Ear-drilling Fun #3

Punk Rock Apr 25, 2018

AT@Do you like horrible noise? I like horrible noise. In fact, I'm always stumbling on obnoxious bands that I want to share around. That’s why I started this regular column, and while Ear-drilling Fun generally focuses on the filthiest and crustiest strains of punk rock, other subterranean audio pollution also features. Here’s Ear-drilling Fun #3… enjoy.

Various: Hairy Palm Vol. 2
Like its predecessor, Hairy Palm Vol. 2 is a compilation that collects ugly noise from New Zealand’s music underground. On this second ear-splitting volume you’re treated to a powerviolence battering from Stress Ghetto. A couple of gut-punches from always ill-tempered punks Spiteful Urinator. And more eccentric and sludgy punk/metal anti-music from Noxo. Hairy Palm Vol. 2 also features rabid and raw crust from Corpse Rat. Crashing and gnashing blackened d-beat courtesy of Sick Old Man. And even a dose of sophisticated post-hardcore from Long Distance Runner.

All of the above bands have featured on Six Noises’ pages previously, but the final track on Hairy Palm Vol. 2 is by Auckland industrial band Ave Teth, and I'd not heard of them before. Turns out, Ave Teth have recently released their own four-song debut EP, MMXVIII, and the group features members who’ve played in bands like Trepanation and Wet Nurses of Sodom –– who are both wielders of grim tidings. Mastered by Vassafor founder VK, MMXVIII is available digitally and on cassette, and the EP is a pitch-black trawl through the dungeons of nerve-scraping experimentalism.

MMXVIII is grave in tone and coarse in texture. Plus, with gravelled vocals and abrasive industrial instrumentation, the work of Ave Teth members Angus Jones, Joshua Greene, and Paul Blanchard often chills to the marrow. If the more bleak, gothic and unsettling soundscapes of Einstürzende Neubauten, Nurse With Wound, or Coil (and kin) satisfy your desires, then Ave Teth’s arcane darkness should prove equally rewarding.

Hairy Palm Vol. 2 and MMXVIII are both out now and come highly recommended, especially if genuinely unrestrained creativity floats your boat. (FYI: Ave Teth's debut come with a sharp looking poster too.)

Systemik Viølence: Anarquia-Violência
Portuguese band Systemik Viølence's raison d'être is to inject more threat into punk rock’s rabble-rousing. In the band’s eyes, punk’s all soft and gooey nowadays, and while there are obviously plenty of hard-as-nails punk bands already making intimidating noise, I'm all in favour of Systemik Viølence’s efforts to draw from the darkness and rawness of GISM and Anti Cimex to make more menacing music.

Systemik Viølence’s debut 7”, 2016’s Fuck as Punk, was an awesome blast of incensed lo-fi noise. And the band’s Satanarkist Attack LP from 2017 was angrier, more abrasive, and one of my favourite releases from last year. Systemik Viølence’s latest 7”, Anarquia-Violência, follows the same black-hearted trajectory, delivering ugly-as-sin råpunk where every amp and every ounce of attitude is dialled up to 666.

Anarquia-Violência is über-crude and über-caustic, which means it’s an absolute head-splitting riot. See also: Systemik Viølence’s Make Punk Raw Again split with Dokuga. Twice the barbarity for ya buck.

Ojo por Ojo: S/T
Hola, mis amigos. I’d be the first to admit that I don’t know enough about Mexican punk rock. In fact, I checked, and my entire collection of music made by punk bands currently residing in Mexico consists of 11 albums, which is fucking lame. Doubly so because so many Mexican punk bands create exactly the kind of lo-fi and feedback-fuelled hardcore that I adore.

