases will certainly wanna give this a shot. The music is mainly from the Garage/rockNroll end of the Punk pool, in hock to say THE HEARTBREAKERS, DOLLS ‘n STOOGES, and having also seen Alvin ply his trade in Iggy Pop’s band, as well as the revved up Blues of the Urban Dogs, y’know this stuff runs deep in his veins. For added pizzazz he’s roped in a few likeminded musical travellers to collaborate, including Brian James (THE DAMNED) James Stevenson (CHELSEA), Mick Rossi (SLAUGHTER and THE DOGS) and Leigh Heggarty (RUTS DC), plus present day SUBS drummer Jamie Oliver beats the skins. Not so much a brand new age as a flashback to a time that really mattered to Alvin.
Time & Matter (Pete Zonked!)

GOOD RIDDANCE  - Thoughts and Prayers - Fat Wreck Chords
Man it’s been quite some time since I’ve listened to these guys!, despite being well into them back in the day. And to be honest I was pretty much expecting them to sound pretty jaded and have that “going through the motions” vibe about them after all these years. But holy fuck was I wrong!, this is a really great sounding album from start to finish, absolute top drawer melodic skate punk done by some of the very best to do it, with lyrics that absolutely hit home in these current troubled times. The album begins with a quote (from Wall Street I think?) ending with “……..you’re not naive enough to think we live in a Democracy are you buddy?” which sets the tone perfectly. Production is perfect, album cover artwork looks great, pretty faultless really.
Fat Wreck (Si)

GUNS N’ WANKERS - Pop. Hardcore. Metal. Silly (The Complete Recordings ’93 – ’94) LP - Onewanker
This brings back fond memories of buying the four Guns N Wankers 7”EPs from Sean at Rugger Bugger back in 1984. Now, in 2019, Sean sold me this LP, which collects together all the songs from those EPs, remastered for your enjoyment. The titles of the four EPs tells you exactly what you’re going to get, although with this being the post Snuff band Duncan Redmonds formed, it all has a familiar sound. Guns n’ Wankers were good fun, and these songs still sound really good; there are an awful lot of melodic punk bands around now who wish they could sound this good, even when Guns ’n Wankers are being silly. Apparently, Sean thinks ‘Help’, which opens side two here, is one of the best songs he’s ever released.
Onewanker (Tony)

HACK JOB - Please Worship Satan Responsibly 5” - Rip Roaring Shit Storm 
An eight track EP on 5" lathe-cut clear vinyl, that’s all done and dusted in 4 minutes; so just a standard release from Hack Job then. What is also standard for Hack Job is that they manage to make their noisy racket catchy, really, they do, if you listen carefully there is more going on in the songs than just a lot of screaming and growling, blast-beats and thrashed guitars, and I find Hack Job songs are often swirling around in my head, so much so that I have been known to blurt out a line or two at  any given moment (which is not always ideal as the lyrics are largely unintelligible so I’m just making random noises). Plus, the songs have titles like ‘Fresh Prince Of Bell-End’, ‘Same Shit Different Asshole’ and ‘Elmer McUrdeys Funeral Funhouse’, so what’s not to like? Three lovely people making a nasty noise and I love it. There aren’t many of these around, so get in touch with Rip Roaring Shit Storm ASAP.
Rip Roaring Shit Storm (Tony)

HAGAR THE WOMB - Hagitate 10” - Grow Your Own
Was it really 35 years ago that a 12”EP in a bright yellow sleeve turned up in the post entitled ‘Word Of The Womb’? I don’t remember where I’d heard of Hagar The Womb, but I know I was excited to send off for this record; I loved it then and I still love it now. Fortunately Hagar The Womb have come back and are still delivering super catchy, sing along punk rock, and just like they were in the early to mid 1980s, they have a different sound to most other bands that they are associated with, but that just adds to their charm; so they still come across as bright and cheerful with a sense of fun, but with lyrics carrying a message - Emotional abuse, the perception of women, capitalism and the Daily Mail. This 10” does feature a couple of songs that have been on previous GYO releases (a split 7” and a couple of compilations), but it’s nice to have these songs as a Hagar The Womb release. I do love the 10” format, and colour vinyl, so this is win-win all round for me. Long live Hagar The Womb.
Grow Your Own (Tony)

