The Shortlist: EPs, Splits, Reissues, and More! (Issue 42)


Atomicide: Furious and Untamed: Iron Bonehead

Atomicide’s second full-length, Chaos Abomination, was a treacherous ode to villainy and Armageddon, but it has been three years since we heard the Chilean band’s version of blackened death metal. Iron Bonehead is focusing on EPs this summer, and Atomicide bless their followers with two new blazing tracks on Furious and Untamed. Thick, battering riffs pound and punish fans with a sound mixed of peers like Sarcófago and others like Marduk, Abominator, and Urgehal. Released on June 22 and limited to 300 copies on black vinyl. –Hutch

Counterparts: Private Room: Pure Noise Records

From the working-class landscape of Hamilton, Ontario, Counterparts have been flooding angsty fans with metallic hardcore in continuous waves. Since 2010, the band have released five full-lengths and a few EPs on Victory Records and Pure Noise. Heavy riffs balanced with angular guitars, Counterparts write songs that can engage an arena with bursting anthemic swells just as well as As I Lay Dying or Killswitch Engage. But Counterparts do not shy from blast beats, and clean singing is eschewed for a venomous, caustic vocal delivery.

On Private Room, Counterparts return with three two-minute tracks. Their strength is cutting any frills and crafting pithy tracks that do not shy from leads or solos but still trim the fat. In the metalcore and deathcore genres, it often seems people form bands to showcase themselves and be worshipped on the stage. Counterparts have a genuine feel and stay pissed without the pretty parts.

Available Sept. 7, with 500 Pure Noise webstore exclusives on mustard (A-side) and red (B-side) or 300 tour-exclusives on half red, half baby pink. –Hutch

Face To Face: Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions): Fat Wreck Chords

To enhance the experience for fans who paid for a VIP ticket to their Econo Live tour, Face To Face put some classics of theirs into an acoustic form. Then, frontman Trevor Keith decided to take a day to record a few. Realizing what he and his band had here, they discarded the original tracks, added a few more to the roster, and recorded a second time to make Hold Fast a fully realized adventure. Musicians such as pedal steel player Gary Brandin and Dirty Heads percussionist Jon Olazabal were also invited, and the compositions were transformed. Face To Face will now be touring in the fall with Frank Turner and Lucero to perform these songs in small-room venues. The 10 tracks—released July 27—are a stunning portrait of the various forms in which punk can manifest. –Hutch

Fixation: Marked: WAR Records

One of the most exciting bands to punch hardcore in the gut are Philly’s Fixation, who released their debut eight-track EP, Marked, on WAR Records. WAR is Strife guitarist and Berthold City vocalist Andrew Kline’s label, which has released records by Miracle Drug, Reality Slap, and more. Marked is bold, ugly straight edge hardcore. Think Boston Strangler, The Rival Mob, No Tolerance, Violent Reaction, Unjust, and other NWOBHC.

Discontent with simple lyrics full of banal tropes, Fixation heighten the hardcore threat with some angrier, unique words. The music slams and rages repeatedly throughout the eight minutes of straight edge vengeance. Breakdowns, two steps, and fast blasts all rotate in the spotlight. A punk foundation still thrives and lends a catchy feel as captured by Wyatt Oberholtzer, who has worked with Jesus Piece, Year Of The Knife, and more. His production is crisp but beefy, while the vocals are growled in old-school glory.

Available Aug. 10: 100 on translucent pink, 500 on fluorescent green, plus a fluorescent green version with a hand-stamped center label and a hand-numbered cover featuring alternative artwork, limited to 100. –Hutch

Invocation: The Mastery of the Unseen: Iron Bonehead

Following Atomicide, here’s another two-track 7” of Chilean blackened death thrash coming out on Iron Bonehead, this time on Sept. 17. Here we have Invocation slinging some ominous metal on “Ouija (Mystifying Oracle)” and “The Spirit Trumpet.” Blasphemous tirades blare and besiege speakers on this 10-minute release. Invocation are similar to Atomicide but more restrained, and the recording on The Mastery of the Unseen is more cavernous and gloomier. Invocation focus on blinding speed and the vocals are mixed low, giving a haunting vibe. The repetitive, staccato guitars poke as the music charges forward. –Hutch

Modern Life Is War: Tribulation Worksongs Vol. 1: Deathwish Inc.

