Welcome to In Crust We Trust Vol. 6, which is brought to you this month by Shut Up, Grandad, Inc.
Thing is, I’ve been thinking about crotchety old punks—you know, like me—and why we’re such a pain in the fucking ass. If you felt your sphincter tighten reading that line, then maybe you’re a grizzled ol’ grump too? You don’t have to be, though. Take a deep breath. Breathe out slowly. And repeat after me:
“Yelling at kids online for having a different opinion about Black Flag’s cultural legacy isn’t going to fix my relationship or financial issues… or wind the clock back on anything.”
I’m joking, of course. And I’m also a hypocrite. I whinge and whine all day long. But you might have noticed that testy old punks seem to pop up regularly to derail the fun in life. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who paused for a little “WTF!” moment after it was revealed that #certifiedoldpunk Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller decided to thank a Holocaust denier in the liner notes for Tau Cross’ new album. Relapse Records dropping the band was less surprising. But I felt for Miller’s bandmates, who seemed shocked by his actions and his subsequent statements.
Obviously, Miller is one of the founders of Amebix, and the majority of bands I mention in every volume of In Crust We Trust owe a huge debt (musically and ideologically) to Amebix. It’s no surprise that a number of folks felt unsettled by Miller’s recent undertakings. Amebix was seen as an important voice for the voiceless. But now Miller appears to have embraced intolerance with the kind of fervor he once reserved for attacking oppression.
(The good news is—as Amebix’s co-founder Stig made clear—it’s nonsense to think that the band ever had a hidden agenda that aligns with Miller’s current views.)
As many punk fans rightly pointed out, putting anyone on a pedestal inevitably ends in disaster. Truth is, Miller’s current preoccupations aren’t even that surprising. Anyone with a vested interest in punk has witnessed fans and musicians embrace crackpot theories after tumbling down a few deep, dark rabbit holes. One day they’re giggling about reptilians, the next they’re imprisoned by paranoid fantasies. No one is immune. All you need is a little social isolation + a decent internet connection.
The punk scene often seems rocked by chaos and confusion nowadays. Former allegiances and understandings exist on shakier ground. And Rifts are rife—just look at the tensions between different generations of punk fans.
The internet has a lot to do with that.
My generation, Gen X, was the first to benefit from the internet extending the lifespan of our music fandom. Older generations than mine waved goodbye to their favorite rockers and rollers as increasing responsibilities and social pressures severed those connections. But not my generation. It doesn’t matter if we spend most of our time these days cutting out coupons and checking for blood in our stools. We can still keep up to date with the latest noisy happenings by simply tapping a few keys.
I’m older than dinosaur shit, but it’s thanks to the internet that I get to write this monthly feature and pretend that I have something relevant to add to the conversation. Remaining closely connected to the music we love has been a boon for older fans like me.
Except when it hasn’t.
We’ve all seen midlife crisis punks and younger fans tussling online about all the changes in the scene. Change inevitably occurs in every music genre, for myriad musical and social reasons, and I know what it feels like to suddenly have the music you love flagged as passé or, even worse, problematic, by younger fans. That scenario sees old-timers reaching for their blood pressure medication at record speeds—and pushback often boils over.
That’s understandable too. My generation sought out challenging and transgressive music to escape the confines of conservative society as well as deal with existential Cold War stresses. We lived through a time when political campaigns, religious movements, and Satanic panics sought to silence the music we loved. Nowadays, it does seem odd when the occasional youngster, rather than a dusty old moral crusader, seeks to mute or cancel incendiary art.
To be clear, I’m not excusing blatantly discriminatory bullshit, and I don’t think things were better “back in the day.” More to the point, I think it’s crucial for younger fans to kick against artistic boundaries and to question conventions. Blind obedience is not a virtue, and it ain’t fuckin’ punk either. And although many of the loudest voices criticizing fresh-faced fans seem to have conveniently forgotten, they also passionately argued for change.
Nostalgia has a funny way of reshaping reality, though. You see that when crabby old metalheads whine about all the politics in metal nowadays—seemingly forgetting about all that politically fueled 80s’ thrash that sealed their fandom. Many of today’s grouchiest fans criticized trends and artists while demanding harder, faster and more provocative music in their youth. I sure did. And subsequent waves of punk and metal delivered.