HORSEFLIES - Lucidity - Brutalist 
I guess it’s no secret that although I like many of the myriad styles that huddle under the punk rock umbrella, it is the short, fast, raw blasts of energy that I truly favour. But, throughout my 40 plus years of listening to records there have been bands along the way who produce something a little more complex yet get inside my head and are always there when I wan’t to listen to something that isn’t over in 30 seconds; Horseflies are one of those bands. They weave sounds and styles, their music is sharp and at times intricate, but they always pack punch. I hear bits of Fugazi, some later Siouxsie & The Banshees, a bit of Gang Of Four and it’s all filtered through a DIY hardcore punk rock filter of their very own; it captivates me and fills my heart with joy as well as producing moments where I want to punch the air and scream into the emptiness. There are five songs on this EP, and though they may twist and turn, they are also driven and powerful, and Joe’s vocals are just perfect. ‘Denial’, the closing track, is a perfect example in that it starts off with a nice swirling synth and picked guitar and then, just before the minute mark, it explodes with thumping drums and driving bass and I have to put my tea down and play air drums until the song ends; this song is giving me goosebumps it’s so good. The talent these four have blows my mind, they should be everyone’s favourite band. They also need to stop playing on nights when I can’t get along to see them; the twice I have caught them have proved that they are also a formidable live band, and I need to see them more. ‘Lucidity’ is out on a limited run cassette, but head over to their bandcamp page and get this downloaded. I cannot stop playing this.
Horesflies (Tony)

IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO - Civiltà Idiota 7” - Static Shock
Last year Idiota Civilizzato released one of the albums of 2018, and now they’re back with another brilliant release. This four track EP carries on where the LP left off, with four tracks of urgent, noisy punk rock that brings to mind the way the old European bands took USHC and twisted it to make it somehow more intense and interesting; this has the same kind of feel, they take the recent HC trend of blown-out, feedback fulled noise and reign it in a little, inject some driving guitar and belt it out sounding more complete and more exciting and ultimately so much better. These four songs fly by, taking you with them and have you chanting the mantra “Idiota Civilizzato are the best band around” over and over.
Static Shock (Tony)

MAU MAUS - Society’s Rejects - Sealed
‘Society’s Rejects’ was the title of the first Mau Maus EP, released in 1982, but this is much more than just a re-issue of that record, you also get all the tracks from their other three EPs, and their non-EP track from the ‘Punk Dead - Nah Mate…” compilation. Their early stuff was basic, raw and packed full of energy and anger, and although they may have been less well produced than a lot of easy ‘80s stuff, it meant that it kept the urgency and vibrancy that has always endeared me to this band. Having the tracks here in chronological order means you can hear the progression, but even when they got to their third EP, ‘FactsOf War’, the production may have been better, but it still started with a raging ‘Just Another Day’, and the other four are no slouches either. The fourth EP, ‘Tear Down The Walls’ is the most musical, but the songs are still fast and still great. This package has been put together by fans, and comes with a booklet of lyrics, and history write up and a short interview. Don’t waste your money paying stupid money for the original EPs on eBay, get this LP instead; it’s all here and all brilliant.
Sealed (Tony)

THE MENSTRUAL CRAMPS - Free Bleedin’ LP - Grow Your Own
Wow! That was my reaction when I first played this, it’s a stunning album. The Menstrual Cramps don’t take any prisoners; they are political, outspoken, uncompromising, in your face and totally brilliant. Musically there are plenty of tunes, plenty of energy, and a stack load of attitude. This is how punk rock should be, no sitting on the fence, no pandering to the mainstream, just unapologetic, well directed anger and fustration. When you’re calling out bigots, Tories, misogynists, multinational companies etc, it’s nice to be able to do it with a sing-along song, and that’s what you’ll find here, plenty of them, and in these desperate times we need songs like these, we need bands like The Menstrual Cramps. Call it riot grrrl, call it anarcho punk, call it what you like, I’m calling it one of the best punk albums to come from the UK.
Grow Your Own (Tony)