Still, I do like how listening to one full-bore punk band from a far-flung land often leads to discovering another rough-edged gem. Mexico might be located 11,000km from my stereo, but cranking the red-raw hardcore of a Mexican band like Tercer Mundo brings the passion and the troubles of that nation into sharp focus. Listening to Tercer Mundo led me to discover Mexico City’s gloriously unhinged noise punks Inservibles, and when I saw that band mentioned in the same breath as Ojo por Ojo, I knew I had to listen to the latter band’s recent self-titled LP immediately.

Like a lot of primitive punk crafted in the barrios, Ojo por Ojo’s debut is driven by raw distortion and even rawer rage. The album's ferocity both evokes and challenges the crime, corruption and violence of the band's Mexico City location. All that in-your-face realism –– backed by such scorching and forthright music –– is often what separates gut-felt, genuine punk from studs and spikes play-acting. And you don’t need to speak Spanish to appreciate that the anger Ojo por Ojo express as they tear through ten crude and concussive tracks is brutally honest.

It's abundantly clear there's as much blood on Ojo por Ojo's strings as there is fire in their hearts –– so make sure to check 'em out. Authentic art and real anger matter now more than ever.

Physique: Punk Life is Shit
It’s my birthday this week, and I’m going to be… well, even older than old. There’s not a lot about getting old that fills with me with cheer, aside from not giving a fuck about anyone’s expectations or opinions anymore –– that’s proving to be pretty fun. Sometimes, to make myself feel better, I remind myself that I might be old and irrelevant but at least I’m still actively seeking out brand new music. But then I remember that most of the new music I latch onto also happens to hark back to the past. Fuck.

I guess it's a case of new is old. Or old is new. I really don’t know. But one thing I do know is that Olympia, Washington band Physique tap into the age-old rawness and intensity of bands like Disclose, Disorder and Discharge on their MLP, Punk Life is Shit.

To be clear, I’m not saying that Punk Life is Shit is simply a chunk of throwback noise. I mean, the album definitely draws from a familiar d-beaten wellspring, but Physique concentrate on delivering vicious anthems filled with gouging riffs rather than wasting their time copycatting anyone.

Sure, you’ll hear an echo of the old guard here and there, but Physique are channelling red-hot rage about what’s occurring right now more than showing any reverence or even interest in the past. Punk life might be shit for some, but there’s no question Punk Life is Shit is a rip-roaring success.

Neverending Mind War: Demo I & II
If you combine the two demos that Philadelphia band Neverending Mind War have released so far, there’s only about ten minutes of music to be enjoyed. However, that’s still plenty of time to appreciate that Neverending Mind War instinctively know how to carve out rotting trenches of noise with raw-as-fuck riffs and blown-out vocals.

Neverending Mind War features members from bands like Incisor, Mortal War and the indomitable Pollen. (Seriously, did you hear Pollen’s Fear of Another War EP from last year? Supremely CRUSHING wall-of-noise punk. Truly devastating.) All of Neverending Mind War’s songs are blistering minute-long shock waves, and the band nail the guts, the stench, and the off-the-chain viciousness of feral hardcore on every single track. Obviously, you could also argue that all of those tracks are comprised of incomprehensible vocals, appalling music, and that they sound utterly horrendous. But then, that’s why they’re so fucking great.

Both of Neverending Mind War’s demos sound like every instrument and guttural vocal therein has been pissed on, dunked in acid, and then rolled in barbed wire before being set alight. If the haemorrhaging musical vortexes of Japanese punks like Zyanose or Isterismo appeal, then rest assured that Neverending Mind War’s sadistic racket will too. It’s ultra-harsh noise for ultra-harsh times. And it’s perfectly fucking awful.

Geld: Perfect Texture
Melbourne band Geld's music has been described as “swirling psychedelic d-beat madness”, which is a pretty good summation of the band's ear-splitting and acid-spiked sound. Geld’s Perfect Texture album features corrosive vocals and abrasive guitars, and it bleeds buckets of weirdness as it mixes outright brutality with brain-frying noise.

