Welcome to In Crust We Trust, the Satisfyer Pro of monthly punk rock columns. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, innit? In Crust We Trust isn’t that eargasmic. But it’s definitely the hastily greased butt plug of second-rate punk rock journalism.
Every month I dig into the bowels of monstrous music, searching for deafening pleasures to share (you’re welcome, btw). I’m aiming to find chaotic releases that’ll get you jacked up like A-grade meth. But fair dues if you think my recommendations are generally appalling.
Sometimes it’s hard yakka trying to find horrible bands who … well, spark joy … even if ‘joyous’ is the last word you’d ever use to describe their output. I like music that makes you want to kick power brokers in their shins, or burn their fucking temples down, but I don’t expect you to embrace every release that I fall in love with.
I mean, I genuinely think Discharge’s Grave New World is a stone-cold classic, so I’ve got zero cred and even less music-critic muscle to flex. I do recommend a lot of shrieking no-fi releases every month, too, which clearly doesn’t help. Although, I also make sure to include plenty of that beefy stadium crust we all secretly adore.
I recognize that one person’s poison is (always) another’s nectar. The best I can hope is that every month a couple of releases will put a smile on your face, or perhaps ease your woes. Or maybe they’ll inspire you to hurl a few (metaphoric) Molotov cocktails at the issues plaguing this world.
Who knows? But here’s hoping a few of the rowdy releases below tick some of those boxes above. As always, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it. Big time.
Enjoy the noise.
Frecuencia de Muerte – Death Frequency
In recent years, Brad Boatright’s in-demand mastering wizardry has kept the former From Ashes Rise guitarist and vocalist busy at Portland’s famed Audiosiege studio. However, Boatright’s found a little time in his schedule to strap on his battered six-string and join fellow lifers (from groups like Dödläge, Aütocracy, and Terokal) on Frecuencia de Muerte’s (FDeM) seven-track Death Frequency LP.
Death Frequency is a heftier and heavier beast than the four-song 7″ released back in 2018. FDeM’s latest tracks feature a full-throttle (read Motörcharged) melee of thickset hardcore—all dive-bombing guitars, crashing percussion, and impassioned Spanish-language vocals. Singer Eduardo Agostocrates spits out fiery lyrics, while the rest of FDeM tear into crust-caked tracks like “Capaz de Morir,” “No Habrá Paz” and “Parásitos Mentales” with unbridled aggression.
Fans of Los Crudos, Riesgo, and Vaaska will love the explosive-sounding Latino punk, and FDeM’s stampeding songs will definitely entice devotees of From Ashes Rise, Tragedy, Warcry and similarly hulking hardcore bands. There’s an undeniable echo of authenticity swirling around Death Frequency, with FDeM exhibiting a diehard commitment to delivering uncompromising punk rock.
Clearly, there’s no need to teach any of these old dogs new tricks. FDeM have an inexhaustible supply of rabid anger and riotous energy running through their veins. (Not to mention a bite force that’s off the fucking scale.) Death Frequency is an essential purchase. Get to it.
Kohti Tuhoa – Ihmisen Kasvot
Finnish four-piece Kohti Tuhoa have released a couple of well-received albums for labels Svart Records and Southern Lord, but the group’s latest off-the-chain release, Ihmisen Kasvot, is out via UK label La Vida es un Mus Discos. Ihmisen Kasvot sticks to Kohti Tuhoa’s previous creative path, slamming d-beat and chaotic hardcore into classic Finnish influences (see the likes of Terveet Kädet, Kaaos, Varaus, etc.) Kohti Tuhoa sound tightly coiled and honed for the attack, mixing aggressive (Finnish language) critiques of sociopolitical injustices with music that reaches blood-boiling intensity in parts.
Kohti Tuhoa’s vocalist, Helena Hiltunen, howls like the possessed—her powerful voice a blistering accompaniment to the always urgent and unhinged noise the rest of Kohti Tuhoa create. No question, Ihmisen Kasvot is another system-smashing triumph.
Bones – Diseased
Crusty Chicago death metallers Bones sound utterly disgusting. The band’s third full-length, Diseased, sees the band pumping out more brute-force gutter filth—like a cruder and crustier Autopsy or Repulsion—and there’s a little something rotting in the clogged-up arteries of Bones’ corrupted little heart.
