Kia ora, comrades. Welcome to the 20th edition of In Crust We Trust. I feel like reaching 20 editions of this column calls on me to say thanks, once again, for tuning in. Obviously, there are cooler, hipper, and far more high-profile and popular scenesters than me scribbling about punk rock. That means you likely had to dig a little deeper to even find ICWT, and I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to consider my obscure opinions. If a heartfelt thanks for doing that feels a little schmaltzy, too bad, sweetcheeks. I love you. Deal with it.
This month’s collection of rowdy releases feature some truly bulldozing noise. But before we get to all of that, two things:
(1) Swedish metalpunk titans 偏執症者 (aka Paranoid) recently released a surprise new album, Out Raising Hell. I reviewed the LP a few weeks ago, and Out Raising Hell is stacked with annihilating tunes and comes HIGHLY recommended. (FYI: you should also track down Paranoid’s equally riotous Out Raising Hell – Outtakes EP.)
(2) If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll know I love sharing fascinating features from other writers. Here are four that recently struck a chord.
Negative Insight’s Young, Gifted, and Skint: The Early Years of New Model Army (1980–1984) includes an in-depth conversation with New Model Army frontman Justin Sullivan. New Model Army’s early years are clearly loved by swathes of diehard fans but don’t forget the band are also currently in the midst of a phenomenal late-career run. Negative Insight’s articles are frequently a joy to read, and this one is another gem.
(Quick update: Another great Negative Insight feature has been uploaded since I wrote about New Model Army above. Means to an End: The Lasting Legacy of Doom’s “Police Bastard” EP dives into one of crust punk’s most defining documents.)
Terminal Sound Nuisance’s recent Echoes of Crust: an Anthology of UK Crust 1985–1995 introduces two impeccably curated 95-minute compilations featuring 58 old school crust bands. As always, Terminal Sound Nuisance highlights well-known and virtually unknown groups, underscoring, once again, why the blog continues to be an extraordinary resource for punk fans.
Last Rites is home to some of my favorite writers in the biz, including Andrew Edmunds, who recently reviewed the new self-titled album from much-loved Rhode Island punks Dropdead. Andrew’s first-rate review will no doubt be of interest to more than a few readers around here, and I’m not remotely pissed that he got to cover Dropdead’s exhilarating new album before me. Not at all. No matter what you heard. It’s fine… really.
Lastly, Bandcamp Daily recently dug into the full-length discography of legendary anarcho-punk collective Crass. Interviews with Crass members provided plenty of contextual detail. But alongside all the expected political commentary were self-deprecating tales offering a less po-faced version of Crass’ history.
Okay, onto all the murderous music!
Stay safe. Be well. And enjoy the noise.
Disease – Death is Inevitable
Death is Inevitable is a fitting title for Macedonian trio Disease’s latest speaker-melting release. Once again, the raucous band explore the brutal realities of war, poverty, and pestilence via über-corrosive songs. Like all of Disease’s releases thus far, Death is Inevitable features road-rash raw d-beat drowning in waves of screaming distortion. Torrents of fuzzed-out guitar and indecipherable yowls are battered by crashing drums, and Disease unashamedly worship at the altar of Kōchi City legends Disclose throughout.
For the uninitiated, Death is Inevitable tracks like “Tomorrow’s Disaster (Yesterday’s Nightmare),” “Scorched Earth,” “City Siege,” and “War Camps” will likely sound like unlistenable screeds of hellish noise. But that’s precisely what Disease’s fans (like myself) desire. Disease aren’t here to impress anyone with nuance or finesse. They’re here to provide an obliterating assault on the senses, which releases like Disease’s Neverending War Crimes EP or their Distort Fucking World split with the similarly-minded German noise-mongers Earth Crust Displacement have delivered in spades.
Death is Inevitable is equally abrasive, and there’s no getting around the album’s migraine-inducing rawness or its guttural primitivism. Of course, those are huge pluses for connoisseurs of feedback-drenched punk, and they’re prime reasons why Death is Inevitable is such an ear-fucking triumph.
