Hello all you cool cats and kittens, welcome to In Crust We Trust: Vol 15. So, how’s your apocalypse going? I’ve been livin’ la vida lockdown for a number of weeks, and like plenty of others, I have no idea when my self-isolating sitch will change to any great degree. Obviously, it’s a tense, uncertain, and even somewhat surreal time for us all, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to sandblast my worries away by listening to stacks of abrasive music.
You know things are bad out there when dog-on-a-string crusties are rumored to be washing their mitts and even scrubbing their parts. I guess guzzling hand sanitizer isn’t new, but things have changed, and psychic shock abounds. Clearly, all the ear-splitting music below isn’t going to solve the unfolding crisis, but I hope it will help alleviate your anxieties, if only for a moment in time.
We’ve all witnessed the infrastructure of underground music buckling due to the current pandemic. All the venues, DIY labels, and independent record stores we love are in desperate trouble. Obviously, with nations locked down, bands can’t tour, and the myriad consequences of that predicament are significant too. It’s a catastrophe, for sure. However, it’s also heartening to see the underground music community rally to face today’s challenges with humor, empathy, and camaraderie. Just like we always do.
I don’t know what the future holds. But I hope we can build something more equitable and caring out of this fucking mess. Be well. Stay safe. And don’t forget to rage against the dying of the light.
Kia kaha, comrades (stay strong).
Muro – Pacificar
Muro / Orden Mundial – Sonido de la Negación
Colombian punks Muro recieved plenty of well-deserved applause following the release of their instant classic 2017 LP, Ataque Hardcore Punk. (And the band recieved plenty more applause for their highly-praised live shows too.) Muro’s anticipated new album, Pacificar, hits like a thunderbolt, and it’s frenzied as a shark attack, which is pretty much a continuation of Muro’s signature fighting style. Throughout Pacificar, raw-boned physicality rubs against red-raw instrumentation, and the album reeks of that diehard DIY spirit that defines truly electrifying South American punk.
Muro pour a lifetime of firebrand influences into their off-the-chain sound. However, what stands out most is the way the band’s brain-drilling music is cleverly constructed and yet, somehow, sounds wholly instinctive. Neck-wrenching zigzags and melodic swerves tussle with primitive blasts of exhilarating hardcore on Pacificar tracks like “Fantasía del Progreso”, “Tirania”, “Violencia en las Calles”, and the album’s ferocious title track. Muro’s torrents of raging noise underscore that they’re one of the most impassioned and important punk bands around. Not least because Pacificar so palpably (and powerfully) evokes the poverty, violence, and inequality of contemporary Colombian life.
Fancy some more untamed music from Muro? No problema, amigos! The band’s recent hard-as-nails split with Spanish band Orden Mundial is released in the memory of Orden Mundial’s bassist Martí, who played with Muro on a few occasions too. The two bands’ excellent Sonido de la Negación split was recorded in the bitter depths of a Berlin winter, but, unsurprisingly, it’s an utterly scorching release. Muro hammer snarling vocals and sharpened hooks into their eviscerating contributions, while Orden Mundial wrap visceral noisecore around hardcore dirges, matching Muro’s rawness and intensity every step of the way.
Collapsed – S/T
Collapsed’s self-titled debut features anvil-heavy crust, with a distinctive old-school accent, and the unmistakable echo of definitive Swedish death metal. Much of Collapsed’s massive-sounding stenchcore / deathcrust bears comparison with the work of rightly revered underground luminaries like Stormcrow or Sanctum. However, Collapsed’s spine-shattering music will clearly also appeal to fans of bands like Nuclear Death Terror, Cancer Spreading, Visions of War, and plenty of burly metalpunk groups besides.
Scores of promising crust bands sound impressively heavy in tonal terms. But many fail to deliver a truly knockout punch because they don’t convey enough emotionally-charged heaviness. That’s not an issue for Collapsed though. The band’s debut features a mountain of pulverizing instrumentation and system-smashing prowess. But, crucially, there’s also an abundance of gut-felt passion here – as well as raw expressive power to burn. 100% phenomenal. HIGHLY recommended.
Irreal – 2020 EP
Every month, UK label La Vida Es Un Mus reliably delivers another batch of dependably storming punk releases; like that excellent Muro and Orden Mundial split right up top. La Vida Es Un Mus is set to unleash a lot of other rowdy music in April and May—although, understandably, release schedules are in a state of flux right now. Alongside more raucous happenings from Irreal (see below), chaotic hardcore recordings from Regimen de Terror, Permission, Rat Cage, Kohti Tuhoa, and Sial are also set for release—and some of those releases will hopefully feature in the next month’s ICWT.
