“Fuck it — it’s rock & roll! There are two kinds of music; music you like and music you don’t like.”
– Lemmy Kilmister
Kia ora, crüe. Welcome to the second and final part of In Crust We Trust’s end-of-year shindig. The list below focuses on the EPs and demos that resonated most with yours truly in 2022. I haven’t ranked the releases below in any kind of order. There’s no deep or profound reason for that. I’m simply terrible at making decisions. Feel free to argue amongst yourself about winners and losers. I’ll be over here enjoying all the bangin’ tunes.
The first part of In Crust We Trust’s end-of-year jamboree highlighted my favourite full-length releases from the past 12 months. Part one also included a novel-length introduction filled with an uncomfortable amount of over-sharing and a long list of increasingly desperate caveats. You’re welcome to read that introduction, but I know you’re busy, so I’ve bullet-pointed the main points below.
- Crust is a vibe
- I love you
Yea, that’s about it; let’s move on.
There’s a solid argument to be made that EPs and demos are the perfect formats for any and all punk and hardcore releases. The pedal-to-the-metal nature of both invariably sees bands delivering some of their most passionate performances. Even better, great EPs and demos never outstay their welcome.
For demos, succinctness and gut-driven rawness are crucial to their appeal. For EP’s, it’s about putting your best foot forward; their short/sharp running time pivotal to their success. EPs and demos combine the perfect set of ingredients with the ideal format to maximize their sonic and emotional rewards. If you need proof of that, cast your eyes/ears down this page, where you’ll find scores of fierce demos and all-fire EPs.
As per In Crust We Trust’s remit, there’s no gym-jock hardcore, windswept emo, or sugary pop punk below. Instead, you’ll find stench-ridden and red-raw releases and a mishmash of other crust-adjacent gunk. I know you’ll be familiar with many of the EPs and demos I mention. But I hope you find a few previously unheard releases to enjoy.
One thing to note is that there are no bands from Aotearoa New Zealand or Australia below. There were a host of great Kiwi and Aussie releases in 2022. However, as a citizen of Aotearoa, I like to write a stand-alone feature highlighting releases from the ass end of the world. That’ll be published on punk blog DIY Conspiracy this year.
Before we cut to the noise, I want to say thanks (once again) to a host of beautiful peeps.
Cyber-hugs galore to Last Rites for publishing the opinions of a namby-pamby pinko crybaby like me. Cheers to all the bands and labels whose music helped stitch my life back together this year. And shout-out to Negative Insight, Terminal Sound Nuisance, DIY Conspiracy, and all of the crew contributing to Sorry State’s continuously kick-ass newsletter.
Lastly, my eternal thanks to you, dear reader. It means a lot that you’ve taken the time, once again, to visit your ol’ pal In Crust We Trust. Stay safe out there. Be well. Hail Santa.
Black Dog: Demo 2022 / Demo II
Canadian noiseniks Black Dog released two head-splitting demos in 2022. The first, Demo 2022, was suffocatingly acidic and equally abrasive; the raw, gangrenous noise within sounding like a more lo-fi Bombanfall or Disaster. Black Dog’s second release, Demo II, was as concussive as it was corrosive, with its beefier sound nudging things further along the power-driven Discharge spectrum. Each demo serves its purpose – the first a gruesome warm-up, the next a knockout punch. In the words of label Sore Mind, “Ever wanted to feel the sound of bleeding out in the trenches? Look no further.”
The vinyl debut from Montreal crust fuckers’ Warkrusher expertly captured the band’s belligerent aesthetic. Whether evoking a bloody assault on a post-apocalyptic fortress – or fighting off scavaging mutants in the wastelands – Warkrusher’s two-track Epitaph 7″ exemplified the band’s brute-force strengths. Standing front and centre on the battle lines that groups like Axegrinder, Bolt Thrower, and Sacrilege carved out, Warkrusher affixed old-school crust to thickly armoured stenchcore. Epitaph was raw as sewage and yet heavy as a funeral. More, please, stat! Warkrusher’s next attack can’t come soon enough. FYI: take a moment to gaze at Epitaph‘s incredible cover art – kudos to artist Adam Kindred.