Diseased sticks with Bones’ stock-standard festering formula: gruesome riffs (w’ scum-caked strings) + pounding drums + barked vocals + 666% maniacal execution. Visceral tracks like “Blood, Diarrhea, and Tears,” “No One Matters,” and the barreling “Stench of the Deceased” grind up maggoty death metal with equally flyblown hardcore, and Bones even carve out a few sour grooves along the way.
Obviously, slathering raw death metal with rancid crust (or vice-versa) isn’t a new idea, but Bones deserve credit for not adding any needless filler or indulging in unnecessary showboating. Diseased‘s strength lies in its primitive power and polluted stench. Caustic, catchy, and crushing. Simple but altogether slaughtering precepts.
High Command – Beyond the Wall of Desolation
Massachusetts-based barbarians High Command sound like a heavily muscled crossover crew, through and through. The band’s ripping full-length debut, Beyond the Wall of Desolation, features a high-octane fusion of thrashing metal and adrenalized hardcore. However, High Command don’t tell tough tales from the mean city streets. (At least, not the skyscraping cities we inhabit.) Instead, chest-pounding sword and sorcery lead the charge on Beyond the Wall of Desolation, with High Command going all-in on ax-swinging, mythical sagas. The band tear through tracks like “Merciless Steel,” “Impaled upon the Gates” and “Visions from the Blade,” sounding, in parts, like ye olde Cro-Mags and Slayer locked in combat (@The Battle of the Bastards) with crossover kingpins Power Trip.
Blood-soaked tracks are conjured by berserker musicians, with pounding war drums, cut-throat vocals, and eviscerating riffs aplenty. Frank Frazetta and Robert E. Howard’s influence mix with more contemporary inspirations, and epic battles and legendary quests are soundtracked by fittingly skull-cracking punk and metal. Beyond The Wall of Desolation is a mountain of fun and a tour de force debut. Heed the call. Sound the horns. I’ll see you on the shield wall.
Appärtus – Absürd 19
In their own words, long-running Malaysian punks Appärtus have been “HAMMERING & SNORTING THE ASHES OF KLASSIC 82-83 SCANDINAVIAN MANGEL SKITSBONES” since the dawn of the new millennium. Translated, that means you can expect myriad strains of sonic sewage sizzling atop a bed of distortion on Appärtus’ third full-length, Absürd 19. The new album displays a steadfast dedication to indulging in obnoxious mayhem, and two decades into their ‘career’, the band show zero signs of easing up or compromising an iota of their skin-flaying abrasiveness.
Absürd 19 is a great place to start if you’ve not sampled Appärtus’ ever-expanding discography before. The album’s rampaging råpunk oozes an acrid stench and a battery-acid rawness that harks back to classic hardcore hooligans like Anti Cimex or Shitlickers. Best of all, like a lot of underground Southeast Asian punk, Absürd 19 is jam-packed with as much ear-shattering music as DIY attitude.
Alement – Onward
Onward is the latest EP from Philadelphia stenchcore trio Alement, and it’s an absolute #fvkingbanger. Propelled by bulldozing bass and scything guitar, Onward‘s bleak and bruising tracks draw vivid inspiration from the definitive works of legendary crusties like Amebix and Axegrinder. However, Alement’s heavyweight (and often hammering) music isn’t any kind of cheap facsimile.
Onward opener “Seas of Consequence” feels aptly portentous, and equally momentous, while the similarly ice-cold “Dwell” and the EP’s lengthy title track chug and churn like colossal behemoths stalking their prey in the mist. Alement’s previous releases—including earlier EPs like Against the Howling Winds of Chaos, and The Hunter—are well worth tracking down, especially if you enjoy similar heavy hitters like Swordwielder, Carnage, Zygome, and Cancer Spreading. As it stands, the self-recorded and self-released Onward offers a powerful promise of more hope-smashing stenchcore to come.
