Six Noises’ 2015 Extravaganza: Punk Part 1
Welcome to the fifth post of Six Noises’ 2015 end-of-year shenanigans, where I’m letting fly with a bunch of lists cataloguing first-rate metal, punk, experimental rock, and a bunch of riotous New Zealand albums. None of the posts are ranked, because all I really want to do is recommend a whole heap of great music.
The post below is the first of a two-parter highlighting my favourite punk rock releases from 2015. Most of the releases reside on the heavyweight d-beat, crust and hardcore end of the punk rock spectrum, because that’s where my tastes lie. However, there’s also a few post-punk, outré, deathrock and more gothically accented punk releases included.
As always, cheers for stopping by Six Noises. I hope you discover something new on the upcoming lists.
Halshug: Blodets Bånd (Southern Lord)
Disguise: Signs of the Future (Static Shock)
Napalm Raid: 2010-2015 (PRC Music)
War//Plague: United in Darkness (Profane Existence)
Copenhagen-based Halshug’s full-length debut, Blodets Bånd, contained some of the heaviest and most formidable crust, d-beat and hardcore I heard in 2015. In fact, as far as downright concussive musical impact goes, crank the volume to 11 and Blodets Bånd was pretty much the definition of brain-battering. Not to be outdone in the filthy, feedbacking, or ferocity stakes, Disguise smashed rabid Scandinavian and Japanese-influenced punk together in an ultra-intense cauldron of audio violence on Signs of the Future. Napalm Raid followed a very similar course with their 2010-2015 compilation, which collected all of the band’s incensed/distorted recordings thus far. While War//Plague’s United in Darkness split, featuring more chest-crushing crust from my favourite contemporary punk band, was a firm reminder that War//Plague’s upcoming full-length really can’t arrive soon enough.
(If any of the heavyweight crust above tickles your fancy, you’d be well advised to also investigate blackened crust crew Scumpulse’s By Design. Also Mörkhimmel’s absolutely storming and highly recommended Ostří Černé Kosy Zní. And the Drip’s über-blown-out exploits from 2015.)
La Misma: Kanizadi (La Vida Es un Mus Discos and Toxic State)
Flowers of Evil: S/T (Deranged)
Anopheli: The Ache of Want (Halo of Flies and Alerta Antifascista)
Torso: Sono Pronta a Morire (Agipunk and Sorry State)
Featuring “intense vocals … spat out in Portuguese”, and a sound built on “fury, energy and UK82”, New York City-based La Misma released one of 2015’s most scorching and memorable debuts in Kanizadi. Fellow NYC dwellers, Flowers of Evil, were all guns blazing on their self-titled 2015 debut as well––delivering short sharp blasts of wonderfully insubordinate punk. Cello-led crust collective Anopheli returned with The Ache of Want in 2015, delivering another breathtaking mix of rabid d-beat rage and heart-rending neoclassical mesmerism. While Torso brought plenty of rage and a no-holds-barred d-beat onslaught on their impassioned full-length debut, Sono Pronta a Morire.
Crutches: FörlOrAD (multiple labels)
Sturmovik: Destination Nowhere (Selfmadegod)
Drap: En Naturlig Död (Crust Almighty)
Red Death: Permanent Exile (Hardware)
Swedish käng punks Crutches released their incredible FörlOrAD album in 2015. And what made FörlOrAD stand out in the crust and d-beat pack was that Crutches’ music is so goddamn heavy you can feel it in your marrow. Polish metallic crust outfit Sturmovik share that trait, and their ferocious 2015 album, Destination Nowhere, sounded like an entire regiment of tanks attacking all at once. Swedish band Drap dropped a high-octane and very promising debut, En Naturlig Död, which was heavy on both death metal and crust. While Red Death’s rough-hewn and rip-snorting crossover thrash/punk release, Permanent Exile, is well worth seeking out if similarly off-the-hook bands like Power Trip or Foreseen appeal.
