Tijuana neocrust and post-hardcore band Habak released their latest LP Ningún Muro Consiguió Jamás Contener la Primavera in October of 2020. Citing bands like Spain’s Madame Germen and Japan’s Envy as influences, Habak takes pains to draw out the softer more accommodating side of crust, contrasting it, at least aesthetically, against the riotous expressions of immiserated anger that dominates the playlists of squats the world over.
Long, meditative tracks (and even longer, thoughtful titles) are typically favored by post-metal bands, but when adopted by crust punks, it opens up a space for the return of a kind of asceticism that is as old as recorded history itself. The rambling poet and philosopher is an archetypal character in the Western canon. A persona who rejects the corruptions and comforts of society in order to travel through the hidden places of the world, reading, listening, and dispensing wisdom to those who will listen. The cranked-up hostility of crust punk’s aesthetics can sometimes obscure the fact that at its core, it is one of the modern manifestations of the vagrant philosopher within our society. By slowing down the tempos, spacing out the chords, and allowing grooves to linger and degrade within their natural half-life, Habak reasserts the essential humanist tendencies that lie at the core of punk and metal and their critics of contemporary society.
While rage is a natural human emotion, and a highly motivating response to the indignities that are perpetrated against us by the systems that we endure, it can not be the sole response to the lash of insults that we brave each day. Anger is only power if you know how to use it, and Habak is a band that does. The methodical twist and reflexive unspoiling of tension on “La no violencia es un privilegio (Nonviolence is a privilege)” reflects on the uncertainty and simmering terror that women sometimes feel in public places. The chattering roar, resonate ripple of “Encierro a cielo abierto ( Open-air confinement)” expresses a wounded lamentation over the way that information technologies have been implemented to monitor and control the population instead of liberating them. And “No aceptaremos con pasividad el exterminio al que nos han condenado (We will not passively accept the extermination to which we have been condemned)” ruminates on the inequality of Mexican society while containing seething tremors of disaffection within a cleansing roil of bristling and anointed tremolos, which are eventually flushed through a half-time d-beat rush into a churning pool housed in a reflective chamber within the songs later half.
If everything I’ve written above sounds like it could be a soothing salve for the injuries inflicted upon your soul, then you can stream the entirety of Ningún Muro Consiguió Jamás Contener la Primavera via Bandcamp below: