Kia ora, comrades. Welcome to In Crust We Trust: Vol 17. Before you dive into this month’s collection of raucous releases, I wanted to highlight a few punk rock-focused features that have recently caught my eye.
First up is another series of deep-dive YouTube compilations from Terminal Sound Nuisance. The blog’s recent Distorted Hope and Cruster Rags: the Rise of Japanese Crust series showcases a raft of legendary and obscure bands as it unpacks thirty years of Japanese crasher crust. Obviously, underground Japanese crustcore is coveted by nerdy record collectors and punk fetishists, and Distorted Hope and Cruster Rags is pitch-perfect for newbies and long-term fans alike.
Like everything Terminal Sound Nuisance publishes, Distorted Hope and Cruster Rags is also simply a thrilling descent into the most putrescent realms of subterranean punk. I’ll embed Part #3 as a little taster below, which covers the years 2010 to 2019, but make sure to head on over to Terminal Sound Nuisance to check out the first two parts of the series.
Webzine Negative Insight also publishes reliably enthralling features, including a few excellent recent articles like Domination or Destruction: The Story of the Iconoclast, The Truth Behind Throbbing Gristle’s “The Second Annual Report” on Fetish Records, and Dawning of an Era: Tokyo’s Grave New World and When Death Came Along. Negative Insight also recently unveiled a podcast – hosted by Felix from Havoc Records – exploring Pushead’s Unofficial Top 100 of the ’80s list, which remains an on-point catalog of early hardcore decades after its original publication in Thrasher Magazine. All of Negative Insight’s features exhibit a diehard passion for underground music. I couldn’t recommend the site highly enough.
Okay, that’s it for this month’s A-grade recommendations. Now it’s time for more of my signature Z-grade rambling! You’re welcome. As always, thanks for stopping by. Stay safe, be well, and enjoy the noise.
Rigorous Institution – Despotism/Survival
Corrupted Human Behavior – S/T
IDX – Stark Reality
Stenchcore begat crust, but the former’s never had the same crossover currency as the latter. Of course, that’s not a complaint or a criticism, because stenchcore’s stubbornly unpolished attitude is also its most prized asset. In fact, there are scores of belligerent stenchcore bands out there to sink your rotten teeth into – including the three festering noise-mongers below.
Rigorous Institution’s The Coming of the Terror and Penitent EPs were two of 2019’s best stench-ridden releases. The PDX punk band’s dank dirges mine grim 80s crust, calling to mind Axegrinder and Amebix and the dark magick of Killing Joke. Rigorous Institution’s new two-song EP, Despotism/Survival, sticks to the same filth-caked formula with ear-splitting metalpunk leading the charge and brain-frying anarcho-punk attacking from the flanks.
Rigorous Institution’s latest menacing tracks blend dense atmospherics with croaking vocals, rough-as-guts riffs, and battering percussion. Tune in for ominous cacophonies highlighting humanity’s failings. Stick around for ugly stenchcore that’s as mind-bending as it is mind-crushing. No question, Despotism/Survival is another tour de force release from Rigorous Institution.
If Rigorous Institution sound tasty, check out Portuguese trio Corrupted Human Behavior. The band’s self-titled album is acrid, abrasive, and it reeks of the influence of Deviated Instinct, Doom, and Extinction of Mankind. Barreling tracks like “Aspects of War,” “State Control,” and “End of Pollution” tackle time-honored stenchcore fixations (annihilation, authoritarianism, and environmentalism), while Corrupted Human Behavior explore psychological and more corporeal battlefields. Expect gouging salvos of bleeding-raw metalpunk. First-rate putrid filth, guaranteed.
Singaporean band IDX also crawl through the muck and mire on their Stark Reality EP. The five-song squalid release begins with a gently strummed intro, but IDX spend most of their time churning out guttural crust and growling stenchcore. IDX also underscore stenchcore’s worldwide reach. Wherever there’s a diehard crew of crusty noise-makers, you can be certain someone is going to dig even deeper into the bowels of punk rock’s history and find inspiration in the most noxious sound pollution they discover. IDX might be a young band, but Stark Reality oozes old school sonic sewage.