Full of Hell: Amber Mote in the Black Vault (Bad Teeth Recordings)
Ramlord: S/T (Broken Limb Recordings)
Implore: Depopulation (Pelagic Records)
Wolfbastard: S/T (UKEM)
Are Full of Hell a punk band? I mean, they’re definitely hardcore. But there’s a heap of grinding metal and harsh noise in their sound. I don’t suppose it matters. All that does matter is that Full of Hell once again staked out the limits of audio extremity on 2015’s wholly obliterating Amber Mote in the Black Vault. Blackened crust band Ramlord proved (yet again) why they are one of the most important sonic subversives in the US underground, bringing more of their intense “stenchviolence” on their two-track self-titled EP in 2015. Crusty German band Implore brought a hefty amount of death metal’s pummel and grindcore’s vitriol to their solemn albeit howling full-length debut, Depopulation. UK four-piece Wolfbastard blended metal and punk as well, setting Darkthrone-influenced clamour against Discharge-inspired clatter, and celebrating Satan, sex and debauchery along the way.
(If metal-fuelled punk rock kick-starts your engine, then check out Trenchfoot’s At the Mercy of Circumstance. Also Svffer’s red-hot and turbo-speed metallic hardcore on Empathist. And make sure to head over to label Halo of Flies’ bandcamp page for more 2015 releases that reside at that nexus where rampaging metal and fired-up punk meet.)
The Flex: Don’t Bother with the Outside World (Lockin’ Out)
Violent Reaction: Marching On (Revelation Records)
No question, 2015 seemed like an absolutely killer year for UK punk rock. (At least, it did from my perspective, 12,000 miles away.) Leeds-based hardcore heroes The Flex released another perfectly bruising and brutish EP in Don’t Bother with the Outside World––as well as the two-track 7” triumph Flexual Healing Vol. 5: Do Ya Think I’m Flexi? Elsewhere, in the Albion Isles, Arms Race, Crown Court, and Violent Reaction not only all shared members but every single one also released an album or EP that featured some of the best street, Oi! and/or old school UK82 punk rock I heard all year.
No: Treating People Like They Don’t Exist (La Vida Es un Mus Discos)
Drunk in Hell: Pre-cum (Lupus Records)
Last Crusade: S/T (Rebellion Records, Longshot Music)
No Form: S/T (Reagent Records/Muscle Horse Records)
What’s that? You want more excellent UK punk from 2015? Sure thing. No’s Treating People Like They Don’t Exist was a gale-force dissonant storm of hardcore––easily one of 2015’s best releases overall. (And yet another gem from the unstoppable La Vida Es un Mus Discos label.) Drunk in Hell released an excellent compilation, Pre-cum, which collected live, demo and studio tracks from the band’s previous red-raw releases. British-Canadian rock ’n’ rollers Last Crusade released a self-titled album jam-packed full of tough-nut tunes, gruffer-than-gruff vocals, and all the rhythmic hallmarks of traditional Oi! And last, but by no means least, outlier punks No Form twisted ultra-harsh hardcore around a core of noise rock, industrial mayhem, proto-punk, and no-wave insanity on their intense self-titled debut.
Krömosom / Nomad (Lengua Armada)
Paranoid: Satyagraha (D-Takt & Råpunk Records)
Terveet Kädet: Lapin Helvetti (Svart)
Kohti Tuhoa: Rutiinin Orja (Svart)
The 2015 split between Krömosom and Nomad was a hurricane of lo-fi hooliganism and strident ‘music’ that bordered on pure corrosive and ear-piercing noise. (So, pretty much perfect then.) Also influenced by the same Japanese school of amp-melting noise punk is band Swedish Paranoid, and the d-beat warriors’ Satyagraha album was full of exemplary sonic chaos. Across the border, in Suomi land, Finnish punks Terveet Kädet released a hugely enjoyable 18-track riot with Lapin helvetti, on the always interesting Svart label. While fellow Finns and Svart labelmates Kohti Tuhoa released the very volatile and thus very impressive Rutiinin Orj.
