Like many rapidly aging curmudgeons, I’m a complete hypocrite about the Internet. I mean, on the one hand, I’ll tell all and sundry about how much I detest the Internet because… well, social fucking media, right? But then, I also love the internet because with a few taps on the keyboard I can listen to underground music from all corners of the globe. Including music from an Irish hardcore and crust label like Distro-y Records, whose hometown is located 18,539 kilometres from my own.
I discovered Distro-y Records on Bandcamp; specifically via Low Life, the ferocious full-length debut from Dublin band Rats Blood. Low Life isn’t the only Distro-y Records release that’s caught my ear either. I’ve covered other albums released by the label on my Crusty Culprits column on Canadian website Hellbound. But when a brand new Distro-y Records release happened to dropped into my inbox recently, I thought I’d take the opportunity to shout about the label from my home turf for a change.
So here’s a half-dozen Distro-y Records ragers that are well worth checking out. Keep in mind, there’s also plenty more punk rock on Distro-y Records’ Bandcamp page, and on the label’s website.
Grit: Ghost Estates Demo
Dublin outfit Grit features members from brain-bashing crust ’n’ hardcore bands like Rats Blood and Burnchurch. However, Grit are cut from an entirely different musical cloth. The band’s Ghost Estates debut harks back to a time when gritty melodic hooks were a key ingredient in punchy –– and in this case, Oi!-fuelled –– street punk during the late 70s and early 80s. Ghost Estates’ short, catchy tracks are filled with spiky social commentary, and I’d love to tell you who’s singing the songs, but I can’t find her name anywhere. In any case, the vocals on tracks like “Pauline” and “Stray Bullet” are a perfect match for the driving tracks, and there’s a lot to enjoy with Grit’s upbeat and hook-filled take on Oi!. RIYL Crown Court, Rixie, and Syndrome 81.
Rats Blood: Low Life
As I mentioned in the introduction, Rats Blood were the first band from the Distro-y Records camp that I ever heard. Quite honestly, discovering their Low Life album blew my mind. Listening to Low Life for the first time reminded me a lot of when I first heard bands like Infernöh,Totalitär, or Avskum. And Low Life is just so… well … just so fucking remorseless. It’s filled with ultra-violent and breakneck bursts of raw and distorted hardcore, and it’s unrelenting and unforgiving from its amp-blazing beginning to its feedback end. Definitely one of the most intense and aggressive punk albums I’ve heard in years. RIYL Napalm Raid, Framtid, and Halshug.
Putrefaction: Scavenger & Blood Cult
Putrefaction’s music has been described as “Mad Max crust”, and that’s one hell of an apt description. There’s definitely a dystopian and post-apocalyptic feel to the band’s ten-tonne and mangling album Blood Cult, and their more recent Scavenger EP roams the ruinous badlands too. The band’s pummelling music mixes toxic death metal with feral punk –– and then wraps the result in barbed-wire rawness, for extra audio brutality. (Think Skitsystem via Nihilist, Wolfbrigade via Bolt Thrower, or Avskum via Repulsion.) Putrefaction’s music is dark, grim, and hulking. RIYL Warcry, Disfear, and Hellshock.
Last time I checked the Facebook page of Swedish kängpunks Crutches, it said the band were almost finished recording a brand new release. That makes it the perfect time to get yourself prepared by listening to Crutches’ last formidable album, FörlOrAD. I’ve said before that Crutches create consummate crust: music so heavy you can feel it in your marrow. The band blend Discharge’s venom with Disclose’s intensity, and then inject all that with pummelling, d-beat madness. FörlOrAD sounds HUGE, and it hits like a fucking freight train. I can’t wait to hear what Crutches come up with next. RIYL Agnosy, Dödläge, and Martyrdöd.
If you’re a fan of the old guard of heavyweight crossover crust (Doom, Sacrilege, Hellbastard, Amebix… you know, the usual suspects) then you’re likely going to enjoy Okus’ Scourge a lot. There’s a spirit-crushing weight to Scourge that isn’t just tied to the album’s impressive sonic mass. I mean, make no mistake, there’s a huge amount of pulverising crust on Scourge. But there’s also a mountain of misanthropic howls and growls that add even more gloom-drenched tonnage. Nihilistic noise that’s musically and emotionally crushing –– that’s Scourge. RIYL Bädr Vogu, Ursut, and Dystopia.
CROWS: Better off Dead & Beast as God / Crows split 7″
Generally, I’m not a metallic hardcore guy. I much prefer filthy crust. But I’ll happily make an exception for the steel-edged riffs of Dublin band CROWS. The band’s full-length debut, Better off Dead, is in-fvcking-tense. It features a warp-speed onslaught of savage riffs and throat-slit howls backed by a pile of percussive power. Plus, if you want a pissed-off message about society’s failures, that’s all there too. No question, fans of vitriol, breakdowns, and big burly hardcore will dig CROWS. (Note: I’ve also added a Bandcamp link below for the band’s upcoming split with UK sludge band Beast as God below, which is out very soon.) RIYL Converge, Trap Them and Cursed