/ Ear-drilling Fun

EAR DRILLING FUN #4

Parents1Do you like horrible noise? I like horrible noise. In fact, I'm always stumbling on obnoxious music that I want to share around. That’s why I started this regular column, and while Ear-drilling Fun generally focuses on the filthiest strains of punk rock, other varieties of subterranean audio pollution also feature. Here’s Ear-drilling Fun #4… enjoy

Parents: Demo
Auckland-based hardcore/screamo act Parents recently uploaded a collection of demo recordings to their Bandcamp page to pay tribute to the band’s original drummer Stefan Clist, who passed away in April this year. The ten songs on Demo were originally released back in 2010, and the high-powered elements that have seen Parents become a popular band on New Zealand’s hardcore landscape are all present and accounted for on their very first recordings.

Sonically, Demo is rough around the edges, but a little less polish than Parents' punchier recordings doesn't really reduce Demo's impact to any significant degree. Parents have released a number of well-received albums, including 2016’s Great Reward, and Demo is worth checking out if you want to see where it all began. That said, Demo works equally well as a collection of raw and hungry hardcore all on its own.

G.D.V: S/T
The music of Wellington, New Zealand punxs G.D.V is crude and crusty and it sounds like it’ll likely give you tinnitus and hepatitis. The band's debut features eight songs that were smashed out in a single session in early 2018, and all of them have a whiff of the old school about 'em (à la Doom and their unwashed kin). G.D.V’s lyrical interests are clear – see “Man's to Blame”, “Scum Fucking Infestation (Clean the Streets)”, and “Escape the Mundane” – and they wrap their verbal vitriol in aptly vitriolic music.

G.D.V’s debut is being released by Wellington punk label Razored Raw, and like many of the label’s other bands, G.D.V essentially shit red-hot sonic acid into your earholes. The band make sour and scathing music, where furious guitars and pounding percussion pack plenty of oomph, and there’s howling ’n’ growling vocals to enjoy as well. Tracks like “Refugees Welcome”, “Hipsters” and the bass-heavy blast “Brain Dead” feature a lot of raw and filthy noise, and there’s also a chunk of crossover cache to G.D.V’s riotous debut. Dirty punks and rotten rivetheads apply within.

Extended Hell: S/T
It’s a busy month for label Razored Raw. Not only are they releasing G.D.V’s debut, they’re also releasing:

(a) Church of Goya’s latest tunes on tape (which I've covered below)
(b) ditto Mothers Dearest (which I’ve covered right here)
(c) a mind-destroying cassette compilation featuring the 2017 tour tape and self-titled EP from Brooklyn, New York punks Extended Hell.

Fun fact: way more fucking people need to be listening to Extended Hell. The band features members who’ve played in groups like Urchin and Narcoleptics, and Extended Hell essentially take the ear-splitting influences from Anti Cimex and Totalitär and grind them up with a latter-day brew of bleeding-raw d-beat and hardcore. The result is ultra-brutal and ultra-angry, and Extended Hell sound like they’re fuelled by unstoppable fury and ready to spit torrents of venom 24/7. An essential compilation, obviously.

Cassette copies will be available at Razored Raw's Destroy Wellington 2018 shows on June 1st and 2nd at Valhalla. You can spend your digital pennies on Extended Hell's Bandcamp page below.

Lifeless Dark: Who Will Be the Victims?
Boston, Massachusetts crew Lifeless Dark mix stenchcore, thrash, and hardcore, and the band's vocalist Elaine screams hell-for-fucking-leather on the bruising Who Will Be the Victims? Lifeless Dark features members from No Tolerance and the always skull-cracking Green Beret, and if you’re a fan of the way that early Sacrilege mixed brawny punk with a fat dollop of metallic might, then know that Lifeless Dark’s powerfully built sound updates that skillset with much aplomb.

Even better, Lifeless Dark have been ‘Fenriz approved’, with the Darkthrone mainstay praising the band for evoking the sound and feel of the old guard of punk 'n' metal.

