“You just have to keep going; everything will sort itself out.”
― Lemmy Kilmister
Kia ora, crüe. Welcome to In Crust We Trust’s end-of-year soirée. Apologies for turning up unannounced like this. I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked. But I missed your ugly mug, and I thought it might be nice to get the gang back together for a tête-à-tête about this year’s tastiest ear pollution. The truth is, I haven’t written much of anything for quite some time. But I figure you’ll forgive a little rustiness on my behalf if I serve up a tempting enough buffet, right?
Fair warning, my end-of-year list will likely be a crushing disappointment if you’re a cooler-than-thou tastemaker/podcaster. Honestly, I’m not up to speed on anything. I don’t have a clue who the latest hip band are. Or what the latest subcultural trend is. The good news is, I’m not arguing that the full-length releases gathered below represent the ‘best’ punk or hardcore albums from 2022. (And I’m not ranking any band over another, either.) For better or worse, I’m simply shining a light on my favourite punk and hardcore releases from the past 12 months. I realize you’ll have heard many of my choices already. But, fingers crossed, you discover a fresh (albeit rotten-sounding) treat or two.
(FYI: there’s another ICWT end-of-year feature dedicated to my favourite EPs and demos incoming. I know, overkill, once again. You’re welcome.)
Many writers summarize the past year in music in their introductory remarks. But to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to punk scene dramas in 2022. I spent most of the past year isolated and worrying about housing and financial insecurity. Of course, the stress of a cost-of-living crisis amid an ongoing pandemic didn’t help. At one point, I had to sell a significant chunk of my hard-earned record collection to pay the bills, and yea, that hurt like a motherfucker.
I don’t mean to sound like my troubles stood out. Obviously, millions are experiencing tough times, emotional or otherwise. I’m really just telling you that I found the past year trying to emphasize a more positive point.
The silver lining to a challenging year was that the music that hit home for me in 2022 hit that much harder. I’ve never appreciated music’s cathartic promise as much as I have in the past 12 months. The music I loved grabbed hold of my heart, shook me – hell, even saved me – and that music played a crucial role in helping to stitch my life back together after I attempted to end it this year.
Apologies if that last line triggers painful memories or aggravates any unhealed wounds. Talking openly about mental illness is essential, but I appreciate that’s not why you’re here today. The point I’m making is this: music supported me until I could find the strength to walk on my own this year. I am fortunate to be here, and 39 years after I bought my first punk and metal LPs, noisy music means more to me than ever.
Speaking of which, the music below features a selection of hard-as-nails d-beat, stenchcore, crustcore, raw punk, and rabid hardcore. Horrible noise for the worst of times – you know the deal. Everything here is either caked in crust or crust-adjacent. But don’t get too hung up on specifics. I often use the word ‘crust’ to signify a vibe as much as a strictly defined sound. Doing so can sometimes upset punk’s pedants, which doubles the fun, tbh.
If you’re curious why your favourite release from 2022 isn’t listed below, it’s likely because my end-of-year picks are entirely subjective. You might have drafted a different list of knockout releases. Hell, you might think my choices are downright appalling. Both of those scenarios are fine by me, my friend. Diverse opinions ensure underground music remains a dynamic and creative environment. A little passionate to and fro keeps the blood pumping.
Before you dig into all the noise below, there are a few caveats.
First, some of the phrases/ideas below have appeared in my writing elsewhere in 2022. You’re not going mad if you feel a sense of déjà vu.
Second, I bid farewell to the hellscape of social media this year. That decision was one of the best things I ever did for my mental health. Unfortunately, that decision made it much harder to keep track of who was playing what in which new band. Apologies if that means some of the intel below is off the mark.
Lastly, Bandcamp and a few obscure blogs and YouTube channels kept me updated on electrifying new releases in 2022. However, there’s every chance a few subterranean success stories slipped by unseen. If that’s the case, feel free to let me know what kick-ass releases I’ve inadvertently overlooked.
I realize the cacophonous tone of my end-of-year list suggests I’m a chain punk fanatic. Strictly speaking, that’s not true (except when it is). I like a lot of different music: death metal geek, Sonic Youth fiend, Hawkwind obsessive, Fall devotee, dub enthusiast, psych-rock connoisseur, free jazz admirer, and I probably shouldn’t say this out loud, but my relationship with the Grateful Dead is getting pretty hot and heavy too.