OUT COLD - Living Is Killing Me LP - Kibou/etc
This, the eighth Out Cold album, will be their last, but what a fine way to go out. 14 tracks of classic USHC that reminds me in places of Articles Of Faith as it blazes through 14 songs, leaving me wondering why I only have one other Out Cold album? Certainly, if you are looking for an energetic, fast and angry punk rock album that encapsulates the urgency and vibrancy of those classic early US hardcore releases, you’ll do well to find many better than this. “Breach”, the first track, sets the tone and you’ll recognise the opening riff and then get carried away with it as it gallops off at high speed. The perfect opening song and it’s track 4 before they ease the pace, just briefly as they are soon storming off again. The basic guitar and drums were recorded at the end of 2005 by Mark Sheehan and drummer John Evicci, but Mark never got around to recording the vocals before he died in 2010. Kevin Mertens, Out Cold’s original singer stepped back in to save the day, with extra guitars recorded by several people, to complete the record. Kevin's voice perfectly suits the high energy music, reminding me of a cross between Vic Bondi and Andy Bryant (Imbalance/The Horror/Young Conservatives). This a great punk rock album, and the spirit of collaboration is strong with the record being released by Kibou in the UK, Amok in Germany and Sick World in New Zealand, with Sorry State pressing it in the US and a CD version coming out in Japan from Drunk With Power. Don’t delay.
Kibou (Tony)

PANDEMIX - In Condemnation LP - Boss Tuneage
In 2017 Boss Tuneage brought us the wonderful ‘Scale Models Of Atrocities’, but with ‘In Condemnation’ Pandemix prove they were no flash in the pan, in fact they have delivered a record that is a step up in quality. The songs are driven along by crashing drums and a great guitar sound, and are intense and captivating and irresistible. Lyrically they approach the worlds problems from a personal is political perspective and Shannon’s vocals are really distinctive and powerful. Musical influences are harder to pin down, but I can hear that 40 years of punk rock have left their mark, with elements of late ‘70s punk, early ‘80s anarcho and also the hardcore sound that fed from both those eras. There isn’t really anyone else who sound like this, and so Pandemix sound fresh, exciting and like the best band you’ve ever heard. It’s only February, but I can see this album being included in many an end of year top ten list; and in many years time it may be remembered as one of the great punk rock albums.
Boss Tuneage (Tony)

PI$$ER - Wretched Life - Kibou/TNS/Sick World
A hardcore super group? Well yes. Pi$$er feature James (vocals) and Rhodes (bass) from The Domestics, Charlie Claesson from Anti-Cimex/Wolfhour on drums, Bri from DOOM and Matt from Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man on guitars and Eddie O’Toole from Shitty Limits on sax. And they make a glorious racket. With James’ distinctive vocals alongside the sax it makes me think of The Domestics and The Cravats, without really sounding like either of them; this is straight forward, fast punk rock with plenty of angry snarling and driving guitars. It’s noisy with crashing drums, an echoy vocals barrage and the duel guitar attack gives it plenty of power, but the songs are still catchy as hell. It’s another collaborative multi label release, with TNS and Kibou in the UK teaming up with Sick World Records in New Zealand. The only negative I can find is that there are only 4 songs; I want to hear more and more of this band.
TNS (Tony)

PIZZA TRAMP / THE DOMESTICS – Discipline 5" – Kibou, Mangel Wax, TNS, Punke Bjartes, Sick World
Your favourite friendly neighbourhood cheeky chappies and ner-do-wells have teamed up for this little gem of a 5” and it is a belter! 3 songs each side in under a minute make this a must for me and my terminal attention span deficit, and I was not disappointed. Each band has definitely bought their A game and crowbarred as much velocity and lairyness as is possible in such as brief space. Both sides hit the ground running like a runaway train full of hyperactive toddlers in full sugar-rush temper tantrum and the whole thing has a sense of urgency which reminds me very much of The Ergs Thrash Compactor 7”. There are tunes a-plenty and riffs to knock your socks off, but just very quickly. What makes it work so well is that these are fully formed songs, not just You Suffer but Why style knees to the groin. There are even Hardcore type breakdowns - as if there were all the time in the world before the needle skitters across the centre label (Pizza Tramp’s 'I’d do normal things and have normal hobbies like normal people but it’s all just so fucking boring', and The Domestics 'Shopping'). Pizza Tramp (as ever) win the award for the most ridiculous song titles, all of which you are still in the middle of reading when the song ends! –  'Went on a double funded Kickstarter holiday to the United States of America and all I  bought back was this shitty fucking album' for example – and Jimbob’s vocals are as wasted and warped as ever. The Domestics (also as ever) leave you in no doubt that they need a serious word with you and you are going to listen! With a more distorted and acerbic D-beat sound and a fist full of fuck offs! 'Fucking die' is a particular favourite. If you have 2 minutes to spare this little Frisbee is a stonker. I’m bored now. Things to do!!
TNS (Alan)