Zygome: Demo 2018
Back in 2017, Canadian crusties Fragment released their storming debut LP, In the Dust. Full of reverb-saturated råpunk, In the Dust was one of my favourite releases from last year, so I got all sorts of excited when I saw mention of the first demo from Halifax stench crushers Zygome, who also feature members of Fragment in their ranks.

Zygome's first demo merits that excitement too. It only features four songs, but they're all prime slabs of pulverizing punk. If you like OG head-smashers like Deviated Instinct or Axegrinder, or you enjoy the filth-caked noise of Gloom, then Zygome’s blown-out and bulldozing broadsides will likely also catch your ear.

Zygome are certainly well worth keeping an eye on, especially if you're a fan of heavyweight stenchcore bruisers like Terminal Conquest, Vastation, or Cancer Spreading. Fingers crossed, Zygome return with a full-length sooner rather than later.

Impalers: Beat Session Vol.5
Beat Session Vol.5 features a tighter-than-tight live set (recorded in late 2017) by Austin, Texas punk band Impalers. If you're already a fan of the band, you'll know to expect crushing d-beat assailed by feral hardcore –– with a hefty amount of scorching insanity thrown in. The six songs on Beat Session Vol.5 span Impalers' career and the release features a heavily truncated version of the band's glorious acid-punk nightmare, “Psychedelic Snutskallar".

Honestly, I could have done with another 10 or so tracks, but I don't want to seem greedy, and hey, six blistering blasts of phenomenal punk is better than none, right? Just a reminder that Impalers' last album, 2017's Cellar Dweller, was a fucking monster and arguably the punk album of last year. If you've not checked it out, you'll want to remedy that sitch asap, my friend.

Blockade: Demo + 2 Trax Flexi
Hellish View: Visions of Raw

You know how some folks say that punk rock all sounds the same, well let’s not forget that punk rock often looks the same too. Case in point, Aussie noise punks Blockade (and their excellent Demo + 2 Trax Flexi), and Minneapolis, Minnesota band Hellish View (and their fetching Visions of Raw demo). Both bands used the same photo for the cover art on their respective releases, which is hardly a crime in the dirty ol' world of DIY punk, but that's not the only similarity between Blockade and Hellish View.

Both bands crank out lightning fast raw punk. Although, Blockade drown their tunes in an ocean of filth and distortion, while Hellish View dish out burlier d-beaten noise. I guess you could also throw in the fact that both bands make an obnoxious fucking racket. And that qualifies as a strong recommendation round 'ere.

Agravio: Demo 2018
The 2018 demo from Mexico City-based punks Agravio sounds like it could implode at any second, and I love music like that. Mainly because that kind of music sounds and feels... well, dangerous. (And when was the last time you listened to something that felt genuinely wild and hazardous?)

Obviously, fast, loose, ragged, and lo-fi isn't going to suit everyone's tastes. But even if you find Agravio's demo to be too crude and too chaotic, there's no denying it sounds fucking authentic. Agravio remind me a lot of fellow Mexico City punks Ojo por Ojo, who I covered in my last Ear-drilling Fun column. Both of Ojo por Ojo and Agravio's recent releases are driven by searingly honest rage, and they’re both dripping with raw distortion as well.

Agravio take on crime, corruption, and violence using primitive noise as their primary weapon. Long may they fight the good fight.

Power Trip: Opening Fire: 2008-2014
I know some folks think it’s cool to hate on Power Trip circa ‘18, but I’ve never been cool, not for an instant, and the band's recent Opening Fire: 2008-2014 compilation is sick af and fun as hell. (You know, just like the rest of Power Trip’s discography, dingus.)

Opening Fire: 2008-2014 was released to mark Power Trip’s 10th anniversary and it gathers up the band's earlier material, which has been harder for fans to track down. Opening Fire: 2008-2014 underscores that Power Trip were primed and ready for battle from the get-go. Remastered by producer Arthur Rizk, and with killer artwork by Portland illustrator Matt Stikker, Opening Fire: 2008-2014 is a full-bore blast of crossover noise with nuclear-meltdown riffs, and guttural growls and gang vocals galore.