Excited to be on the road with Cro-Mags and Culture Abuse, and then Gorilla Biscuits, Modern Life Is War are back and spewing vicious venom into the current discourse with two tracks, “Feels Like End Times” backed with “Lonesome Valley Ammunitions.” Poised to test their audience and any naysayers, the band’s political agenda is ripe for discussion. Modern Life Is War shined from 2003 to 2008 alongside peers like Have Heart, Verse, American Nightmare, and The Suicide File, then parted ways before reuniting in 2012.

The pessimism and discontent simmer here through two tough but emotionally-charged hardcore punk anthems. Tribulation Worksongs will be a series of EP releases—hence the Vol. 1. These two songs were recorded by Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios and mixed by Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studio. The craftsmanship is embodied by the materials and process here. Deathwish informed, “Aiming to be as hand-built as possible, the lyrics [and] credits of each song were typed by vocalist [and] lyricist Jeff Eaton on his 1950s Royal ‘Quiet De Luxe’ typewriter. These were later hand-stamped on the front and back covers by artist Jacob Bannon, making each cover totally unique. The labels of the vinyl were also hand-stamped before final assembly by the people at Deathwish.”

Limited-edition first pressing includes four colors: white, clear, transparent red, and black. Released June 9. –Hutch

The Secret: Lux Tenebris: Southern Lord

Six years have passed since Italy’s heathen sons have provided a soundtrack of their blasphemous fury. Originally releasing albums for metallic hardcore giant Goodfellow Records in 2004 with Luce and 2008 with Disintoxication, The Secret then left giant footprints on Southern Lord’s roster with Solve et Coagula in 2010 and Agnus Dei in 2012. Blending apocalyptic crust punk and d-beat with treacherous black metal, The Secret’s ferocity has been elevated on Lux Tenebris. While, before, the punk aesthetic guided production, The Secret now conjure multidimensional, grand vision in their music. Solid black metal production—and adding doom metal elements—added to the band’s more complex writing, weaving dynamic layers of atmosphere and rage and rendering listeners awestruck.

The Secret get the treatment with these three new tracks spanning 20 minutes. Recorded by Steve Scanu, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and completed with a cover illustration and layout by View From The Coffin, this release will be part of Southern Lord’s eight-album limited-edition 20th anniversary silver vinyl subscription series, available on Aug. 31. Also available now as a 12” EP on one-sided black vinyl with a silkscreened B-side. –Hutch


Cliterati / Violation Wound: Split 12”: Tankcrimes

Prepare for a violent engagement here. Two ripping bands have teamed up to combat ignorance and political insanity with 10 sonic assaults. Portland’s Cliterati and Oakland’s Violation Wound split this 12” with confrontational punk, metal, doomy d-beat tracks. The master of the dirty, raucous Oakland sound, Greg Wilkinson recorded both bands at his Earhammer Studios. The music was then mastered at Mammoth Sound by Dan Randall—who has worked with Ghoul and Fucked Up—and the split features cover art by Violation Wound vocalist and guitarist Chris Reifert.

Cliterati harvest rage and unrelenting spite with tracks like “Water Is Life,” “War On the Poor,” and “Alt-Wrong.” Violation Wound serve equally abrasive music with tracks like “Worthless Figurehead” and “The Church of Go Fuck Yourself.” Cliterati dropped a demo and three EPs over the previous two years to much acclaim and are seasoned by former members of Poison Idea, Vöetsek, and Murderess. Their version of UK82 adoration via Oaktown grime plays as gnarly as one expects.