My music tastes are eclectic. But I’d be the first to admit that my favourite punk and hardcore releases generally fall into a similar sonic orbit. My advice: check out plenty of other punk and hardcore end-of-year features for a broader overview of this year’s rowdiest releases.
One thing to note is that there are no releases from Aotearoa New Zealand or Australia below. There were a host of great releases from the Antipodes this year. However, as a citizen of Aotearoa, I always like to write a stand-alone end-of-year feature highlighting releases from the ass end of the world. That article was published by DIY Conspiracy this year.
Okay, enough introductory bullshit. Another year has passed. I survived, barely. Clearly, you did too. Let’s count ourselves lucky and spare a thought for those who didn’t make it.
If you’re struggling right now, know this: I see you and hear you. Your time and place on this earth are valued.
Obviously, the music below isn’t going to eradicate all of the problems plaguing our lives. But we should always appreciate noisy music’s potential to offer us shelter and respite. That’s why we’ve all gathered here today; to pay our yearly tribute to the purgative power of shitnoise.
My eternal gratitude to the Last Rites crew for allowing a tofu-munching cuck like me to sully this site’s pages. And cheers to Negative Insight, Terminal Sound Nuisance, DIY Conspiracy, and Sorry State’s reliably kick-ass newsletter for all their great content this year.
Of course, thanks to you, dear reader. I’m fully aware that there are far more plugged-in and popular writers than me out there. It means a lot that you’ve taken the time to visit In Crust We Trust. Cheers for continuing to support independent, underground endeavours.
Here’s to you and yours. Stay safe. Be well. Hail Santa.
This year, PDX legends Hellshock returned from the wastelands wielding a mammoth self-titled LP that hammered their revered status home. Featuring some of the veteran band’s most crushing riffs (we’re talking Bolt Thrower-worthy, kid) – on some of Hellshock’s most ominous-sounding songs – the group’s full-throttle LP was breathtakingly heavy and packed to the gunnels with brutal instrumentation. Hellshock’s end-times imaginings evoked the eternal void opening its obliterating maw. Of course, the band dove in, delivering a pitch-perfect LP for fans of the grimmest, the grimiest, and the most guttural strains of crust and hardcore. Another neck-wrecking triumph. Another instant classic from Hellshock.
Label: Black Water Records
Decomp: Condemned to Earth
Gravel-gargling vocals and filthy metallic punk fuel PDX crusties Decomp’s engine. The band’s first full-length, Condemned to Earth, featured a bass-heavy blast of thickset crust and barreling d-beat. MONSTROUS and GRIM were the keywords here, with Condemned to Earth‘s dirty chugging riffage (and blazing leads) serving up a superb example of heavyweight crust’s punishing prowess. Tune in for super-tough and super-dark audio violence. Like Hellshock above, Decomp’s pummeling noise will appeal to scum-punks and rivetheads alike.
Label: Black Water Records
Bandcamp: Condemned to Earth
Rigorous Institution: Cainsmarsh
Rigorous Institution’s Cainsmarsh LP is phenomenal. I’ve said it before, but if having your skull cleaved in two while you’re high on glue sounds like fun, then Rigorous Institution are the band for you. Cainsmarsh‘s psych-crust MO was as mind-melting as it was mind-mangling. Anarcho-punk, stenchcore, and post-punk boiled in a vat of primordial and paranoiac gunk. Gloomy synth and stonk summoned eldritch apparitions as Hawkwindian atmospherics framed Rigorous Institution’s channelling of Axegrinder and Amebix at their apocalyptic peak. Utter magick.
Label: Black Water Records, Sentient Ruin, Symphony of Destruction
Burning//World: Peace is No Reality
Two pivotal elements underpinned the brain-frying brilliance of Burning//World’s Peace is No Reality LP. First, the New Jersey raw punk band’s songs were all delivered at disorientating speeds (like a series of knockout punches), leaving zero chance to orientate yourself, let alone catch your breath. Second, while Peace is No Reality was unrefined and corrosive enough to dissolve a corpse, all the instrumentation within still felt muscular and armour-clad. Forget brittle-boned raw punk; the guitars, vocals, and helter-skelter drums here were all classed as heavy-duty weaponry. Peace is No Reality also felt utterly authentic. A truly ear-piercing soundtrack for your crummiest days.