Big and beefy tracks combine burly hardcore, gnarly speed metal, and chainsawing thrash, and while Opening Fire: 2008-2014 isn't necessarily going to win points for originality, it still features gold-medal levels of aggression and intensity. As I said... sick af, fun as hell.

Church of Goya: Goya is a Dead Man
Like fellow Wellington post-punk band Mothers Dearest, the Church of Goya are indebted to revered NZ sound explorers like The Gordons and the Skeptics (as well as international groups like Gang of Four and Joy Division, to a lesser degree). Church of Goya's songs feature jarring shards of sound and their creative songwriting mixes an unnerving sense of isolation and desolation.

The band’s 7-song release, Goya is a Dead Man, clangs and crashes like all bitterly cold post-punk should. (And if you’re a fan of no-wave and/or angular 80s alternative rock, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.) Even better, though, is the way that Goya is a Dead Man gets under your skin and crawls around like a paranoid subcutaneous nightmare.

Goya is a Dead Man was recorded live and it thrums with tense energy, but longer songs like “Pushout”, “100Cents” and “Input” are given plenty of room to breathe their unsettling vapours. Church of Goya make great use of space and dynamics to blend an often sheet-metal uproar with skittery and spiky noise, and clean passages mutate into dirtier dins, and quiet sounds bleed into louder deluges throughout. Church of Goya are an eccentric band making unorthodox music, which both deserves and demands your attention.

Diploid/Yung Nat$: Split 12"
Apologies. My bad. I really should have written about the 12” split between Australian punks Diploid and New Zealand hardcore crew Yung Nat$ back when it was first released in January this year. I really should have bought the LP when I had the money in my pocket too. Still, here are some words. Better late than never, right?

If you’re not acquainted with Diploid, the Melbourne band hurl elements from punk, grind, and doom at components of sludge, powerviolence, and screamo. Fascinating music is the result, and while Diploid only provide a single song on their split with Yung Nat$, it's a 13-minute mind-crusher that sees the band twisting and turning hardcore and improvised noise inside out. Amazing stuff.

Dunedin band Yung Nat$ contribute five blistering tracks that hold fast to their frenetic hardcore/mathcore style; meaning Diploid and Yung Nat$'s split shows an impressive amount of sonic breadth and two very different interpretations of punk rock. The split also shows two bands clearly linked by their passion for making intense music. Win-win.

Korrosive: Havaintoja Lännestä Demos
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Oakland, California hardcore band Korrosive. Their new release, Havaintoja Lännestä Demos, collects four tracks from an 8-track EP due out later this year, and it's clear that Korrosive’s love of all things Finnish is still in full effect. Havaintoja Lännestä Demos is the first release from Korrosive’s rejigged lineup, and if you’ve enjoyed the band’s past work (like their Syövyttävä Laji 7" or The Kaaos B-Sides flexi) then rest assured that Havaintoja Lännestä Demos delivers similarly off-the-chain hardcore laced with heavy hooks.

Tarantüla: The Very Best of Sex and Violence
The Very Best of Sex and Violence is the third EP from scuzzy Chicago punks Tarantüla. The band deliver six Motörcharged tracks on The Very Best of Sex and Violence, and like Lemmy and co, Tarantüla can't help but scatter plenty of rawk 'n' roll hooks into their tunes. There's a heap of old-school dirt under Tarantüla's fingernails (see nods to the Angry Samoans or even Articles of Faith), but mostly Tarantüla just play their fucking guts out making mean, nasty, and aggressive hardcore that's uncomplicated (and uncontaminated) by any highfalutin’ ideas.

Innocent: Power is Violence
Power is Violence is the second demo from Boston, Massachusetts band Innocent. Much like Lifeless Dark, there’s an echo of Sacrilege to be heard in Innocent’s music, but the band lean harder on the influence of the first wave of US hardcore more than anything else. On Power is Violence, smashing d-beat and reverb-drenched howls (courtesy of vocalist Samantha) add even rougher and rowdier elements into the mix. The result is consummate hard-ass hardcore; built for those days when only the toughest, tightest, and most ferocious music will get you through.