Label: Audacious Madness Records
Horrendous 3D: S/T
I’d describe my love of Horrendous 3D’s 2022 self-titled 7″ as unhealthy, which is the only way to commit to such a pile of unwholesome noise. The PDX-based Horrendous 3D’s latest brain-twisting opus welded the dementedness and dissonance of Confuse and Gai to the battering ram momentum of Discharge and Doom. The five mega-dosed dirges within upped their blunt-force extremity as gnarled riffs and guttural vocals turned themselves inside out amidst thickset waves of distortion. All hail the overlords of noise-fucked horrorscapes. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
Label: Black Water Records
YouTube: Horrendous 3D
Savage Pleasure: A Harrowing Cry…From the Shadows
Savage Pleasure’s 2022 EP, A Harrowing Cry…From the Shadows, was yet another top-notch release from the roster of Toxic State Records. Much of A Harrowing Cry…From the Shadows sounded like Amebix covering Morbid Tales (yea, it’s that fucking good), and like icy crowd-pleasers Poison Ruïn, there was a chilling archaic feel to many of Savage Pleasure’s songs. Hulking bass, drums, and growling vocals were all backed by massive-sounding riffs. A Harrowing Cry… From the Shadows was monumentally HEAVY, in every sense of the word.
Label: Toxic State Records
Bandcamp: A Harrowing Cry…From the Shadows
I love North Carolina hardcore crew Scarecrow, and if you haven’t encountered the band before now, it’s time to meet your new crush. The first pressing of Scarecrow’s riotous 2020 EP, Revenge, sold out in the blink of an eye. The band’s visceral 2022 EP, Crisis, was even better. Scarecrow amplified their instrumental intensity (and the vocals got tougher, too), and Crisis was duly heavier, gnarlier, and nastier all round. Crisis featured a barrage of ferocious käng crushers and no thought was given to pausing for breath or making space for listeners to gather their thoughts. An absolute banger. If classic Swedish hardcore (punk) turns you on, Crisis awaits. ‘Mängel up your ass’ – yes, please!
Label: Bunker Punks
Apärä: Trágico Final
The endless struggles and frustrations arising from living in Mexico City are conjured on Trágico Final, the 2022 EP from crasher crusties Apärä. The group’s desire to document their violent reality was writ large across Trágico Final‘s six frenzied songs. The influence of Gloom and Defector rang loud on Apärä’s blistering tracks, seeing maxed-out distortion and d-beaten råpunk fed into a car crusher. Apärä have a lot to be pissed about, and Trágico Final sounded utterly enraged. If you’re hungry for mind-grinding noise punk, here’s a super-abrasive meal to sate your appetite. (Fuzzed Atrocities, Squalor Records, Sore Mind)
Label: Fuzzed Atrocities, Squalor Records, Sore Mind
YouTube: Trágico Final
The Lousy: Shut Up I’m Talking
Respected metal label Sentient Ruin Laboratories reissued the bruising first demo from Boston raw punk/speed metal outfit The Lousy in 2022. The Lousy features members from Boston crust crews Instinct? and D-Sagawa, and the band’s Shut Up I’m Talking demo fused bass-blasting gutter thrash with primitive punk on ultra-blown-out tracks. The early days of bands like Motörhead, Metallica, Slayer, and Discharge were mentioned as reference points for The Lousy’s untamed endeavours. Truth is, the band’s pulverizing intensity taps right into the sweat-soaked excitement of seeing any of those legends above during their formative years. Tune in if you like your metalpunk fast, loud, and fucking lawless.