Atavistik Death Pose – S/T
The self-titled 7″ debut from South East London metalpunks Atavistik Death Pose has been touted as appealing to fans of groups like Rudimentary Peni, Hellhammer, Discharge, Septic Death, and His Hero Is Gone. Admittedly, that’s a broad swathe of very different-sounding bands, but the down-tuned and decidedly unsavory delights of Atavistik Death Pose’s first release definitely have wide crossover appeal.
Mid-tempo tracks like “Invisible Torturer” and “Neptunes Call” put a tick in the crushing Hellhammer / Celtic Frost column, while faster and dirtier songs like “Ex Libris” and “Speedwell” push harder into primitive crustcore terrain. All the gravel-gargling vocals, bludgeoning drums, and raw guitars are dialed up to 11, and then Atavistik Death Pose crank the distortion even more, fusing uncouth punk to even more ill-mannered metal.
Atavistik Death Pose’s nasty noise will make you want to carve pentagrams into church pews as much as hurl bricks through windows. Out-and-out aggression meets inhospitable ire—that’s a win-win, my friend. (Bonus points for raging pink 7” vinyl.)
The Passing – Demo 2019
Blockade – Deadbeat at War Prt II
The debut demo from Los Angeles four-piece The Passing is a dissonant fucking nightmare (FYI: that’s a very good thing). The band’s maelstrom tracks are lashed—and left decimated—by walls of harsh distortion, which, truthfully, only adds to their mind-mangling brilliance. D-beat and raw punk are stripped to their strident essentials, and blown-out songs (with über-reverbed vocals) are torn apart by hissing storms of corrosive riffs and thundering bass and drums. Primordial noise, par excellence. Highly recommended!!
Nerve-shredding Australian punks Blockade also honor the age-old ‘noise not music’ mantra on their latest release, Deadbeat at War Prt II. It’s 50/50 on whether this pile of pulverizing noise even counts as ‘music’, and all the incomprehensible grunts, growls, and concrete-mixer instrumentation here is about as comforting as having your fingernails torn off with rusty pliers. Perfect for the (sado)masochist in all of us.
M:40 – Arvsynd
Arvsynd is the latest full-length album from Swedish crust punks M:40, and it’s the band’s darkest, heaviest and most dynamic release yet. No question, M:40 feel like a more intimidating band in 2019, and while some of that’s down to the band’s thicker tone and Arvsynd‘s burlier production, M:40 have also delivered an album that features a more nuanced approach to ratcheting and releasing tension.
Not that M:40’s previous work lacked for any strength, but Arvsynd‘s brutal-sounding songs simply feel more muscular this time around. And much like Wolfbrigade, Tragedy, or Martyrdöd, M:40’s songwriting sees their galloping crust and d-beat buzzing with as much blistering distortion as it does blazing volatility. Howling vocals assail the crippling lies and failures of modernity, while M:40 unleash fierce bombardments of unrelenting (and steel-tipped) hardcore.
Age certainly hasn’t wearied M:40 or the cathartic impact of their colossal crust anthems. Arvsynd‘s got rage, stamina, and creativity to burn. M:40 should be justly proud of their continued strength, passion, and firepower.
Instinct of Survival – Demo 2019
Much-loved German crusties Instinct of Survival recently uploaded nine demo tracks onto their Bandcamp page. Four of those tracks are brand new recordings, serving as a taster / teaser for the band’s next album. Four are older tracks, recorded before bassist Tommy joined the band, which was a fair few years ago now. Plus, there’s a cover of Oi Polloi’s “Americans Out.”
Instinct of Survival’s new tracks—”Drown,” “Salvation,” “Walls” and “To Forget”—are all worthy follow-ups to the songs included on 2018’s (excellent!!) split with Japanese stenchcore band Asocial Terror Fabrication. New or old, though, all the gutter crust here matches Instinct of Survival’s brooding intensity with their feral delivery. I’m sure I’m not the only fan feeling VERY excited about the prospect of a new full-length album on the horizon. In the meantime, Instinct of Survival’s Demo 2019 is due for release on cassette very soon.