Label: Blown Out Media
Bandcamp: Peace is No Reality
War//Plague: Manifest Ruination
Minneapolis veterans War//Plague have spent the past 15 years howling about myriad social injustices while paying tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. The band’s latest release, Manifest Ruination, showed no signs of exhaustion. If anything, War//Plague sounded angrier than ever. The band’s stampeding blend of urgency and insurgency was fired-up and battle-ready throughout Manifest Ruination. Post-punk, thrash, and stenchcore bolstered War//Plague’s harsh riffs, gravelled vocals, and fist-in-the-air mix of Scandi and US influences. Rough. Tough. And gruff. Authoritative crust, through and through.
Label: Phobia Records, Organize and Arise
Bandcamp: Manifest Ruination
Straw Man Army: SOS
The latest LP from New York City’s Straw Man Army, SOS, was as strange and as singular as its critically lauded predecessor, Age of Exile. SOS‘s innovative tracks remained tethered to punk, with anarcho-punk, post-punk, and hardcore being crucial markers in Straw Man Army’s eruptive sound. However, SOS‘s grim observations on the human condition also drew from psych-rock, alt-rock, and even the shimmery side of pop. Throbbing bass mixed with vocal tics and eccentric swerves and shudders. Straw Man Army ignore any and all genre boundaries, so if you feel like punk has grown stale, SOS awaits.
Label: D4MT Labs Inc Neurosonic Research, La Vida Es Un Mus Discos
Feral Swedes Crutches underscore why unwashed and ass-patched punk is a reliably good time. The Malmö-based group’s latest LP, Dödsreveljen, featured the same unsanitary mix of d-takt and råpunk as all of the band’s previous releases – but that’s no bad thing. (I mean, no one complained about Motörhead turning in the same kick-ass album time and again, right?) Crutches do one thing exceptionally well: mining much-needed catharsis out of some of the crudest and ugliest noise around. Filthy fun, all round.
Label: Phobia Records, Not Enough Records, Profane Existence
Ojo Por Ojo: Leprosario
I’ve kept a close eye on Mexico City’s Ojo Por Ojo since first encountering their fierce self-titled debut back in 2018. Nominally a hardcore band, Ojo Por Ojo also utilize crossover’s ferocity and raw punk’s crudity to bolster the band’s extra-brutal realism. Ojo Por Ojo’s sophomore full-length, Leprosario, was even better than their first. Gloomier, crustier, and sludgier – and infused with more necro nastiness – Ojo Por Ojo’s feedbacking sound evoked the crime, corruption, and systemic violence of modern-day Mexico. You don’t need to speak a word of Spanish to appreciate the unquenchable fire in Ojo Por Ojo’s belly.
Label: Cintas Pepe
Osees: A Foul Form
Psychedelic rockers The Osees’ latest LP, A Foul Form, might seem like an anomaly on this list. However, the band’s founder, John Dwyer, has never hidden his love of punk, hardcore, or metal under a bushel. The Los Angeles “ear worm-farmers” have covered plenty of punk tracks in concert and the band cut loose with punk abandon every time they step on stage. After untold albums mixing psych, Kraut, folk, prog, and garage rock, A Foul Form found the Osees paying tribute to the sweat-soaked hardcore that’s inspired their ever-changing repertoire. To that end, A Foul Form was playful and joyful – even if the music within was blunt, harsh, and aggressive. A Foul Form didn’t stray wildly from the Osees’ usual sonic orbit, but it was great to hear the band explicitly celebrating filthier influences.
Label: Castle Face Records
Bandcamp: A Foul Form
Bad Breeding: Human Capital
The fourth full-length from Stevenage, UK, band Bad Breeding, Human Capital, was another erudite and strong-minded release. Hardcore-driven anarcho-punk framed Bad Breeding’s explorations of working class struggles and the pain of being trapped in the jaws of late-stage capitalism. Unlike many others, Bad Breeding don’t succumb to nihilism or dwell in hopelessness. Theirs is music with a razor-sharp message – activism, action, and community. Bad Breeding’s intelligent lyrics are reliably insightful and inspiring. Musically, Human Capital didn’t differ hugely from Bad Breeding’s previous work. However, set against a world inundated with crises, the band’s latest LP felt even more urgent and necessary.