Scheme – S/T
Savage-sounding Canadian band Scheme features members from well-known troublemakers Napalm Raid, Phane, and Mass Grave. Scheme’s self-titled debut is out via Slow Death Records, who’ve released similarly riotous recordings from the likes of Spräckta, Bootlicker, and Starvation. Scheme’s tracks are constructed from pure filth and fury, with the band’s iron-willed songs slathered in a thick coating of crust, and then kicked around by d-beat, råpunk, and much mangel-fuelled insanity. You get barking vocals, rip-roaring guitars, and pounding drums, but authenticity is the key determiner here. Given the experience in the band’s ranks, it’s not a huge surprise that Scheme’s debut is such a spine-snapping success. Check it out if hope-smashing Scandi hardcore filtered through a Canadian raw punk lens sounds tempting. Violent-sounding fun for all the family.
Tortür – No System Works
Tortür / Hellish View – Split
Los Angles trio Tortür unashamedly worship Japanese raw punk legends Disclose, but the band’s latest four-song No System Works release features a couple of Shitlickers covers for a change of scene. (Not that covering the Swedish malcontents changes much.) Tortür pile on their standard mix of ultra-distorted d-beat and raw punk, and the band’s latest original tracks, “Anguish” and “Die,” stick to Tortür’s patented chainsawing approach. It’s all corrosive, crude, and chaotic – savage simplicity, par excellence.
If you’re keen on more screeching noise, check out Tortür and Hellish View’s split release, which came out late last year, but recently turned up online. Minnesota trio Hellish View also point to Disclose as their pre-eminent deafening deity, which means Tortür and Hellish View’s split features a double dose of astringent and markedly listener-unfriendly raw punk. It’s all mind-mangling magic from two of the US’s harshest punk bands. Ditto on the savage simplicity/par excellence rating too.
Χαοτικό Τέλος – Promise
Χαοτικό Τέλος – In Front Of Paranoia
Formative Greek stenchcore/crustcore crew Χαοτικό Τέλος (aka Chaotic End) formed in 1989, broke up in the mid-90s, and then reformed in 2013. If you haven’t sampled the band before now, Chaotic End recently uploaded one of their early demos as well as their two full-length releases – 1993’s stone-cold classic Μπροστά Στην Παράνοια (In Front of Paranoia), and 2017’s Υπόσχεση (Promise) – onto a brand new Bandcamp page.
Like many bands of their age and ilk, Chaotic End drew inspiration from UK progenitors like Amebix, Axegrinder, Doom, and Deviated Instinct, and rugged riffs and atmospheric crustcore duly play primary roles in Chaotic End’s often bleak and bitter sound. In Front of Paranoia and Promise both explore personal and social struggles, exhibiting plenty of DIY punk’s core strengths along the way. Sonically, Promise features more metallic crunch (and a punchier production) befitting the times, but the same heavyweight aesthetic links Chaotic End’s earlier and contemporary songwriting.
Doomed Again – Drowned in Disgust
Sticking with DIY Greek hardcore, Thessaloniki-based four-piece Doomed Again have several EP, split, and compilation appearances under their belt. The band’s recent Drowned in Disgust CDr is their official full-length debut, and with hard-hitting heroes like Disfear, Skitsystem, Driller Killer, and Motörhead, Doomed Again fuse clobbering d-beat and crust to rollicking metalpunk. See within for rough, tough, and thuggish hardcore best suited for fans of throat-scouring d-beat. Bonus points to Doomed Again for roping in Doom vocalist Dennis to provide grunts and growls on steamrolling track “Venomous.”
Злидень – Сам собі ворог
I’m pretty sure Злидень are the first Ukrainian crust band I’ve ever heard. Of course, I could be wrong, there’s a lot of discombobulating noise swirling around inside my head, which is pretty much what Злидень’s recent Сам собі ворог release sounds like too. I don’t speak a word of Ukrainian, and band’s vocals are mostly a dissonant blizzard anyway, but Злидень’s Bandcamp header states, “d-beat attack for the world with love,” which I guess points to their lyrical approach and broader ethos.
Whatever the case, I’m sure Злидень’s geographic location means they’ve got plenty of high-stakes issues to talk about – as well as plenty of good reasons why cathartic punk rock matters more than ever. Musically, the band blend gritty d-beat and flashes of melodic neo-crust with blackened hardcore. It’s a caustic combination, but also mournful on occasions, although Злидень mostly stick to delivering lacerating storms of rawly recorded crust. Press play on Сам собі ворог if galloping tracks from the rough-hewn end of the crust punk spectrum float your boat.