Genöme – Young, Beautiful & Free
Skrot – S/T
Andreas Nilsson, one of the guitarists, backing vocalists, and chief studio whiz for Malmö punks Genöme, also plays in well-known Swedish band Crutches, who’ve released plenty of formidable d-beat over the years. Much like Crutches, Genöme deliver headstrong heavyweight punk on their latest release, Young, Beautiful & Free. The LP is markedly heavier and burlier than Genöme’s first release, 2019’s The Sound of Loud Ringing in the Ear, and Young, Beautiful & Free also has the backing of a host of great labels, including Not Enough Records, Up the Punx, Phobia Records, and Ryvvolte Records.
There are good reasons why those labels (and others) have got behind Genöme’s latest LP. For a start, Young, Beautiful & Free hits significantly harder than Genöme’s debut. The band’s chaotic crasher crust features far more metallic musculature, and vocalist Aanna’s powerful voice brings more emotional weight to bear at this pivotal moment in history. Genöme’s new off-the-chain tracks also offer much-needed catharsis as the world continues to burn outside your window. Kudos to Genöme for delivering such rip-roaring, lawless crust when fans need it most. Young, Beautiful & Free is, as the kids say, all-killer, and no-filler.
Also out via label Not Enough Records is the 8-track self-titled release from Gothenburg punks Skrot. The band aim for that sweet (albeit rotten-sounding) spot where deafening discore, mangel, and råpunk meet. There’s nothing subtle about Skrot’s follow-up to their 2018 demo, which also features music that’s as raw as a stream of blood-red piss. Chest-pounding US band Warcry have been cited as a point of reference here, and there are similarities in Skrot’s rough and rugged approach. In the main, though, Skrot’s brutal kängnäve (i.e. crust fist) style of charging guitars, throat-ripping vocals, and pounding drumming sticks to the core strengths of sledgehammering Swedish hardcore.
Tortür – Never Ending Grief
Los Angles trio Tortür’s latest 12″, Never Ending Grief, features a maelstrom mix of råpunk, d-beat, and barbwire-wrapped crust. Fierce bands like Disclose and Shitlickers influence Tortür’s mayhemic music, but beyond that, it’s always a little difficult to unpack the blistering work of a group like Tortür. The band’s music is so raw and instinctual that you don’t want to overcomplicate or oversell things. But then, Tortür’s music is also so damn good you want to offer credit where credit’s due.
Like Tortür’s previous releases, Never Ending Grief is frenzied as a shark attack, and once again, the band’s anti-authoritarian message is delivered with unrestrained determination. Teeth-grinding tracks like “What Now?”, “No Love, Only Hate,” and “Desolation” are stripped-down onslaughts of unadulterated kängpunk. As are similarly chainsawing tracks like “Who Will Survive The Human Collapse?” and “Fall of Species.” Much like Tortür’s 2019 split with noisy allies Hellish View (who’ve also dropped howling new music in recent times), Never Ending Grief‘s piercing combination of vitriol and listener-unfriendliness is about as in-your-face as in-your-face gets. Expect pure, untamed audio savagery. FYI: It’s no surprise to see on-point labels like Blown Out Media, Ryvvolte Records, and Rawmantic Disasters getting behind Never Ending Grief too.
Okus – Disincorporate
The last release from Irish band Okus, 2016’s Scourge LP, was released by the always interesting Irish label Distro-y Records. Okus’ new EP, Disincorporate, serves as a taster for their next full-length, which the band are busily working on at present. Like Scourge, Disincorporate is apocalyptically grim, with Okus’ broad-shouldered tracks reeking of definitive crossover crust. Barrelling drums, bass, and growling riffs fuel gloom-drenched tracks like “Let Them Eat Their Young,” “Pigs,” and “Wretched Hive.” And an aptly timed and fiercely delivered cover of “Fascist State,” originally performed by Swedish punks Asocial, also appears on Okus’ new EP.
Okus’ music is as unrelenting as it is unforgiving, and while the band’s sound is nihilistic and misanthropic, Disincorporate will unquestionably stoke your revolutionary fire. Okus deliver combat-strength crust that’s perfect for today’s brawling battlelines.
PS: Distro-y Records also runs the punk rock blog D-Beat Beater, which now has a new bi-weekly newsletter packed with info about noisy happenings. You can (and should) sign up now.
