Welcome to the inaugural end-of-year edition of In Crust We Trust. First things first, if you’re a regular In Crust We Trust voyeur, or a first-time visitor, cheers for turning up and tuning in. I’ve had a blast yakking about raucous punk this year, and I really can’t say thank you enough to those who’ve shared this monthly noise-fiesta around. Hugs all round, comrades.
Now for the bad news.
If you arrived here looking for The Best Punk Album of 2019, you’re in the wrong place. I don’t keep a close eye on every strain of contemporary punk. In Crust We Trust generally concentrates on metalpunk and hardcore that’s as raw as pissing razor-blades. Horrible music for horrible people. Stenchcore, crustcore, d-beat, noise punk – that kind of deafening garbage. And that’s what you’ll find below.
This edition of In Crust We Trust collects my favorite full-length releases from 2019. And because I’m a gigantic nerd, you’re also getting a bonus end-of-year edition dedicated to reissues and EPs. (Plus, if you follow my writing about noisy music from Aotearoa New Zealand, there’ll be all-NZ special at some stage too.)
Obviously, there are untold variables to consider while collating multiple end-of-year lists. So I’ve mitigated a lot of the stress by ditching any rankings. Obviously, you’re still free to play favorites. Or not. You might think ranking winners and losers clashes with DIY punk’s egalitarian ideals – and that’s fair enough.
I’m excited to share 12 months of visceral punk below, but there are releases missing. One of my favorite releases from the past 12 months was Fatum’s ripping Edge of the Wild LP. But that album was actually released digitally in 2018, before arriving on LP in 2019. Frustratingly, that same scenario discounted a number of other bands this year. Like Mexican trio Soga, whose fantastic 2018 demo was remastered and re-released on LP by Iron Lung Records in 2019.
I’ll tell you who else isn’t included below – top-tier crusties Victims, Martyrdöd, and Wolfbrigade. I’m not trying to play some kind of cool cult card by not including those bands. I enjoyed their releases this year, but those bands will feature on scores of other lists. I want to highlight a few lesser-known but equally formidable bands.
If you’re a fan of Victims, Martyrdöd or Wolfbrigade, I recommend that you track down the impressive 2019 releases from M:40, Kürøishi, Agenda, See You in Hell, Hive, and Myteri and Procrastinate’s split. All those bands delivered fierce recordings, but I set myself the task of listing around 25(ish) LPs, so some ruthless cuts had to be made.
I hope you find something to enjoy below, and feel free to share your favorite releases too. I’m not deluded enough to think my list is the be-all and end-all of anything, and I know there are LPs missing below that others truly loved this year. Like Irreal’s Fi Del Mon LP, or Inepsy’s Lost Tracks LP, which I never got around to listening to in full. Let me know who I missed. I’m always keen to check out more murderous-sounding music.
My eternal thanks to the DIY bands, labels, distros, bloggers, and pals who lent support over the past year. And huge cheers to Last Rites for allowing me to pollute their pages.
Okay, enough with all the nervous introductory waffle, here’s some of the rowdiest noise not music from 2019.
Extended Hell – Mortal Wound
Visceral, thrilling, and never less than nerve-shredding, Extended Hell’s Mortal Wound 12” was a rip-roaring masterpiece. The likes of Totalitär, Anti Cimex, and Framtid were clear influences, but Extended Hell’s hard-as-nails collision of crust, d-beat, and red-raw hardcore had a venomous sting all of its own. 100% unstoppable. 100% unruly. 666% essential. Phenomenal, all round. (Media Disease Records, D-Takt & Råpunk Records, Rawmantic Disasters)
Genogeist – S/T
The 2018 demo from post-apocalyptic ne’er-do-wells Genogeist featured bombarding cyber-crust that tipped its hat to Japanese punks like S.D.S and Effigy. The PDX band’s much-anticipated (and utterly thundering) self-titled full-length delivered first-rate sledgehammering stenchcore. Barrelling bass, scything guitars, and distortion-smashed vocals resounded with an old-school accent. But Genogeist’s prophetic visions pointed to a future world crumbling into ruin. Mad Max-worthy magnificence. (Blackwater Records)
Amhra – Más Allá
Gruffer-than-gruff, and tougher-than-tough, Amhra’s Más Allá debut hit like a runaway tank. The band’s rumbling barbarian crust was as heavy as a funeral and as ravenous as a Zombie horde. Filthy black metal, heavy-duty crust, and pummeling d-beat combined to deliver downbeat and destructive punk, purpose-built for these end times. (Symphony of Destruction, Abbsurda Existencia, Phobia Records)
Swordwielder – System Overlord
On release, I said that stenchcore heroes Swordwielder’s sophomore album, System Overlord, was a fucking triumph set to pulverize your foes and annihilate your woes. In truth, System Overlord has only gotten better over time. Dark and brooding, and full of face-melting and epic-sounding tracks exuding apocalyptic menace, System Overlord delivered consummate crushing crust. (Profane Existence, Scream Records)
