/ Punk Rock

Ear-drilling Fun #1

Crust-2-Do you like horrible, crusty punk? I like horrible, crusty punk. I like d-beat and filthy hardcore too. And mountains of other Discharge-inspired noise pollution. I like mangel this, and kängpunk that, and I'm forever stumbling on fresh or fetid punk I want to share around. So here goes: welcome to Ear-drilling Fun #1.

...actually, before we get stuck in.

There's a lot of violent/volatile punk from 2017 on my recent end of year list. And I posted another list of worthy punk contenders from last year as well. You should check those lists out if the bands below appeal. I mean, admittedly, I do have terrible taste in music. But then, you know, terrible noise is the best noise in town.

...okay, now let's get stuck in.

Systemik Violence: Satanarkist Attack
I stumbled on Portuguese four-piece Systemik Violence when they released their killer 7", Fuck as Punk, back in 2016. The Lisbon-based band don't fuck about with their sound either, dishing out a crude mix of crust, d-beat, and blackened hardcore. (And I'm not talking about the blackened hardcore favoured by today's chicer punksters either.) Systemik Violence are dirty and mean, and they cite old school bands like GISM, Anti Cimex, and Darkthrone as prime influences on the obnoxious Satanarkist Attack. The band's first full-length release is about as shy and subtle as a 666-tonne tank. So if you like your punk rock bleeding-raw and ultra-hostile, press play below.

Sunshine Ward: Nuclear Ambitions
Speaking of things as subtle as a tank, Boston hardcore crew Sunshine Ward bring a massive amount of sonic ordnance to bear on their crushing new Nuclear Ambitions LP. Sunshine Ward already have a few powerfully built and aggressively d-beaten releases under their belt. But Nuclear Ambitions' markedly hulking production means it's the band's most mammoth sounding recording yet. Most mentions of Nuclear Ambitions point out that Sunshine Ward are working off Totalitär's template. But the band's thickset, heavyweight hardcore would definitely appeal to fans of Tragedy, Wolfbrigade, and Green Beret etc.

Kohti Tuhoa: Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta
Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta is the second storming album from Finnish hardcore band Kohti Tuhoa. Released at the tail end of 2017, Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta is another snarling, punchy, and altogether vitriolic victory for the band. Fronted by powerhouse vocalist Helena, Kohti Tuhoa's ferocious (Discharge via Terveet Kädet) sound hits real hard, real fast. All of the band's lyrics are in Finnish, but there's no disguising their songs are full-bore howls of injustice. Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta was easily one of 2017's best punk releases. See also: Kohti Tuhoa's equally ripping debut, Rutiinin Orja.

Hellkrusher: Human Misery
UK crusties Hellkrusher originally formed in 1989, and their latest album, Human Misery, is their first full-length release in 21 years. Don't expect any huge change in the band's sound or vision though. Human Misery features classic UK crustcore and it sits comfortably alongside Hellkrusher's previous thrash-friendly releases. The only notable point of difference is that Human Misery's production is that much beefier, reflecting the technology of the times, while Hellkrusher unpack society's failings with as much off-the-chain anger as they ever did. (PS: Hellkrusher released a great split with Visions of War in 2017. It's also stacked to the gunwales with dirty, metallic punk..)

Sial: S/T
The full-length debut from Singaporean punks Sial was released in late 2017. Lots of music risks getting overlooked at that time of year, which would be a tragedy where Sial's concerned because their first LP features a rampaging mix of ultra-abrasive punk. Sial's barbed sound and attitude upends cultural stereotypes, while the sheer audio chaos you'll encounter on their debut sees coarse crust wrap itself around Crass-like subversion and UK82's grunt and grit. Sial's debut is incandescently intense and highly recommended – much like 99% of the other releases from their label La Vida es un Mus Discos.

Life Fucker: Z
Some bands settle on a name that describes their sound to a T. Like ferocious German noise punks Piss – whose music is about as calm and comforting as a hot stream of urine blasting your eyeball. Piss' Static Age labelmates, Life Fucker, hit the noise/name nail on the head too. The German band's 2017 full-length, Z, is packed with utterly ruinous riffs, face-smashing drums, and violent, distorted vocals. Clearly inspired by the ugliest Japanese hardcore around, Life Fucker deliver a scorching shock wave of pure (and sure, life-fucking) primitivism. FYI: Life Fucker also smashed it out of the park with their first demo and debut EP. Make sure to check 'em out too.

APÄRÄ: 2017
The second demo from Mexican crasher crust aficionados APÄRÄ is – as label Runstate Tapes points out – "raw as fuck". APÄRÄ don't make any compromises for anyone, anywhere, at any point in time. As a result, their latest demo is probably best suited for fans of very lo-fi and very corrosive audio adventures. Luckily, that includes me and my ol' pal Señor Tinnitus. (And maybe you like ear-destroying noise punk too?) In any case, demo number #2 from APÄRÄ is an obnoxious gem – with a heavy accent on the noxious component. It's brilliant, obviously.

Subdued: Torment & Torture
Subdued's Torment & Torture demo is described as, "Satanist, leatherist, body build-ist, [and] Rat-ist". However, you're not obliged to envision a sleekly clad Beelzebub pumping iron to enjoy Torment & Torture. A liking of Amebix and their most muscular kin would certainly help though. Because Torment & Torture sounds similarly bleak yet burly, and the mist-shrouded heaths and industrial wastelands of the UK make an appearance here too. There's icy metallic hardcore to be enjoyed, as well as sharper bursts of noise, but the fact that Torment & Torture remains so fucking taut with tension throughout is its best feature of all.