/ 2018

Ear-drilling Fun #5

a2084316869_10-copyDo 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 audio pollution also feature. Here’s Ear-drilling Fun #5… enjoy.

Before you dive into the music below, I want to ask a quick favour.

A few months back, I stopped participating in the relentless cycle of self-promotion that blogging often demands. I did that for a number of reasons, but they all boil down to the same thing – fuck that game.

Dumping all that desperate #plugplugplugging means Six Noises has now disappeared off the radar and lost countless readers along the way. On the plus side, that means the blog's now ultra-fucking-niche, which sounds great, right? On the downside, well... you know.

Anyway, to be clear, I’m not complaining about any of that. You buck the system, you pay the price – that's expected. And I won’t be re-engaging the promotional gears to lift Six Noises’ profile.

Why not? Well... I’m pointlessly fucking pig-headed. I’ve always found it hard balancing the desire to seek out readers with holding onto the (admittedly, now antiquated) DIY principles that matter to me. I totally appreciate the benefits of actively promoting your brand/band on various shiny platforms. But I prefer a low-key approach over vapid hustling.

Essentially, I just want to share great underground music without any ego-tripping. I think Six Noises does a pretty good job of that (shit, is saying that an ego-trip?) but it’s pointless writing a blog if its audience is rapidly dwindling.

That’s where you enter the picture.

If you think Six Noises has any merit, it would be great if you could share a post or maybe mention the blog the next time something around here catches your eye. It’s a small favour to ask, but it could keep this blog alive.

If you think that sounds like an idiotic idea, then feel free to tell me to go fuck myself. I get that hype is gross, and self-serving networking is even worse. But seeing as you’re here, I just thought I’d ask.

In the meantime, Six Noises will continue to make an ungodly racket.

At least until it's just you, me, and the cat left around here.

On with the show...

Akrasia: First Demons – Birth of the Void
First Demons – Birth of the Void is the debut album from Norwegian punks Akrasia. Touted as a “cataclysmic crust-monster” (heavy influenced by Amebix, Venom, Hawkwind, and Killing Joke), First Demons... sees Akrasia deliver a feast of craggy cosmic noise, heavily seasoned with dirty atmospherics. Expect a dark (((cavernous/interstellar))) fusion, crafted by space rock punks fucked up on battery acid instead of cider. Filthy, monolithic, mind-smashing. One of my favourite releases this year.

Unsanitary Napkin: Orgasmic Capitalism
Fuck yeah! The political and cultural climate outside might be bleak as hell, but a brand new 7" from Wellington, New Zealand, rabble-rousing punks Unsanitary Napkin is a damn good reason to put your party shoes on. The band, fronted by artist and zine-maker Hannah Salmon (aka Daily Secretion), are fiercely feminist and stalwart battlers for the underdog and the victims of capitalism. Unafraid to speak truth to power, or tackle bigots and inequality head-on, Unsanitary Napkin's six-track Orgasmic Capitalism 7” tears into top-tier arseholes galore, while also celebrating collective resistance. This time round, Unsanitary Napkin's spiky, anarcho-punk often morphs into heavier (albeit still hook-filled) hardcore. Total fucking magic. Let's dance, while the world burns.

Riesgo: Demo MMXVIII
Five-piece Riesgo features members who've played in notable hardcore groups like (the al-fucking-mighty) Los Crudos and Sin Orden. Unsurprisingly, Riesgo's Demo MMXVIII is a full-bore, frenzied and altogether excellent onslaught of unflagging d-beat, venomous vocals, bulldozing bass,and raw riffing. Blood-on-the-strings insanity. Superb subterranean punk. HIGHLY recommended.

Sissy Spacek: Ways of Confusion
It might seem odd that the latest release from long-lived noisecore band Sissy Spacek is being released by cult black and death metal label Nuclear War Now! But Sissy Spacek's music is 666% brain-battering, and that's Nuclear War Now!'s raison d'être. Sissy Spacek's latest album, Ways of Confusion, features 39 supersonic/super-grotesque tracks. Duo Charlie Mumm and John Wiese wrench short chaotic maelstroms inside out, butchering vocals and further distorting grinding noises into unrecognisable forms. Ways of Confusion is extreme art made manifest: unrepentant, unrelenting, and utterly pulse-pounding.

No Class: Painted in a Corner
The “ruck ’n’ roll” debut from ex-New Zealand (now Australia-based) bovver bois No Class features a down and dirty mix of Oi! and pub rock that tips its hat to raucous, working-class heroes like Anti Nowhere League, Coloured Balls, and Rose Tattoo. Painted in a Corner’s release is tinged with sadness, due to the sudden passing of No Class’ bassist Kalem earlier this year, but the album itself showcases endless rough-and-tumble tales – including getting your ass royally kicked in a pub car park. Painted in a Corner is a rip-roaring riot. Rungas as, mate. And highly recommended.

