Kia ora, comrades. Welcome to In Crust We Trust: Vol 14. This month, I’ve supplemented the usual array of riotous EPs and LPs with a stack of recent demos. In fact, there’s a veritable Deafening Demo Mini-Fest below, with a killer line-up of bands, and you won’t even have to queue to use a pungent porta-potty. As always, thanks for stopping by. I hope you find something horrible to enjoy.
Destruct – Echoes of Life
The first two demos from Richmond punks Destruct were jaw-breaking triumphs, and the band’s full-length debut, Echoes of Life, is an absolute knockout too. Drawing inspiration from Japan’s noisiest punk grottos, Destruct slam Disclose-driven rowdiness into Discharge-fueled d-beat on tracks like “Wars of Attrition” and “(Symbols of) Human Failure.” The influence of Totalitär and Anti Cimex resounds on feral scorchers “Corrupt Dreams” and “Drain,” and violent vocals smash through walls of heavily built hardcore on “Mutual Destruction” and “Why Not Love.”
No question, Echoes of Life is obliterating. If you’re seeking anguished howls, decimating riffs, and bombarding percussion, there’s plenty of that. Plus, if you’re wondering what being crushed by a bulldozer feels like, see within as well.
Destruct’s music features familiar signifiers, but the band aren’t simply repeating an oft-told tale on Echoes of Life. Destruct sound ruthless and relentless while ramping up the intensity, and best of all, Echoes of Life sounds utterly massive and yet blisteringly raw throughout.
Formidable. Staggering. Pummeling. Echoes of Life is—as the kids say—fucking sick.
Out now via Grave Mistake Records.
Raspberry Bulbs – Before the Age of Mirrors
Six years on since their last LP, New York band Raspberry Bulbs remerge with a four-track recording filled with lo-fi blackened punk that’s as dissonant and unconventional as their previous work. The band’s fourth LP, Before The Age of Mirrors, features astringent tracks scattered with hooks—albeit jagged, tetanus-inducing ones. “Missing Teeth” and “Doggerel” sound like the Stooges covering Deathcrush, and Raspberry Bulbs channel Rudimentary Peni reinterpreting Transilvanian Hunger on “They’re After Me” and “Given Over to History.”
Nightmarish imagery arises from Raspberry Bulbs’ weird fiction fixations, and strange and paranoiac eccentricities reign supreme throughout. Sheer terror. Sheer insanity. Sheer brilliance.
Zodiak – TKY 2020
The three-song debut from Tokyo band Zodiak is the fourth release in French label Symphony of Destruction’s “Flexickers” series. Zodiak deal in searingly raw Japanese hardcore—the kind of world-eating noise that fans of Zyanose, Disclose, and Confuse devour. The vocals on Zodiak’s TKY 2020 7″ are provided by Californian singer JonCon, whose band Odio specialize in crusty Japanese-inspired cacophonies. TKY 2020 is best suited for admirers of nose-bleeding noise, lacerating guitars, and fierce grunts and growls. A+, all round.
Löckheed – Conflict Delirium
Just as I was about to submit this month’s feature, New Mexico label Blown Out Media announced their first release for 2020, Löckheed’s Conflict Delirium EP. Blown Out Media had a phenomenal 2019, releasing some of the year’s best raw punk recordings, including rip-roaring releases from Project GBG, Disapprove, Röntgen, and Step to Freedom. See below for the hammering new Löckheed track streaming on Bandcamp. See you next time for a fuller review of Conflict Delirium.
MobAttack – Warfare
Californian trio MobAttack’s full-length debut, Warfare, is their best release yet. The band’s extremely raw and rough-hewn hardcore is inspired by Discharge and Antisect as much as Disclose and Svart Parad, and Warfare is duly primitive and propulsive. D-beaten tracks whizz by in a rush of hoarse vocals and distorted / duct-taped riffs. Warfare is crude and coarse, with every second being more disordered than the last. Ear-splitting fun, obviously.
