For plenty of metalpunk fans, the top news this November is the release of the latest LP from stadium crust bad boys Wolfbrigade. The band’s big and beefy The Enemy LP will definitely feature in the next volume of In Crust We Trust. But I have to admit I’m more excited by the news that UK label La Vida Es Un Mus is reissuing Disclose’s much-coveted Nightmare or Reality 12″ in November.
In Crust We Trust wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Disclose. The prolific Japanese d-beat band met their end after the tragic death of vocalist and guitarist Hideki Kawakami in 2007. But Disclose’s ‘noise not music’ mantra has continued to inspire countless ear-splitting bands.
Disclose’s worship of Stoke-on-Trent d-beat heroes Discharge met its climax on 1999’s Nightmare or Reality. The mind-mangling release dialed up Discharge’s assaultive MO to a deafening degree, and then Disclose ramped up the off-the-chain insanity even further. The full-throttle release set a new bar for ultra-distorted musical mayhem, and many fans consider Nightmare or Reality to be Disclose’s best release.
As La Vida Es Un Mus has pointed out, Nightmare or Reality is a stone-cold classic that’s been imitated many times, but it’s never been bettered. Make sure to secure your copy, forthwith.
FYI: keep an eye out for more crucial reissues from La Vida Es Un Mus on the list below.
Now, here’s some of the best recent noise (not music).
Visions of War – “P.L.B.”
Stop the press! Just as I signed off on this month’s In Crust We Trust, long-running Belgian crusties Visions of War released a (single-track) teaser for an (unspecified) upcoming release. “P.L.B.” is a rip-roaring free-for-all, chock-a-block with Visions of War’s heavily built – and always bulldozing – crustcore. The last time we heard from the band was on Visions of War’s excellent 7″ split with Hellkrusher back in 2017. Fingers crossed more gnashing and crashing music is set to arrive soon.
Rigorous Institution – The Coming of the Terror
The Coming of the Terror is the second formidable 7” from PDX punks Rigorous Institution this year. Much like the band’s first EP, Penitent, The Coming of the Terror features three dense dirges laced with brain-frying synth. Gloomy (almost Killing Joke-worthy) atmospherics and percussion collide with heavy anarcho-crust that echoes Deviated Instinct and Axegrinder. However, it’s Amebix – at their absolute darkest – that’s the most palpable influence here.
If having your skull cleaved in two while you’re super high on glue sounds like a good time, then The Coming of the Terror is going to suit you to a T. The EP’s first two grim tracks, “Final Festival” and “World of Illusion”, ooze apocalyptic peril as they hurtle across desolate Road Warrior landscapes. Barked vocals, forbidding riffage, and battering drums anchor all the nightmare noise. But monastic chants and rattling chains on “Seagull” add a lot more eldritch eccentricity into Rigorous Institution’s strongly realized songwriting.
Dishönor – S/T
Aside from the YouTube stream below, Greek d-beat/crust titan Dishönor currently have no online presence. Apparently, Dishönor’s drummer also plays in d-beat band Skürnaa, who released a demo fairly recently. But that’s about all the probing background detail I can provide. Dishönor’s self-titled album features hulking tracks with guttural vocals, careening percussion, and grinding riffs that call to mind consummate crust kingpins like Warcollapse, Doom, Visions of War, and Extinction of Mankind.
Dishönor’s rough and ragged – and seething with rage – and the album’s razor-wire rawness adds even more savage bite to its 10 harsh-sounding songs. Dishönor’s lyrics cover the usual raft of end-times torments, which match the bleak and bruising tone of the band’s music extremely well. If grim and growling bulldog crust is your thing, don’t let Dishönor pass by unnoticed.
Physique – The Rhythm of Brutality
The Rhythm of Brutality is the latest ultra-dissonant release from Olympia, Washington band Physique. Released by killer labels Distort Reality and Static Shock, The Rhythm of Brutality is raw, chaotic and wholly uncompromising. Visceral tracks like “We Make Noise”, “Weaponized Faith”, and “Miserable Existence” tip their hat to Disclose, Framtid and Confuse, while fusing a rip-roaring pace with Disbones ferocity and skin-flaying abrasiveness. Physique’s songs also boil with red-hot fury as “Yesterday’s Anguish, Tomorrow’s Despair” makes clear. Crushing d-beat smashes headfirst into hemorrhaging crasher crust, with corrosive guitars, thumping percussion, and virulent vocals bleeding through walls of hissing feedback. Sound good? Fuck yeah! The Rhythm of Brutality is Physique’s best (and most brutal) release yet.
