Welcome to Crusty Culprits #6, where I shine the spotlight on some more rough fvckin’ diamonds from the world of punk rock, hardcore and points in-between. In recent years, Bandcamp’s proven to be an absolute goldmine for finding pick-sliding agitators worth writing about. So that’s where the pool of provocateurs below is drawn from. Thanks a bunch for reading, and keep an eye out for more Crusty Culprits features in the future.
Crusty Culprits #6
Semi: Go Viral
(La Vida Es un Mus Discos)
Label La Vida Es un Mus Discos has released a mountain of first-rate punk from across the genre’s spectrum — and here’s three more reprobates to add to the list. First up, Anxiety are a Glaswegian band whose S/T debut is jam-packed with skittery and dissonant hardcore that’s unconventional in temperament and texture. Essentially, Anxiety make magnificent odd bod noise, for the strung-out weirdo in all of us, and London band Semi also take a trip to bizarre and agitated realms with their Go Viral 7”. Go Viral has been described as “audio malware”, which captures it destructive tone perfectly, but the best thing about the 7” is that Semi’s scuzzy and ultra-distorted ‘music’ will leave you wondering how something so utterly fvcked-up could also be so utterly brilliant. Last on the list is Polish crust crew Ohyda. I know virtually nothing about the Lublin-based band, apart from the fact that Ohyda’s formidable S/T album is overflowing with the kind of bleeding-raw crasher crust that’ll crush (a) your hopes, (b) your dreams, and (c) your goddamn(ed) soul.
(Phobia Records, Pure Heart Records)
The roster of Czech label Phobia Records is like a rogue’s gallery filled with some of the most staunchly underground crust bands around. Case(s) in point, Afterlife and Bombangrepp. Afterlife’s excellent self-titled debut is heavy on thickset D-beat, crust and hardcore. But the band step off the usual blitzkrieg punk pathway and also write longer and more involved tracks that evoke the epic crust/metal of Nux Vomica, Downfall of Gaia and kin. There’s no epic adventuring for Gothenburg trio Bombangrepp though. The band give a sneak peek at their latest EP, Maktmissbrukande Svin, by streaming two noxious and battering käng ’n’ crust crashers on Phobia’s Bandcamp page. Bombangrepp’s music is coarse and caustic, and definitely incensed: FFO Totalitär, Anti Cimex, Shitlickers, and Skitsystem — you know, classic filthy crust.
(Not Enough, Breeding For Extinction, Deviance, Neanderthal-stench, Phobia, Profane Existence, Ruin Nation, Bullwhip, Fukker, Scream, and Mundo En Kaos)
That long list of record labels above is a perfect indicator of just how great Swedish band Voidfiller’s self-titled debut really is. Every one of those labels clearly though, “I need to be involved in releasing Voidfiller’s music”. That’s for a number of very good reasons too. First, Voidfiller deliver the kind of full-throttle (and always addictive) metallic punk that bands like Tragedy, Wolfbrigade, or Martyrdöd are famed for delivering. Second, like those aforementioned bands, Voidfiller inject their whirlwind D-beat and kängpunk with a supercharged shot of ultra-dark hardcore. Third, Voidfiller ensure their bulldozing tracks have plenty of tempo shifts and gritty melodies — i.e. their songs are baited with giant hooks. And forth, Voidfiller’s first full-length is simply of such high quality that it clearly signals the arrival of a formidable force in punk rock.
(Grita o muere, Hysterical, Svoboda, Guerilla Vinyl, Bloodsoaked, Pandora)
A lot of what I wrote about Voidfiller above is also perfectly applicable to Spanish D-beat and crustcore crew Instinto. The band draw from the same well of DIY metallic hardcore for inspiration, and both Voidfiller and Instinto ensure there are melodies to ensnare the listener buried in amongst all their musical brutality. Instinto’s hefty riffs often lean on the metal end of the chugging crust and hardcore spectrum on their Dimonis album. (And there’s a fair few wailing leads for guitar nerds to worship as well.) The roughneck fist-raising punk of bands like Wolfbrigade, Tragedy or From Ashes Rise is heard in Instinto’s shout-a-long vocals, and in the band’s potent mix of melodic albeit still burly guitars. As as result, Dimonis packs an awesome up-front punch, and it’s an absolute treat for fans of galloping crossover crust. To use an old but entirely apt adage, Dimonis really is all killer and no filler.
Insidious Process: Mirrors of the Dead
(Not Enough, Distro Rakkos, Acclaim and Svoboda. Tape released by Godzilla Distro)
Mirrors of the Dead is the second full-length album from Swedish crust cohort Insidious Process, and it’s another relentless barrage of crushing metal punk. Like most of the bands I cover in these Crusty Culprits features, Insidious Process are set on confronting political ills and highlight social injustices, and they do that with a fierce temper matched by a savage sound. The band harnesses D-beat, black metal, doom and trampling hardcore, and the vocals on Mirrors of the Dead are off-the-hook insane with broken glass howls mixing with shrieking triades. Insidious Process deliver an utter onslaught that never backs down for one second on Mirrors of the Dead –– be that musically or otherwise.
Before I get into what makes Norwegian punks Nag so great, let me just point out the band share a label with A+ weirdo punks Okkultokrati, and the mesmerising avant-punk/metal shapeshifters Arabrot. Like those bands, Nag are a tad off-kilter. Unnervingly so, on occasions. And they bring more deep-set eccentricity to the table than your average Scandi crust band. The band’s self-titled debut rips along at warp speed, and if the plethora of punk/metal hybrids lurking on a label like Southern Lord’s roster appeal, then Nag’s mix of misanthropic crust, hardcore and grind will likely hit the spot too. I wouldn’t call Nag a metalcore band, but there’s certainly moments on their debut that a fan of Converge and ilk will seriously dig as well. In the main, though, Nag deal in super-fast and super-catchy hardcore. It’s rough-hewn music that teeters on the edge of total fvcking chaos. And the unorthodox backbone to it all seals the deal for me.