Quarterly Roundup (Q2 2018): Punk N’ Grind
Surfing Bandcamp so you don’t have to.
The ugly, angry, and abrasive bits of the art world might flourish most during times of strife. In any case we’ve certainly got plenty to work with these days, and Q2’s output seems to reflect that. In case you were wondering why a big, salty FTFS (“fuck this fucking shit”) is called for, let’s take a quick look at the situation.
Trump is pulling away from our allies while cozying up to authoritarians like Kim Jong Un and Rodrigo Duterte, the US is creating baby prisons, nuclear war is still a higher-than-average possibility, trade wars are threatening the world economy, climate change continues to go largely unaddressed, and Stephen Miller looks as well as acts like if Goebbels had a grandson who went to Duke. Pretty sure we can all agree that the above is, collectively, just fucked.
In fine FTFS spirit, then, let’s get a little nervous energy out with some of the better hardcore, grind, crust, and related offerings of the past three months. Here are a few of the standouts for your perusal.
Whoresnation – Mephitism
If you work in a typical office environment like I do, you likely get sucked into a lot of useless meetings. For your post-meeting recovery, the Frenchmen of Whoresnation have “Endless Discussion Toward Meaningless Consensus” and 19 other tracks of premium deathgrind with an emphasis on the grind. Drums are front-and-center in both the mix and the composition, and while the riffs cycle a bit too quickly for any one to take hold in memory, each is a wild ride in the moment. Vocals are guttural and serviceable. Probably not a modern classic, but Mephitism is certainly one of the stronger releases of the year within its genre.
Mephitism was released April 13 on Throatruiner Records. Stream and order here.
Sectioned – Annihilated
Who’s up for ménage à trois? Apparently Dillinger Escape Plan, Car Bomb, and Full Of Hell. Hailing from Scotland, Sectioned is, stylistically speaking, the offspring of the three- an unholy hybrid of mathcore and powerviolence, where bouncy off-kilter breakdowns collide with heavy use of samples, intermittent quiet melodicism, and a healthy sprinkling of d-beat. It’s the latter that most distinguishes Sectioned from their influences, and is the most welcome, bringing just enough order to the table to make Annihilated a collection of actual songs, rather than pure unregulated brute force. Highly recommended; if nothing else, the opening scream(s) off the title track is one of the “fuck yeah” moments of the year.
Annihilated was released independently on April 26. Stream and order here.
Naileater – (S/T)
“We are Naileater and you are not.” So speaketh these Austrian peddlers of some especially pissed-off hardcore. If you’ve got 10 minutes and need a quick fix, here’s the prescription. The riffs are dark in tone and low in tuning, feedback is not in short supply, and the compositions are eminently headbangable. It’s unexpected that the third and final track stretches over 6 minutes, but here it’s quite effective, giving the group room to stretch out their ideas a bit, let the riffs breathe, and creating the impression that this EP is longer than its actual runtime. Good shit. FFO: All Pigs Must Die, Trap Them, moshable misanthropy.
This nasty little guy technically dropped in 2017, but was re-released April 14 on WOOAAARGH, still the best-named label out there. Stream and order here.
War on Women – Capture the Flag
And now for some entirely different hardcore, straying back toward the punk side of the spectrum. Baltimore, MD’s War on Women are here to educate you on their brand of feminism, executed with a catchiness belying its moral outrage. Practically radio-ready anthems like “Pleasure and the Beast” are juxtaposed with all-out ragers like “Childbirth,” with a mix that’s clear, open, and highlighting that chops need not be displayed at the cost of tasteful restraint. Lyrics display a wry wit absent pretense, and the 12 songs clock in at a concise 37 minutes. This one’s been in steady rotation for me since it dropped, and I doubt there’ll be a punk release to top it for 2018. It’s that good.
Capture the Flag was released April 13 on Bridge Nine Records. Stream and order here.
Warfuck – This Was Supposed To Be Fun
Was it? With a band so named, I could see it either way. The Lyon-based duo specialize in grind that blends classic Napalm Death-esque chainsaw riffing with a more spastic rhythmic approach and a pleasant balance between chugs (albeit high speed chugs) and blasts. Whether it’s the diminished black metal-esque tremolos in “Ni Rouge Ni Bleu,” the more straightforward amphetamine-beatdown of “Médiocrité,” or the death metal stylings of “Lixiviat” that come off as if Aborted did a bunch of meth with a side of computer duster, there’s something to keep your interest in every one of the 22 minutes on offer. The only thing you won’t find is Warfuck showing any sign of slowing down.
This Was Supposed To Be Fun was released May 14 on Lixiviat Records. Stream and order here.
Dauþiflin – Dauþiflin 7″ (LUNGS-118)
At this point I think it’s pretty much established that Iceland is nigh-incapable of producing bad music, at least of the harsher varieties (we can argue about Björk and Sigur Ros another time). If Naileater wasn’t violent enough for you and/or your ears just need to bleed, look no further than Dauþiflin. Raw and hollow production combines with heavily reverbed vocals, boatloads of feedback, and slightly trippy guitar work into hardcore that’s as jarring as it is mesmerizing; there’s an ineffably organic quality woven throughout the laceratingly harsh performance. Not for the faint of heart, but the payoff is huge.
Dauþiflin 7″ (LUNGS-118) was released April 27 on Iron Lung Records. Stream and order here.
Hostia – (S/T)
The Toilet’s one and only Hans was kind enough to premiere this fucker back in May, along with Nine Circles providing an interview. So while there’s little chance of them escaping notice, Hostia nevertheless deserve another mention. Gutturals war against high-register shrieks against tough-guy bellowing for a pleasingly varied vocal assault, while the guitars and drums alike are more supportive than exhibitionistic- but there’s still plenty of stylistic variety to be found between tracks. Also, cowbell. Though it has and shows its teeth, this is nevertheless one of the more accessible, and dare I say fun, entries in the collection here, perfect for those who dabble rather than binge on grind, and are looking for a dose that’s as happy alongside Bolt Thrower (kinda) as it is Brutal Truth.
This specimen was released May 31 on Via Nocturna. Order here.
Scathed – Already Dead
Milwaukee-based Scathed are relative newcomers, but with their debut full-length they throw at you a noxious emulsion of crust, hardcore, grind, and death metal that warrants keeping your eye on them down the road. Shifts in tempo and riffing abound and are distributed with near-perfect timing, far enough apart to retain coherence while sufficiently brief to keep your attention; similarly, the riffing cycles from Scandicrust to crossover to near-Floridian in style, and everywhere in between. Vocals are delivered with satisfying fervor, most closely reminiscent of crust in tone. Solos are sparingly used and all the more effective thereby. Hell, there’s even an instrumental. Yet overt as some of their influences are, a clear sense of individuality is present, and it’s simply too adventurous to risk being in any way derivative. It’s a very strong debut that I wholeheartedly recommend, and while they may not be Swedish, Scathed sure know how to set up a bitchin’ smörgåsbord.
Already Dead was released independently on June 16. Stream and order here.
That’s it for now. I sincerely hope you enjoyed one or more of these, and as always, thanks for keeping the Toilet a porcelain fortress of good in an often barren land.