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Bandcamp: Shut Up I’m Talking
Nukelickers: Lick the Nuke
It feels like we’ll all be licking nukes sooner rather than later. Until then, we better enjoy all the horrible noise we can. Cue: Nukelickers. The German one-person band is helmed by multi-instrumentalist Julio (who is also one-half of raw punk outfit Visions of Chaos, who featured in the full-length portion of this end-of-year two-parter.) Much like Visions of Chaos, Nukelicker owes an obvious debt to raw punk’s lord and saviour, Hideki Kawakami. Nukelicker’s Lick the Nuke album was awash with noise-corroded static that painted a harrowing picture of our planet scorched beyond redemption. Shige from Tokyo’s famed Noise Room Studio mastered Lick the Nuke, which is always a positive indicator of the aural grisliness on offer. A top-notch primitive onslaught.
Label: Sistema Mortal
Bandcamp: Lick the Nuke
Horrid Peace: Agony Surrounds
Sorry State Records’ weekly newsletter has hooked me up with a phenomenal array of A-class noise over the years. Case in point, Agony Surrounds, the debut 7″ from Richmond, Virginia outfit Horrid Peace. The band features a couple of members from heavyweight champs Destruct, and much like the aforementioned, Horrid Peace’s modus operandi is uncompromising (attitudinally) and bulldozing (sonically). Agony Surrounds featured top-notch Doom worship with chug-a-rific riffs, biting d-beat, and barked vocals locked in mortal combat throughout. Horrid Peace hit the ear-slaughtering mark time and again with their consummate world-shattering crust. It’s fucking terrifying to think this is only the band’s first release.
Label: Acute Noise Manufacture
Bandcamp: Agony Surrounds
Mutated Void: Slash the Altar
In the first part of this list end-of-year saga, I heaped praise on Canadian band Mutated Void’s unhinged 2022 full-length LP, Roses Forever. As a sweet – albeit ear-shattering – bonus, Mutated Void also released a 7″ EP this year entitled Slash The Altar. Slash The Altar was chock-a-block with caustic hardcore that was often mutilated beyond recognition. Mutated Void took every limiter off and dived into a whirlpool of caustic and chaotic creativity on Slash The Altar. I’d be hard-pressed to choose between the two, but Slash The Altar sometimes felt even more deranged than Roses Forever, if that was humanly possible. Mutated Void deserve a hearty round of applause for delivering two of the most intense and eccentric releases of 2022.
Label: Sewercide Records
Bandcamp: Slash the Altar
Realm of Terror: Loss of Hope
Much like their first – and equally impressive – demo, Realm of Terror’s latest release, Loss of Hope, featured a blunt albeit wholly destructive broadside of crude crustcore. The Michigan band’s battering (and supremely effective) approach evoked the stench-laden exploits of acts like Extreme Noise Terror, Doom, Sore Throat, and Deviated Instinct. Loss of Hope‘s savage songs cut to the chase, ticking all the brute-force boxes. Raw punk’s stink was slathered onto heavyweight nihilistic screeds as walls of distortion lashed the lot. Imagine being crushed under tank tracks on some gore-strewn landscape; that’s the kind of grim and violent tone conjured here. Another tinnitus-inducing triumph from Realm of Terror.
Label: Guttural Warfare Records, Useless Plastic Toys
Bandcamp: Loss of Hope
Tormentum: Demo 2022
I know very little about Mexican stenchcore four-piece Tormentum. I stumbled over the band’s Demo 2022 on YouTube, and I was immediately hooked by its putrid stench and Sanctum/Stormcrow-worthy heaviness. There’s nothing ‘new’ about Tormentum’s approach, but that was obviously never part of their plan. Instead, Demo 2022 tipped its hat to the classics. The primordial stew of reeking crust and warmongering death metal within called to mind the progenitors of such endeavours; see Bolt Thrower, Doom, Deviated Instinct, and Prophecy of Doom. A blunt yet brutal bombardment. Simple but hellishly successful.