Disapprove – Devastation
Devastation combined Finnish four-piece Disapprove’s 2019 Not My World EP with the band’s older Agony of War EP, making for a single (and entirely bludgeoning) LP. Disapprove hurl guttural d-beat and ten-ton crustcore at teeth-rattling death metal, and then they lash the lot with blood-red distortion. Blunt. Brutal. Savage. Annihilating. (Blown Out Media)
Agnosy – Daylight Reveals the Torture
The third album from UK crust quartet Agnosy was both a colossus and a colossal creative success. Daylight Reveals the Torture was grim, gruesome, and ironclad, with anvil-heavy d-beat and stenchcore raining down with death metal ferocity. Definitive crust from a band growing ever more formidable. (Scream Records, Profane Existence)
Enzyme – Howling Mind
Just when you thought you’d heard it all, along come Enzyme. The Australian band’s scorching Howling Mind LP channeled the likes of Kromosom, Confuse, Disorder, and Les Rallizes Dénudés. Psych punk collided headfirst with crustcore and a whirlwind of off-beat, deviant hardcore. Utterly off-the-chain. Always ingenious. And as intense as intense gets. (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Dödläge – Hostile Regression
The second adrenalized album from PDX punks Dödläge was a riot of misanthropic kängpunk and roaring crustcore. Hostile Regression’s gelignite-packed tracks were duly explosive, packed with inferno-levels of anger and powered by bulldozing ferocity. Ruthless. Vicious. Relentless. (Phobia Records, Halvfabrikat Records)
Svaveldioxid – Dödsögonblick
Swedish band Svaveldioxid smashed out their 2019 full-length, Dödsögonblick, in a single weekend. The 12” reeked of 80s/90s-inspired kängpunk, with heavily distorted guitars, pounding drums, and cut-throat vocals. Achingly harsh hardcore and d-beat were thrashed by cudgel-weilding crust. Belligerent. Barbaric. and noisy AF. (D-Takt & Råpunk Records, Konton Crasher)
Nosferatu – Solution A
Texas band Nosferatu’s full-length debut, Solution A, featured breakneck hardcore that was wholly chaotic and yet razor-sharp. Fast and furious tracks were stripped to the bone while resounding with 80s influences. Barked vocals, lightning-fast drums, and a barrage of wall-of-noise riffs delivered powerhouse punk with an apocalyptic aftertaste. (La Vida Es Un Mus, Media Disease Records, Todo Destruido)
Kaltbruching Acideath / Zygome – Split 12″
The noxious 2019 split from Japanese stenchcore band Kaltbruching Acideath and Canadian crusties Zygome was an absolute mind-crusher. Sturdily built tracks oozed putrid – and slowly grinding – primitivism. Perfectly rotten and monolithic muck for fans of Prophecy of Doom, Amebix, Deviated Instinct, etc. (Doomed to Extinction Records)
Deformation – S/T
The self-titled debut from Danish trio Deformation featured jacked-up K-Town hardcore, which was as raw as salt in a wound. Deformation’s debut had a gloriously caustic edge, and having the LP mastered at Tokyo’s famed Noise Room studios only added to its mind-melting abrasiveness. High-speed ferocious fun. 10/10. (Adult Crash)
Dishönor – S/T
The impressive self-titled debut from mysterious Greek d-beat/crust titans Dishönor called to mind heavy-hitters like Warcollapse and Visions of War with its bleak bulldog crust cutting a ragged path through equally grim hardcore. Info on the band is scarce. But the neck-wrecking pleasures of Dishönor’s instinctive debut are undeniable. (Self-released)
Frenzy – S/T
The self-titled debut from PDX punks Frenzy was filled with crude and chaotic noise. However, the album was also a prime example of how dissonant punk can be wholly anarchic and yet carefully crafted. No question, Frenzy’s debut was as caustic as a battery-acid enema. But the songs within were also smart as a tack. (Distort Reality)
Larma – S/T
Larma’s self-titled album exceeded expectations. The Swedish band tore through 11 high-octane tracks with blistering kängpunk, d-beat, and plenty of Totalitär-worship on display. Best of all, though, Larma had a gift for dropping big fat hooks into otherwise red-raw maelstroms. Impressive stuff. (Adult Crash, Beach Impediment Records)
Subversive Rite – Songs for the End Times
If you dig the early years of UK legends Sacrilege, you’re going to love NYC four-piece Subversive Rite. The band’s Songs for the End Times LP featured stronger songwriting the band’s (already impressive) previous releases, and the album’s thicker/heavier production gave full weight to Subversive Rite’s dramatic and epic-sounding hardcore. (Bloody Master Records)
The Tits – Great Punk Tits
Great Punk Tits collected hard-to-find tracks as well the 2019 LP from Japanese raw punk band The Tits on one handy compilation. The Tits’ über-acidic music is a hard sell. It’s head-splitting noise, for sure, and astringent, no doubt, but it’s also super-fun for masochists and fans of truly deafening sonic pursuits. (Distort Reality)