Label: One Little Independent, Iron Lung Records
Bandcamp: Human Capital
Verdict: Time to Resign
Swedish käng band Verdict features a cast of long-serving punks who’ve played in a host of d-beat and mangel groups you’ll know and admire. Unsurprisingly, Verdict’s debut LP, Time to Resign, was an absolute ripper. The band’s all-guns-blazing tracks were solidly-constructed yet left bloody and raw around their edges. Serrated and riffs tore through sizzling songs as Verdict scrutinized a long list of the world’s woes. With dynamic vocals, pounding d-beat, and a neck-wrecking tempo, Time to Resign grips your throat – real tight – from its very first seconds to its last.
Label: Phobia Records
Bandcamp: Time to Resign
Lexicon: Devoid of Light
Seattle hardcore band Lexicon honed their ‘hardcore-infused noise-crust’ to an even deadlier degree on their 2022 LP, Devoid of Light. Somehow, Devoid of Light managed to be utterly untamed and yet tight as a gnat’s ass. Lexicon upped their songwriting skillset significantly. Production-wise, the band pushed everything further into the red. Fans of crasher crust and max-distortion raw punk will revel in all of the fuzzed-out piss ‘n vinegar blasted into their lugholes. And Lexicon’s ability to wrestle/maintain control over full-throttle tracks hellbent on violent self-destruction was wholly impressive. A truly destructive/deafening salvo.
Label: Iron Lung Records
Bandcamp: Devoid of Light
Doldery: Celestial Deconstruction
If you’re a punk-metal fiend or a metal-punk addict, you should immediately grab a copy of Singaporean band Doldery’s Celestial Deconstruction LP. The group’s first full-length combined gloom-laden d-beat with Neanderthal death metal. (Or, for an alternative description, try sledgehammering stenchcore that leans extra hard on its old-school metal influences.) Death metal unquestionably led the charge on Celestial Deconstruction. But fans of super-heavy crust and raw hardcore would still find a lot to enjoy in the album’s withering levels of hostility. Celestial Deconstruction was a gut punch – in the best possible way.
Label: Iron Lung Records
Bandcamp: Celestial Deconstruction
Mutated Void: Roses Forever
My favourite release from Seattle label Iron Lung Records this year was Mutated Void’s insane Roses Forever LP. The Canadian band’s sewage-dripping, no-fi noise is somewhat unclassifiable. Iron Lung described it as “brain-damaged skate thrash”, which definitely works on one level, but Mutated Void’s sound is markedly schizoid in tone and temper. In truth, I doubt Mutated Void spend any time worrying about the right subgenre tag. Roses Forever‘s psychotic songs sounded far more concerned with making sheer hellish noise for hellish noise’s sake. Embrace the madness, and you’ll survive the trip.
Label: Iron Lung Records
Bandcamp: Roses Forever
La Milagrosa: Pánico
La Milagrosa’s 2022 Pánico LP comprised Latino protest punk played at mind-warping speeds. The NYCHC band’s high-voltage debut called for freedom from bigotry, poverty, cruelty, and the million other stresses/pressures plaguing megacities worldwide. Max-fuzz met max-distortion, and throat-ruining vocals howled as a barrage of d-beat rained down hard. Pánico featured an abundance of firepower but also, cleverly, plenty of melodic hooks. Meaning Pánico sounded ferocious but not uninviting. If anything, La Milagrosa’s debut felt like an urgent call for all of us to get on board the punk rock bus.
Label: Iron Lung Records
Inferno Personale: In Ira Veritas
In Ira Veritas was the first full-length from Germany-based band Inferno Personale. The group features members from Italy, Colombia, Germany, and Argentina, and the acridest strains of hardcore from those locations are all critical markers in Inferno Personale’s sound. In Ira Veritas was red-raw and untamed and mastered by Shige at Tokyo’s Noise Room studio the LP’s instrumentation and vocals were caustic as an acid bath. Featuring re-recorded songs from Inferno Personale’s well-received 2021 demo – and a stack of other crasher crust-flavoured delights – everything here was propelled by pulverizing bass, biting guitars, and a Wretched-worthy fervour. A-class rampaging raw punk. What’s not to love?
Label: Symphony of Destruction
Bandcamp: In Ira Veritas
The Flex: Chewing Gum for the Ears
NWOBHC heroes The Flex delivered some of their hardest-hitting work yet on their third LP, Chewing Gum For The Ears. A decade into their career, The Flex sounded stronger and more antagonistic than ever. The Leeds-based band smashed the grit and grim of UK82 headfirst into 80s NYHC on Chewing Gum For The Ears. OG Massachusetts thug-core also made an appearance, as did harsher Japanese influences, with both punching their way through the mix. Mosh-ready guitars, barked vocals, and pummeling drums and bass seamlessly coalesced on jaw-breaking anthems. To hear The Flex maintaining this level of enthusiasm and musicality after ten years in the game was wholly impressive.