Violation Wound provide odious tones in which to revel, featuring Autopsy leader Reifert. Formed in June of 2013, Violation Wound have Reifert’s trio embed crusty powerviolence and hardcore punk, described as a blend of Toxic Narcotic, Zeke, and Fear. The savagery is palpable, and Reifert’s throat beckons the overthrow and leaves needles yearning for a respite. The colors and flavors available July 27 include 150 on splatter and 350 on beer. This one is a winner. –Hutch

Dwarves / Against The Grain: Split Hits the Fans Part 4: Failure Records & Tapes

Nasty punk legends Dwarves still mangle chords and pump out their brand of naughty rock ’n’ roll. Here, Failure Records & Tapes partners Dwarves up with Detroit’s Against The Grain. Both sides of this 7” offer two tracks of high-octane rock ’n’ roll spiked with bold and brash punk rock that embraces Motörhead, Poison Idea, Zeke, and the like. Killer jams with screeching guitars, fast rhythms, and disregard for polite society. Artwork by Clayton Jarvis of Abom Design highlights this release with vivid, sleazy images. Limited to 500 pressed in random colors—including this sky blue with black swirl in my hand—and released June 16. –Hutch

Integrity / Krieg: Split 12”: Relapse Records

Contaminating souls for his third decade, Dwid has seen himself and his band, Integrity, change a number of times. Their 2017 full-length, Howling, For the Nightmare Shall Consume, showed a revamped and reinvigorated collection of musicians, led by A389 Records owner, guitarist Domenic Romeo, also of Pulling Teeth, Slumlords, and Day Of Mourning. Integrity continue with four additional tracks in the same vein on this 12” split with Philly’s Krieg, including “Flames of the Immortal” and “Sons of Satan (Return of the Sorcerer).” The tracks are short scorchers of searing holy terror. Dwid’s commanding howls illustrate why he is the master of metallic hardcore demonic incantations.

In a wonderfully surprising pairing, Neill Jameson’s Krieg bring forth their black metal odes of isolation and despair. Krieg’s three five-minute tracks—including “Circle of Guilt” and “This Time I’ll Leave You To Drown”—aurally infect with blistering scabs and audio infestations. This is the band’s first material since 2014’s amazing Transient.

Available on Aug. 3: 1400 on black; 300 on white and black merge with baby blue, electric blue, and blood red splatter; 200 on milky clear with white, black, and blue splatter; 100 on clear with black smoke and white splatter; and 100 on clear. –Hutch

Primitive Man / Unearthly Trance: Split 12”: Relapse Records

Primitive Man continue to unleash their glacial hate hymns, splitting 20 agonizing minutes between two tracks after a one-minute intro. The Denver trio seem to put out content through Relapse between self-released and other DIY releases: a litany of EPs, LPs, and splits especially. They are back at it on this split, distilling misanthropy and self-abuse to reveal the ugliest, most repugnant sludge metal soundscapes. After their 2017 LP, Caustic, Primitive Man return with two filthy tests of your endurance.

Unearthly Trance are one of the few bands mighty and slow enough to hold down this side B. The New York doom titans broke the world’s heart when they disbanded—although Serpentine Path helped ease the pain. After 2017’s Stalking the Ghost, also on Relapse, restored galactic order, Unearthly Trance present four tracks of blackened doom and chaotic noise here. The speed of “Triumph” is a brutal display of metal prowess, while “Reverse the Day” sounds more like a blistering portal to Hell than a conventional song.

RIYL: Clive Barker and John Carpenter and Lee Dorrian.

Available Aug. 17: 1600 on black; 300 on milky clear with white, grey, and black splatter; 100 on clear with grey smoke; and 100 on clear. –Hutch

Stuntman / Art Of Burning Water: Split 7”: SuperFi Records

Certain feelings surface when listening to Stuntman’s malevolent, scathing five minutes of side A. Those feelings are apprehension peering in a mirror of confrontation. Stuntman deliver grinding, spastic powerviolence-type hardcore that reaches out of your headphones to pummel your misconceptions as well as your eardrums. This is sludge-driven noise rock played through chaotic punk chords bathed in nihilism—a glorious purging of belligerence from the South of France. The U.K.’s Art Of Burning Water join the destructive practices with their two-minute rager of unrelenting noise, plus add a 38-second Deep Wound cover.  Each band give it their all on this July 1 release. –Hutch