Lái 来 – Pontianak
Carroña – Lucha Necia
Australia’s shores might be bathed in sunlight, but like many nations, including my own, Australia is rife with inequalities and built upon stolen land. Melbourne bands Lái 来 and Carroña dig into systemic and interpersonal issues on their recent releases and like all great rabble-rousing bands, Carroña and Lái 来 explicitly confront intolerance while bringing those suffering closer into the fold.
Lái 来 features members who’ve played in riotous bands like Extinct Exist, UBIK, Masses, and the almighty Pisschrist. Lái 来 focus on issues like religion, feminism, racial bigotry, and LGBTIAQ+ rights at home and in SouthEast Asia. The group’s long-awaited Pontianak LP injects fervent ideas and opinions into fittingly ferocious tracks. Lái 来 have been described as “G.L.O.S.S. on a rampage with Totalitär,” and Pontianak tracks like “Talak Tiga,” “Decolonise,” and “Red Umbrella” definitely see Swedish-inspired d-beat fused with raw hardcore as Lái 来 spit fire and fury throughout.
As Lái 来 make clear, the personal is always political, and Pontianak is duly stacked with rip-roaring tracks that tear into oppression and prejudice. Much like Pontianak, Carroña’s Lucha Necia release is pitch-perfect (both thematically and musically) for these troubled times. The band’s self-styled “Immigrant Caos Punk” sees Carroña expounding on migrant life via a Latino punk lens. Crust, d-beat, and coarser-than-coarse hardcore collide, with Lucha Necia‘s lo-fi causticity being downright nerve-shredding at times.
The good news is, you don’t need to speak Spanish to decipher Carroña’s message on tracks like “Migrantes,” “Pacifistas en Tierras Violentas,” and “La Mentira Nos Gobierna.” Like Lái 来, Carroña’s songs eclipse language barriers as they radiate passion and rage. Lucha Necia‘s musical rawness perfectly matches the emotional rawness of the story Carroña seek to tell. Of course, that is often key to great punk, where hard truths are encapsulated in even harsher music.
Kaleidoscope – Decolonization
Kaleidoscope drew a lot of well-deserved praise for their adventurous 2019 LP, After the Future. The New York band’s outsider punk is unconventional, idiosyncratic, and it often borders on hallucinogenic. Much like eccentric Australian punk groups Enzyme and Geld, Kaleidoscope ignore the rulebook and subgenre boundaries. Yet, they still manage to tick all the boxes when it comes to exhibiting hardcore’s key strengths.
Kaleidoscope’s Decolonization EP is filled with more outré swerves and offbeat deviations. Bone-shaking opener “Volunteer Armies” is followed by the darker, post-punk-driven “Deaths of Despair,” which is, in turn, followed up by the gloriously skewed and slow-burning “Girmitiya.” Decolonization‘s title track is fast and frenetic, and throughout the EP, anarcho-punk tussles with aberrant hardcore as Kaleidoscope’s electrifying tracks lunge and lurch with wild abandon.
Once again, Kaleidoscope deliver challenging yet hook-laden tracks on Decolonization. If you’re tired of hearing the same set of influences worked over again and again, Kaleidoscope are here to remind you there’s ample wriggle room when it comes to creating unorthodox punk that still sizzles with hardcore’s intensity.
Misantropic – Catharsis
Swedish crusties Misantropic have released several splits and EPs over the past decade that have stoked the anticipation surrounding their long-awaited full-length, Catharsis. You’d be forgiven for feeling a little anxious after such a lengthy buildup, but Catharsis‘ bludgeoning contents will more than likely satisfy your expectations.
Filthy crustcore and d-beat mix with vocalist Gerda’s impassioned howls on breakneck tracks like “No Retreat, No Surrender,” “Arm Your Daughters,” and “Day of Reckoning.” Mournful strings are utilized on one of Catharsis‘ best tracks, “Death Cult,” while melodic death metal and thrash-worthy riffs arise, here and there, in the album’s darkened depths. Neo-crust and post-hardcore also make appearances, and the subsequent diversity of all the thickset music here means Catharsis would appeal to fans of bands from M:40 to Nux Vomica to Warcollapse, and from Agrimonia to Martyrdöd to Tragedy. Misantropic sound tooled-up and ready to engage in hostilities: Catharsis was well worth the wait.