PIZZA TRAMP - Grand Relapse - TNS
Pizza Tramp seem to be an unstoppable force at the moment, and I am happy to go along for the ride. Live they are fast, funny as fuck and always leave you with a stupid grin on your face. Thankfully, on record they are just as shit-hot, seemingly masters of capturing that live energy in the studio, and ‘Grand Relapse’ doesn’t disappoint with 15 tracks of their blistering, irreverent punk rock mayhem. They may be a twisted vision of what the Toy Dolls would have been like if they’d grown up listening to thrash and getting wasted, but there is more to them than that, and they do have some more serious things to say, although they say it more bluntly than most, for instance ‘Stop Being A Racist Cunt’ which, as well as being a great song, is just plain common sense. This album does sound exactly as you’d expect a new Pizza Tramp record to sound, but it’s all the better for it; they do this so well I just want more, and more, and more. They must be one of the most entertaining bands around, and they are as comfortable playing big shitty venues at Rebellion as they are playing tiny pubs in a shitty town like Southampton. So grab this album, go and see them live and enjoy one of the best bands around.
TNS (Tony)

POLITE FORCE - Bates CD - Serial Bowl
Blimey, Polite Force have taken me back to the early ‘90s again with what can only be described as a Nirvana homage; this is what my memory tells me ‘In Utero’ sounds like. I liked Nirvana, but haven’t really listened to them in years, however, listening to this is the next best thing. ’15 Minutes’ is like the stand out for me, it’s more straight forward, more punky, it still has the same nostalgic feel as the others, and adds a little Weezer to the mix in places. I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but I haven’t stopped the CD yet, so that has to be a good thing.
Serial Bowl (Tony)

ROTTEN FOXES - Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave 7” - Self Released
At last Brighton’s mighty Rotten Foxes have some vinyl out. Their two demos have been played pretty regularly here, and they are one of the most entertaining live bands I’ve seen; good time punk rock with plenty of humour, great riffs and lots of energy, what’s not to like? This four track EP encapsulates all that is great about this band; storming songs that fill the room with their high energy, high octane, infectious hooks. Listening to them loud brings the experience of seeing them live to your home, you can almost see the sweat dripping off them, feel the happy bodies bounce off you as they leap around in joyful abandon; like an arm around your shoulders, a microphone thrust at you as you scream “maaake me pretty…” at the top of your voice, not caring who can hear you. I think they are calling it a day soon, so pick this record up and get to see them if you can, you won’t regret it.
Rotten Foxes (Tony)

SANCTION THIS - Sanction This LP - Grow Your Own
A year on from their ‘We Are Abandoned’ LP, Sanction This are back with another long player, and this one is even better. The sound reminds me more of their Grow Your Own released 7”, and as much as I liked as last year’s album, this has taken Sanction This to another level; it packs a mighty punch and feels brighter, more urgent and more engaging. There aren’t many bands playing with as much intensity, not many who can play straight up, hard edged punk but also excel in brooding, menacing songs. The lyrics are delivered with an angry voice, which befits the times we’re living in and a track like ‘Pig’ is pretty savage, the chorus is “Pig, you are, you are” chanted repeatedly over Killing Joke like guitars and a pulsating rhythm. The songs aren’t particularly fast, but they are hard hitting and powerful, and with the perfectly suited vocals, driving guitars, hard hitting rhythm section and spot on arrangements they very quickly worm their way into your head. If this album isn’t instantly raved about and then remembered, in a few years, as one of the greatest examples of UK punk rock then people won’t have been listening properly.  
Grow Your Own (Tony)