Aggressor: Rebirth: Season Of Mist

This scorching reissue of French metal from 1994 was released on June 8, remastered with bonus tracks on two LPs. Symposium of Rebirth was a grand venture, applying a classical music template to sinister death metal. The infusion of searing thrash parts into a growling death metal vocal approach and pounding double bass drum created an unrealized masterpiece, merging influences such as Dark Angel, early Sepultura, and Morbid Angel. Rebirth takes the original long-out-of-print LP and adds a rerecorded version and almost a dozen bonus tracks. The mesmerizing effort to reimagine the original 1994 album proves a staggering endeavor and is highly recommended. Double-LP vinyl available on black, 350 on blue, or 100 on red. –Hutch

Depeche Mode: Speak & Spell | The 12” Singles and A Broken Frame | The 12” Singles: Rhino

In an exciting move, Depeche Mode are releasing remastered deluxe numbered boxed sets comprising all of the 12” singles—the band’s preferred format—from every one of their albums. An extensive and ongoing endeavor, the initial batch of 12” singles to be released Aug. 31 by Rhino are those from the new wave pioneers’ earliest full-lengths: 1981’s landmark album Speak & Spell and its follow-up, 1982’s A Broken Frame. The former will include the band’s debut single, “Dreaming of Me,” backed with “Ice Machine,” as well as “I Just Can’t Get Enough” backed with “Any Second Now,” among others. The latter features “See You” backed with “Now This Is Fun”; “The Meaning of Love” 12”; and the “Leave in Silence” 12”. –Janelle Jones

Prong: Cleansing: Century Media Records

At their apex, New York’s Prong wielded a daring sound. They were metal but had roots in the CBGB’s hardcore scene. Then, a “New York Noise” and Amphetamine Reptile sound creeped in, as well as industrial influences. Their attitude and commitment to being original was revered. Lead vocalist and guitarist Tommy Victor was a respected producer and sound guy at CB’s. Prong’s 1994 album, Cleansing—boasting their biggest hit, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck”—saw them catapult out of the underground to some praise and some disappointment, but 25 years later, fans can objectively listen to it as an album boasting rigorous rhythms, crushing riffs, and amazing leads.

Somewhere between Helmet, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, and Ministry, Prong’s sound fought tough to declare independence when released on major label Sony. But jump to “Cut-Rate,” and you hear the speed-driven ’80s New York hardcore and crossover love from the band. “Not of This Earth” is a spacey adventure with reverb and a lighter foundation, and “One Outnumbered” bandies between a churning stomp and a cleaner melody. The songs range from three to seven minutes, exploring a wider breadth than on the band’s earlier underground classics, 1990’s Beg To Differ and 1991’s Prove You Wrong. On Aug. 31, Century Media releases this giant on black or red vinyl. –Hutch

Suicidal Tendencies: Lights Camera Revolution: Century Media Records

In 1990, it was clear that Venice’s punk kings were far removed from their 1983 eponymous classic. Regardless of what your opinion was in 1990, it is now clear that Lights Camera Revolution is a stone-cold classic. Introducing bassist Robert Trujillo to the stellar and seasoned lineup of lead cyco Mike Muir, lead guitarist Rocky George, rhythm guitarist Mike Clark, and drummer RJ Herrera—on his last Suicidal album—Lights Camera Revolution left behind any hardcore punk or crossover and went straight thrash. And they executed it with power and strength.

Suicidal got pushed into near mainstream success, as Megadeth, Anthrax, and Metallica all had videos on MTV. They released killer classics “Send Me Your Money” and “You Can’t Bring Me Down.” The production remains crisp and piercing, as Suicidal had tight riffing and succinct delivery balanced with emotional melodic breakdowns that would become their signature. Songs like “Send Me Your Money” and “Lovely” also introduced the funk-metal label and Trujillo’s signature slap sound. Muir reels in his sarcastic taunting best here, as he writes his odes to misery. Light Camera Revolution is a brilliant offering sometimes forgotten among the rollercoaster of Suicidal’s career. Available Aug. 31 on black or transparent green vinyl. –Hutch


Joe Strummer: Joe Strummer 001: Ignition Records

Ignition has compiled a stack of unreleased versions of Joe Strummer material, gathered from Strummer’s property. The rarities include an early demo of “This Is England,” originally called “Czechoslovak Song / Where Is England”; a solo demo of “Letsagetabitarockin’” recorded in 1975; outtakes from “Sid and Nancy” featuring Mick Jones; and unreleased songs “Rose of Erin,” “The Cool Impossible,” and “London Is Burning.” Some songs are outtakes from The 101ers and Mescaleros and some are simply Strummer solo. Finally, here is a collection representing authentic closure for fans. It exemplifies the legend’s reflection of the world he saw, wrought with hope, anger, confusion, and urgency.