Syrgas – Brinnande Lik
New Mexico label Blown Out Media only sprung to life at the beginning of 2019, but it’s already managed to release some of this year’s best crust and raw punk releases. (See Project GBG, Step to Freedom, Röntgen, and Disapprove.) Also up for consideration are heavyset Swedish kängpunk band Syrgas. The group’s Brinnande Lik debut is an all-guns-blazing onslaught of gruff vocals, barbaric drums, bass, and red-lining guitars. The band deliver five chainsawing tracks in less than 12 minutes, with Syrgas’ unstoppable fury indebted to Anti Cimex, Skitsystem, and the almighty Totalitär, as well as featuring a killer contemporary uppercut.
Brinnande Lik is a promising debut from a band who sound like they couldn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of their untamed songs and even more unruly attitude. I’ve no idea how Blown Out Media is managing to (a) discover and (b) release so much gnarly music, but whatever alchemy is involved, no matter how nefarious, I wholeheartedly approve.
Shoki – S/T
I don’t know much about Italian band Shoki, aside from the fact they’re obviously / heavily influenced by unrelenting / remorseless Japanese hardcore. Shoki’s S/T album is loaded with killer hooks (and even more killer vocals), with raw d-beat and scorched-earth hardcore coalescing on blistering tracks that hit top speed in seconds and remain breakneck throughout. You get 11 screeching / shrieking (and furious / ferocious) tracks right here, and every one of them is a joy to behold. Especially if you consider getting thrown in the pit, kicked in the teeth, roughly tattooed, and then stabbed in the earhole to be a good night out. Countless first-rate underground releases get overlooked every year—don’t let Shoki’s full-length debut be another!
Violent Party – Signals from Outer Space
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, along come Portland, Oregon’s Violent Party with one of the year’s most curious noise punk releases. Ditching the guitar, Violent Party blend “classic hardcore punk and steganographic signals into a circuit bent nightmare,” and I didn’t know what to expect tuning into the band’s second album, Signals from Outer Space. Violent Party twist feedback-drenched samples and dissonant effects into strange new forms, making for a psychedelic albeit often hard-hitting cacophony. Stripped-down hardcore sits at the heart of Signals from Outer Space, but all that extra weirdness ensures the album is as enjoyable as it is insane.
Laager – S/T
Canadian four-piece Laager dish out blunt / brutal / bulldozing deathcrust on their self-titled 11-track(!?!) EP. Hell-hammering crust meets heavily armored metalpunk throughout, and if you’re looking for a few reference points, Laager harness the raw ferocity of groups like Sanctum, Skaven, and Stormcrow. (At least, I’m getting a similarly obliterating crust vibe right here.) Laager’s EP is spilling over with a mangling mix of kängpunk, ruthless grind, and ten-tonne concussive death metal. Everything here exudes remorseless hostility, with Laager plowing through the darkest pits of nihilism and despair. Note down Laager as a band to keep a close eye on—their music clearly has plenty of destructive potential.
Zyanose/Enzyme – Permanent Damage
Braincell/Zikade – Split 7″
Australian label Hardcore Victim celebrated their 10th anniversary recently with a 2-day event stacked with great local and international bands. Around the same time, the label also released a couple of 7″ splits, featuring Japanese icons Zyanose and Aussie psychcore crew Enzyme, and Japanese crasher crusties Zikade and Malaysian crust punks Braincell.
Zyanose and Enzyme’s 5-track Permanent Damage split coincided with the Australian leg of Zyanose’s final tour. The 7″ sees the revered noiseniks tear through three tracks indebted to late-80s UK crust, which were recorded at LM Studios, the birthplace of Japanese punk classics like Framtid’s Defeat of Civilization. Enzyme continue to simultaneously channel Pisschrist, Confuse, and Les Rallizes Dénudés, injecting warped psych-punk into a swirling storm of off-kilter hardcore. Cranked, crooked, and always crashing fun.
Zikade and Braincell’s 7″ split digs into the bowels of subterranean crust, harkening back to the days when Peaceville reigned. (See Doom and Deviated Instinct, etc.) A sprinkling of Sore Throat, Antisect, and other malodorous inspirations also appear, with Zikade and Braincell both delivering pissed-pants, dog-on-a-string, and tofu-and-potatoes crust. Perfect for the scab-eating degenerate and do-nothing misanthrope lurking inside us all.