Future Terror – Plague
The full-length debut from Virginia-based band Future Terror was an all-guns-blazing juggernaut, chock-a-block with titanium-tipped punk. Plague featured rage-fuelled tracks built from vein-popping hardcore and distorted crust focused to a deadly degree. Volatile. Unbridled. Incendiary. Plague hit like a battering ram. (Ryvvolte Records)
Vicious Irene – Sacrifice
Sacrifice was the heaviest release yet from Swedish Grrrl-crust band Vicious Irene. Kängpunk smashed into pitch-black d-beat and metallic hardcore. But the real hook here was all the gritty-sounding grunge. 18 years in punk rock’s trenches hasn’t diminished Vicious Irene’s fire one iota. (Ruin Nation Records)
Territory – S/T
The self-titled debut from Perth band Territory featured as much chest-pounding stadium crust as it did outright hardcore thuggery. Released by DIY Western Australian label Televised Suicide, Territory’s full-length sounded bigger and beefier than their 2016 demo, but it still held tight to their graveled tone and their rough finish. Gnarled and gnarly, mate. Get some. (Televised Suicide)
Kohti Tuhoa – Ihmisen Kasvot
Finnish four-piece Kohti Tuhoa grow more and more enthralling with every subsequent release. Ihmisen Kasvot was the band’s most creative album yet. Piercing hardcore was assailed by pounding percussion as dystopian tales and critiques of sociopolitical injustices reached blood-boiling intensity. Another system-smashing triumph. (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos)
Nightmare –Thirsty and Wander
Long-running Japanese hardcore band Nightmare have never taken the easy path. The band’s thrashing songs are filled with neck-straining rhythmic swerves, and Thirsty and Wander was another breathtaking collection of head-twisting *and* gut-punching hardcore. Tune in to enjoy songs turning themselves inside out. An impressive effort for a band still clearly energized and enraged. (540 Records, Farewell Records, La Familia Releases)
Kaleidoscope – After the Futures
NYC experimentalists Kaleidoscope told a twisted tale on their After the Futures LP. Anarcho-punk wound itself around off-kilter hardcore, with full-strength riffs and biting vocals mixing with outré deviations. Off-beat and urgent, Kaleidoscope’s artful yet ferocious approach was catchy and often downright mesmerizing. (Toxic Shock, La Vida Es Un Mus)
Ohyda – Koszmar
Polish band Ohyda’s sophomore album, Koszmar, saw the band pouring blistering hardcore into a psych-punk furnace. Echoing vocals, jagged riffs, and jarring percussion were assailed by waves of distortion. Brutal but always buzzing with intimacy, Koszmar married unhinged post-punk to scorched-earth (and often hook-laden) hardcore. (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Storm of Sedition – Howl of Dynamite
Tense times on Storm of Sedition’s recent European tour aside, the Canadian band’s 2019 album, Howl of Dynamite, was a nihilistic tour de force. Blackened crust, death metal, and armor-plated stenchcore did battle with capitalism, domination, and civilization itself. Howl of Dynamite was iron-willed and utterly obliterating. (Urinal Vinyl Records, Acid Tears Records, N.I.C., Štrigon Records, Nothing to Harvest Records, Angry Voice, Fucking Kill Records)
Appäratus – Absürd 19
Osmantikos – Survival
2019 was filled with great releases from South East Asian bands, including a couple of whirlwind releases from Malaysian groups Appäratus and Osmantikos. Appäratus’ mind-frying Absürd 19 LP looked to the early years of Scandinavian råpunk for inspiration. Howling songs were dunked in boiling vats of corrosive distortion, with Appäratus delivering ear-bleeding tunes for troubled times. (Rawmantic Disasters, Wild Wild East)
A horde of labels got behind Osmantikos’ Survival LP. The band’s powerhouse crust was left jagged at the edges, with pounding tracks and roaring melodies powered by hot-blooded passion and dynamic musicianship. (Phobia Records, Not Enough Records, N.I.C., SPHC, Too Circle Records, Bullwhip Records)
Bad Breeding – Exiled
UK band Bad Breeding mixed anarcho punk with hardcore and stark noise rock on their third album, Exiled. Inspired by tense times at home, Exiled reflected bleak political tensions and plenty of personal anxieties, but Bad Breeding always deliver deeply cathartic music. Another off-piste creative gem from one of the UK’s most important punk bands. (Iron Lung Records, One Little Indian)
Hellknife – Dusk of Doom
Before I go, let me leave you with a hot tip. Hellknife’s Dusk of Doom LP isn’t out until 12 December, but from the sounds of the raucous preview track streaming online, the LP would fit right in with plenty of the fist-pumping metallic (and melodic) crust above. Check it out if dark and d-beaten metalpunk, with plenty of explosive leads, is your thing. (Phobia Records, Wooaaargh, and Ecocentric Records.)
Don’t forget, In Crust We Trust has another EOY edition incoming, featuring some of the noisiest EPs and reissues from 2019. Keep an eye out for that later today.