(I’d also recommend checking out Raatoampari’s 2015 album Tuomiojärvi for more 10-tonne Finnish hardcore. But you should really check out Nomad’s neck-wrecking release, 自殺, and the band’s 2012 self-titled 7”, if you’ve not already. Of course, Krömosom’s ultra-abrasive exploits are mandatory listening too.)
Cemetery: Wind and Shadows (Mass Media)
Institute: Catharsis (Sacred Bones)
Anasazi: Nasty Witch Rock (La Vida Es un Mus Discos)
Haldol: S/T (self-released)
Cemetery’s highly anticipated and darkly melodic full-length, Wind and Shadows, was a pitch-perfect blend of gothic punk and deathrock––perhaps 2015’s very best. (Although, labelmates Lunch and Annex also released highly recommended gothic and post-punk gems in 2015.) Elsewhere on the post-punk front, Institute’s Catharsis proved there’s still plenty of room for inspired creativity in the genre. Anasazi’s outstanding Nasty Witch Rock album was packed with dark, gritty, and passionate intensity. While Haldol’s brilliant five-track self-titled release featured a gloriously grim mix of various strains of shadowy punk.
Vaaska: Todos Contra Todos (Beach Impediment Records)
Absolut: Hell’s Highest Power (D-Takt & Råpunk Records)
Rats Blood: Low Life (Imminent Destruction, and many more)
Condition: Actual Hell (Iron Lung)
The elements I look for in punk rock are as follows: a maelstrom mix of raw tunes, howling feedbacking, and a ceaseless percussive pounding. (Delivered, preferably, at a meteoric pace.) A whole heap of ‘fuck you’ attitude counts too. And, ideally, that’s being presented by a thoroughly unhinged frontperson. Basically, manic and redlining music like Vaaska’s wholly remarkable and bludgeoning Todos Contra Todos from 2015. Or berserker-led onslaughts like Absolut’s phenomenal Hell’s Highest Power. You know, breakneck bursts of ultra-violent noise, like Rats Blood’s remorseless Low Life album. And always, and forever, merciless assaults on the senses, like those found on Condition’s Actual Hell.
(The hot-blooded and frenzied fury of Barcelona’s Extremo Nihilismo en Barcelona was pretty damn impressive in 2015 too. And I loved the wonderfully bristley and madcap Bad Luck Charms from Canadian punks TV Freaks as well. But you could pretty much grab any band off Condition’s label, Iron Lung, and be guaranteed a grand, albeit entirely brain-battering, good time.)
Disterror: Catharsis (Akracia Records/Caligari Records)
Sin Motivo: El Desierto (Not Normal and Adelante Discos)
Muerte: S/T (Cintas Pepe, Cabeza de Vaca, and SPHC)
Mujercitos: S/T (Not Normal and Discos Enfermos)
I love Mexican, Hispanic, and Spanish-language punk. I love that so many of the bands I encounter present their music in such a heartfelt manner that language barriers disappear. I mean, I don’t speak a word of Spanish, but an album like Tercer Mundo’s 2014 release, Ser Nosotros Mismos, speaks universal truths about pain and rage that we can all understand. Mexican four-piece Disterror did the same in 2015, tearing down barricades with squalid d-beat and crust, and equally unsanitary black and death metal, on their fantastically dark Catharsis. Texas-based punks Sin Motivo kicked down all the walls on El Desierto with their chaotic and hard-as-nails hardcore. Mexico City-based punks Muerte mixed hardcore with goth/anarcho-punk on their moody, murky and hugely impressive self-titled album. And if you like things ultra-raw and a little off-kilter, then I’d recommend the very lo-fi self-titled EP from Mujercitos too.
(See also… oh so much more. Like Desgraciados’ glorious feedback frenzy Humanidad en la Obscuridad. Also Barcelona natives Nueva Fuerza’s La Nueva Fuerza. And Ruleta Rusa’s fiery, fierce, and frenetic Euro Tour 12″.)