Label: Static Shock
Bandcamp: Chewing Gum for the Ears
Disease: To Hell With This Life
The latest speaker-melting release from Macedonian raw punks Disease, To Hell With This Life, combined incomprehensible howls with torrents of fuzzed-out, acidic guitar. (All of which paid due tribute to Kōchi City icons Disclose.) As per raw punk’s handbook, To Hell With This Life‘s abrasive songs dug into the pitiless realities of war, poverty, and imminent societal collapse. Forget nuance or subtlety, To Hell With This Life delivered precisely what Disease’s fans demand – mega-distortion + obliterating primitivism. Bonus points for having Shige from Tokyo’s famed Noise Room Studio cast his magic hands over the LP. Noise not music, forever and ever, a-fucking-men.
Label: Burning Anger, Rawmantic Disasters
Bandcamp: To Hell With This Life
Innocent: Architects of Despair
The full-length debut from Boston-based d-beat band Innocent, Architects of Despair, was recorded back in pre-Covid times. (Ah, bless, remember those halcyon days?) Finally released in November this year, Architects of Despair was an ear-slaughtering success. There’s a strong echo of Sacrilege in Innocent’s sound thanks to vocalist Samantha’s powerful, reverb-drenched howl. Elsewhere, Innocent stuck to their core strengths on Architects of Despair, fusing tough-as-steel dis-beat with rough-and-rowdy hardcore. Great d-beat albums are a dime a dozen, but Architects of Despair stood out with its ratcheting tension and explosive release adding extra oomph. An absolute filthy gem. Get some.
Label: Side Two
Bandcamp: Architects of Despair
Terminal Filth: Death Driven
The obvious clue to Berlin band Terminal Filth’s area of expertise is in their Deviated Instinct-referencing moniker. Unsurprisingly, Terminal Filth’s barrelling full-length debut, Death Driven, also referenced the enduring influence of groups like Antisect, Axegrinder, and Extinction Of Mankind. Terminal Filth’s anvil-heavy crust oozed apocalyptic doom as reeking and hulking dirges mixed with more sharply pointed attacks. Death Driven provided the best of both worlds; the primordial darkness of old and modern-day crust war rage. Perfect for fresh-faced and ancient crusties to sink their rotten teeth into.
Bandcamp: Death Driven
Disclone: Harsh Raw Affront Vol. 1
Austrian band Disclone’s 2022 cassette, Harsh Raw Affront Vol. 1, combined four of the band’s previously released EPs. Technically, that means Harsh Raw Affront Vol. 1 wasn’t a ‘new’ release. And yea, I’m cheating by including the CS right here. Luckily, anyone reading this blurb is bound to be a badass rule-breaker, right? (Just kidding! I know we’re all fuckin’ nerds.) Like Terminal Filth above, the not-so-secret clue to Disclone’s interests lies in the band’s name. Fittingly, Harsh Raw Affront Vol. 1 featured a barrage of blown-out Disclose worship that focused on the horrors of war and society’s endless ills. Listening to Disclone feels like hanging onto your sanity by your fingertips; the band’s self-described “shit-licking crasher mangel discore” smashes subtlety and nuance to smithereens.
Label: Doomed To Extinction
Sorrow: Black Crow
As the latticework on Black Crow‘s cover suggests, the debut album from Polish trio Sorrow extolled the Olde Gods of stenchcrust. (Think: Deviated Instinct and Bolt Thrower brawling in Axegrinder’s encampment.) Black Crow featured all of the time-honoured stench-ridden motifs; dark themes, murkier music, and a portentous aura shrouding all. However, with every member of Sorrow taking a turn singing/howling, there was more vocal variation here. Sorrow painted Doomsday-cometh scenes, blending bleak emotionality with heavyweight musicality. Tune in for a fierce mix of gloom-saturated punk, death metal, and sewage-streaked crust; see similar forbidding bands like Last Legion Alive, Filth of Mankind, and Stormcrow.
Label: Sanctus Propaganda
bandcamp: Black Crow
Ohyda: Pan Bóg Spełni Wszystkie Pragnienia Lewaków… I Dojdzie Do Katastrofy!