¡TOMAR CONTROL! - Nunca Más Callar LP - Amok
It’s been quite some time since I listened to old school Straight Edge hardcore like this, and although I did used to like quite a lot of SxE bands, I don’t remember any being more exciting than ¡Tomar Control! Their influences shine through, I can hear Better Than A Thousand, Gorilla Biscuits and Battery, with one song having a very 7 Seconds sound, and they have taken all the good bits from those bands and made them their own. I guess, these four women hailing from Peru have a lot to shout about, and although there are some of the usual friendship/scene style lyrics (they provide translations on their bandcamp page), they also have a feminist message with lyrics like “Armed women, brave and strong, resisting resilient, our music our weapon to change our reality…” and “Our voice is rage and it will not stop, You will not tell us what a woman is like, We decide what we are going to do…” They speak directly to the hardcore scene with a cry of “Why is my femininity threatening you?” Animal rights are also addressed, “Take charge against all this injustice, Animal slavery needs to end.” The music is fast and powerful, hard hitting and sincere and the Spanish vocals seem to amplify both their anger and their joy. I like this album a lot.
Amok (Tony)

TORSO - Build & Break 7” - Revelation
It’s been years since I bought anything on Revelation, but then I guess they haven’t released anything as great as Torso for years. I have loved this band since their demo appeared on-line; I then bought the ‘Community Psychosis’ 7” and one-sided 12”, the ‘Sono Pronta a Morire’ album and now this, which could be the best thing they’ve don eso far. Having Keith playing guitar there is the odd bit that has similarity to Punch, but Torso deliver a more straight ahead hardcore attack, raging fast d-beat and powerful breakdowns. Ethan’s vocals are anguished rants, about coping with the world and the people in it, are spat out with an angry venom. Apparently this was tracked live to tape, and I guess thats why it sounds so urgent and vibrant; the band manage to be as tight a fuck without jeopardising any of the energy or power. Definitely one of my favourite bands around at the moment. I hope they come back to the UK as I missed them last time.
Torso (Tony)

VAASKA - Inocentes Condenados 7” - Beach Impediment
After three years Vaaska fight back with a new 7”EP. These Spanish speaking Texans have lost none of their impact, and deliver six songs that really capture the intensity and power of those early Discharge singles. I may not be able to easily understand what they are shouting about, but you can feel their anger and frustration pouring out of this record. I’ve liked all of Vaaska’s releases, but this could well be their best yet. The stark black and white sleeve images evokes memories of a time when the world was in the grip of cruel governments and escalating military build up, and rampant right-wing governments in the US and UK created misery for their own populations. The more things change the more they stay the same; thankfully that brings out the best in punk and Vaaska don’t disappoint. Fast, furious and fucking great.
Beach Impediment (Tony)

X-CRETAS - 2nd Demo 10” - Grow Your Own
This is a re-release of the X-Cretas second demo, originally released in 1982. The band were from Kent, were only around for about three years and didn’t do much more than a couple of demos, but on the evidence of this they were a match for many of the bands that inexplicably became household names. Although they were short lived, members of the band did also play in Active Slaughter, Bug Central, Anthrax and AntiSect. Grow Your Own have put this out as part of their 10” series, the vinyl is a lovely shade of blue and there are the usual touches of quality we’ve come to expect from GYO. This is a real snapshot of a short period of time in UK punk history, and is very listenable with a couple of songs giving a real nod to bands like Anthrax.
Grow Your Own (Tony)

YONDER – Temple of Eyes – WOOAAARGH 
Stuttgart’s Yonder deliver 3 monolithic chunks of epic crust big enough for Kubrick’s apes to get distinctly agitated about. Make no mistake, this is stadium crust/ black metal at its most ominous and imposing, 6 to 7 minute songs with leaden riffs and drum patterns which chop and change more times than you could shake a thigh bone at. My initial impression brings to mind all sorts of influences which I’m sure they weren’t aiming at at all – Classical Wagner, Ennio Morricone and even a smidge of Sisters of Mercy (in track 2 – Temple of Eyes especially). Luckily Yonder layer these eclectic skeletal remains with copious waves of heavy distortion and clean lute-style black metal guitar riffs so that the end result is a full on assault. They retain a respectful gallop and never quite break into the grind infused D-beat of many crust bands so there is a heavy feeling of bands like Wolf Brigade and the ubiquitous Tragedy who seem to have been assimilated into all crust bands from 2000 onwards. In fact Tragedy are plainly in evidence during track 3 - Burden, which has a descending riff cleverly (or unintentionally) borrowed from Tragedy’s own Conflicting Ideas. It is used to great effect and only bettered by the punkest of riffs which kicks in - all studs and patches - at the end of the song. Somewhere lost in this whirlwind are vocals which could strip paint, pitched somewhere between the throat-shredding wails of black metal and the preferred Neanderthal grunts of crust. The press pack says the songs cover themes of religious oppression, social pressure and injustice (not that you would know purely by listening, but that’s all for the better and par for the crust course). The result is tortured, bleak and powerful. If you like your crust massive with crater-scarred tundra and clawed black-metal fists, this is for you!
WOOAAARGH (Alan)

