Welcome to In Crust We Trust: Vol 3, where horrible happenings are firmly embraced and fresh undies are entirely optional. Right off the bat, I want to say a thank you to the fans of filth-caked punk who took a gander at the first two parts of this feature. The number of scumbags visiting those parts suggested there’s a hunger for more noxious punk around here, so In Crust We Trust is going be a monthly feature from here on in.
Like the first two volumes, upcoming editions won’t be solely focused on bands referencing groups like Amebix, Doom, Deviated Instinct or any of their burly kin. Instead, we’re treating crust as a broad church where ‘crust’ is as much an attitude as a sound. Plenty of king-size punk-metal heavy hitters will be featured (and we’re definitely leaning harder on the chain punk side of the fence), but we’re not too worried about strictly defined niches.
Essentially, that means In Crust We Trust will also welcome bands that have raided crust’s larder and cooked up something spicier or even sourer. That means stock-standard crustcore titans will be sharing space with crust-inspired and crusty-sounding bands. And if you think that sounds like a cheap ploy so we can add more d-beat, noise, and raw punk bands into the mix, you’re dead right.
Hell, there’s even an odds-on chance that grindcore and death and black metal groups will turn up if they’re paying enough respect to crust’s signifiers. Hopefully, all that variety will showcase how crust has wormed its way into the marrow of plenty of other punk subgenres, as well as myriad other underground scenes.
Obviously, looking at crusty noise through a wide-angle lens won’t suit everyone. But before I tackle that issue, let me deal with another. A couple of bands genuinely got their knickers in a twist about not featuring in the first two parts of In Crust We Trust. (Yeah, I know, weird, but *long sigh* people, right?) Here’s the deal; this column is a primer, not an exhaustive encyclopedia. But more to the point, punk rock isn’t a Battle of the Bands and entitled whiners don’t win any favors. Capeesh?
Clearly, some punk fans also feel compelled to examine the DNA of every band to ensure they’re all fastidiously cataloged—yes, I got your email too, Lance. I understand that concern because I’m a tight-ass nerd about a number of things too. But In Crust We Trust isn’t concerned with in-depth taxonomy debates.
In other words, don’t get too wrapped up in the ‘crust’ bit of In Crust We Trust. We’re here to talk about crashing punk and crushing metal, not indulge in futile quarrels. At least, that’s the plan for today. Honestly, we’ll probably just map things out as we go. If that means things look a little ragged at times, let’s just call that an apt homage to crust’s chaotic nature.
Apologies for the drastic change in tack, but a few days after I wrote the introduction above a terrorist attack occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand that I feel compelled to mention. On 15 March a white supremacist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, instantly killing around 50 men, women, and children, and injuring dozens more. I live in New Zealand and those attacks will forever scar my heart and the heart of my nation. However, in the aftermath, countless people from around the world reacted with such an outpouring of sympathy that even an old and entrenched misanthrope like me was reminded of the intrinsic compassion that often links us all.
Obviously, you’re not here to read overly emotional sentiments or hand-wringing political commentary. Although, this is a punk rock feature, so passionate venting and rabble-rousing are to be expected. Let me just say this:
We’re all familiar with the slaughter of innocents. We see it on our screens every day and we hear about it in passing far too often. But when such attacks occur close to home, many of us are left feeling profoundly shocked and helpless. In those times, obnoxious music, like the noise gathered below, matters more than ever.
Right now, I’m broken, as are untold others in New Zealand, but those of us who love nightmarish music instinctively know it’ll play a pivotal role in rebuilding our strength and maintaining our resilience. For many of us, horrible noise is a crucial cathartic tool and the harshest music imaginable is often the very music that helps us heal.
More than that, while some commit atrocities seeking to divide us, it’s often monstrous music that builds the bridges that connect us. Long may we revel in disagreeable music’s ability to cross borders and cultural divides. Long may we celebrate ill-tempered music’s capacity to forge a bond and foster understanding between fans of the loudest and ugliest noise around.
We have a saying around my neck of the woods: He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata (what is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people). Take care of each other, and thanks for stopping by.
Fuck hate, love noise.
Enjoy the ruckus.
Geiger Counter – Nuclear EP
Take one gray morning, where you wake up wrecked, sprinkle it with a sickening wave of regret, and then add the feeling of opening the curtains to see another ominous shitstorm brewing on the horizon. Sound bleak enough? Maybe throw in a couple of apocalyptic epiphanies, and then you’ll be getting close to the grim and psychologically battering tone of Geiger Counter’s crust.
The Minneapolis-based group formed in 2015, which makes them fairly new, but Geiger Counter’s music reeks of age-old rot and decay. Obviously, having a bad stench is a good thing in crust’s putrid pits, and like all great hideous noise, Geiger Counter’s bloodletting definitely makes for a much-needed purge / exorcism.