Dark Horse: Bomb Thrower
Dark Horse's Bomb Thrower LP was released back in 2017, but the Australian band are touring my neck of the woods soon, so it's a good time for a reminder of Dark Horse's prowess. The band mix the influence of bone-crunching groups like Tragedy, Napalm Death, The Exploited, and Bolt Thrower, and Dark Horse duly delivered a heavyweight broadside of jarring punk/metal on Bomb Thrower. Hardcore, death metal, crust, d-beat, and grindcore all battled it out on the album, while every heaving track was aflame with incandescent rage.

Bulletbelt: Faster than Death/The Voyager
Bulletbelt are unstoppable. The first two 7” tracks the NZ black and thrash metal band have recorded with new singer Scott Spatcher-Harrison, and new lead guitarist Josh O'Brien, highlight their determination and their intensity. Bulletbelt tear into A-side "Faster than Death" like rabid fucking berserkers – the high-octane track smashing skull-splitting blackened thrash into subterranean punk and speed metal. Spatcher-Harrison's gutturals add more evil-than-evil menace to creeping B-side "The Voyager", fortifying Bulletbelt's dark and devilish sound. Bulletbelt are set to play at Japan's famed Asakusa Deathfest in late-October. Another coup for the hard-working DIY band.

Pvnisher: Pvnishment Demonstration
Most of the releases from NZ punk label Razored Raw have featured solid gold raw punk – and by ‘solid gold’ I mean music that's as comfortable as a rotting tooth and a urine infection. Pvnisher’s Pvnishment Demonstration is no different. The Wellington-based guitar and drum duo chunder up four lo-fi and ultra-abrasive songs on their demo, and every one of those tracks features as mountain of feedback and attitude. Expect serrated riffs, battering percussion, and a blown-out ear-fuck. Yum.

Dud: Demo
The debut demo from Auckland, NZ punks Dud features four songs that rocket past in less than four minutes. It’s not much to go on, but with members drawn from groups like Master Blaster and Shitripper, it’s no surprise to find that Dud’s demo is lean, mean and, in this case, features lo-fi(ish) punk that owes a debt to the early years of hyperspeed LA hardcore. Fast, frantic, explosive. A perfectly promising debut.

Gugonix: N​|​D​|​R 26​-​07​-​2018
Gugonix is a long-running NZ electronic/noise project helmed by Nightmare666 (aka Wellington underground music stalwart Brendon Mably). The project's N​|​D​|​R 26​-​07​-​2018 release was recorded live at one of the regular Noise Drone Repeat nights held at Wellington's heavy music institution, Valhalla. N​|​D​|​R 26​-​07​-​2018 features two long and dissonant screeds where Mably and his co-conspirators corrupt/disfigure sounds and vocals on harsh industrial noisescapes. Darkness is duly summoned, and N​|​D​|​R 26​-​07​-​2018's causticity ensures it is defiantly experimental, achingly raw, and definitely not for everyone. That's a win/win/win in extreme music terms.

Dis is Malmö
Lautstürmer/Remiso: Split
Profoss: S/T
Korsfäst: Skarpt Läge

Swedish city Malmö is like the kängpunk promised land. The city's produced countless gnashing and crashing punk bands over the years, and this year's excellent Dis is Malmö compilation features a gung-ho horde of råpunk and d-beat manglers (including top-shelf noise-makers like Ursut, Glorious?, and Crutches). If you want to sample more murderous Malmö music, try the roaring split release from Lautstürmer and Remiso. Profoss also drive deep-set hooks into their enraged onslaught on their self-titled EP. And Korsfäst's Skarpt Läge LP is a right royal brawling riot of mangel madness.

Dead Hunt: S/T
The self-titled debut from Portland punks Dead Hunt is an absolute triumph. Inspired by Japan's Burning Spirits scene, Dead Hunt mix Japanese hardcore (à la Death Side, Forward, and Tetsu Arei) with razor-edged speed metal and crust-caked metallic punk that tips its hat to English Dogs, The Exploited, and Broken Bones. It all makes for an uncompromising and intense combination, with Dead Hunt injecting incendiary (i.e. scorching) elements into thundering tracks. A truly savage success.

Starvation: Demo
The five-track demo from Canadian punks Starvation starts off with a shock wave of feedback, and then the band set to demolishing d-beaten crust and teeth-smashing hardcore. It's a very simple formula: A+ sewer rat rawness mixed with A+ gutter brutality. The result is highly recommended for fans of dirty, deafening noise. A crushing cacophony, all round.