Obviously, you don’t have to agree with the changes being demanded or enacted nowadays—I can’t say I like ’em all either—but there should be a slither of intergenerational understanding in that desire for change. Maybe that understanding could serve as a conversation starter? Rather than obnoxious old gatekeepers or hand-wringing whippersnappers pouring gasoline on the fire straight away.
Ultimately, remaining plugged into the punk or metal scenes as you grow older is a perfect way to discover great new music, spend valuable time with like-minded comrades, and keep you feeling alive. Obviously, gazillions of older fans embrace all that without kicking up a fuss. Some days, though, you’re more aware of your peers dropping by the wayside. Some days a feeling of irrelevance lingers. You can get bogged down in a narrative based on the fear of being replaced. And it’s easy to see yourself as a victim of aging and overreact to legitimate questions or criticisms.
Older, as I’m sure you’re aware, doesn’t mean wiser.
There are understandable reasons why a few old punks find themselves lost in cesspits, or act like petulant children online. However, there are also extremely good reasons why younger generations of fans should challenge the rulebook and explore fresh creative veins. That’s exactly why and how punk and metal developed all those noisy offshoots we love. Change is good. Even if feels fucking uncomfortable sometimes.
Personally, I think what matters most are not the pointless scene dramas, but the fact that punks of all ages remain committed to fighting for the music that speaks to them. The world is fueled by hyper-capitalism and hyper-individualism, and I’m always impressed and inspired by fans and bands holding on tight to punk’s principles—be that with a call for empathy or tolerance, or simply plenty of “fuck you” attitude.
There’ll always be whiners, haters, and the defenders of the indefensible. But there will also always be plenty of rabble-rousing music that brings generations of fans closer together. Call me a big ol’ softy, but In Crust We Trust exists to turn the volume up on that fact.
As always, thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the noise.
Swordwielder – System Overlord
Heavyweight punk fanatics take note: System Overlord is a fucking triumph. The long-awaited sophomore album from Gothenburg stenchcore band Swordwielder is a brooding behemoth, constructed from the filthiest and heftiest strains of punk and metal. System Overlord shimmers with apocalyptic visions, and it’s overflowing with all the grim atmospherics and intimidating intensity that defines consummate crushing crust.
Too much hype? No way… And no apologies, either. Swordwielder deal in definitive stenchcore on System Overlord, and much like their full-length debut, 2013’s Grim Visions of Battle, the band’s latest release is a knockout. Swordwielder’s harsh, gruff and dark sound owes a significant debt to old school icons like Amebix, Axegrinder, Deviated Instinct and Antisect, and they mix and mangle their influences and leave ’em to rot on the battlefield.
Plenty of hammering rage drives System Overlord tracks like “Violent Revolution,” “Savage Execution” and “Cyborgs,” and thundering epics like “Corrupt Future” and “Northern Lights” exhibit subtler strengths, mixing guttural growls and clean vocals with crashing percussion and dirge-laden riffs. Connoisseurs of corpse-dragging crust will love the brute-force belligerence of “Absolute Fear,” “Nuclear Winter,” and “Second Attack,” which rain down like merciless mortar barrages. As a rule, all of System Overlord‘s mammoth tracks chug and churn with grinding muscle, while reeking of squalor and decay.
Swordwielder exude tightly coiled aggression from start to finish here—songs rise from the ashes of desolation, and resounding calls for action and resistance ring loud. If you’re a fan of heavy-hitters like Fatum, War//Plague, Carnage, Zygome, Cancer Spreading or (insert your favorite hefty crust crew here), System Overlord‘s trampling tempo and strapping sound are bound to appeal.
System Overlord is primed to pulverize your foes and annihilate your woes. Out August 1st via Profane Existence. You know what to do.