Bandcamp: Demo 2022
Absolut: Kill Your Illusion
It was great to see Canadian jawbreakers Absolut back in action with their Kill Your Illusion EP this year. The EP’s four tracks were recorded “live off the floor”, and Absolut’s “raw blast from the gutter” MO was firing on all pollutant-spewing cylinders. Absolut’s brand of ‘mangel devastation’ was sired by Anti Cimex and born from the kängpunk/råpunk womb; no surprise then that everything here blazed like an inferno. Kill Your Illusion was a balance of primal forces – heavy as a sack of bricks and still as raw as road rash. A hideous melee of roaring solos and nuclear-tipped riffs. Get some.
Bandcamp: Kill Your Illusion
Warthog never disappoint. The band’s previous razor-edged EPs have all found favour with devoted fans across the punk, hardcore, and metal spectrum. The NYC group’s latest self-titled EP was no different. Warthog’s fifth 7″ only featured three songs, but three new Warthog songs are more rewarding than entire albums from other bands. Heavily-built hardcore – with all of the required metallic muscle – underscored Warthog’s dive bar pugnaciousness and their throat-grabbing ferocity. Imagine Andre the Giant hurling you against a brick wall and then pissing red-hot acid into your ear as you lie there bleeding. Everything Warthog-related feels/sounds exactly like that. Brutally punishing but oh-so-good.
Label: Static Shock Records, Toxic State Records
New York-based Sørdïd’s 2022 Demo featured blasting bass and crashing guitars and drums topped off by monstrous vocals. Of course, you’ve heard all that before, but Sørdïd proved cannier than most. A lot of similar dis-beat is a complete and utter shambles, and there’s nothing wrong with that; there are plenty of chaotic free-for-alls on this end-of-year list. However, Sørdïd injected subtitles into their otherwise über-distorted tracks, making them that much more compelling. Sørdïd’s demo was as horrible-sounding as noise punk fans demand. However, blink-or-you’ll-miss-it melodies and bursts of more metallic riffage ensured interest and excitement remained high throughout. A great mix of absolute mayhem and prowess.
Label: Roach Leg Records
The latest EP from Japanese band Klonns is the one that got me. Previously, Klonns hadn’t held my attention, but their 2022 EP, Crow, dug its claws in deep. Klonns’ label, Iron Lung Records, pointed to legendary Japanese acts like Bastard, Lip Cream, and Death Side as prime inspirations here. I’d add Japanese noise-makers like Ferocious X, D-Clone, and Zyanose, given Crow was as deranged as it was deafening. Within Klonns delivered a wealth of sinister-sounding hardcore. But the best thing about Crow was Klonns’ wise decision to insert great big fat hooks into the mix, dragging you along for the ride.
Label: Iron Lung Records
Dust Collector: S/T
Dust Collector’s self-titled 2022 EP sounded like a spring-loaded hybrid of Damaging Noise Tape and Under The Scalpel Blade. The Los Angeles noise punk band’s six-song cassette was coarse and crude – as you’d expect – with throbbing bass lines flayed by mega-distorted guitar and spitting vocals. (Imagine a less psychedelic but more pogo-friendly Lebenden Toten.) For all its primitivism, though, Dust Collector’s debut wasn’t a one-dimensional rant. Shifts in tone and tempo added meat to Dust Collector’s bones, and there was a crispness and crunch to the band’s instrumentation that provided plenty more reasons to hit repeat.
Bandcamp: Dust Collector
It was no surprise to discover that Fugitive’s Maniac EP featured top-notch crossover thrash, given the band features members from Creeping Death, Skourge, and Power Trip. Hardcore’s attitude and physicality played important roles on Maniac, which was chock-full of steel-tipped thrashing riffs that both headbangers and gutter dwellers will devour. If you miss Power Trip’s skull-crushing exploits, Fugitive’s mode of attack (drawing sonic and lyrical weaponry from the armouries of thrash, death metal, and punk) operates in a very similar sphere. A super-fun and all-riffs-blazing debut.