Discommand: Hell is Here
It's funny how so many anti-war punk bands like Discommand manage to sound exactly like a relentless artillery barrage. Hell is Here is the latest album from the fired-up agitators, and it's an almighty salvo of super-charged and super-heavyweight punk. The hefty tonnage of scuzzy death metal combines with ripping crust and barked vocals to build a giant wave of jackhammering noise. Fans of War//Plague, Extinction of Mankind, and all their bruising kith and kin, will likely dig this audio assault.

Syntax: Cis Nightmare Still Continues
Syntax's Cis Nightmare Still Continues features über-corrosive noise punk with a non-binary, queer punk focus. If you're a fan of the scorched-earth sound of a band like Krömosom (or innumerable Japanese raw punks), then know that Syntax also deal in lo-fi and no-fucks-given pandemonium that exhibits a deep and abiding love of noise not music. Zero subtlety, maximum intensity. Brilliant.

Sainte Marie des Loups: S/T
Slavehouse: Taste in Pain

Fallen Empire is closing up shop later this year, and that's a goddamn tragedy considering the underground record label's history of releasing formidably creative and confrontational music. Still, Fallen Empire isn't limping off into the sunset. The label's latest releases are just as challenging.

The self-titled album from one-man misanthropic band Sainte Marie des Loups features lo-fi black metal constructed from bare-boned instrumentation, acid-rain vocals, and a mountain of inhospitable intensity. Every hissing, ice-cold melody here is caustic as Hell, and fans of raw primitivism will adore the claustrophobic climate.

Slavehouse also deal in caustically primitive black metal, but their sonic attack is bolstered by plenty of filthy punk. Slavehouse's latest release, Taste in Pain, is rancid and rancorous, and its rotting innards remind me of excellent raw punk/black metal bands like Pissblood, Utzalu, and Ritual Knife. Taste in Pain is hostile, obnoxious, and palpably putrid. The best kind of quarrelling noise.

Vägra: Last Breath
The first demo and EP from US-based (and Scandi-influenced) trio Vägra were overflowing with off-the-chain psychotic punk. The band's latest EP, Last Breath, is also fuelled by equally raw and mind-blasting noise that burns like an acid bath and is as catchy as the norovirus. Sick as the sickest D-takt gets. Recommended for fans of Framtid, 偏執症者 (Paranoid), Honnör SS, and Infernöh etc.

Negativ: Projections EP
Negativ reside in Olso, Norway, but the band's sound often harks back to ye olde UK82. Admittedly, there's also a heap of early US and Japanese hardcore thrown into the mix, and Negativ's new Projections EP is apparently constructed of "stomping drums and vocal chords lubricated with gasoline and razorblades". Those components are all fittingly furious, and the EP’s made even nastier when the band's snarling and skewering riffage kicks into top gear.

Drëg: Who is to Blame?
Massachusetts is famed for producing brawny hardcore bands, but Boston four-piece Drëg dig deeper into the råpunk mire. The band's Who is to Blame? release features throat-slit vocals that sound like they were recorded six feet under, and that's matched by galloping crust and d-beat slathered in noise-drenched grime. Fans of polluted audio mayhem should dive right in.

Battle Ruins: Glorious Dead
Battle Ruins features members from well-regarded punk group Rival Mob, as well as noted metal crew Magic Circle. Battle Ruins' 2014 self-titled album found instant success with fans of Herculean punk, and the band's latest album, Glorious Dead, showcases more heavy and hulking hardcore cut with a few sledgehammer-swinging Oi! melodies. Fans of ultra-muscular metallic riffs and gruffer-than-gruff barks will dig the hefty hardcore here.

Bad Breeding: Abandonment
Bad Breeding's last release, 2017's Divide, featured a raft of dark and mutated/mutilated hardcore. The band's new EP, Abandonment, also blends various shades of off-kilter albeit still steel-framed anarchic noise to great success. Jagged riffs and a bitterly cold tone mix with a pummelling rhythm section, spitting vocals, and a relentlessly driving sound. Abandonment is frequently bleak, but beautifully so.

Permission: Drawing Breath through a Hole in the Ground MLP
The latest whirlwind release from aesthetically adventurous UK punks Permission features more unorthodox and idiosyncratic hardcore. The band's Drawing Breath through a Hole in the Ground MLP is packed with weird shudders and odd judders, mixing sharp and skittery riffs with blistering explosions of sound. Relentless, eccentric, magic.

Dispirit: Enantiodromian Birth Demo
John Gossard's blackened doom metal project Dispirit has been releasing darkly meditative music at an aptly unhurried pace for the past eight years. Dispirit's latest demo, Enantiodromian Birth, features two long songs that are as deep as a fathomless ocean and as heavy as a heartbreaking funeral. Gossard and his bandmates continue to draw haunting splendour from the gloomiest surrounds, and the grave and twisting journey they take you on feels like a grisly horror show and a profound performance combined.