Irreal’s Fi Del Mon MLP featured on plenty of end-of-year lists at the tail end of 2019. The Barcelona-based band’s barbed wire punk tips its hat to coarse and frosty Scandinavian hardcore, but in the main, Irreal’s music is blisteringly hot. The band’s new 2020 EP features crude yet catchy raw punk where live-wire riffing and relentless percussion are underpinned by blown-out vocals and teeth-grinding bass. Songs hurtle past in the blink of an eye, with Irreal focusing on intuitive intensity over any fussy adornments. Expect plenty of grunt. Plenty of distortion. And plenty of blazing punk to light up these dark times.
Ahna – Crimson Dawn
On one hand, Canadian band Anha are mind-mangling death metal titans. On the other, they’re heavyweight crustcore tearaways. The band’s 2015 LP, Perpetual Warfare, drew plenty of well-earned praise, and Anha’s long-awaited follow-up, Crimson Dawn, is even better. Anha’s inspirations are varied—see groups like Discharge, Bolt Thrower, After the Bombs, and Sacrilege—which essentially means Crimson Dawn features abundant skull-cracking metal whilst maintaining a hard punk edge.
Crimson Dawn is also as heavy as a herd of stampeding mammoths; and kudos to all involved in assembling the album’s array of colossal sonic strengths. Anha hurl thrash, death metal, d-beat, crust, and myriad strains of dark punk into a pressure cooker throughout, and the result is Anha’s heaviest and most diverse-sounding recording yet. Five years is a long time to wait for a hint of new music. But Anha have definitely made it worth our whiles. Crimson Dawn is a bone-breaking triumph—through and through.
Moribund Scum – ...Only Death
German band Moribund Scum formed around a decade ago, and their hefty 2016 LP, Into the Void, sparked plenty of subterranean interest in the band. Moribund Scum’s latest full-length noise attack, ...Only Death, sticks to their signature sound by slathering gruff-toned metal with sewage-streaked crust. Moribund Scum remain fired up on ...Only Death, with their politically-focused tracks featuring gravel-gargling barks, nerve-twisting solos, and barrelling riffs and percussion. No question, ...Only Death delivers another feast of thrashin’ deathcrust and rabble-rousing crustcore. It’s Moribund Scum’s strongest and rowdiest work yet. So spread the news, and let’s all do our part to keep DIY punk alive!
Löckheed – Conflict Delirium
Bombardment – The Sound of War
Löckheed’s 4 Track Demo was one of 2019’s best raw punk debuts. The Californian band’s new Conflict Delirium EP is released by New Mexico-based label Blown Out Media, which is home to an increasingly long line of top-notch and reliably caustic recordings. Conflict Delirium is chock-a-block with berserker kängpunk and Molotov-hurling d-beat, and much like Löckheed’s debut demo, Conflict Delirium is corrosive as battery acid, right to its rotten ol’ core. Expect sawtoothed riffs, torrents of distortion, throat-wrecking howls and battering drums. Sanity-smashing perfection, for hope-crushing times.
Also keep an ear out for Bombardment’s The Sound of War album, which Blown Out Media are due to release later this month. The preview tracks streaming from The Sound of War feature fittingly intimidating barrages of high-explosive d-beat. I’ll have more to say about Bombardment’s Discharge-worthy broadsides in the next volume of ICWT.
Ameaça Nuclear – Ameaçados 89/93
I can’t remember where I stumbled on Ameaça Nuclear’s Ameaçados 89/93 compilation, but I certainly didn’t discover this buried treasure of Brazillian metal / punk all on my own. I generally only write about new releases for ICWT, but Ameaçados 89/93 is too tempting to resist. I haven’t been able to find any information on Ameaça Nuclear, beyond their bare-boned Bandcamp page, but I presume that the ‘89/93’ in Ameaçados’ title represents the band’s lifespan, and a little mystery otherwise suits their corrupt sound and vile vibes extremely well.
Ameaçados 89/93 sounds amazing—at least, it does if you’re a fan of broken teeth, mouth ulcers, and no-fi metal. Ameaça Nuclear mix squalid death metal with putrid grind and stench-ridden hardcore, and every track on Ameaçados 89/93 is a vicious choking nightmare. There’s a sharp drop into bona fide boombox ‘production’ values about halfway through the compilation as well. Although, that’s nothing that increasing the volume can’t remedy, and I’d argue Ameaçados 89/93‘s escalating crudity only intensifies its filthy pleasures. Fair warning, Ameaçados 89/93 is a rough but rewarding ride. Another long-lost treasure rediscovered.