Autarch – The Light Escaping
If neo-crust heavily influenced by sci-fi gets your phaser pew-pewing, you’re going to love North Carolina psychonauts Autarch. The band are heavyweight celestial philosophers, and their second full-length, The Light Escaping, explores both outer space and inner space. Autarch’s astronomical observations scour the far-flung reaches, but the band return home to reflect on loss, growth, tenacity, and resistance. It’s birth and death on a cosmic scale, inspiring deep-seated reflections, with spiraling galaxies of the mind (as much as the heavens above) stimulating thought-provoking transformation. That’s all mirrored in Autarch’s melodic and emotive songs, which mix a dramatic scope with intimate and meditative musings. Autarch’s passionate neo-crust is well-suited for fans of Morrow, Terra Mater, Ekkaia, Fall of Efrafa, etc.
Contenders / Unsanitary Napkin – Split cassette
The split release from Aotearoa New Zealand punks Unsanitary Napkin and Contenders will make you want to dance while the world fucking burns. Pōneke (Wellington) trio Unsanitary Napkin deal in rabble-rousing punk that tackles myriad political and socio-cultural ills while amplifying the joys of collective resistance. Fronted by artist Hannah Salmon – aka Daily Secretion – Unsanitary Napkin’s contributions to their split with Contenders inject spiky anarcho-punk into hurtling hardcore that’s stacked with tempting hooks. Fearless battlers for the oppressed, Unsanitary Napkin underscore (once again) why they’ve built a diehard fanbase at home.
Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) crew Contenders released a great self-titled 7″ earlier this year and their split with Unsanitary Napkin features a mountain of similarly scuzzy-sounding fun. The band’s grungy take on late-80s punk is framed by vocalist Cilla Kinnaird’s powerful singing, with the rest of the band cooking up a fierce storm of honed-to-the-edge hardcore. Included is a cover of “techno-punks” The Screamers’ classic “122 Hours of Fear”, while Contenders’ original tracks are fast, tight, and anthemic, displaying abundant passion and dynamic energy.
Chthonic Deity – Reassembled in Pain
Chthonic Deity are a mangling death metal band, through and through. That said, the Colorado trio clearly deserve a place on this crust-friendly list because their love of crushing metalpunk torchbearers like Sacrilege, Sanctum, and the almighty Stormcrow is readily apparent. Chthonic Deity features members from Scolex, Ascended Dead and Blood Incantation, which is clearly going to spark the interest of death metal fans, but the four “coffin-rattling” tracks on the band’s Reassembled in Pain EP leech as much gloomy Scandi gunge as they do punked-up gutter grime. Cavernous tracks like “Drained”, “Echoes of Death” and “Blood Ritual” are as barrelling as they are bludgeoning, and they’re sure to appeal to crust fans who dig the (very) long list of death metal groups with crossover appeal. See also: recent deranged/rancid/murky releases from Undergang, Vastum, Wormridden, Cerebral Rot, and, of course, Coffins. Top shelf sewer scum, all round.
Speedkobra – Days of Madness
Collaboration and cooperation lie at the heart of DIY culture. Case in point, Berlin-based Speedkobra’s Days of Madness LP, which is being released by over a dozen different underground labels. It’s clear to see why everyone decided to chip in, because Speedkobra’s Motörcharged crust ‘n’ roll is an absolute riot. Days of Madness hits red-lining intensity in a split second, and it holds fast to a spine-shattering tempo throughout. Piledriving tracks like “Harvester of Hate”, “Poison” and “Dehumanized” combine graveled snarls with battering drums, sky-rocketing solos, and plenty of sturdy d-beat. There’s a mountain of volatile metal here too, with gnarled thrash riffs, death metal growls, and more pounding crossover noise besides. Speedkobra’s gut-punching metalpunk will definitely leave you breathless. Ferocious stuff.
Sex Dwarf – Sensou Hantai
Sensou Hantai is the latest release from Stockholm mangel punks Sex Dwarf. The band are big fans of obnoxious mischief/music-making and Sensou Hantai follows on from Sex Dwarf’s recent split with fellow Swedes 偏執症者 (Paranoid). Sex Dwarf describe their sound as a “non-stop erotic noise cabaret”, which essentially translates into a whirlwind of unhinged (and always blown-out) bedlam.