Geiger Counter draw from the classics with bursts of Scandi-inspired corrosiveness and raw Japanese hardcore obliterating everything in a cyclone of noise. Their latest EP, Nuclear, was released by German label Anomie Records late last year, but it’s been recently unleashed on US audiences via Profane Existence and Ryvvolte Records. Expect caustic riffs buzzing with distortion, and barbwire-wrapped crustcore constructed from the rawest components. If you enjoy the skin-flaying hardcore below, keep an eye out for Geiger Counter’s similarly concussive split with Indonesian raw punks Zudas Krust.
Svaveldioxid – Dödsögonblick
It’s always a good day when Swedish punks Svaveldioxid return from the wilderness, or wherever it is they lurk when they’re off the clock. Svaveldioxid features members who’ve played in respected groups like Disfear and Warvictims (as well as plenty of other ear-splitting Scandi punk acts), and Svaveldioxid’s 2016 debut, Ändlös Mardröm, was a well-deserved hit with the kängpunk kids.
The band’s follow-up splits and EPs have also featured hefty slabs of berserker hardcore and grotty d-beat, and their overall sound is about as ugly and menacing as a cudgel spiked with rusty nails. Svaveldioxid’s new crust-caked full-length is as hideous as ever, which is good news for fans of music that sounds like a dislocated jaw feels.
Dödsögonblick delivers quintessential 80s / 90s-fuelled kängpunk. Sure, the band isn’t going to win any medals for innovation or even originality, but Dödsögonblick definitely meets all requirements when it comes to harsh and heavy punk with zero frills or filler. Even better, although Svaveldioxid make an ungodly racket, their inherent ferociousness doesn’t obscure the catchy hooks often buried in their songs.
Dödsögonblick‘s heavily distorted guitars, pounding drums, and vicious vocals will more than satisfy anyone ensnared by Svaveldioxid’s previous releases. This record is is relentless, brutal, belligerent and uncompromising—four very good reasons to sample the volatile eruptions below.
Nuclear Power Genocide – Devastation of the Future
Nuclear Power Genocide (aka N.P.G) features a couple of members from prolific Swedish hollers 偏執症者 (Paranoid) and a couple of the crew from Canadian crushers Absolut. Obviously, such a collection of noise-makers represents a raw punk dream team, and N.P.G definitely operate in more of an abrasive punk zone than the burly crust sphere. That said, as I noted in the introduction above, crusty sounding bands are very welcome around these parts, and N.P.G sound crusty as fuck.
To be clear, I don’t mean N.P.G sound like a ‘roid rage crust band. Or even a ripped, metal-inspired crust band. I mean that N.P.G’s sound is like a virulent disease encrusted with suppurating scabs, and it’ll definitely leave you feeling like you should consider getting a tetanus jab.
Paranoid and Absolut released a ridiculously good 12” split a few years back—see the barbaric delights of Jawbreaking Mangel Devastation—and their even closer collaboration on N.P.G’s Devastation of the Future EP sounds as horrible and unyielding as you’d expect. Battering kängpunk is delivered with villainous intent, and while there aren’t any surprises on Devastation of the Future, as such, the relentless d-beaten racket is guaranteed to get diehard crust fans frothing at the bit.
Disguise – Bas Fada
It’s all too easy to overlook rough diamonds lurking in the darkest depths of subterranean punk. That’s where In Crust We Trust comes in. We’re here to drag monstrous bands into the light and to shout about unheralded groups making uncompromising music. Bands like Irish punks Disguise, whose combination of distortion-drenched crust and blown-out hardcore is a guaranteed horror show for anyone seeking accessible hooks or easy handholds.
Disguise’s music is as raw as a prolapse, and they essentially sound like Krömosom covering Gloom covering Zyanose covering Mauser. (Or something primitive + harsh + head-splitting like that.) I stumbled on Disguise via their 2015 debut, Signs of the Future, which exhibited a wholehearted and unrepentant commitment to making an obnoxious uproar.
From the sounds of it, Disguise have been stoking the fires of wrath and fury ever since. The band’s new Bas Fada 7” is even more unhinged and incendiary than their debut, and there’s little point pressing play below if you’re interested in accommodating punk.
Disguise tear through Bas Fada‘s hammering tracks with their raucous vocals and instrumental insanity exceeding red-lining levels throughout. This 7″ is packed tight with saw-toothed riffs cutting through reverb-heavy crust, d-beat, and noise punk. All propelled by the rawest Scandinavian and Japanese hardcore influences.