Earth Crust Displacement / Dissekerad – S/T
Earth Crust Displacement / Heavy Nukes – S/T
German punks Earth Crust Displacement have released some horrible/wonderful recordings in the past few years. (The band’s Distort Fucking World split with Macedonian raw punks Disease, and Earth Crust Displacement’s D-Takt Noize 12″, being particularly dissonant highlights.) Back in mid-March, label Rawmantic Disasters released two 7″ split releases featuring Earth Crust Displacement, and both are, unsurprisingly, utterly uncompromising.
Earth Crust Displacement’s split with Swedish band Dissekerad features a couple of older tracks from Earth Crust Displacement, but age hasn’t wearied their songs’ rawness, ugliness, or stubborn belligerence. Dissekerad deliver two fierce eruptions of classic d-beat and consummate Scandi hardcore, which means their split with Earth Crust Displacement offers differently attuned but similarly ill-tempered blasts of deafening noize.
Earth Crust Displacement’s split with raw punk band Heavy Nukes (who also go by the charming moniker, Clitshitters) is more of a simpatico release in sonic terms. I’ve only heard one of Heavy Nukes’ contributions here, which indulges in plenty of blown-out Shitlickers-style mayhem, but Heavy Nukes’ other songs will no doubt feature more filth-caked feral punk. Earth Crust Displacement contribute two new tracks, as well as a MxVxDx cover, and as you’d expect, Earth Crust Displacement deliver Dis-gusting, Dis-orientating, and Dis-ease-ridden pustules of perfectly pestilent punk.
Convince – Russian Jawbreaker
If you’re a fan of Russian crust bands like Raw Mud, Step to Freedom, or Fatum, then Moscow band Convince will likely float your boat too. The obvious clue to one of Convince’s prime influences is right there in the title of their recent Russian Jawbreaker release. Much like Anti-Cimex’s classic Scandinavian Jawbreaker LP, Russian Jawbreaker is an unrepentant assault from its first brute-force second to its last.
Russian Jawbreaker features re-recorded tracks plucked from earlier in Convince’s creative career. The newer versions here sound significantly heftier, heavier, and steelier, but there’s still a lot to enjoy about Convince’s earlier and rawer recordings. Russian Jawbreaker blends hulking crust with blackened hardcore, neo-crust, and a dash of stadium crust too. If grim-toned and ten-tonne hardcore is your thing (see Wolfbrigade, Disfear, Martyrdöd, etc),Russian Jawbreaker is sure to hit home hard.
Metachrist – Plays Anti-Cimex
Sticking with the Anti-Cimex theme, Canadian band Metachrist cover two Anti-Cimex 7″ releases (Raped Ass and Victims of a Bomb Raid) on their new Plays Anti-Cimex album. Metachrist have released plenty of heavy stenchcore in recent times—see their Conquered and Divided, Banished to the Dark, and Final Bloody Master releases—and the band generally deal in scowling music where the influence of formative forebears like Antisect, Axegrinder, Amebix, and Doom is readily apparent.
Of course, Anti-Cimex have provided untold inspiration for countless crustcore bands too, and Metachrist do a great job of honoring that debt. Obviously, trying to ‘better’ Anti-Cimex is a futile endeavor, and to Metachrist’s credit they don’t even try. They just set to reinterpreting and channeling Anti-Cimex via a primitive chainsawing crust approach. It’s all a hell of a lot of furious-sounding fun. And lord knows we need plenty of that in these grim times.
Slutet – Bortom Vansinnets Grepp
Phobia Records has already released a bunch of ripping records this year. I mentioned Exploatör’s A-grade Avgrundens Brant LP in last month’s ICWT, and Phobia’s also recently released music from Overcharge (Metal Punx), Antigen (Dust and Ashes), and a raucous new full-length from Swedish howlers Slutet (Bortom Vansinnets Grepp).
Slutet features members from bands like 3-Way Cum, the almighty Warcollapse, and the aforementioned Exploatör. Bortom Vansinnets Grepp is Slutet’s fourth full-length release, and while crashing kängpunk and Scandi hardcore lead the charge, Bortom Vansinnets Grepp also features ample Tragedy-strength crust, backed by Skitsystem-style propulsion. Slutet make full use of chest-pounding crust’s strongest signifiers: gruffer-than-gruff vocals, mammoth-sized distorting guitars, and full-throttle momentum. If you’re on the hunt for some no-nonsense pummeling crust, Bortom Vansinnets Grepp will likely meet all your requirements.