Sensou Hantai was recorded at Osaka’s LM Studio, during Sex Dwarf’s Japanese tour in 2018, and LM is famed for hosting scores of Nippon noise-makers –– like Ferocious X, Framtid, and Zyanose –– who’ve recorded some of their most significant releases at the studio. Sensou Hantai also features cover art by noted Japanese guitarist, vocalist and label owner, Jacky Crust War, and the 7″ is being co-released by well-respected labels D-Takt & Råpunk and Konton Crasher.
Expect filthy, bass-driven pandemonium – heavily seasoned with madness and mayhem. If churning and chundering noise are essential requirements for your listening choices, be assured, Sensou Hantai has an abundance of both.
The Comes – No Side
Iconoclast – Domination or Destruction
As mentioned, La Vida Es Un Mus has recently released a couple of lovingly curated reissues from the days of yore. No Side is the sole full-length from Tokyo punks The Comes, who, alongside groups like G.I.S.M, Execute and Gauze, played an important role in the early years of Japanese hardcore. No Side was originally released by Dogma Records (home to G.I.S.M, The Swankys, Gastunk and more) in 1983, and while the album is wonderfully frantic and frenzied, much of No Side‘s brilliance arises from vocalist Chitose’s piercingly idiosyncratic singing. No Side‘s stripped-down hardcore is catchy as hell. Even better, The Comes sound breathtakingly original to this day.
La Vida Es Un Mus sub-label Sealed Records has remastered the entire discography of 80s peace punks Iconoclast on their Domination or Destruction compilation. Operating in the same sphere as groups like Crucifix, Another Destructive System, and Diatribe, Iconoclast were influenced by the politics of Crass as much as anarcho-punk happenings much closer to home. The band latched onto the rage and momentum of Discharge, Varukers, and Antisect, and Domination or Destruction is duly full of short, fast, and spiky tracks that embody the angst and anger of the early peace punk scene. Domination or Destruction comes with a 24-page booklet featuring interviews, photos, and flyers, which will no doubt prove an added enticement for both curious and diehard fans.
Pulvinar – Noisomekind
Aotearoa New Zealand duo Pulvinar mix politically charged hardcore, grindcore, and raw d-beat in a boiling, crust-caked cauldron. The band’s Noisomekind debut is informed by groups like Bolt Thrower, Axegrinder, and plenty of ruthless deathcrust besides; all of which ignites blast-beaten eruptions of jarring metalpunk on “Look Down Your Nose”, “Selling Lies” and “Shitstain”. Pulvinar drummer, Brian, and guitarist, Liz, are locked in a frenzied creative melee throughout Noisomekind, with their dual (throat-wrecking) vocal attack delivering extra vicious salvos. Pulvinar only wield a couple of instruments, but they manage to produce a phenomenal amount of violent noise. Recorded, mixed and mastered in-house by Pulvinar, Noisomekind is another great example of the stream of strong-willed, DIY punk emerging from Aotearoa.
Bombardement – S/T
Bordeaux band Bombardement features members who’ve played in groups like Gasmask Terrör, Shock, Diktat, and the acclaimed doom band Monarch. There’s nothing downbeat or ultra-slow about Bombardement’s hammering music though. The band dig into classic-era Discharge-styled d-beat on their self-titled album, with a touch of Thisclose’s mischievousness sprinkled on top.
Bombardement blast out one breakneck/brute-force/wall-shaking tune after another, and there’s no disguising the sheer joy of making high-speed noise for high-speed noise’s sake right here. You can expect throttling riffs, pounding drums, and scorching vocals (that feature an ever-so-slight anarcho-punk sting in their tail). It’s old school d-beat delivered with maximum energy and even more exuberance. In a word, relentless.
Ancient Emblem –Funeral Pyre
Ancient Emblem’s new album, Funeral Pyre, features their usual mix of atavistic and anti-authoritarian songs inspired by nature’s majesty and concerns about discrimination, domination, and myriad social/political issues. Ancient Emblem’s gruffer-than-gruff blackened crust is as frosty as the fjords, but there’s always flashes of melodic hardcore that’s been warmed by a roaring campfire. (Think: a blend of Darkthrone, Iskra, Martyrdöd, and Dödsrit.)
