One of the coolest 2000s bands that saw universal praise and adoration was Tear It Up. In the punk realm, just about every band says they're pissed off / angry. Very rarely do those emotions transcend into a certain stratosphere on record. Negative Approach did it. Cold Sweat did it. Tear It Up absolutely did it. This is almost their entire discography and I can not recommend it enough.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
There's a merry-go-round of trends. Recently there's been a lot of people asking about good death metal and a lot of people trying to field that question. Any list of essential death metal NEEDS Nihilist on it. The Nihilist output (IMO) is better than anything Entombed did and virtually everything else that came out of Sweden. If you're serious about death metal, you need Nihilist.
Speaking of essential death metal, we arrive at this modern classic. Death Breath is from Sweden, it has guys from Entombed, it bears a huge d-beat influence. It's incredible. Literally the only complaint about Death Breath is that they don't have more releases. This is their EP and LP. Their EP has GBH, Bathory, and Discharge covers on it. If that isn't an indicator of the band's pedigree, I don't know what would be.
This is what you need to know about hardcore in the USA in the 2000s. Three labels held it down harder than all others: Youngblood, Lockin Out, and Painkiller. Youngblood is the unsung hero of the trio. Lest we forget that Youngblood has held it down harder for Texas than anyone while boasting one of the most solid rosters in hardcore. One of Youngblood's more well known bands and one of the best / coolest bands from the Bay during this era was Lights Out. Band played fast, bouncy hardcore. I hate to use this term but the band definitely carried that "get low" sound that got attached to many of Lockin Out's bands of the day. This is both of their albums.
A LOT of bands from the NYHC scene get love. I mean all of em, if you wrote a scratch demo in a bathroom in 1988 NYC you probably have a cult following. One band that should merit a stronger following is Supertouch. They were easily the most interesting of that wave of NYHC. I remember the first time I took ecstasy I somehow started listening to The Earth Is Flat at like 2 AM. I called all of my friends to tell them I had arrived at the greatest NYHC album of all time. Their response was "are you on drugs?" I said yes and they promptly hung up. While TEIF is not the greatest NYHC album of all time, it is definitely one of the genre's most ambitious. I can not recommend Supertouch enough to people. I think it is very telling that one of the bands Supertouch most influenced was Mental who are beloved by all. This is Supertouch's entire discography.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
It is interesting how somehow Ildjarn is underrated by so many, especially by purported black metal fans. Perhaps more remarkable than Ildjarn's own catalog is the influence they've had contemporary projects. The most famous Ildjarn influenced band (and if you want to be critical, Ildjarn ripoff) is Bone Awl. As Bone Awl has been adored by many as the hegemon of the raw black metal scene, there are other bands that have done the style with more justice. One such project is Strongblood who may or may not be from Texas. Band only did three demos and on each one you can hear them trying different things. The goal of Strongblood was clearly innovation and less imitation. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.
Do you wanna know what the most pretentious subgroup of music fans is? There is a group of metal fans who won't listen to Slayer after 1985. Say that out loud. Their claim is "Slayer died at Dynamo." Dynamo is a famous venue in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The first time I heard the aforementioned claim I was confused so I sought out the Dynamo set. It is a ripper. It features only songs from Hell Awaits, Show No Mercy, and Haunting The Chapel. In any case, people who believe that "Slayer died at Dynamo" are retarded but their claim does shine a spotlight on Slayer's early catalog. Considering that many people focus their adoration for Slayer on Reign In Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons In The Abyss, perhaps it is a silver lining that there are people out there saying this to remind us about the greatness of Slayer's early work.
Not too long ago, someone asked me who the hardest band of the early 00s was. I thought about it and said No Warning. I was told that was the wrong answer and instead was offered the answer of Stop & Think. The reasoning was straight forward enough: the lyrics were imposing and confrontational from a group of virtual outsiders in what was at the time one of the most inclusive hardcore scenes: Boston, USA. The band was straight edge but made no bones about their contempt of... well, everybody. Stop & Think is the bridge for the change in Boston hardcore. By the time they were done Boston was experiencing a renaissance. Eroding was the Blood For Blood, Boston Beatdown image and by 2003 you saw the rise of the "Nu Scene", Lockin Out, and Painkiller. Stop & Think's comp LP was done by Painkiller and Lockin Out. A shining testament to their pedigree. They nailed the Outburst sound (and at times, maybe better). Included are both their demos and a live set on WWPI.