Yambag: Strength in Nightmares
Cleveland band Yambag took a shot at being the “fastest band in hardcore” on their 2022 7″, Strength in Nightmares. I don’t usually go in for fastcore, but Yambag’s high-speed tracks may have permanently changed/scrambled my mind. Strength in Nightmares featured whirlwind songs delivered at skin-flaying speeds. Nerve-shattering percussion drove thick-necked hardcore, and explosive bursts of powerviolence sealed the ugly deal. Strength in Nightmares was relentless. Best of all, the EP featured some truly spine-snapping swerves. Breathless hardcore madness. Magnificent.
Label: Convulse Records, 11 PM Records
Bandcamp: Strength in Nightmares
Washington DC band Rashōmon are the very definition of good things take time. After a number of years of silence, the band returned in 2022 with a six-song EP, Nin-Gen, which featured more of Rashōmon’s patented dense/deadly “Tokyo via DC hardcore”. If you enjoy the blistering musical stylings of Japanese bands Death Side, Bastard, Forward, Warhead, or Nightmare, you’ll enjoy Rashōmon’s labours. However, if you also happen to like the early years of Dischord Records, then you’re going to fucking love Rashōmon. Nin-Gen featured an anthemic mix of dynamic and sharp-witted hardcore. Explosions of raw cathartic noise mixed with that deep well of creative thought that Dischord’s releases are often famed for. Great stuff!
Label: Iron Long Records
Indre Krig: Destroyer
Indre Krig brought exhilarating K-Town hardcore to the table on their 2022 EP Destroyer. Indre Krig got a solid buzz brewing with their 2021 demo, which, at that point, saw the band’s various members scattered across Europe and the US. Destroyer met with equal applause, and the EP’s six songs celebrated the instant appeal (and exorcising release) of hook-heavy hardcore. Destroyer featured plenty of aggression, but Indre Krig’s catchy songs and crunchy riffs were also just a hell of a lot of fun. Remember fun? Here’s some of that – extra loud and extra intoxicating.
Label: Adult Crash
Shaved Ape: Demo
Shaved Ape’s 2022 Demo featured zero bullshit, kick-your-fucking-teeth-in hardcore. The one-person project (helmed by Vince, drummer from bands like Sickoids, Loose Nukes, and White Stains) recorded its rough-and-ready demo on a 4-track, laying a solid foundation for its authentic sound. Shaved Ape stripped back any and all fripperies, leaving its raw and anger-driven songs to hark back to the days of blood-boiling 80s hardcore. Classic in style and execution, with throat-wrecking vocals and a fkn’ mountain of attitude. Hell yeah. Straightforward savagery.
Label: Sorry State Records
Ruined Age: Hellscape
The fact that Ruined Age constructed such destructive scenes on their Hellscape EP from such a crude toolbox is impressive. (In that sense, the band remind me of Portland raw punks Löckheed, who project a similarly stripped-back, violent vibe.) Ruined Age’s third EP found the Los Angeles trio slapping a thicker coating of crust onto their serrated-edged d-beat and raw punk. The result was Ruined Age’s burliest release thus far, seeing the band push beyond the primitive borders they’d previously occupied. Expect darkened riffs, super-gruff vocals, and bombarding percussion galore. Hellscape leaves welcome wreckage in its wake.
Irreal: Era Electronica
No doubt, Era Electrónica will feature on plenty of other end-of-year lists in 2022. The MLP from Barcelona’s “troglodyte” hardcore crew Irreal featured rabble-rousing songs delivered with belligerent force. Irreal’s teeth-grinding sound is primitive, but their music isn’t brainless butchery; all the face-melting noise here is more intelligent than you think. Along with a Discharge-like bluntness, Finnish and old-school NYHC collide on Irreal’s shockwave tracks. The band’s label, La Vida Es Un Mus Discos, described Era Electronica best; “A modern hardcore punk record without an ounce of modern attitude”. Tune in for insurgent anthems that are utterly anarchic but catchy as hell.