Temor – Líderes Sádicos
It takes about 15 seconds before the gloriously paint-stripping vocals on Los Angeles band Temor’s Líderes Sádicos EP kick into gear. From there on in, it’s all primitive pulverizing punk, spiced with sulphuric acid. Tortür’s drummer George Kaotik also pounds the skins for Temor, and much like Tortür, Temor’s d-beaten take on noise-not-music is jaw-droppingly harsh.
The five rough-cut tracks here rocket past in about as many minutes and – like comparable bands Riesgo, Vaaska, or Impalers – Temor don’t fuss about with an overly complicated recipe. Temor throw all their bleeding-raw creative ingredients onto a flaming hot grill, and Líderes Sádicos is duly seared and scorched but never overcooked. No question, Líderes Sádicos is a great fucking meal for raw punk fans.
Final Slum War – Agora Fudeu!!!
Barcelona/Berlin/Venezuelan band Final Slum War are DIY battlers to the end. It’s been several years since they’ve released any new music, but Final Slum War’s recent Agora Fudeu!!! EP continues in much the same caustic vein as before. Final Slum War don’t write refined or accommodating tracks. Their ‘d-beat noize attack’ is ultra-dissonant and Agora Fudeu!!! sounds like it was recorded on a broken tape deck, in a tin shed, in the middle of a fucking hailstorm.
Agora Fudeu!!!‘s eight tracks are astringent as hell, with all the screeching guitars, thumping drums, and gravel-gargling vocals making for a belligerent deluge throughout. It might not sound like it, but it takes intuitive skill to make music as crude and unruly as this. Obviously, Final Slum War’s head-splitting fare will have limited/zero appeal for anyone seeking slick or pro-sounding punk. But if you love lo-fi and untamed d-beat (and why wouldn’t you?), Agora Fudeu!!! is an über-harsh dream come true.
Loud Night – Mindnumbing Pleasure
Richmond, Virginia metalpunks Loud Night have been on the receiving end of a MOUNTAIN of enthusiastic press since releasing their recent Mindnumbing Pleasure debut. The first press of the LP sold out in the blink of an eye, and a hotly anticipated second press is incoming. Loud Night inject punk’s volatile temper into metal’s accomplished skillset with Venom, Motörhead, Inepsy, and scores of subterranean Japanese hardcore bands being clear inspirations. (That said, Loud Night also sound equally possessed by the notion of Discharge reinterpreting Thin Lizzy’s canon.)
Loud Night’s drummer, Jonah Livingston, pointed out in a recent interview that the band started “as an outlet for us to write blistering punk songs with shitloads of guitar harmonies that were dumb enough we could play them blind drunk.” There’s definitely an abundance of intoxicating tracks on Mindnumbing Pleasure, with high-octane mind-scramblers like “Holy Hell,” “Loud or Never,” and “Infirm” set against all-guns-blazing neck-wreckers like “Barraged Forever,” “Silver or Lead,” and “Skinflick.” Shred-heavy hardcore, d-beat, and soaring NWOBHM-worthy melodies run rampant (as does a Burning Spirits-like intensity) on Mindnumbing Pleasure. The LP is perfect for fans who enjoy a heaped helping of rock ‘n’ roll hooks sprinkled atop their raging metalpunk. Lemmy would be damn proud of this Motörcharged mayhem.
Grief Eater – S/T
Before you go, there’s just enough time for a late addition to this month’s ICWT. Distro-y Records recently announced Irish band Grief Eater’s self-titled debut would be released on vinyl before the year’s end. Although, the 5-song EP is also available digitally right now if you just can’t wait.
Grief Eater affix bruising sludge and doom (see Noothgrush or Grief) to post-hardcore and neo-crust (see the dramatic aesthetic of groups like Archivist, Morne, Morrow, or Agrimonia). The emotionally-charged atmosphere of Neurosis also springs to mind, especially on long-form Grief Eater dirges like “Ephemeral Belief” or “Empire of Profligacy.”
Elsewhere, “Imithe in Éag” and “Chamber” twist rancorous riffs and throat-tearing vocals around murky yet often melodic passages. And much like their EP’s cover art, Grief Eater’s songs feel both portentous and oppressively bleak. The EP’s heavyweight yet coarse production adds more gloom-drenched ambiance, and it all makes for a promising debut. Here’s to more misery-guts metalpunk from Grief Eater sooner rather than later.