This one is for a lot of the youngins who fuck with modern hardcore. Before Europe became Dwid's hideout and before Chubby Fresh was wanted dead or alive in most of the USA, Integrity's home away from home was Connecticut. Hatebreed did a split with them. Most of the late 90s / early 00s bands from CT wore their Integrity influences on their sleeves. We ended up with a crop of bands like Fear Tomorrow, Palehorse, Living Hell and Dead Wrong. Fun fact: Living Hell was simply the singer of Fear Tomorrow + the instrument players of Dead Wrong. Dead Wrong was fronted by Ivan of Black N Blue fame (he also featured for the band Unforgiven). If you are a fan of Integrity or slower, metallic 90s HC Dead Wrong is for you. Included is Dead Wrong's Hellbomb EP and their split with The Banner.
Tony Erba might be the most underrated frontman in hardcore history. That's not hyperbole. He doesn't have a bad band on his CV (which spans 7 bands; JJ doesn't even have 2 good bands on his resume). Featured here are The H-100s which has Tony's brother Chris (of Avon Ladies / Upstab / Ruiners), Clevo legend Wedge (a bit of Tony's partner in crime, they've also been in Gordon Solie Motherfuckers and 9 Shock Terror together), and Chard (RIP). The H-100s played USHC in 90s Clevo. Included are all three EPs and the H-100s live album. The H-100s live album is the best live album ever. Erba's banter is next fucking level.
It seems like most every Burning Spirits band is a supergroup of sorts. Judgement is unique for a particular reason: their membership was a revolving door. They went through four vocalists over 5 EPs. Members also featured for Bastard (Zigyaku being Judgement's de facto talisman), Lip Cream, Cruck, Death Side and Gudon. Harder to describe because of so much variance in personnel over the years. That being said, they are one of the best Burning Spirits bands featuring arguably the 2nd (or 3rd, depending on your preference) best Burning Spirits guitarist in Zigyaku.
Drop Out featuring Wade (vocals) & Jared (drums) (of Iron Age), Nick Merry (Hold X Fast, Coptic Times), Steve Bottleneck (OG Iron Age). Catchy, obnoxious, and abrasive punk. Included is their demo and their LP "Sex Appeal" which was pressed only one time by Parts Unknown Records (/100) and made available at Chaos In Tejas 2007 for Drop Out's reunion show.
I'm posting this one as a just in case. If you're initiated then no worry. If you are a youngin and haven't heard this... GET THIS NOW. The Dicks are one of the most important TXHC bands ever. Hate The Police is essential listening, period. Also included is Kill From The Heart. Listen to it. Learn it. Know it.
The Merauder Demos. First is with Minus & second is with Eddie Sutton (Leeway). Two of the best 90s NYHC releases. RIP SOB
The entire Insect Warfare discography. This band needs no introduction but I'll do one anyway. Few modern bands merit the title of "genius" but Insect Warfare earned it in spades. Band wore their influences on their sleeve (early Earache, 80s UK grindcore, etc). They openly badmouthed their label Earache for putting out bad releases but admitted they did their LP with them so they could say they were on the same catalog as their heroes. Band also had Daniel Shaw doing their art and it enhanced the band's abrasive sound with equally abrasive visuals.
Viper, a WMass project featuring people from SQRM. They only did this release on Skeleton Records. They played a few shows (two of which were at Chaos In Tejas 2010; 1 was the Nu Scene Shuffle show and the other was opening the Inquisition @ Emos Inside) before breaking up. Great punk with a lot of black metal influence. Heard rumors of an LP that was scrapped because of the break-up.
Repercussions was Shaun Dean's band between Cold Sweat & Men's Interest: Much like Shaun's other projects his presence helped to create an imposing and menacing sound. They were based outta Austin and did USHC far better than many of their contemporaries. Included in the link is their 11 Songs LP and their No Peace EP. Enjoy.
This blog uploads some of the finest in hardcore, punk, metal, alt rock, rap, shoegaze, and just about anything else that we think is essential. Along with the uploads, the blog will feature essays about each respective band's importance. Every band has a story. Every band came from somewhere. Every band has a place. It is not enough to simply understand why they sound good, but how they arrived at sounding as good as they did / do. The bands posted here are important. If you don't have them, you should.
Get with it or the get the fuck away from it.
- Justified Arrogance Management