The third full-length from Polish band Ohyda was as violently off-kilter as the rest of the band’s fascinating discography. Razored riffs, pounding drums, and harshly echoing vocals all played essential parts. But they were just the initial ingredients on Pan Bóg Spełni Wszystkie Pragnienia Lewaków… I Dojdzie Do Katastrofy!. Jittery and skittery hardcore danced around each other as Ohyda constantly adjusted their pace from a walk to a sprint and back again. And ice-cold undercurrent meant nothing ever settled into a comfortable rhythm, with Ohyda drawing on darkened influences from near and far. Awesome stuff.
Label: La Vida Es Un Mus Discos
Bancamp: Pan Bóg Spełni Wszystkie Pragnienia Lewaków… I Dojdzie Do Katastrofy!
Ammo: Web Of Lies / Death Won’t Even Satisfy
New Jersey hardcore band Ammo bludgeoned their fans with whatever weapon was closest to hand on their debut LP, Web Of Lies / Death Won’t Even Satisfy. Old school, new school, chainsaw or mallet, it didn’t matter. Ammo tore into every one of Web Of Lies / Death Won’t Even Satisfy‘s brain-buckling tracks like it was the last song they’d ever play. The pace was breathless, the tone intimidating, and if you want your hardcore to leave a great big scar, Ammo’s got you covered. Brute force strength plays a significant role here. But Ammo also cleverly placed deep-set hooks into their otherwise bombarding songs. Web Of Lies / Death Won’t Even Satisfy was remorseless.
Label: Static Shock Records
Bancamp: Web Of Lies / Death Won’t Even Satisfy
Destripados: Lenguas Venenosas
The latest album from Portland, Oregon’s Destripados, Lenguas Venenosas, hit like a runaway train. Lenguas Venenosas was a full-frontal assault on dehumanizing injustices, and with members drawn from far and wide, Destripados brought a crucial immigrant perspective to the fore. Blood-boiling punk and foot-to-the-floor hardcore tussled it out on Lenguas Venenosas‘ Spanish language tracks, with inspirations like Discharge, Totalitär, and (insert your favourite all-fire Latino band here) fuelling Destripados’ engine. Lenguas Venenosas‘ in-your-face aggression captured the frustration we all feel living in a world bent on self-destruction.
Label: Symphony of Destruction
Bandcamp: Lenguas Venenosas
Visions of Chaos: S/T
Visions of Chaos are a Berlin/Athens duo whose 2022 self-titled cassette featured some of the most blown-out, and ear-shattering punk from this or any year. Visions of Chaos’ first full-length featured deluges of primitive guitar awash in waves of sizzling distortion; think red-hot acid being injected into an already inflamed earhole. Unintelligible vocals and caveman-from-hell drums only added to the frenzied storm of madness. Call it an impenetrable cyclone of radioactive static. Or a ceaseless barrage of disgusting noise. Pure (raw as raw gets) pandemonium. Tie a shoestring round your head, you know the buzzzzzzz.
Label: Sistema Mortal
Bandcamp: Visions of Chaos
Farce: Unspeakable Tragedies
If you enjoyed the mayhem/madness of Visions of Chaos above, Farce’s Unspeakable Tragedies cassette might also float your noise pollution boat. Recorded in a quick/ugly/fuck-you fashion in the Finnish band’s rehearsal room, Unspeakable Tragedies was virulently lo-fi. Of course, the tape’s unselfconscious crudeness and its red-raw dissonance were huge positives. Farce’s chainsawing guitar tone stood out amid all the clatter, mangling everything with gut-churning relish. Chalk up another ultra-obnoxious good time.
Label: Sistema Mortal
Bandcamp: Unspeakable Tragedies
Hellish View: The D-Beat Chainsaw Massacre
The incendiary music of Minneapolis, Minnesota, raw punks Hellish View has always tipped its hat to Kawakami and kin. However, the band’s latest horrorshow, The D-Beat Chainsaw Massacre, featured more prominent Discharge worship. Hellish View’s label, Desolate Records, said to expect a few psychedelic twists and turns, which aren’t unheard of in the depths of the raw punk realm. More tripped-out noise certainly came into play. But in the main, like Hellish View’s previous releases, The D-Beat Chainsaw Massacre was bleeding-raw in tooth and claw and acidic enough to strip the skin from bone. Another A-grade abrasive feast from Hellish View.
