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Posts Tagged ‘hardcore

Northern hemisphere: Winter is not over yet!

Southern hemisphere: Winter is coming!

People living around the equator: lucky bastards!

Here´s new fuel to fan the flames of your winter depression, Breach from Luleå,  high up in Northern Sweden where winters are long and dark. Gripping ultra intense bass driven heavy noise, somewhere between New School Hardcore, Doom and Noise Rock. Or in other words: Neurosis, Shellac, Unsane, Entombed, Voivoid and whatever now comes to your mind. This band has a great deal of talent and on their second full length “it´s me god” from 1997 they give you the proof for that. Breach create a very dark and brooding mood, a tone-painting of frustration, glimpses of hope, but mostly just darkness. But there is beauty in this darkness…

Replenish the empty.

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In March 2008 I wrote:

C.AARME plays punk as it’s supposed to be: fast, loud and dirty, really dirty. These guys, hailing from Gothenburg/Sweden, bring back the violence and intensity of the earliest punk acts. Bass-heavy slam dance attacks, no punkrock wannabees and and pop-punk grommets. You better grab your skateboard and old Black Flag shirt, put C.Aarmé on your mp3-player and start to destroy, skate and destroy, you can be sure that swedish machine will never slow down.

Slam Dance!

Well, it is possible to write a lot about No Means No from Vancouver, Canada, but I will keep it short: One of the most interesting bands from the Punk sector.

But is it still punk? With a drummer talking about playing drums like Art Blakey and a funk-rythm inspired bass to accompany the monster-breaks? Call it avantgarde or just a band which has listeners who normally don´t give a fuck about Punk (I can´t believe they exist).

“The Worldhood of the World” – their 9th release from 1995 – is one of their best releases which and brought back the fun, after some weaker records. A exuberant tour de force through the different NMN´s styles.

Wikipedia labels NMN as a progressive punk rock band and also says:

NoMeansNo’s output features a seemingly endless flow of “Wright/wrong/right” puns, and significant measures of black humour.

I think they would like also like progressive punk rock very much. Mr. Right and Mr.Wrong, the Wright Brothers are also loved by David Grohl. Who lately recorded boring rock farts, no no no, not everybody can be a genius, cause no means no.

Wiggley, wiggley, wiggley, wiggley, wiggley wiggley, wiggley, viggley, wiggley worm.

Dear zmicer,

it took a very long time, but here it is, I reuploaded the Engrave record for you and all the other readers of my blog who are interested or just missed this record so far.

That´s what I wrote about it almost 2 years ago:

Engrave were chaos-core pioneers in Germany, mixing the brutal and chaotic energy of US-bands like Orchid, Botch and Converge with the more emotional influences of famous german mid-90s screamo bands like Loxiran, later followed up by worldwide succesfull acts like Yage. The music is so intense, it will grab you at your neck and shake you maniacly, with only a few chances to breathe. So participate and steal from death some intense, melancholic, desperated moments of life. After some split releases with the finest band out of Europe, Yage (Germany), Standstill (Spain), To die for (Italy) – this is their first full length and last release as well. With this record from 2003, Engrave prove their songwriting skills and present their best and most varied compositions to date, combining frantic spursts of noise and fucked up rythms with melodic and quiet elements.

Everything pictures black.

botch_ananthologyofdeadends

After nine years and two albums, Seattle noisecore pioneers Botch decided to quit in 2002, leaving us with this EP as a parting gift. And it is a fine gift. Although only just over 22 minutes long, “an anthology of dead ends” is full of the angular song structures, unexpected tempo changes, and just plain noise, that made them probably the most consistently exiting band of their type. Botch combines the technicality of metal and the raw ferocity of punk with complex time structures, similar stylistically to bands like Coalesce and Converge. Evil Math Rock! The devastating combination of noise, indie rock guitar, rhythmic density, and scathing vocals is about as subtle as hitting your face with a sledgehammer.

Their final EP topped up everything they stood for in 21 minutes. It showed their abilites to create, minmalistcally (‘Spaim’), how to create noise within acceptable pop boundaries (‘Japam’), create haunting ballands (‘Afghamistam’) and how to top it all off with one huge agressive jam session (‘Micaragua’). And I promise, you can listen thirty times to this record and still will be able to pick up new details.

A special album by a special band who changed the music scene like Refused, At the Drive-In and similar bands, wether you understand it or not is totally up to you.

manliftingbanner

Welcome to the world of male homosociality, step into early hardcore. For most of today hardcore music I just have contempt, but I´m not one of that old guys who whines about the good old times. In fact I´m too young to take actively part in the days of early hardcore, my youth fell into the 90s. And I also don´t want to glorify the past; though guy shit, machismo, homophobia were always a problem in some parts of hardcore, from the beginning until today. But for my ears the early hardcore records keep until today their fresh breath, you still can feel the anger, the hope for something new, for something better, the enthusiasm and the fucking fun. Todays hardcore is so serious and narcissistic,  either they play metal or try to copy the old sounds. Well, here is the Antidote, the three greatest records of early hardcore, the energy gets my heart going even decades after its release…. of course just my personal view, if you don´t agree leave a comment or present your own selection, I´m eagerly interested.

damaged

Black Flag were formed 1977 in California from the mastermind behind the band: Greg Ginn. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands. Black Flag forged a unique sound early on that mixed the raw simplicity of the Ramones with atonal and microtonal guitar solos and frequent tempo shifts. The band was also known for the intense and evocative lyrics found in their songs, most of which were penned by Ginn. Like other punk bands of this era, Black Flag gave voice to an anti-authoritarian, non-conformist message, featuring songs punctuated with descriptions of isolation, neurosis, poverty, and paranoia, themes that would be explored further when Henry Rollins joined the group as lead singer in 1981 and in my eyes the golden age of Black Flag evolved. Most of the band’s material was released on Ginn’s independent label, SST Records. You may have a look at your record collection who many milestones were released by this label. They are even often regarded as pioneers in the movement of underground do-it-yourself record labels that flourished among the 1980s punk rock bands. The 1981 released “Damaged” was the first full-length from the band, mainly with songs from the pre-Rollins era, but with the only 20 year old guy on the mic. Songs like “rise above”, “TV party”, “six pack” or “gimmie gimmie gimmie” have their secured place even in nowadays hardcore pantheon.