Akrasia – Observe The Darkness
Norwegian punks Akrasia fuse two of my favorite subgenres: apocalyptic crust and far-out space rock. On paper that might read like an odd mix, but Akrasia’s Birth of the Void debut smashed Amebix into Hawkwind (and Hellhammer into Killing Joke) with huge success. The follow-up EP, Observe the Darkness, features two more anarchic tracks filled with harsh and heavy crust that’s purpose-built for the psychonaut in all of us. “The Observer” and “Embrace the Darkness” are both monolithic nerve-shredders, soaring out of a far-flung space port and leaving red-hot radiation and cosmic horror in their wake. Guttural filth means interstellar noise, with all phasers blazing. Observe the Darkness is a crust-fuelled sci-fi gem, and a new full-length album from can’t come soon enough.
Future Terror – Plague
If I had to pick a single word to describe Plague, the full-length debut from Virginia-based d-beat and crust crew Future Terror, I’d have to go with feral. Future Terror sound like an untamed beast, and they stamped their name on the map a couple of years back with their head-splitting EP, We’re All Fucked. The band’s artistic MO is fairly straight-forward, but then so is every raw-boned / off-the-chain group that’s ever inspired them (see groups like Discharge, Disclose, and Anti Cimex, for a start.)
Future Terror isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here—they’re interested in focusing their anger to the deadliest degree, and Plague is duly stacked with raw, fast and barbwire-wrapped tracks set to pop veins and melt minds. Plague crackles with distortion and chaos, and it roars like a fucking rocket. Call it a clarion call to fight to the last in the remains of a crumbling world.
Storm of Sedition – Howl of Dynamite
Howl of Dynamite is the third full-length from Canadian dissidents Storm of Sedition. The band shares members and musical ties with fellow blackened-crust anarchists Iskra, but Storm of Sedition’s ideological approach goes even further, with a hatred of civilization, capitalism, domination, and conformity being prime motivators. Storm of Sedition pretty much declare war on everyone, and their music is duly battle-ready and armor-plated, mixing hulking crust with black metal, death metal, and stenchcore. Howl of Dynamite‘s mangling momentum crushes shackles underfoot, and it’s a wholly uncompromising and equally outspoken release. Sure, an underground punk album probably isn’t going to save the world, but full respect to Storm of Sedition for having the courage to confront the issues that’ll likely end us all.
Vicious Irene – Sacrifice
The third full-length from long-running Swedish Grrrl-crust outfit Vicious Irene is their heaviest, catchiest, and most visceral release yet. The group’s kängpunk template is supplemented by d-beaten black metal, but what stands out most on Sacrifice is Vicious Irene’s love of good ol’ grunge. Bands like Lunachicks and 7 Year Bitch get a look-in here, but it’s hard-hitting champs L7 that exhibit the clearest influence. Vicious Irene originally formed 18 years ago, but boiling tracks like “Enemies and Allies,” “This Cursed Womb” and “Silence Kills” prove that the intensity of their feminist fire hasn’t reduced one iota. Sacrifice is the band’s most passionate and in-your-face recording thus far, and Vicious Irene clearly remain dedicated to fighting the good fight.
Project GBG – 4 Trak Raw Demo
Project GBG’s deafening first demo was originally released in 2018, but New Mexico label Blown Out Media has recently re-released the band’s barreling tracks on 7” (which is the perfect format for this audio muck). Project GBG features members from much-loved noise-makers like Absolut, Last Agony, and Nuclear Power Genocide, and you can expect skronked-out / migraine-inducing noise inspired by unhinged Scandi punks aplenty (see Svart Parad, Shitlickers, Bombanfall, etc.) Project GBG’s 4 Trak Raw Demo only features four primitive tracks, but it’s the quality, not quantity of heavyweight filth and fury that counts. HIGHLY recommended for trve raw punk fans.
Kriegshög – Paint it Black / White Out
The latest 7” release from Tokyo bruisers Kriegshög only features two songs, but they’re both rip-roaring ragers. There’s no denying that the 2019 version of this band sounds different compared to the d-beat and bleeding-raw punks that released their first EP over a decade ago, but there’s still plenty of oomph and distortion in Kriegshög’s sound to satisfy fans of blazing Japanese hardcore. “Paint it Black” is a bass-blasting riot—catchy, crunchy, and scorched by blown-out vocals—while “White Out” roils and boils with plenty of fury and features equally vicious vocals. Sure, Kriegshög’s sound has changed in recent times, but the band are still carving their own havoc-strewn path.