Label: Desolate Records
Bancamp: The D-Beat Chainsaw Massacre
Nightfeeder: Cut all of your Face Off
The lineup of Seattle bruisers Nightfeeder features a host of road-weary veterans who’ve been dishing out trampling punk and hardcore for donkey’s years. All of that experience was put to excellent use on the band’s Cut all of your Face Off LP. Nightfeeder’s blistering full-length debut featured well-crafted (and reliably anthemic) d-beat and crust-caked hardcore. Nightfeeder weren’t remotely interested in hiding their strengths behind a layer of hiss or static, with Cut All of Your Face Off‘s mammoth-sized production perfectly suiting the band’s strain of ten-tonne, chest-pounding punk. Catchy, heavy, and brutal as hell, Cut All of Your Face Off was an absolute monster.
Bandcamp: Cut all of your Face Off
Exist Enslaved: Endless Stench of Morbid World
Muscovites Exist Enslaved’s debut, Endless Stench of Morbid World, featured a lot of squalid stenchcore. However, unlike most of Exist Enslaved’s Sistema Mortal labelmates, their music wasn’t shrouded in an impenetrable wall of feedback. The songs on Endless Stench of Morbid World were crude and grotesque, and they stank to high heaven. However it was the saw-edged metal – specifically, bleeding-raw 80s thrash – that upped Exist Enslaved’s fidelity. Endless Stench of Morbid World was overflowing with gunk from the gutters of punk. But much of Exist Enslaved’s appeal rests on that rancid old-school thrash powering its way through the mix. Great stuff.
Label: Sistema Mortal
Bandcamp: Endless Stench of Morbid World
Mock Execution: Killed By Mock Execution
The full-length debut from Chicago’s Mock Execution, Killed By Mock Execution, featured a pick ‘n’ mix of different eras and variants of disease-ridden hardcore. Mock Execution’s label, La Vida Es Un Musc Discos, noted the band’s sound is a hybrid of Doom, Gloom, Gai, Kaaos, and the “entire early 2000’s Crust War catalogue”. That’s bang on target. But make no mistake about it. But Killed By Mock Execution was also thoroughly modern in its ferocious temper. The LP saw Mock Execution careening non-stop through the realms of crasher crust and raw punk, with their fists raised high. Killed By Mock Execution was a thundering tribute to the Godz of sonic belligerence.
Label: La Vida Es Un Mus Discos
Bandcamp: Killed By Mock Execution
Nosferatu: Society’s Bastard
It says a lot about Texas hardcore band Nosferatu that five labels got behind their latest – and, the word is – final release. Society’s Bastard was a hell of a way to go out. Recorded at D4MT Labs, the 11-songs on Society’s Bastard were all delivered at breakneck speeds. As per, Nosferatu’s whiplashing guitar and battering bass, drums, and vocals crashed and clashed in a murky maelstrom. Koro, Die Kreuzen, and Siege are often referenced when discussing Nosferatu. Those are fair comparisons, but to Nosferatu’s credit, there was always something unique about their uncompromising (and always ear-wrecking) sound. A knockout final punch.
Label: BLAP Tapes, Pig Master Tapes, Roachleg Records, Unlawful Assembly, Sound Grotesca
Bandcamp: Society’s Bastard
Skrot: This System Has No Heart
The title of Gothenburg, Swedish band Skrot’s full-length debut, This System Has No Heart, hits the proverbial nail on the head. Within, Skrot’s brutal-sounding tracks focused on life’s equally brutal realities. Skrot’s members have strong ties to the DIY community, and like many in that community, they clearly know their history. This System Has No Heart sounded utterly authentic, harkening back, in parts, to classic 90s crust. D-takt and råpunk were crushed, mangled, and reassmebled on super-dark songs. Best of all, Skrot revealed a deep appreciation of the core essentials of bulldozing punk.
Label: Not Enough Records, Burning Anger, Rawmantic Disasters
Bandcamp: This System Has No Heart
High Command: Eclipse of the Dual Moons
Massachusetts barbarians High Command served up a tasty slice of ultra-adrenalized crossover thrash on their killer 2019 debut, Beyond the Wall of Desolation. The band’s new LP, Eclipse of the Dual Moons, featured more old-school thrash and epic trad-metal than it did disembowelling hardcore (more Slayer than Cro-Mags, essentially). In fact, I hummed and hawed about inducing Eclipse of the Dual Moons on this list, given hardcore’s attributes were less visible. Still, I loved the album, so here it is. Swords clashed, axes fell, and dark magic swirled. High Command tore through heavily muscled tracks as the war drums pounded and cut-throat vocals roared. Sound the horns! I’ll see you on the shield wall.