Joe Strummer 001 was overseen by Strummer’s widow Luce Strummer and Robert Gordon McHarg III. The project’s PledgeMusic page quotes Gordon McHarg III as saying, “The idea behind the book is that it’s an A4 notebook done as if Joe had designed it himself, telling his story. Hopefully it is an insight into his workings and includes handwritten lyrics with personal notes and scribbles.” Out Sept. 28. the limited-edition deluxe box set includes: quadruple heavyweight vinyl, 7” vinyl single, cassette, A4 book, enamel badge, art print, screen print, lyrics, and sticker sheet. Also available on limited-edition deluxe double-CD in book; double-CD in slipcase; quadruple heavyweight vinyl in slipcase. –Hutch

The Last Crime: “Operate/Medicate” b/w “Man vs. Shark”: Sunken Temple Records

Recorded at the legendary Inner Ear Studio—where many Dischord records were produced—by the legendary producer J Robbins, these two tracks were committed to tape in 1998. Somehow, hidden under a cloak of justice, they were never released. According to Earsplit PR, The Last Crime were a “New York City cult Y2K-era hardcore/screamo outfit.” They released a vibey, atmospheric self-titled math-rock EP of four songs in 2000, combining dark atmospherics with Fugazi, 6L6, Neurosis, Deftones, Glassjaw, Unsane, Shellac, and other incinerating influences. The Last Crime did not release anything else—until now.

As 2018 trudges forward, DIY cassette label Sunken Temple is searching for lost New York punk and hardcore gems. They now share the lost recording from The Last Crime. Each track hits seven minutes, dissecting the reverb and sonically embattled layers. Chaotic and angry, “Man vs. Shark” finds a captivating—yet dark—groove, thick and hazy. It is a disturbing romp. “Operate/Medicate” is a little more restrained. Anchored by a locked grumbling bassline and a snappy snare and open hi hat rhythm, the track has a meandering feel, holding Fugazi, Unsane, and The Jesus Lizard in a padded room. Available on cassette and digital July 31. –Hutch


Various Artists: Classics vs Classics: Freedom Soundworks

Silence Equals Death have been turning heads since their ferocious 2017 album, End Times. Channeling bands like Sick Of It All, Wisdom In Chains, and even Snapcase, the band’s sound is urgent. Fueled by the velocity of peers like Stick To Your Guns, Regulate, and Blind Justice, Silence Equals Death deliver an amazing live set on a rigorous schedule. The band’s message and energy beckons hardcore fans old and young. On this comp release from new nonprofit Freedom Soundworks, they pay homage to their influences. Silence Equals Death incite with their offerings: a ’90s hardcore classic, “Burning Fight” by Inside Out, and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ode to the road, “Travelin’ Band.”

As the album continues, some surprising and brilliant choices manifest in a satisfying array of influences. Robots And Monsters absolutely crush with their Refused cover, “Rather Be Dead,” and a cool groove to Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up.” The Ice Cold Killers bring some naughty swagger to a Buddy Holly tune, “That’ll Be the Day,” and then add jet fuel to a redo of Agent Orange’s classic “Bloodstains” a la The Turbo A.C.’s. Nothing Is Over take a psych-surf classic and channel BL13RE with a heavy hardcore thrashing on “Hanky Panky” by The Raindrops. They then do a surprisingly melodic and accurate cover of “Kids and Heroes” by The Bouncing Souls—well, for half of the song, until the second vocalist comes growling. The cool charm of I.Pipebomb radiates as they do a powerful cover of the sometimes underappreciated Prong with “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.” Released June 21 on CD and digital. –Hutch

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