Noise rock. Noise punk. Pigfuck. Whatever you may call it, this scabrous sub-genre of punk and metal is back and stronger than ever. In fact, it has been for the past few years. Whether it be classic bands like The Jesus Lizard coming back and doing some killer reunion or newer bands like Whores. and Child Bite giving their modern take on the genre, it seems to be stronger than ever, festering in the underground and sometimes popping up in more mainstream places.
So, considering this is a genre worthy of coverage, and the fact I wrote another one of these lists a few years back, it’s time for me to recap what I consider as the best noise rock releases of the past year. As always, this is just one person’s opinion, so if you think you can do better, go right ahead.
1. Child Bite – Blow Off the Omens (Housecore)
We’ll start the list with a band mentioned in the intro. Child Bite once again delivered another killer dose of noise rock on their new album. A band known for constantly tweaking once again tweaked their sound and came up with another winner.
Jettisoning some of the spazzier elements of their last album, Negative Noise, and streamlining their songwriting quite a bit, the band delivered a punchy, pissed-off and catchy collection of songs that were captured perfectly by esteemed “engineer” Steve Albini, hence why it’s on this list. Buy the digital album here.
When Cherubs returned after a 20-year absence with a new album (2 Ynfynyty) back in 2014, nobody knew what to expect. Having broke up in the wake of the release of their classic 1994 release Heroin Man, people were not too sure what to make of it.
Fortunately, 2 Ynfynyty, was a killer return to form from a band many didn’t think got their due the first time around. Their new album, Immaculada High, released earlier this year on Relapse, bests that one by being grimier, noisier, yet somehow more catchy and rocking. It’s like the band keeps moving from strength to strength on this one. Definitely call this a comeback, and a strong one at that. Buy the digital album here.
Aneurysm‘s debut album splits the difference between grungy punk and lurching noise rock. This newer band out of Boston hit this one right out of the park, making them worthy of a spot on this list. Awareness marks the arrival of a major new talent in not just noise rock, but loud rock in general. Here’s hoping we hear more from them in the near future. Buy the digital album here.
4. Cunts –S/T (Ipecac)
This band might rankle some people with their name, but in fairness, they’re probably calling themselves a bunch of “cunts” more than anybody else. Once you get past that, you’ll realize that this is basically a noise rock/noisecore supergroup made up of members of Retox, Dead Cross, Qui, Hepa.Titus, and Planet B.
Unlike most supergroups, this band delivers the goods on their debut album, channeling the violent, messed-up spirit of bands like the Cows and The Jesus Lizard. This one came out a little later, so some people might have missed it. Definitely don’t sleep on this one. Buy the digital album here.
5. Oozing Wound – High Anxiety (Thrill Jockey)
Oozing Wound wrongfully get labeled as a thrash band, when in reality they’re a noise rock band that play really fast at times, adding a little metal to their sound. On their fourth album, the band mixes up speeds and tempos with style and panache while always keeping it prickly. High Anxiety takes aim at the shitty state of the modern world, delivering relentless screeds from the gutter. This is one bruiser of an album. Buy the digital album here.
6. Multicult –Simultaneity Now (Learning Curve)
Multicult are a band that sometimes get overlooked in the noise rock scene, but that’s through no fault of their own. They’ve been releasing quality and challenging noise rock records for quite a while, and their newest one, their fifth overall, is one of their best. The trio deals in precise, machinelike grooves and discordant, skronky guitar that owes just as a much to Wire as it does to Big Black or other noise rock bands. This is some challenging, thrilling music. Buy the digital album here.
It may have taken this band seven years to follow up their excellent Fixator album, but they come back stronger than ever with a record that manages to be more aggressive, melodic, and catchy all that the same time. This time, the band adds some gothy post punk to their attack, broadening and sweetening their sound even more. This is one burner of a record that hopefully doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Track it down. Buy the digital album here.
Once again, this Minneapolis trio delivers another ripping dose of noise rock. The songs on Negative Sound are aggressive and angular, delivering everything you could possibly want in an album of this kind. It’s every bit the equal of excellent 2017 album You Are Not One Of Us and once again proves that their hometown is a breeding ground for this kind of noisy invective. Get with it. Buy the digital album here.