Label: Southern Lord
Bandcamp: Eclipse of the Dual Moons
Asbestos: Loud Noise Infection
The first full-length from Japanese metal-crust legends Asbestos, 1989’s The Final Solution…., is a stone-cold classic. (It was also welcomingly remastered/reissued by F.O.A.D. Records in 2022.) It’s been decades since Asbestos’ last studio LP, but any nerves about their robustness or relevance nowadays were instantly ground up and spat out by 2022’s Loud Noise Infection. The LP was a call to arms, with berserker riffs and growling vocals boiling on rampaging tracks. Vitriolic crustcore jousted with ironclad thrash as Asbestos howled about myriad social crises and tensions. Asbestos sounded as formidable as ever, and Loud Noise Infection was a beast. More than that, though, Loud Noise Infection underscored why commitment to the cause matters.
Label: Doomed To Extinction, Black Konflik, F.O.A.D. Records
YouTube: Loud Noise Infection
Repression Attack: An Endless Landscape of Ugly Shapes
Russian stenchcrust band Repression Attack inserted more psychedelic components into their 2022 full-length, An Endless Landscape of Ugly Shapes. Acid-fried elements had gnawed at the edges of the band’s heavyweight sound before, but saxophone, tribal percussion, and sinister soundbites played more prominent parts on An Endless Landscape of Ugly Shapes. It’s been a decade since Repression Attack’s last full-length release, and while they didn’t radically overhaul their sound on An Endless Landscape of Ugly Shape (metalpunk/crustcore are still the primary components here), the album is all the better for Repression Attack’s willingness to experiment and with technique and creative limits.
Bandcamp: An Endless Landscape of Ugly Shapes
More Goodies: Non-Punk/Hardcore Favorites from 2022
Rock and Jazz
- Binker & Moses – Feeding the Machine (Jazz)
- Horsegirl – Versions Of Modern Performance (Indie rock)
- Richard Dawson – The Ruby Cord (Experimental rock)
- Sea Power – Everything Was Forever (Indie rock)
- I AM – Beyond (Jazz)
- Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia (Indie rock)
- Black Country, New Road – Ants from Up There (Indie/Experimental rock)
- Wet Leg – S/T (Indie rock)
- The Comet Is Coming – Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Jazz)
- Širom – The Liquified Throne Of Simplicity (Drone)
- Suede – Autofiction (Indie rock)
- Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful (Indie rock)
- Avantdale Bowling Club – Trees (Aotearoa New Zealand Hip Hop)
- Yard Act – The Overload (Indie rock)
- Sun Ra Arkestra – Living Sky (Jazz)
- King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava (Psychedelic rock)
- Built to Spill – When the Wind Forgets Your Name (Indie rock)
- The Nightingales – The Last Laugh (Indie rock)
- 40 Watt Sun – Perfect Light (Gloom rock)
- The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention (Alt-rock)
- Oren Ambarchi – Shebang (Experimental rock)
- Black Midi – Hellfire (Experimental rock)
- Zoh Amba – O Life, O Light Vol. 1 (Jazz)
- Martín Escalante / Teté Leguía / Weasel Walter – Katyusha (Noise/Jazz)
- Ares Kingdom – In Darkness at Last
- Grave Axis – Dismal Aeon (Primitive Death Metal – Aotearoa New Zealand)
- Salient – To Conquer Hell (OSDM – Aotearoa New Zealand)
- Fistula / Greenmachine – Split
- Vacuous – Dreams Of Dysphoria
- Wormrot – Hiss
- Ken Mode – Null
- Undeath – It’s Time… to Rise from the Grave
- Artificial Brain – S/T
- The Chasm – The Scars of a Lost Reflective Shadow
- Mortuous – Upon Desolation
- Inanna – Void of Unending Depths
- Napalm Death – Resentment Is Always Seismic: A Final Throw of Throes
- Heaving Earth – Darkness of God
- Suppression – The Sorrow of Soul Through Flesh
- Obscene – From Dead Horizon to Dead Horizon
- Chaotian – Effigies of Obsolescence
- Immolation – Acts of God
- Fleshrot – Unburied Corpse
- Astral Tomb – Soulgazer
- Hammers of Misfortune – Overtaker
- Faceless Burial – At the Foothills of Deliration
- Anatomia / Undergang – Split