Kohti Tuhoa – Elä Totuudesta
Sial – Tari Pemusnah Kuasa
Finnish hardcore band Kohti Tuhoa’s Elä Totuudesta EP follows hot on the heels of their widely-applauded 2019 LP, Ihmisen Kasvot. Much like that release, Elä Totuudesta features strong songwriting that blends blasting d-beat with classic Suomi punk. Elä Totuudesta also sees Kohti Tuhoa heading off-piste at times, dragging in unhinged elements from the worlds of alternative and even experimental rock. Kohti Tuhoa’s vocalist Helena is on furious form throughout, and the band’s full-bore and hook-heavy hardcore is frenzied and ingenious as ever. Elä Totuudesta underscores, once again, why Kohti Tuhoa are one of the most thrilling punk bands around.
Tari Pemusnah Kuasa is the third warp-speed release from Singaporean four-piece Sial, and it’s overflowing with blown-out and rabble-rousing hardcore. You don’t need to speak to Malay to appreciate the fervency of Sial’s communiqués because the band’s mix of d-beat, noisecore, and sizzling anarcho-punk will simply pick you up and drag you along for the ride. Sial’s fuzzed-out tracks and sharp melodic hooks have an intense and sometimes offbeat flavor, much like Portland punks Lebenden Toten. Sial have found the perfect recipe to fuel their activism and their raging musical intensity. Tari Pemusnah Kuasa is breathtaking.
Fasad – The End
Seeing the name Ramlord mentioned in the bio of New England crust trio Fasad is what drew my eye. (FYI: if you haven’t enjoyed Ramlord’s gnarled crust before now you should track down their A+ Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom LP immediately.) Fasad’s The End EP shares a few musical ties with Ramlord with both groups fusing darkened crust and neo-crust with black metal and stenchcore. It’s not the base ingredients that matter here, though. More important is that The End sounds palpably misanthropic and yet Fasad also weave in chest-pounding and even soul-stirring music too. Think Disrupt via Masakari via Tragedy. Full-throttle mayhem delivered with a maximum attitude.
Social Distance – Decontaminate
Lord knows what disgusting things you’ve gotten up to in lockdown, but transcontinental d-beat band Social Distance have taken time to be downright productive. Social Distance features members from Morrow, Wreathe, Kadre, and “space-crust” outfit Autarch (whose 2019 LP, The Light Escaping, was a real highlight last year). Social Distance’s five-song Decontaminate EP is due to be released on 7″ via Alerta Antifacista later this year, and the EP features musings on the current COVID pandemic and the social costs and political issues we’re all doing our best to manage.
All of Decontaminate‘s bruising songs were written by Social Distance’s James Pratt (guitarist and vocalist in Autarch), and all the tracks were recorded by the musicians involved in their various states of isolation. In a nutshell, you can expect undiluted Discharge worship, with “cough nothing, sneeze nothing, touch nothing,” being the enduring motto here. Like Discharge, Social Distance speak truth to power and their full-tilt d-beat does a great job of evoking the heyday of Stoke-On-Trent’s finest.
Klonns – Vvlgar
Maximum Rocknroll’s days in print might be done and dusted, but MRR’s still uploading plenty of reviews online. That’s where I discovered Japanese band Klonns, and like many of their unrestrained kin, Klonns music is a free-for-all melee that’s as deranged as it is deafening. The band’s Vvlgar EP features super-distorted d-beat and pitch-black crasher crust, which basically sounds like Ferocious X, D-Clone, and Zyanose thrown into a meat-grinder. You get four über-guttural tracks if you download Vvlgar, and three extra studio songs plus a bunch of live recordings if you buy the CD. File Klonns under genuinely nerve-shredding hardcore.
Nightmare Fuel – A Vaccination For The Social Plague
Ashdöd – Murder Awaits
Apocalyptic prophets Nightmare Fuel reside in the Pacific Northwest, and stenchcore, death metal, hardcore, and crust are the tools of their trade. Nightmare Fuel plan to release their A Vaccination For The Social Plague full-length soon. But, before then, the band have released a few of the album’s demos online. It’s definitely a successful strategy for ramping up anticipation because the band’s demos sound fucking great – all gravel-toned, grim, and twisted… and heavy as an anvil. I’m guessing the final product will sound even better when A Vaccination For The Social Plague is finally released. Pro tip: keep an ear out!