Funeral Pyre is Ancient Emblem’s darkest album yet. Dirty crust bolsters the band’s sound, but Funeral Pyre‘s production is sharp, raw, and bitter, with arctic 90s black metal leading the charge. Ancient Emblem’s howling vocals and biting tremolo riffs sound ice-cold and inhuman. However, the band’s message always remains entirely humane. Call it catharsis via utterly cruel music. Perfect, really.
Mechanist –Ride to Hell / Cross Bound
Stress Ghetto, World Peace, Heckdorlan –Fall 2019 Tour Split
DIY label Razored Raw specializes in carcinogenic music –– you know, music that’s sick, but also sick. The label’s latest releases are as toxic-sounding as ever. Mechanist’s four-track Ride to Hell/Cross Bound cassette features the band’s two-track 2016 demo on one side, and a 2018 re-record of the same tracks on the other. Take your pick, both sides are acidic fucking nightmares, with Mechanist’s bestial raw punk sounding like Framtid covering Ildjarn covering the Shitlickers.
Razored Raw’s 3-way split between Aotearoa New Zealand trio Stress Ghetto, and Californian bands World Peace and Heckdorlan, is as nasty as a cut-price backyard anal bleaching. Banged out to celebrate the three bands’ recent US West Coast tour dates, every group here dives deep into pummeling powerviolence. Stress Ghetto provide extra rungus sludge and crust. World Peace provide extra manky grindcore. And Heckdorlan add rowdy screamo into the maelstrom mix. Co-released with No Time Records, Mullet Death Records, and Destruktomuzik – all reliable merchants of hideous noise.
Kürøishi –Sound the Alarm
Sound the Alarm is the second raucous full-length from Finnish band Kürøishi, and if you’re a fan of strapping crust – à la Wolfbrigade, Tragedy, etc – you’re going to love all the melodic albeit hard-hitting music right here. Muscular dual guitars weave around each other, while shredding Scandi metalpunk mixes with gnashing d-beat and gritty howls. Sound the Alarm also features killer cover art by Japanese legend Akihiko “Sugi” Sugimoto, but that’s not the only Japanese influence around here.
Sound the Alarm conjures hot-blooded Japanese hardcore, with scorching Burning Spirits-like soloing and the crunch and punch of bands like Death Side, Forward, Crude, and even Tetsu Arrey all appearing. FFO strident songs that are tough as steel yet always tuneful.
Bonëcrutch –Triumph or Tragedy?
SzkLo – S/T
Hellish View –“Reaper’s Hand” and “Apocalypse of Hell”
Indonesian trio Bonëcrutch sound about as pleasant as someone drilling through your fingernail would feel. The band’s second release, Triumph or Tragedy? is as corrosive as battery acid and even harsher than their truly ear-splitting debut. Chainsawing guitars cut through a shrill fog of distortion, and strong anti-war sentiments abide. It’s no surprise to see a cover of Anti Cimex’s “Scandinavian Jawbreaker Part l” turn up, given the headstrong influence of Scandi raw punk mixing with blistering DIY Asian hardcore here. Triumph or Tragedy? is out now via Jakarta label Doombringer Records.
Speaking of shrieking cacophonies, the debut from DIY Australian band SzkLo is an eargasmic feast of über-lo-fi noise. The Melbourne band’s self-titled cassette features four ultra-distorted tracks that grind up (and spit out) a primitive mix of crust, hardcore, and d-beat. Raw Japanese punk is the prime influence here, and like a lot of Nippon noise, SzkLo’s music is brutally listener-unfriendly and yet a hell of a lot of fun.
Minnesota trio Hellish View note their primary influence as, “Disclose, Disclose, Disclose”, and the band’s recently uploaded a couple of caustic tracks onto Bandcamp. “Reaper’s Hand” is taken from a 7″ due for release via Desolate Records, while “Apocalypse of Hell” is lifted from Hellish View’s impending split with fellow Disclose disciples Tortür, which is being released by label Rawmantic Disasters.
Take everything I said about the unyielding abrasiveness of SzkLo and Bonëcrutch, and double it. That’s Hellish View in a deafening nutshell. Howling, nose-bleeding, psychotic shitnoise. Brilliant, obviously.