2019 Roundup: Punk
So many releases around we’re still going through last year. But it’s so late in the year already. there’s a few new ones in too. Looking through the latest from Kohti Tuhoa, Dispyt, Loose Nukes, The Annihilated, Juggling Jugulars, Skumstrike, Yleiset Syyt & Scarecrow
Kick-ass chaotic hardcore with influences ranging from classic Finnish bands to Killing Joke? Sign. Me. The. Fuck. Up. Two albums and an EP under their belts, Kovaa Rasvaa have proven themselves a formidable force in the hardcore scene. Ihmisen Kasvot is actually somewhat less chaotic than its predecessors, but also all the more powerful for it, shifting from apocalyptic to dystopic. Only 2 of the 12 songs hit the two minute mark, Helena’s trademark piercing vocals are as powerful as ever, and she manages a softer approach here and there, when necessitated. Raging, riff-heavy hardcore that leaves your favourite Imtougherthanyourmiafamigliacore in the dust.
A brisk couple of years ago, I told you not to miss Kuroishi‘s (misspelled for convenience) Slukad af Slutet EP. And now I’m telling you not to miss their sophomore full-length, Sound the Alarm, which you should buy on the strength of the legendary Akihito “Sugi” Sugimoto’s art alone, but which also delivers on its cover’s promise and then some. The band was formed in 2015/16-ish in Oulu by a number of scene veterans (including members of Terveet Kädet, Lapin Helvetti and Deathchain) to play crusty d-beat with a metallic clang in the vein of Tragedy and the Swedish scene. Between the two full-lengths the band not only released the EP, but also toured Japan and released another EP worth of songs on the Japanese edition of said EP, then released said songs as a cassette split with Dispyt’s Livsglädje, which is how I came to know that band.
In case you didn’t already get it, Kuroishi’s vein of hardcore is brutal and unforgiving, the melancholic melodies only somehow adding to the bleakness of it all. On Sound the Alarm, they’ve also dug deeper into their bag of tricks than before and ditched the Swedes for a Japanese influence, making for a less metallic and more hardcore-ish record. A great example would be the opener “Black Lung”, re-recorded from the split. The split version is a much rougher, straightforward d-beat song, whereas the LP version, while working the same basic template, has far more embellishments and flourishes that makes for a more engaging listen without compromising the uncompromising nature of the band.
Kaitsu delivers his deep bark in two languages only on the record, omitting Swedish, and while the switching languages were a pleasure to listen to before, with the added diversity and guest vocalists—Keijo from Rotten Sound on “Dystopia” and Maria from Vivisektio/Viimeinen Virhe on “Nihilismistä Rakkauteen”—the absence is hardly notable. And Sound the Alarm is very nearly a perfect record in its genre. NOTE: Both the first LP and the EP are name your price on Bandcamp, the physical copies having sold out long ago, and Sound the Alarm is only a few funny bucks too. Get.
Having released their full-length debut on Svart, Yleiset Syyt seems to have gone solo with the record company Open Up And Bleed Recordings seemingly their own handiwork (and not the French indie label). A louder and rawer effort than Ajatuskoneisto, the self-titled EP offers 6 songs below 2 minutes. Straightforward and lacking the chaotic approach of Kohti Tuhoa, Yleiset Syyt makes for simple songs built on fairly catchy choruses and a good time, instead of anything for the ages. Though some of its lyrics could be described as socially conscious, it never gets very deep, providing instead along the lines expected. Not the best of the bunch, but a good time, and that seems to be all it was intended for.
Raw and raging hardcore punk from Raleigh, North Carolina. Ferocious d-beat in the vein of Totalitär and other Swedes. If you’re looking for a simpler and noisier alternative to Kuroishi’s sophomore, this could be your take of the day. 8 songs between a minute and a minute-and-twenty, delivering on one thing and one thing only—fury—and what it lacks in songwriting and diversity it makes up for with it in abundance. A nice, short diversion.
First came across this on a Riff of the Week not too long ago and I mostly agree with Hans’ quick assessment of it, in that while its fast ‘n loud, riff-heavy metalpunk seems fairly standard fare on the surface, there’s some oddity in the mix that I can’t quite put my finger on. Surely, it cannot be the fact that they have riffs as Hans went on to suggest, but whatever it is, it makes for an engaging sound. Terrific stuff.
If you’ve been paying as close attention as you should to this here metal-themed shit fetishist forum, you’ll not have missed Dispyt. Chances are you haven’t and you did, so here we are again. They’re a Finland’s Swedish band playing heavy crust punk with unhealthy doses of d-beat and a blackened influence. Nothing especially unique is unveiled during the 4 studio- and 2-live recorded songs, but every part of Dispyt’s sound works so well it goes unnoticed. At the heart of it lies a forceful rage with which the trio strong-arms their way through crowds of lesser bands, broken up by sections of tremolo picked riffs and blast beats, with a few Hellhammer-esque beats and scant melodies scattered through for good measure.
Each of the three men contribute vocals for the record, adding a variety to the chiefly used dry, throaty, gravelly growl. Livsglädje even sounds terrific with crunchy guitars, intense bass presence and clear drums balanced to the epicentre of loudness with only one goal. To beat the living shit out of you. One of the best of its kind in a while.
Loose Nukes – Behind the Screen
Members of Blood Pressure, Sickoids and Dark Thoughts came together for a noisy, raw and emotive hardcore for 9-and-a-half minutes. More than a little reminiscent of very early Black Flag, but never without their own flavour. Name Your Price too and very much worthy of a longer review, but what you gonna do?
The Annihilated – Demo
A very raw debut demo from a UK d-beat group that’s also definitely much better than the length of this text would implicate. “[They] put chords together well”, truer words were never spoken, libs.
This Lapua-born foursome’s been around since ’89, but on Insurrection, their age shows little. Melodic but powerful punk, the band’s own words, has always been an apt description of their music, through the years of heavier hardcore, anthemic hues and the gangly melodicism that made their Asylum EP a personal favourite. All of this is present on Insurrection, but compared to many of their previous releases, it’s a simplified effort. It’s also the angriest the band has sounded in ages (mind you, angriest, not heaviest) and besides the dual (technically, triple) vocal approach, the relatively varied songwriting keeps you on your toes.
Neither the simplification nor the variation turn against their master, as the latter combats the former, and is, in turn, kept in check by the band’s longevity and experience. Though the simplification has infiltrated the lyrics too (to some degree), it never reaches Läjä Äijälä -levels, allowing for more nuance. Covering topics like the working man’s plight in a profit-driven world, the far-right and spread of disinformation, Juggling Jugulars avoids preaching by making every song personal, and can’t help but to debone their own flock in “1982”.
I just wanted to show you all the love and effort I put into these things. Above is the review of Juggling Jugulars,, written on the back of a receipt. On the other side, there’s a few questions in preparation for an interview.