Affect – Fucked Reality
Swedish duo Affect’s second release, Fucked Reality, is a kängpunk free-for-all featuring the kind of stubborn shitnoise you have to scrape off the rim. Fucked Reality doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: full-tilt Disclose-worship meets amp-melting madness. Don’t waste your time looking for subtext or subtleties, because Fucked Reality is simply a whirlwind of mind-mangling Scandi noise. You get five obnoxious tracks and all of them are as raw as pissing razor blades.
Exploatör – Avgrundens Brant
Phobia Records are releasing Exploatör’s second LP, Avgrundens Brant, and the label are calling it the “album of the year!“. That’s a bold claim, given we’re only three months into 2020. But there’s no denying that Avgrundens Brant is a tour de force that’ll likely be a strong contender come year’s end.
Exploatör features members linked to well-known groups like Warcollapse, Brainbombs, Krigshot, Dissekerad, Disfear, Totalitär and more. Obviously, we’ve all been stung by all-star line-ups letting us down, but Exploatör avoid any ego-stroking or overcooked endeavors and concentrate on delivering a stampeding mix of d-beat, crust, and strapping hardcore.
There’s nothing fancy, showy, or even overly ambitious here—just veteran punks showing a deep appreciation of the pure joys of hurtling guitars, crashing percussion, and gruffly barked vocals. Heavyweight tracks barrel along at a demolishing pace, and while it’s way too early to decide if Avgrundens Brant is the album of the year, if you’re looking for definitive raw hardcore, Exploatör provide plenty of that, and more.
Scavengers Circle – Beyond Repair
Formed by two members from Swedish band Suffer the Pain, Scavengers Circle drop an anvil-heavy debut in Beyond Repair. Smashed out in a single session, the six-track EP is gut-driven and features tracks that growl and prowl like a pitiless beast. D-beat, crust, and Motörcharged riffing provide plenty of horsepower, and fans of Wolfbrigade, Martyrdöd, and abundant Dis-this or Dis-that bands will enjoy Scavengers Circle’s grim and gritty hymns.
That’s not the end of things, though. There are gravel-gargling vocals and heavyweight kängpunk and stenchcore here that’ll prove alluring for deathcrust enthusiasts as well. In fact, Beyond Repair pretty much tramples over sub-genre boundaries as Scavengers Circle intertwine a raft of off-the-chain metal, punk, and hardcore influences. Great stuff.
Despairer – Unburdened
Unburdened is the second EP from Seattle four-piece Despairer. The band’s hefty metallic crust is constructed of big riffs and expressive howls, which share an aesthetic connection to groups like His Hero is Gone, Tragedy, and From Ashes Rise. Similarly, Despairer inject a lot of heartfelt passion and dynamic handiwork into their songs, and the four tracks here are all emotionally bruising encounters that mix angry, scathing, and rousing passages of music.
Despairer are dramatic without being melodramatic, delivering hot-blooded d-beat, crust, and powerhouse hardcore. Unburdened is animated and action-packed, but most of all, it’s evocative and soul-stirring.
B.E.T.O.E / End Result – Nuclear Stockpiles
Purgä – Noise from Hell
If music that sounds like an ear infection feels isn’t your thing, look away now. The MO of prolific Venezuela via Barcelona d-beat and raw punk band B.E.T.O.E is simple: take one chainsawing guitar, add incomprehensible yowls, and throw the lot into a concrete mixer with piledriving drums and bass. B.E.T.O.E share their latest split release with Los Angeles trio End Result, whose skull-splitting demo was covered in the last volume of In Crust We Trust. B.E.T.O.E and End Result’s Nuclear Stockpiles split is a fuzz-fucked massacre, which obviously makes it a dream come true for diehard Disclose, Shitlickers, and Confuse nerds. It’s crude, chaotic, and as ugly as your cum face—guaranteed.
The new flexi from New York Latino punks Purgä is as abrasive as hospital-grade bleach. Noise from Hell delivers six tracks in less than six minutes and the reverb-choked racket features eye-ball-melting levels of distortion. Purgä don’t so much play raw punk as attempt to corral pure pandemonium. Dissonant. Teeth-rattling. And plenty of killer bass lines, too.