Zyanose – LIVE 20190705 at LM Studio
I recently read that Japanese crasher / crusher crusties Zyanose were winding up their career fairly soon. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but the band have certainly been busy in 2019—touring the world, as well as releasing Chaos Bender 1.1, Demo 2019, and a fantastic 7” box set (thanks to label D-Takt & Råpunk) that featured four Zyanose EPs. You can now add LIVE 20190705 at LM Studio to that pile of noise not music. As usual, disorder and disarray lead the charge on LIVE 20190705, and given Zyanose’s studio recordings are all exceedingly raw, it’s no surprise to find that LIVE 20190705 is downright corrosive. Expect chaotic cacophonies ideally suited for fans of the Confuse and Disclose school of howling shitnoise.
Larma – Larma
Deformation – Deformation
A couple of recent self-titled rippers—released by Copenhagen label Adult Crash—have been being drawing plenty of online praise. Larma’s first album, for example, has been rightly touted as one of 2019’s best debuts. The Swedish band features members from Skitkids, Stress SS, Infernöh, and Herätys, and Larma gets straight down to business on their debut LP, tearing through 11 high-octane tracks with unbridled ferocity. There’s plenty of blistering kängpunk, d-beat, and A LOT of Totalitär-worship to enjoy, but what seals the deal is Larma’s genius for dropping tantalizing hooks into otherwise red-raw tracks. A+ raw hardcore.
Picking up where Death Token left off, Deformation’s “K-town sledgehammer hardcore” is crude, brutal and abrasive. The trio’s self-titled album was mastered at Tokyo’s Noise Room studios, and it’s rough (and roaring) in all the right places. The longest track here barely nudges the two-minute mark, so expect high-speed berserker punk with skin-flaying riffs aplenty. Deformation’s coarseness and bluntness are their two major selling points, so forget any showboating or embellishments. Deformation are lean, mean and ugly as sin.
Halshug – Drøm
If you were a fan of Denmark-based trio Halshug’s first couple of riotous releases, we need to talk. The band’s previous penchant for driving d-beat has taken a backseat on their third full-length, Drøm, which exhibits far more post-punk, alt-rock, and even deathrock and dark-wave influences. The good news, however, is Halshug’s music is still bleak and bruising. Drøm’s flavor and texture might be different, but there’s still plenty of rage and catharsis to be found in all the crashing, ice-cold noise. Have no fear, Halshug still deliver ripping tracks, and their destructive tendencies are still writ large in Drøm’s darkened depths.
Nosferatu – A Field of Hope
I wrote about Texas-based Nosferatu’s full-length debut, Solution A, in last month’s In Crust We Trust. (It’s a ferocious LP—one of the year’s best, believe me.) Nosferatu had already recorded plenty of other manic tracks for EPs, cassettes and such before releasing their first full-length proper, and Californian label Neck Chop Records has collected 56 of those scattered tracks on A Field of Hope. This compilation is loaded with powerhouse punk that’s stripped to the bone, and raw energy radiates off of every pissed-off track. Names like Koro, YDI, Deep Wound, and Void get bandied about whenever Nosferatu’s music is mentioned, and those are all relevant reference points for the relentless noise right here.
Starvation – Nuclear Suicide Promo
Here’s a tantalizing early peek for kängpunk and raw punk fans: Canadian band Starvation have uploaded demo versions of five snarling tracks set to appear on an upcoming LP onto their Bandcamp page. (The LP, presumably entitled Nuclear Suicide, is due to be released by A-grade noisy label Rawmantic Disasters at a currently undisclosed point in time.) Starvation’s 2018 demo was a thing of blown-out beauty; all teeth-smashing d-beat and teeth-gnashing crust wrapped in waves of withering feedback. The band’s new demo tracks sound equally raw and vitriolic, and I’m certain Starvation will ensure that all the savage burrs and distortion will be sharpened and heightened when their debut LP is finally released.