Label: La Vida Es Un Mus Discos
Bandcamp: Era Electronica
The latest release from Bogata’s Systema is yet another perfect example of just how explosively creative the current Colombian punk scene is. Systema’s 2022 7″, Muerte, was a “critical report” into Colombian politics’ violent and corrupt nature. Systema’s snarling songs encapsulated the rage, frustrations, and hopelessness the band (and their fans) feel. Muerte was bruising and ear-piercing throughout. But for all of Systema’s rawness and urgency, their music is well-crafted and even nuanced at times. Muerte was the sound of bricks thrown through the right windows. All-fire punk from an on-fire scene.
Label: Symphony of Destruction
Chainsaw: When Will We Die?
Sooner rather than later is the correct response to the question posed in the title of Chainsaw’s 2022 EP. The Boston band features members from groups like Sunshine Ward and Sadist, and if you’ve heard either of those noise-mongers, you’ll know the kind of monstrous punk to expect here. Chainsaw’s When Will We Die? EP featured seven strong tracks where gruff grunts and rougher/tougher riffs were driven hard by Scandi-inspired momentum. No surprise to see Roachleg Records releasing When Will We Die? on 7″. Once again, the label displays a keen eye and keener ear for the most raucous punk around.
Label: Roachleg Records
Bandcamp: When Will We Die?
Balta: Rendszerszintű Agybaszás
Hungarian outfit Balta’s 7″ debut, Rendszerszintű Agybaszás (aka systematic brain-fucking), featured the sickest guitar tone of the year. (Truth is, everything on the EP sounded sick af.) I’m not going to pretend that I understood a word Balta said, but the band’s vicious music unmistakably conveyed the urgency of their message. Much of Rendszerszintű Agybaszás sounded like a grinding, mechanical seizure – utterly ear-piercing and simply wrong in every sense. If you don’t have hearing issues already, fair warning; Balta aren’t just anti-authoritarian, they’re anti-music too. Rendszerszintű Agybaszás showed zero regard for anyone’s comfort or sanity. Punk. As. Fuck. Loud. As. Hell. Utterly insane.
Label: La Vida Es Un Mus Discos
Bandcamp: Rendszerszintű Agybaszás
Wolfbrigade: Anti-Tank Dogs
Resolute, wildly influential, and always obliterating, Wolfbrigade’s enduring music has seen their sledgehammering mix of down-tuned d-beat and heavily armoured crust (all delivered with death metal’s intensity) almost become a subgenre unto itself. The band’s 2022 EP, Anti-Tank Dogs, was another storming release featuring three crushing new apocalyptic onslaughts. Every song brought the requisite – and heavy as hell – physicality we’ve come to expect from Wolfbrigade. Once again, the Swedish legends stare into the abyss, facing down what we mortals fear to acknowledge.
Label: Armageddon Label, Agipunk Records
Bandcamp: Anti-Tank Dogs
Scorched Earth: Demo 2022
Ask yourself this; what do I really want to unearth digging around in the depths of red-raw punk? The answer is likely to be demos like Scorched Earth’s Demo 2022. The Austin, Texas, band’s seven-song demo featured a rip-roaring blast of crude, Shitlickers-lovin’ d-beat and Dis-charged hardcore. From its first seconds, Demo 2022 highlighted all the raw strengths and even rawer passion that a great gut-driven demo exemplifies. The rough-hewn, 4-track production here only added to the mind-mangling impact of Scorched Earth’s sawtoothed hardcore. Note: keep a close eye on the band.
Bandcamp: Demo 2022
Spore: Rabid Intent
Last but certainly not least on this list is Rabid Intent, the 2022 demo from Richmond, Virginia’s Spore. I chose Spore’s demo to end with because it vividly highlighted what this end-of-year list is trying to underscore – the cathartic power of noisy music. Spore’s demo was politically driven and rooted in raw hardcore, and the eight songs therein showcased a brutal blend of chaotic influences fuelled by off-the-chain anger. The vocals were a raging pyre. The music was a barrage of claustrophobic noise. Perfect. Punk. Rock. Rabid Intent is just that – utterly wild.
Label: Not For The Weak Records
Bandcamp: Rabid Intent