It's not that much of a surprise that Geld's forte is sanity-mangling ferocity, because the band's tangentially linked to the similarly mind-crushing Krömosom. That said, there are more warped melodies scattered about Perfect Texture than on any Krömosom release.

Don’t get me wrong, Perfect Texture’s not overflowing with sweetened musicality. It’s a dark and schizophrenic album filled with ugly music and even uglier and more unbalanced scenes. But like plenty of bands from the Burning Spirit school of hardcore, Geld aren’t afraid to inject a sense of wild-eyed rock ’n’ roll insanity into their otherwise frenzied hardcore.

I wouldn’t call the world Geld inhabit a fun-filled bonanza, but it's still endlessly entertaining listening to the band stitch together snarling songs that project outright hostility but still manage to dangle hooks and lure you in. Perfect Texture’s a feverishly crazed nightmare. Gleeful yet grim. An A-grade head-fuck all round.

Leech: Demo 2017
I’m obsessed with Japanese punk. The kind of obsessed where you sell stacks of your own LPs for fuck all money just so you can pay ridiculously inflated prices and eye-watering shipping charges for a single 7” EP that’s actually not that great anyway –– but hey, it’s got an obi strip, right? I am a total dick.

Anyway, I normally fixate on the crust, d-beat, and bleeding-raw punk corners of the world of Nippon noise, but the 2017 demo from Funabashi-based powerviolence band Leech fell into my orbit recently thanks to the head honcho of local label Razored Raw. To be honest, I’m not that much of a powerviolence devotee. I just don’t need or even necessarily want that much in my record collection and, to my ears, a lot of powerviolence is pretty interchangeable anyway. That said, I happily added Leech to my powerviolence pile because their 2017 demo shows a heap of character.

Essentially, that character comes down to the fact that you can palpably feel the anger, enthusiasm, and down-and-dirty dynamism poured into the four songs on Leech’s demo. Sure, Leech smash the shit out of their instruments (like plenty of other bands do), and yeah, their music savagely grinds and mangles while oozing raw hardcore (and loads of other powerviolence bands do that too). But there’s something viscerally appealing about the boiling energy that Leech radiate. Something that serves as a reminder of how so many Japanese punk bands seem to find new ways to make the harshest music even harsher.

Leech’s demo might only feature four primitive tracks, but all of those songs show promise and personality. That’s a pretty killer combination, I reckon.

How’s your stomach? Have you got a little more room for some more horrible noise? I promise I won’t blather on and on like usual. Here’s four more (very) quick servings.

Fastidio: S/T
Mexican punks Fastidio deal in ragged and lo-fi d-beat, and the echoing vocals on their recent (and dark-hearted) self-titled tape sound like they’ll be re-echoing until the end of time. Fans of hissing hardcore, see within. Out via the always interesting Canadian label Runstate Tapes.

Drips: Hell Drags on
Here’s some more deliciously grating noise from Runstate Tapes. Drips’ latest release, Hell Drags on, is also the Montreal band’s final release, and the six dirty and deformed songs therein highlight Drips’ “fast–raw–loud” technique perfectly. If you’re a fan of warped punk, I HIGHLY recommend you check out Drips’ 2015 demo below as well. To be honest, that demented demo blows my mind to this day.

Narcoleptics: 2018 EP
The latest 7” from New York kängpunk band Narcoleptics is likely to be their last, and that’s a damn shame considering the band’s releases were proving to be incrementally harsher and heavier. Narcoleptics’ third 7” delivers brute-force and red-raw hardcore packed with fury and venom. Fuck fading out; Narcoleptics are exiting the building with all guns blazing.

Unease: Society's Possessed
Society's Possessed is the debut demo from UK hardcore crew Unease –– recorded before they’d even stepped onto a stage. There’s no lack of chemistry or experience showing here though, and Society's Possessed’s six songs mix brooding hardcore that’s been rendered down to pure muscle with other mammoth metallic elements. Massive, heavy… pulverizing.

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