Decade – S/T
Canadian four-piece Decade indulge in unashamed Discharge-worship on their new self-titled EP. However, much like UK band Thisclose (who conjure the far less-heralded “Pooch”-era Discharge), Decade aren’t interested in simply replicating Discharge’s most lauded releases. In fact, Decade’s 2018 album, World Stops Turning, paid far more homage to Discharge’s oft-maligned 1991 LP, Massacre Divine, than any of the Stoke-on-Trent’s band’s stone-cold classics.
Decade’s latest set of tracks continue in the same vein, with chugging metalpunk, echoing d-beat, and mid-paced rockers honoring not only Discharge’s influence but also cult Japanese band Final Bombs. Much like the aforementioned Thisclose, Decade’s eccentricity is both a welcome and unique addition to the often all-too-serious metallic punk scene.
Phlegm – Qualified Immunity
There’s no tastier bait than an album cover sketched by legendary Japanese punk artist Akihiko “Sugi” Sugimoto. You can’t casually scroll past a Sugi-fied release without pressing play for a second or two. In the case of Boston band Phlegm, pressing play on their Sugi-illustrated Qualified Immunity LP will likely result in a grin from ear to ear. Phlegm’s dark d-beat and darker hardcore resounds with the thick-necked influence of their Olde Towne forebears. However, Phlegm also pay tribute to Sugi’s homeland, as well as nodding to Scandi ax-wielders aplenty. Qualified Immunity crosses over even further too, exhibiting brief but blistering flashes of old school speed metal.
Instinct? – Pray to Death
Cotard – EP 2020
Bless – Noise War Vindication
Humant Blod – Flykten Från Verkligheten
Vaxine – S/T
Last month’s ICWT ended with a quick-fire round-up of some recent demos worth tracking down. This month, it’s raw punk’s turn, and first off the rack is Philadelphia ne’er-do-wells Instinct?
Instinct?’s five-song Pray to Death debut is as raw as a Monday morning prolapse, and it’s guaranteed to sear your sinuses and singe your cerebrum too. Every song here is as brutal as a sledgehammer slamming into your kneecap, with chaotic crust and cruder hardcore assailed by über-blown-out d-beat. Pray to Death is primitive, punishing, and an ideal soundtrack to the end of the world. FFO Arseholes, Pollen, and Neverending Mind War’s mind-blasting mayhem.
Mexican punks Cotärd mix road-rash raw punk and d-beat on their new 3-track EP 2020, which is also dedicated to “all those people out there who suffer from mental disorders”. Obviously, we’re all aware of how cleansing filthy noise can be, and Cotärd’s caustic but cathartic music is filled with squealing feedback and spitting vocals. Tune in if lo-fi cacophonies sound like the perfect emotional purgative.
There’s nothing subtle about Finnish band Bless. Even their motto is a deafening full-caps declaration: “NOISE NOT MUSIC MOTHERFUCKERS”. Bless’ Noise War Vindication album grinds up skin-melting crasher crust and riotous raw punk, and the result is a free-for-all mix of Scandi and Japanese-inspired bedlam that leans real hard on the harshest end of the hardcore spectrum. Don’t go in looking for virtuosity. But expect plenty of vocal volatility and swathes of awesome/violent instrumentation.
I stumbled on Humant Blod’s Flykten Från Verkligheten EP via @bullshiteveryone (a.k.a. Mike Hillerson from Extended Hell, Scalple, etc) posting about it on his Instagram page. Humant Blod is a head-splitting, trans-Atlantic project featuring members from Extended Hell, Subversive Rites, Totalitär and Dissekerad, and the band’s EP is due out later in the year via Havoc and Desolate Records. Hillerson described Humant Blod’s music as: “assbeater ass raging hc punk”. Sound good? Of course it does! Hillerson’s creative projects are reliably untamed and inflamed, and Flykten Från Verkligheten sure is. The EP features tightly coiled hardcore, which buzzes with scalding feedback and operates at a full-tilt tempo throughout. Concussive bass and non-stop percussion wallop you in the noggin, while venomous vocals and raw stampeding riffs tear a giant rent in reality.
Got room for one more blast of noise before you go? Check out the new self-titled EP from NYC crew Vaxine, which is another band featuring Hillerson in the ranks. The five tracks on Vaxine’s EP are entrenched in the grand tradition of hardcore gutter punk, and much like Vaxine’s similarly polluted-sounding Demo 2019, there’s plenty of echo-fuelled vocals and propulsive bass sitting high in the mix on the band’s new EP. Vaxine’s latest tracks also have more catchy hooks and handholds than the rest of the raw punk above. But Vaxine still hold fast to an uncompromising aesthetic, which definitely sounds and feels toxic and unsanitary.