ZERO NEGATIVE - Skate. Kill. Destroy. CD - Serial Bowl
The seemingly prolific Serial Bowl records deliver again with this 11 track album from Sunderland’s Zero Negative. It’s full of chunky hardcore punk, with the band wearing their influences on their sleeve; so I’m assuming that they love the early USHC of Poison Idea, Black Flag, Minor Threat and even the Adolescents. There is a definite UK feel to these songs too, so they don’t feel like just a copy of what’s come before, and they explode with urgency and fury. The lyrics are angry, nihilistic and hate fuelled, and I’m not always 100% sure what the message is (again, a bit like the some of the early USHC bands), but then there is the line “fuck all the fox hunts, hunt them instead, kill them all dead…” Which is pretty unambiguous. If you want a modern band playing in your face punk rock, then you need to give this band a listen.
Serial Bowl (Tony)

ZOUNDS - Can’t Cheat Karma LP - Sealed
All five Zounds EPs collected on one white vinyl LP, which includes a fold out poster/lyric sheet. The first three songs, that made up their first Crass Records released 7”, are punk rock perfection, ‘Can’t Cheat Karma, ‘War’ and ‘Subvert’ are songs we all know so well, but even now they sound fresh and exciting. After that release Zounds went to Rough Trade and the songs became more melodic, but still, the records contain some real gems. The anarcho punk umbrella was broad enough to include a band like Zounds alongside more abrasive bands like Crass and Conflict because it was the ideas an attitude that was important; this also meant that lots of spiky haired punks were exposed to some real melodic and haunting songs from Zounds. Their last EP (before they came back in recent years and started releasing new stuff), was ‘La Vacht Qui Rit’ which was released on Belgian label Not So Brave, has two studio tracks that sound much more like their first EP, and two live tracks that sound rough and ready, but also really good, and a great way to finish off a great release from Sealed.
Sealed (Tony)

VARIOUS - Hardkore Dokument UK 7” - Kibou, TNS etc
Six bands, six tracks one great EP. All the songs are appearing on vinyl for the first time and there are some real corkers here; in the case of Grand Collapse, this is my favourite song of theirs I’ve herd yet. Other bands are The Domestics, Pizza Tramp, Guilt Police, Rash Decision and Wolfbeast Destroyer. This is a great little snapshot of what’s going on in the UK at the moment, and what these bands offer on their own releases: they all have their own approach, there is an intensity that ties them all together. A cool multi label release too. I love the co-operation that exists between these bands and these labels. Thumbs up all round.
Kibou (Tony)

VARIOUS - No One’s Little Girls (International Woman’s Day Compilation 2019) LP - Grow Your Own
Are Grow Your Own Records the most punk label around? With a faultless catalogue, and brilliant (and DIY) packaging there aren’t many better. This compilation just enhances their credentials; it’s a compilation to celebrate the explosion of talented women in bands for International Women’s Day 2019, with all profits going to grassroots women’s charities. As with the best compilations, this features bands I already love, and bands I now want to hear more from with quite an eclectic mix of sounds, from straight up punk, to melodic poppy tunes, acoustic songs, and more. It all works, and flows so that despite the different sounds, it feels connected and songs like ‘Victory’ by The Black Death and ‘Empathy’ by Calico don’t seem out of place between the melodic punk tunes of Wearcats and the raw greatness of Baratkus. Combat Shock and Hagar The Womb both deliver great songs, and The Menstrual Cramps’ ‘No Means No’ should be part of the school curriculum. This certainly is a fitting celebration of the current crop of talent, and what’s also great is I can think of several other bands would also not have been out of place on here; this a perfect companion to Static Shock’s ‘Raise Your Voice Joyce” compilation from last year. By now you will expect the packaging to be great, and GYO do not disappoint, once again showing how much care and attention goes onto their releases. This is such great record.
Grow Your Own (Tony)

...The Message


1 comment:

  1. You're a punk or you're not. If you are a punk, you keep in touch by buying this zine EVERY time it is issued. Otherwise enjoy Blink 182!

    ReplyDelete