Gewoon Fucking Raggen – We Need More Hardcore / Bruja
Dutch label Tartarus Records has unleashed plenty of gnarled ’n’ gnarly releases over the years. However, the label’s recent reissuing of Rotterdam-based trio Gewoon Fucking Raggen’s first two full-lengths, We Need More Hardcore and Bruja, are Tartarus’ most fun releases yet. (Yeah, I said ‘fun.’ Sorry not sorry, tough guy.) It’s downright impossible not to raise your fist and smile as Gewoon Fucking Raggen tear through breakneck tracks filled with grinding hardcore and whirlwind powerviolence. We Need More Hardcore and Bruja will leave you feeling like your eyeballs, ears and most of your inner organs are ready to implode. Warp-speed and warped by nature—Gewoon Fucking Raggen are definitely fucking raging.
Adrestia / Encore – Split
The Wrath of Euphrates, the new album from Swedish crusties Adrestia, is due to be released on 26 July, so think of this brief blurb about their split with Prague-based d-beat crew Encore as an appetizer. Adrestia’s contributions stick to the same d-beat + crust + old school Scandi death metal formula that made the band’s 2017 debut, The Art of Modern Warfare, such a rousing crossover punk / metal success. Thick ‘n’ buzzing riffs batter down the walls, and Adrestia spit out tales that adhere to their “no illusions, no utopias” worldview. Encore’s d-beat and crust leans harder on scrappy hardcore than it does on beefy metal. Frontwoman Misa’s vocals are infused with plenty of passion, and the rest of the band thrash and crash through short, sawtoothed, and catchy songs.
Dödläge – Hostile Regression
Kaltbruching Acideath / Zygome – Split
Last Agony – 2019 EP Preview
Most, although certainly not all, of the bands I write about in In Crust We Trust show zero interest in playing the hyped-up pre-release promotional game. A few underground punk labels definitely pay for PR—mostly US-based labels, to be honest—but the upper limit of the ‘marketing strategies’ for most of the bands and labels I write about round here are restricted to a couple emails to a couple blogs or a Facebook / Instagram post here or there.
I quite like that healthy disdain of publicity, even if makes my job kind of frustrating on occasions. And it’s why I’m finishing this month’s column with a trio of recommendations based on intuition more than anything else.
I’ve literally only heard a couple of tracks streaming on Bandcamp from Dödläge’s new Hostile Regression album, and that’s all the news that’s out there about the imminent release. I’ve also only heard a single track off the recent Kaltbruching Acideath and Zygome split, which is even more obscure, and only one song off Last Agony’s upcoming EP.
I’m going to go ahead and suggest you keep an eye / ear for all those releases anyway, because those aforementioned bands have all released formidable music in the past. In Dödläge’s case, the PDX band’s 2016 debut, Ritual Slaughter, featured a bulldozing mix of d-beat, crust and råpunk. (And I don’t know why more people weren’t shouting from the rooftops about that killer album.) The preview tracks from Hostile Regression—out 28 July, via Phobia Records—sound equally heavy and devastating, and I’ll have more to say about the LP when it’s officially out and I’ve managed to grab a copy.
The 12″ split release between Japanese punks Kaltbruching Acideath and Canadian crusties Zygome is also an enticing affair. Zygome’s 2018 demo (last year’s best crust demo, in my book) was replete with heavyset and 80s-inspired stenchcore: think Deviated Instinct and Axegrinder, with a little of Venom’s ragged-edged metal mixed in. More trampling tracks from Zygome is definitely an exciting prospect, as are new tracks from Kaltbruching Acideath. The Tokyo band are even more subterranean than Zygome. I mean, good luck finding Kaltbruching Acideath’s releases streaming online. But take it from me, the band’s 2017 Aural Carnage 7″ featured A+ steamrolling stenchcore. All things point to more rank and raw madness on their new split. I’m looking forward to a copy arriving in my far-flung letterbox very soon.
Last, but definitely not least, is Last Agony. The Canadian punks have released a couple of killer demos, which are available on their Bandcamp page, along with a preview track from the band’s imminent new EP. Expect d-beat battering the hell out of raw punk, and thrashing hardcore and blown-out noise stampeding over the lot. Last Agony’s new EP is set for release via the always on-point Phobia Records.