Everything that Wellington, New Zealand punk label Razored Raw has released so far has leaned heavily on the rawer-than-raw end of the sonic spectrum. I appreciate not everyone wants to spend time in that world. But I’m a big fan of deliberately assaultive noise. And I have been since I first heard UK punks Discharge, many years ago.
Corpse Rat: EP
Discharge introduced me to d-beat and crust punk. But when I first heard legendary Japanese punks Disclose, I quickly realised that extreme music can always get way more extreme. That notion was top of mind after I pressed play on Razored Raw’s latest release. Because the debut EP from noise-shredding Wellington punks Corpse Rat is akin to audio-torture hammered home via an aural-wrecking racket.
The influence of Disclose is there in Corpse Rat’s sound: both bands use a wall of self-destructive noise to essentially make anti-music. If you’re a fan of ragged Japanese punk – eg Disclose and kin like Gloom, Framtid, D-Clone, Zyanose, Isterismo, Battle of Disarm, and System Fucker – then you’ll love the ultra-abrasive sound and attitude of Corpse Rat. (If you dig deafening US or Euro bands like Pollen, Piss, and Vägra you'll love Corpse Rat’s caterwauling too.) But punk rock isn’t the only genre the band take delight in destroying.
There’s first wave black metal here too. Most notably of the Sarcófago and Vulcano school of visceral, sonic slaughter. Add that into the brew and Corpse Rat’s debut becomes even more caustic and even more challenging. Of course, that’s the point, and therein lies the degenerate pleasure. That gratification via sheer torment: de-fucking-licious.
Tracks off the EP, like “Crook Guts”, “Out on a Low” and “No Blessing”, are as blown-out as they are just blown apart; and it’s all that flying shrapnel that makes them so great. The band make zero comprises here, and hate-fuelled tracks like “The Slog” and “Candidate Carcass” see ear-fucking metal quarrelling with bile-spitting crasher crust.
Corpse Rat’s debut isn’t going to appeal to a wide audience. But then, the band clearly weren’t aiming for untold hugs and kisses anyway. Everything on their EP is as distorted, punishing, and generally ‘fuck you’ as it can possibly get. And those are obviously all the best elements of Corpse Rat’s debut too.
If you’re looking for some A-grade un-listener-friendly noise, something utterly obnoxious to test your resolve while adding to your tinnitus woes, then the hellscape vileness of Corpse Rat awaits. It’s ugly as fuck. Twice as nasty. And highly recommended. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
(FYI: if Corpse Rat float your boat, you should check out the debut demo from fellow Wellington noise punks Total Ruin, which also featured on Six Noises recently.)
Various artists: NO NZ
When you’ve finished having your ears reamed by Corpse Rat’s debut EP, you might also like to sample Razored Raw’s other recent release, NO NZ. The 8-track compilation features a horde of noisy punks (including Corpse Rat), and it offers a glimpse into the gnarliest corners of the contemporary New Zealand punk scene.
There’s a lot of horrible punk rock to enjoy here. The Hellebores deliver a spiteful track fuelled by spiky garage punk, while d-beaten metalpunks Sick Old Man roar through their red-raw contribution. Crusty newcomers Feral Blood and Corpse Rat turn in ferocious tracks. (Feral Blood’s “NXWXPXC” is a riotous tune that follows on from their impressive demo.) Stress Ghetto unleash a full-throttle hardcore/powerviolence assault on “Dismal Existence”, and reliably surly veterans Spiteful Urinator drop more of their uber-savage noise on “Bastards Among Us”.
I’ve covered all of those aforementioned bands before at Six Noises, and they all deliver varying levels of sonic rawness backed by plenty of anger, bitterness, and spite on NO NZ . But there were a couple of bands on the compilation that I hadn’t encountered before.
Carradine Choke’s contribution, “Suburban Slumdance”, is a scuzzy and scungy free-for-all; and it definitely leaves me wanting to hear more from the South Island band. The magnificently named BusPuncher unshackle an aptly smashed and wrecked melee on “Drink Drank Fucked”. And if no-fi noise punk appeals, keep an ear out for more from BusPuncher.
All up, NO NZ is a first-rate introduction to raw NZ punk. Hopefully, like all good compilations, NO NZ leads anyone discovering the bands here for the first time to dig even deeper and track down more hostile NZ punk bands. As it stands, NO NZ makes for a great gateway into an antagonistic world.
There’s one other aspect of NO NZ that I want to point out, and that’s Razored Raw’s role. In a few short months, the label’s issued a slew of tapes and digital releases that have captured a crucial snapshot of some of the most visceral NZ punk. Like other underground NZ labels – such as Zero Style, Always Never Fun, or Limbless Music (or stalwart website Up the Punks) – Razored Raw exemplifies what DIY art means and what genuine DIY projects can achieve.
I appreciate that Razored Raw isn’t looking for a round of applause, especially not from an old hermit like me. But, that said, fucking bravo, Razored Raw. Hell of a year, mate. Chur.