CHCH Metal Compilation
It's been argued that the city of Christchurch was the birthplace of extreme metal in New Zealand. Although, admittedly, others get their knickers in a twist about that claim. Either way, the delightfully named label Gutsprayer Records has released two Bandcamp compilations chronicling Christchurch's extreme metal history, covering the years 1992 to 2003 and 2004 to 2013. Both collections feature a host of brutal/beastly metallers, including early demon-summoners like Demise, Human, Convulsion, Eviscerate and the almighty Sinistrous Diabolus. More recent bands, like Aphelon, Odiusembowel, Blindfolded and Led to the Woods, and soul-scourers Stone Angels also feature. Both volumes offer a great (and frequently festering-as-fuck) portrait of Christchurch's visceral music history.

Bloodsoaked Necrovoid: Demo 1
The debut demo from the chthonic Costa Rican duo Bloodsoaked Necrovoid is a thick, viscous, and stench-ridden trawl through the darkest swamps of death metal. Sinister, slithering, and drenched in choking misery, every soul-crushing song here crawls forth like a tripped-out Lovecraftian nightmare. Total doom, total death. Perfectly murky. Perfectly putrescent. Highly recommended.

Dead Void: The Looming Spectre
Void Rot: Consumed by Oblivion

Also ranking high on the murky + putrid scale is Dead Void's The Looming Spectre demo, and Void Rot's Consumed by Oblivion MLP. Both bands deliver earth-shaking death and doom funeral marches that heap dread upon dread and feature slow-moving (and yet relentlessly hammering) riffs that'll drag you deep into sewers, crypts and the ugliest recess of your mind. You'll never be happier to be drowning in darkness.

Disapprove: Agony of War EP
Early Finnish hardcore is famed for its raw, unhinged intensity – something that bands like Kaaos, Rattus, and Terveet Kädet stamped on the map. Fellow Finns Disapprove follow that path with their blown-out shenanigans, but they also (obviously) lean heavily on Discharge's influence. Disapprove's Agony of War EP hurtles along at an in-your-face pace, paying due tribute to the band's hardcore heroes. Every "ugh" and guttural grunt here is surrounded by rampaging crustcore and d-beat, but when an extra brutal bombardment is required, Disapprove aren't afraid to unleash death metal's punch and pummel.

Perra Vida: S/T
Peruvian punk band Perra Vida tear it up with five raging and politically-charged tracks on their self-titled EP. Spiky hooks are woven into hard-hitting albeit still melodic hardcore, while Perra Vida's vocalist Diana takes on misogyny, sexual violence, and various social ills with a palpable sense of passion that transcends language barriers.

Lilith: Salvaje
Speaking of language barriers, I've never let my rudimentary knowledge of Spanish stop me from embracing visceral Mexican punk bands like Disterror, Muerte, Sacrificio, Ojo por Ojo, Tercer Mundo and Inservibles. Monterrey-based crew Lilith also deal in anarchic and ragged-edged Mexican hardcore on their Salvaje release. Expect dual spitting vocals and abrasive instrumentation barrelling at you at a million miles an hour. Breakneck, sawtoothed, 100% fierce fun.

Disclone: Once the Genocide Started EP
Straight outta Klagenfurt, Austria, d-beat band Disclone return with more feedback-driven Disclose-worship. The band's Once the Genocide Started EP opens with a bass-buzzing wall of distortion, and then shoves amp-melting noise punk, with hazardous levels of raw rage, right down your gullet. Fans of the Aspects Of War, Infernöh, and Zyanose school of brain-buckling noise will enjoy the unapologetic crudity right here. Dirty, demented, and fucking brilliant, tbh.

Harhaisku: II
Helsinki-based punks Harhaisku's second album, II, reminds me a lot of fellow Finns Kohti Tuhoa –– and I fucking love Kohti Tuhoa. I'd also love to tell you the name of Harhaisku's vocalist, because her vitriolic singing is a real highpoint here. But, alas, I can't find much information on Harhaisku beyond their stark Bandcamp page. Safe to say, Harhaisku will appeal if you like your hardcore delivered with velocity, venom, and a sharp angular edge. Who knows what I’m missing in the translation. But it all sounds impressive as hell to me.

Genogeist: 5 Track Demo
Genogeist includes members from thundering punk bands I've covered before on Six Noises –– like Dodladge, Vastation, and Terminal Conquest. The "PDX-based apocalyptic cyber crust" band pay tribute to Japanese metallic punk of olde – i.e. groups like like S.D.S, Effigy, and Macrofarge – which essentially means that Genogeist's five-song demo delivers super-heavy crustcore with a substantial old-school accent. Brilliant, obviously.