Impulse – 6 Track Tape
There’s no Dis-guising Russian trio Impulse’s primary influences. Discharge provide plenty of propellant for the “Sovtek Noise Terror” that Impulse deliver. The band’s 6 Track Tape features an impressive assemblage of heavy-duty d-beat matched to equally hard-wearing hardcore. Screeching solos materialize amongst pulverizing riffs and snarling vocals, while percussion rains down relentlessly.
Admittedly, unrepentant Dis-worship can all sound very similar. But Impulse do a good job of adding an ice-cold edge to their sound. File alongside Fatum, Step to Freedom, Regime, and the plethora of other titanium-strength punk bands emerging from Russia these days.
Skumstrike – Execution Void
The members of Montreal metalpunk three-piece Skumstrike hail from Singapore, Ireland, and Canada, and the band’s influences are aptly multinational. You can hear groups like Shitlickers, Sodom, Framtid, Aura Noir, and Sabbat in their sound, but Skumstrike hurl their inspirations onto a gasoline-soaked pyre, light it up, and bathe in the inferno.
The power-trio tear through five powderkeg tracks filled with Mad Max-worthy blackened thrash / punk on their new Execution Void EP. Filthier than Skumstrike’s previous Pure Coercion EP, Execution Void also slathers on a thicker layer of crust, and Skumstrike don a heavier-gauge bullet belt, too. The band’s latest batch of tracks are foot-to-the-floor rampages. Fans of steely metalpunk, start your engines. Freewheel burning awaits.
Leech – Venus
Straight outta Funabashi, Japan, Leech specialize in blink-and-you’ll-miss-em blasts of grindcore, hardcore, and breakneck powerviolence. All of the band’s previous releases are fast, fierce and, like all red-raw powerviolence, an acquired taste. Leech’s latest batch of furious audio anarchy (i.e. their new Venus EP) features seven hideous-sounding tracks. As per, everything here is barely recorded and every track detonates like a lo-fi hand grenade. Expect bellowing vocals, churning guitars, and plenty of crust-caked abrasiveness.
Orphanage Named Earth / The Throne – Split
The latest release from Polish label Sanctus Propaganda is a thundering 12″ split showcasing the core strengths of fellow Poles Orphanage Named Earth and The Throne. Orphanage Named Earth’s “romantic crust” honors ancient traditions while exploring post-apocalyptic premonitions, and the band’s latest tracks—the percussive “One Tribe” and bruising “Fire in my Heart”—stick to the same atavistic path. Anyone who enjoyed Orphanage Named Earth’s well-received Saudade and Re-evolve releases will rejoice in the epic neo-crust, post-metal, and atmospheric hardcore here.
The Throne’s emotive hardcore is complementary to Orphanage Named Earth’s, but the band also dig deeper into shadowier spheres. The Throne merge raucous d-beat and blast beats in a pitch-black fusion of frenzied instrumentation. Even better, The Throne’s howling tracks here aren’t afraid to dive headfirst into far harsher and darker-sounding caverns either.
PS: Kudos to artist (and War//Plague guitarist) Andy Lefton, whose cover art for Orphanage Named Earth’s side of their split is *outstanding*.
ICD10 – Pleasure for Everyone
Word is, Philadelphia hardcore band ICD10 features a few members from Philly noisecore crew Fuckin’ Lovers, who dropped a virulent release, City Hippies, in late 2019. ICD10’s Pleasure for Everyone debut is also set to destroy your hearing and wellbeing. It starts out with a hot-shot of piercing feedback, and then heavy-duty acidic riffs and gruff, reverbed vocals kick in. Before you know it, ICD10 have burned through one stripped-down, staggering song, and then they’re onto the next bout of down-tuned audio hooliganism.
Unquestionable authenticity, maximum intensity.
Svaveldioxid – Dödsögonblick
Svaveldioxid’s 2019 full-length, Dödsögonblick, was one of last year’s best kängpunk releases. Recorded at Studio D-takt, Dödsögonblick wielded plenty of crude and corrosive punch. But D-takt studio wiz Jan Jutila decided to test some new equipment the studio had installed, so he opted to remix the album recently.
