Crusty Culprits, part four

Welcome to Crusty Culprits #4, where I shine a light on some rough fvckin’ diamonds from the world of D-beat, crust, hardcore, and all punk rock points in between. In recent years, Bandcamp has proven to be a goldmine for finding pick-sliding punks, so that’s where Crusty Culprits’ pool of provocateurs is drawn from. Thanks a bunch for reading, and keep an eye out for more Crusty Culprits features in the near future.

More crust from Bandcamp, continued

Okus – Scourge

(Distro-y Records)

Irish label Distro-y Records has a bunch of great punk bands on the books, and fellow Irish marauders Okus are one the label’s best. If you’re a fan of heavyweight crossover crust—i.e. classic bands like Sacrilege, Hellbastard or Amebix—then you’re going to love Okus’ Scourge album. There’s a mountain of ye olde pulverizing crust to enjoy here, and pile of misanthropic doom to wallow in too. Add a ton of grinding, nihilistic noise into the mix, and then clad everything in a blackened suit of armour, and that’s Okus’ plan of attack. The band smash galloping D-beats into full-throttle blast beats while howling at the world. It’s an ugly and bruising noise. And highly recommended.


Dödläge – Ritual Slaughter

(Profane Existence)

Portland, Oregon’s Dödläge is a heavyweight champ when it comes to tone, temper and technique. The band’s first full-length, Ritual Slaughter, is easily one of this year’s best crust punk LPs, and it follows on from a 2015 self-titled 7-inch from Dödläge that was pretty goddamn killer too. In terms of its sheer sonic strength, Ritual Slaughter ranks amongst the hardest hitting releases that the long-running collective Profane Existence has ever released. Dödläge’s red-raw crust is certainly indebted to weapons-grade Swedish kångpunk, and as the band tears into their songs with unstoppable savagery the echo of Totalitär and their Scandi kin rings loud. However, there’s also a hefty amount of titanium-tipped hardcore and grindcore to be heard here too. So Dödläge are very adept at attacking on all fronts. No question, Ritual Slaughter is a nihilistic knockout.


Warthog – S/T 7-inch EP

(Beach Impediment Records, Static Shock Records)

The latest ferocious 7-inch from New York punks Warthog is the band’s best yet. That’s no easy feat, considering Warthog’s two previous 7-inch releases (on labels Katorga Works and Iron Lung Records) delivered first-rate and iron-clad roughneck punk. Warthog don’t waste a second on their new 7-inch as they set to tearing reality apart at warp speed again with four feedback-fuelled tracks that are covered head-to-toe in barbwire. Expect ear-splitting riffs and strident vocals, but most of all one in-fvcking-tense shockwave. A couple of reviews have called Warthog’s latest 7-inch an instant NYHC classic. That’s very hard to dispute.


Vaaska – Futuro Primitivo 7-inch

(Beach Impediment Records, Vox Populi )

Vaaska’s last full-length, 2015’s formidable Todos Contra Todos, was one of my absolute favourite releases last year. The Austin-based band’s second album was stacked to the gunnels with amp-melting D-beat, vitriolic vocals howling Spanish lyrics, and incendiary solos firing off in all directions. The band’s Futuro Primitivo 7-inch continues along those exact same lines; no need to change a 100% successful and 1000% ferocious formula, amigos. There’s crust-coated guitars cleaving left, right and centre on Futuro Primitivo, and a rhythm section charging like a herd of rabid rhinos. If you’re seeking jagged-edged and breakneck punk that hits like a ton of bricks, rest assured that Futuro Primitivo happily provides an utter hammering.


Crown Court – Capital Offence

(Katorga Works)

’Ere we go, more bovver boy Oi! From Crown Court, London Town’s finest boots-and-braces street punks. The band’s Capital Offence LP was one of this year’s most anticipated punk albums, and man, it was totally worth the wait. Crown Court had built a significant following off the back of their Trouble From London demo and two subsequent and widely acclaimed EPs, so the pressure on the band to deliver with Capital Offence must have been fierce. No problem there, though, because Capital Offence is stacked with sing-along anthems that are hugely enjoyable and rowdy and riotous to boot. The album harks back to the working-class roots and swaggering hooks of Oi!’s earliest years, and Capital Offence is duly loaded with gritty and street-wise hooks. A classic debut, fo’ sure.


Pure Disgust – S/T

(Katorga Works)

Crown Court’s first full-length wasn’t the only highly anticipated debut from label Katorga Works this year. Also of note is the incendiary self-titled debut from Washington DC’s Pure Disgust. Like Crown Court, Pure Disgust built a solid reputation with a rock-solid demo, a bunch of promo tapes, and a couple of firebrand EPs, and the band’s first full-length has been long-awaited. Never more timely, Pure Disgust tackles the causes and effects of racism, poverty, incarceration and all manner of socio-political problems head-on. With ten rapid-speed tracks spread out over 18 whirlwind minutes, Pure Disgust rips into society’s ills with a sound that’s grounded in ultra-aggressive DCHC but incorporates jagged shards of street punk on the album. Rightly incensed, Pure Disgust are a crucial voice in punk rock in 2016. The band’s debut is an even more crucial statement of the times.

(Note – if you dig Pure Disgust, try Protestor, Red Death, Stuck Pigs and excellent The Red Line Compilation of DCHC. There’s also a really fantastic article on NPR that looks at the new wave of DCHC that’s cropped up over the last couple of years. Check that out right here.)


???? (Paranoid)Punkdemonium Hell/Nightmare Or Reality/Satyagraha

(Viral Age Records, Southern Lord, D-Takt & Råpunk Records)

Here’s a trio of releases that aren’t exactly new, but they’re all well worth talking about nonetheless. ???? (aka Paranoid) are a Swedish hardcore band heavily influenced by raw Japanese punk groups like Disclose, D-Clone or Gloom. It’s not all Nippon-inspired noise for ???? though. The band throw a heap of “Venom-styled black metal” into their “vortex of head-banging chaos and pure D-beat fury”. Paranoid’s volatile first full-length, 2015’s Satyagraha, was re-released by label Southern Lord this year, and it (very) deservedly found a whole new audience in the process. Don’t skip on the band’s Punkdemonium Hell or Nightmare Or Reality releases though. The former is a three-track neck-wrecking triumph. The latter is a covers tribute to Japan’s aforementioned punk icons Disclose. All of Paranoid’s releases are white-knuckle thrill rides. Get ’em, now.


Kohti Tuhoa – Rutiinin Orja

(Svart Records, Southern Lord)

Let’s throw one more Southern Lord reissue into the mix before I go. Finnish band Kohti Tuhoa’s rip-roaring debut, Rutiinin Orja, was originally released by the seemingly always on-point Svart Records back in 2015. (Actually, Svart released another storming album from fellow Finns Terveet Kädet in 2015, and you should check out their Lapin helvetti album out. It was/is a fvcking riot.) Southern Lord picked Rutiinin Orja up for wider release in 2016, and the album’s jam-packed with ear-bleeding D-beat and warp-speed hardcore. All the vocals are delivered in Finnish, but that’s really no issue if you don’t speak the language. Kohti Tuhoa’s über-intense singer, Helena, delivers every line with manic fury and gusto that’ll raise your fist in the air anyway. Rutiinin Orja is fuelled by chaos and rage, and it’s supremely addictive too. Gold star filthy noise.

Internationally published writer, columnist, and radio producer.