Ashdöd also deal in a raw blend of crust, stenchcore, and caustic hardcore. The two-piece band’s respective members reside in North-Western Spain and the Czech Republic, and Ashdöd’s new Murder Awaits EP sounds like what sticking your hand into a spinning blender probably feels like. Murder Awaits‘ primitive tracks forgo any fancy audio trimmings in favor of gnarled noise that’s all the better for its coarse tone, texture, and temper. There’s a fittingly frantic Driller Killer covered included here too. Hit play if bloody audio massacres appeal.
F.O.T.K. – “Artificial Unintelligence” / “Lie Generation”
F.O.T.K. (aka Fear of the Known) is a fairly new project featuring Kaos (Chaos U.K.), Steve Allen (Disorder), Andy Lefton (War//plague), Tom Radio (Frustration), and Yuji Kawaguchi (ROSE ROSE, #STDrums). The kink here is that none of F.O.T.K.’s members practice together – and they record their respective parts separately too – with F.O.T.K. designed to be “as DIY as possible”. The band’s stated goal is to burn down “the established ‘pop culture’ of punk rock”, and the first couple of tracks F.O.T.K. have released online, “Artificial Unintelligence” and “Lie Generation”, are both aptly spitting ‘n’ snarling firebrands.
Personally, I’m going with “Lie Generation” as the better of the two (it’s an absolute belter from the Disorder/Discharge school of hard knocks). But both tracks boil with old school anger and with plenty of modern vim and vigor. Further songs are promised, and I even saw mention of a 12″ on the horizon, which all bodes well given F.O.T.K. first forays feature thick slabs of crusty hardcore with incensed vocals matched to enraged instrumentation. FFO zero-bullshit (and 100% subversive) punk rock.
Burning//World – What Brings Tomorrow?
Feinted – Annihilation
Kajsajuntti – Rawpunk Forever
Combat Shock – Distopian Urban Warzone
Most volumes of ICWT end with a round-up of a few recent raw punk releases – and here are four more blistering ear-wreckers to add to the list. First up is New Jersey band Burning//World, whose music is about as heavy as a tank battalion. The band’s What Brings Tomorrow? release is an all-guns-blazing barrage of thickly distorted guitars, guttural grunts, and thundering bass and percussion. It’s a bleeding-raw but powerfully built racket – all muscle and might like a berserker unleashed. If you find raw punk or noise punk’s sometimes piercing tone off-putting, try What Brings Tomorrow? for a more armor-plated option.
Feinted implies some kind of deceptive or mock attack, but Italian d-beat band Feinted hold nothing back on their Annihilation album. The band’s third release in as many months features twenty-four songs comprised of raw and ultra-distorted hardcore, which hits the murderous-sounding mark time and again. Smashed out DIY-stylez, Annihilation is a deluge of impenetrable vocals and searing instrumentation, but the release’s dissonant parts sure do make for a perfectly disordered whole.
Kajsajuntti’s Rawpunk Forever is a “one-man noise assault” helmed by the guitarist and vocalist from Swedish raw crust/d-beat band Dispose. There’s not a huge difference between Dispose and Kajsajuntti, both deal in maelstrom waves of rough-and-ready hardcore. However, Kajsajuntti’s primitive approach is more fuzzed-out and awash with murky distortion than Dispose’s sharper-edged onslaughts. Rawpunk Forever pays due reverence to Disclose, Confuse, and the Shitlickers, with an unsettling sound akin to having a high-speed drill bore a hole in the side of your head. One for the noise not music diehards. (Out via reliable mayhem-merchants Blown Out Media.)
Distopian Urban Warzone is the third release from Californian d-beat band Combat Shock. Much like Kajsajuntti above, Combat Shock deal in exceedingly raw punk that’s going to prove to be a challenge if you’re looking for graceful songwriting or immaculate arrangements. Distopian Urban Warzone is an unsound and harsher-than-harsh nightmare from its first second to its last. Incomprehensibly echoing vocals smash into car-crash instrumentation, and fans of blown-out noize will likely love the resulting wreckage. If you’re aching for some of the crudest and craggiest punk around, Distopian Urban Warzone‘s monstrous innards await.