The results sound great. And don’t panic, a remix doesn’t mean Jutila has buffed or smoothed anything. If anything, Dödsögonblick’s guitars, drums, and cut-throat vocals sound even more belligerent and barbaric. Svaveldioxid were extremely pleased with the new mix as well, and the remixed Dödsögonblick, which you can listen to below, is set for release on cassette via Headnoise Records very soon.
Demos, demos, demos—I love ’em. To hell with polished edges and swanky production values; demos are all the more thrilling because they’re instinctive, rough as guts, and packed with potential. I stumble upon plenty of promising demos every month, but some have a visceral presence that lingers longer in my memory. All the releases below fall into that category, so I’m ending this volume of In Crust We Trust with a quick-fire round-up of some recent demolishing demos.
Arson – Savage Butchery Demo
UK band Arson have talent oozing from every greasy pore, which isn’t much of surprise, given the band features members from celebrated British bands like Mere Mortal, The Flex, Die, and Perspex Flesh. Unrestrained riffs and percussion set the pummeling hardcore template on Arson’s Savage Butchery Demo. But flashes of primitive punk, driving bass, and sharp songwriting swerves add abstract angles to the full-throttle aggression right here. Phenomenal.
Attestor – Demo
UK band Attestor’s demo is filled with torrents of muscular d-beat and hardcore that hit like a sledgehammer. Heavyweight hooks are threaded throughout careening tracks, and on-point lyrics examine the myriad personal and political challenges of modernity. Socially conscious and musically ferocious. An enthralling debut.
Nightfeeder – Rotten Demo
Most of Nightfeeder’s members also play in well-known Seattle punk band Deathraid. Nightfeeder’s Rotten demo combines catchy d-beat, crust, and chest-pounding hardcore, which isn’t a million miles away from Deathraid’s sound, either. Rotten features six thickset original tracks, plus a couple of differently flavored covers. If you love brawny crust ‘n’ roll, you’ll likely dig the battering brew right here.
Battlefields – 4 Track Demo
The four tracks on Pittsburgh band Battlefields’ 4 Track Demo feature mega-distorted and mega-obnoxious hardcore. Rapid-firing riffs explode in a frenzied melee, while spitting vocals and incendiary percussion detonate in mind-warping eruptions. I read someone saying that Battlefields’ demo was “too much.” I disagree. Pour it on, boys. Total audio warfare demands total commitment. An annihilating victory all round.
Targets – Demo
Also sitting high on the violent-sounding scale is Colorado band Targets’ recent demo. Expect super-negative blasts of hardcore, where the ferocity and intensity is dialed up to the nth degree. With tracks that sound as unhinged as a murder spree, everything here is blown-out and (((B.R.U.T.A.L))) as Hell. Horrible noise for when only the harshest hardcore will get you through.
Splitting Heads – Demo 2020
Demo 2020, from Chicago band Splitting Heads, is aptly cranium-cracking. The demo’s unrelenting tracks are chock-a-block with raw and bludgeoning hardcore. Plenty of clobbering and concussive old school influences are exhibited throughout, but have no fear, Splitting Heads clearly have all the drive, vigor and unabating anger of the best contemporary hardcore.
Masochism – Plague of Warfare
Masochism’s Plague of Warfare demo is released by Californian label Suck Blood, who’ve released similarly lawless music from Hate Preachers and Cruelty Bomb. Masochism’s demo throws d-beat, crust, and all sorts of septic-sounding chaos into a bass-driven meatgrinder. The result: guttural gutter hardcore that’s road-rash raw.
Echelon – Demo
Atlanta band Echelon’s recent demo features snarling hardcore +, and a little more of that killer Nicky Rat cover art we all love. Details about Echelon are scarce, although I’m sure someone plugged into Atlanta’s punk scene knows the scoop. What I can say is that Echelon’s demo is a fierce blast of scrappy and serrated hardcore, where gruff tracks that feel unhygienic and unpolished are still keenly focused. Brute-force sawtoothed noise. Highly recommended.