Zero breaths are taken and zero fucks are given on Bas Fada, and Disguise’s eviscerating tracks combine amp-melting assaults with unadulterated antagonism. Pitch-perfect for nihilists who (a) realize we’ve ruined it all, and (b) recognize the end is approaching far faster than we could have ever imagined.
Languid – Submission Is the Only Freedom
Here’s another tempting treat from the always filthy stable of Swedish label D-Takt & Råpunk (see releases from Svaveldioxid and N.P.G elsewhere on this list). Canadian crust / hardcore band Languid offer something different compared to the other bands gathered here. Chiefly because the inspirational compass points for most of the other groups covered are Scandinavia and Japan, first and foremost, but that’s not the case for Languid.
Languid are unmistakably influenced by UK legends Discharge, when they were at the peak of their early 80s’ powers. Like Discharge, Languid’s often bass-heavy music feels like it’s propelled by a methamphetamine-powered bulldozer. And the band’s new Submission Is the Only Freedom 12″ features mammoth (and bleeding-raw) chunks of metallic hardcore, delivered with plenty of confrontational gusto.
Obviously, it’s one thing to draw inspiration from a band and another to copycat, and Languid certainly aren’t mimicking Discharge (who’ve clearly spawned a million bands with their groundbreaking pursuits). That said, Languid do take a similarly brutal approach, with their heavyweight wall of noise having rough, albeit steel-clad edges. That means Submission Is the Only Freedom is definitely a release that fans of Why? or Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing should explore.
Physique – The Evolution of Combat
Japanese dis-beat icons Disclose have had an incalculable influence on underground punk, and you can clearly hear the echo of their ‘Disbones phase’ in the work of US band Physique. The Olympia-based group’s sophomore release,The Evolution of Combat, is overflowing with piledriving crasher crust, and Physique’s whirlwind mix of disorder and dissonance is being released by noted noise-merchants Distort Reality.
It’s worth deviating for a second to underscore that Distort Reality have released an increasingly long run of outstandingly raw punk releases; see recent red-hot blasts of ruinous noise from the likes of Zyanose, Contrast Attitude, Dog Soldier, Rubble, and Apocalypse Now. If punk rock dripping with toxic slurry and antisocial attitude is your thing, the chaotic depths of Distort Reality’s roster await.
Mixing toxic influences is definitely Physique’s kink. The Evolution of Combat combines violent d-beat and acidic crust with fuzzed-out hardcore. Jarring instrumentation and vitriolic vocals are fed through raw punk’s inflamed intestinal tract, and sure, it’s all a hellish racket, but that’s kind of the point. Noise not music is the motto, after all, and Physique hammer that proverb home with gruesome glee.
Genome – The Sound of Loud Ringing in the Ear
The debut full-length from Malmö punks Genome is an aptly titled blizzard of chaotic crasher crust and mutilated hardcore.
The Sound of Loud Ringing in the Ear is as raw as road rash—and about as comforting as using a mallet to ease a migraine—and while Genome’s music might not be sophisticated, it’s 100% effective at getting its point across in a split second flat. File under crude, coarse, and tinnitus-inducing fun.
Swordwielder – “Violent Revolution”
Before I go, I want to give you a heads up about a storming track from Gothenburg stenchcore band Swordwielder that’s streaming online. It’s been a fair number years since we’ve heard any rumblings from this camp, but the band’s new track, “Violent Revolution”, is an absolute spine-crusher… Or mind-mangler—take your pick.
Back in 2013, Swordwielder’s full-length debut, Grim Visions of Battle, got the official ‘Fenriz-approved’ nod, and the album is currently available on Bandcamp for the princely sum of: “name your price.” (Fun fact: you should fucking grab it, forthwith.) An interview with Swordwielder from 2014 noted they were aiming for a sound that combined Amebix’s atmospherics with the pulverizing intensity of Axegrinder. That’s a fairly accurate summation of the mauling music on the band’s debut, and “Violent Revolution” is a similarly hefty metallic crust hybrid.
Swordwielder sound as heavy as ever on “Violent Revolution,” and their music continues to chug along at a corpse-dragging pace. The song reeks of bleak desolation while simultaneously calling for political action and resistance, and it’s clear that Swordwielder remain indebted to stenchcore’s originators, both musically and lyrically.
That said, even though Swordwielder are thoroughly old school, there’s nothing antiquated about “Violent Revolution.” It’s an apocalyptically grim sounding track, no question about that, but for all the heavyweight death-dealing crust therein, Swordwielder sound very much alive and (re-)energized. “Violent Revolution” is taken from the band’s upcoming System Overlord LP, which is due for release on 1 June via Profane Existence. Fans of mammoth-sized, combat-ready crust, take note.