“Try to stop us, it´s no use!”

black-flag-bill-daniel

minor-threat

Don´t call yourself hardcore or even punk if you don´t know Minor Threat. This iconic band from Washington DC existed only three short years, from 1980 to 1983, but their groundbreaking sound influenced uncountable bands. The song “straight edge” is the basis of a youth culture until today, although Ian MacKaye – who wrote the lyrics – don´t want to be connected with that phenomenon. Minor Threat released only four EPs, all released on (Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson´s) Dischord Records, down to the present day an important indie-label. All band members played in famous bands after the split up, which resulted from disagreement over the musical direction. To name just a few bands with Ex-Minor Threat participation: Fugazi, Embrace, Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty, Government Issue. Because all EPs from Minor Threat are awesome, I present the whole discography.

Out of step with the world!

minorthreatgroup

front

From the Westcoast over Washington DC to the Eastcoast, but New York still isn´t on the map: Boston Hardcore. SS Decontrol (Society System Decontrol) started performing at smaller venues throughout the greater Boston metropolitan area in the summer of 1981. The band quickly gained notoriety within the local music scene for intense, charged performances and the provocative antics of their core group of followers, the Boston Crew. They released their debut LP “The Kids Will Have Their Say” on their own X-Claim label in 1982. By the way, X-Claim was never a “classic” record label (contrary to Dischord and SST), more a sort of a name and logo, which was used by a group of people in the Boston  Area to release records. In 1983 they added second guitarist Francois Levesque, who brought a more wild and savage guitar playing into the songs,  and released the EP “Get It Away”.  The opener “glue” is one of the most covered hardcore songs and nobody can scream like the vocalist in it. The last song is a cover of the Buzzcocks and though SS Decontrol covered an “old” punk band, they were later one of the first bands which was rooted in the hardcore sound but exhibited overt heavy metal characteristics, such as a relatively high number of lengthy guitar solos. This progress started 1984 with the follow up release to “get it away” for which they shortened their band name to SSD. At the same time at the westcoast Black Flag got under the influence of Henry Rollins (whose first release with his former band State of Alert was released on Dischord Records, Ian MacKaye (from Minor Threat/Dischord) again was a good friend of SS Decontrol) more and more into metal, but not with fast metal-influenced guitars and soli like SSD, Black Flag played longer, slower, and more complex songs, mixing in influences such as Black Sabbath with hardcore.

SSD broke up in 1985.  “Gotta stick together, gotta stick together!”

ssd2

PS: the first photo was shot in Dortmund/Germany in 1999, Man Lifting Banner (a legendary dutch hardcore band, maybe I will tell their story once) played their  farewell gig (they actual reunited only for a few shows, first splitted up in 1994).

yakuza

You won´t get the chance for too many metal bands at urbanology, so don´t chuck away this chance 🙂 … have a try

I only remember one other metal record at this blog (beside some metal-influenced hardcore bands), Sepultura´s milestone  “roots”. And I like to listen to well done metal from time to time, but only a very few records are worth a posting. Similar to samsara (to millions of followers of Hindu and Buddhism, the term samsara is the endless cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth, something which only the truly enlightened can ultimately transcend) metal music has always had a cyclical quality, as many bands have been inspired by the seminal albums of the genre, but few have actually managed to achieve that musical awakening, that one epiphanical piece of work that not only stands out above the music of their peers, but also shakes the sound right down to its foundations. Instead, most just keep perpetuating the metal clichés. But in the last decade at the edges of metal a new breed is on the jump, listen for example to the instrumental beauty of Pelican or the epic and dark stories from Cult of Luna (from Umeå). Of course there were bands like Neurosis or Tool before.

When you look at the fine gatefold cover and read that there is a band member that plays saxophone and clarinet, you know it’s not going to be the usual metal album. Nothing like any metal you’ve heard for quite a bit, Yakuza is a breathe of fresh air to the waves of today’s metal. The band delves into world music with the enthusiasm of a four year-old running through a music store for the first time, banging this, strumming that. But Yakuza’s crucial point is their inclusion of saxophone and clarinet. Blending electric and organic instrumentation is never easy for such extreme-leaning bands, but as Yakuza proved on their bold, eye-opening “Way of the Dead” (2002), which prompted skeptics to wonder just how they’re going to market music like this, the band does have the ability to appeal to spin-kicking youngsters, post rock hipsters, and jazz lovin’ oldsters alike, if only they can maintain an adequate balance of the aggressive, the experimental, and the melodic throughout the course of an entire album.

Some parts of “Samsara” are definitely stronger than others. The record (with a splendid production by Matt Bayles (Isis, Pearl Jam)) would have been an perfect album had the focus been more on the maniacal side of the band’s sound instead of the mechanical, but it is still an inspired, diverse, invigorating piece of work that will leave listeners wondering just what this highly talented band is capable of accomplishing next. Well, put on the headphones, clear your calendar of distractions, indulge in the mind-enhancing substance of your choice, and let the whole freaky thing slither into your brain from beginning to end.

Back to the mountain.


always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

normally I try to post new stuff once a week, quality not quantity, so the front page shows you the posts of the last month, but there is a lot more to discover, just click your way thru the older entries.

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