The Short List is a periodic dive into EPs, Splits, Reissues, Comps, Live Records, etc
Youth Brigade Sound and Fury Trust Records
California punk lifers Youth Brigade get the Trust Treatment on their classic 1983 record, Sound & Fury. Brash, fast, and Cali catchy, Youth Brigade threw their hat in the ring among the Los Angeles peers with strength, speed, and grit. There is a fun tone in spots, but the philosophical, intellectual approach to hardcore brought something fresh to their scene instead of simply nihilism and destruction.
Trust kill it again with the adherence to the aesthetic of the original release but has the maniacal dedication and meticulous labor of Dave Gardener remastering from the original analog tapes. The OG line up of the three Stern brothers offer exuberance and tenacity which would define a career lasting until 1999. Passion drips from the anthem, “Fight to Unite” and other classics which are essential to American hardcore punk.
If you have never seen the documentary Another State of Mind about their U.S. tour, accompanied by Social Distortion (until they weren’t) and Minor Threat, go now. The optimism in the beginning on the streets of sunny California belies the fate awaiting the band. Their tenacity is admirable as they traverse borders wrestling with bad luck and poverty. Ultimately the film sexhoibits the camaraderie of the early punks scene. Reliant on pay phones, old pen pals, paper maps, and a shitload of hope. What a wonderful statement on punks creating a national—and global—hardcore scene. Plus, live Minor Threat.
Red & White Split, 500 (Trust)
Green, 250 (Trust)
Yellow, 500 (RevHQ exclusive)
Cthonic Deity Reassembled in Pain Carbonized Records
This rager is on its third press courtesy of Carbonized Records. Carbonized are known for releases from Mortuous, Hyperdontia, Funeral Leech, Outre Tomb/Skelethal, had a solid year with records from Negative Prayer, Thanamagus, and a KISS cover split from Nekrofilth and Steel Bearing Hand. Cthonic Deity stand proudly among those respected peers.
Reassembled in Pain contains four seething tracks, all of which are four minutes or less. No self-indulgent or unwelcome redundancies. Music is mostly mid-tempo death metal with a splash of thrash and guitar flare. Upbeat romps are thrown in to provide an engaging dynamic. Titles are: “Drained,” “Disintegrating Organs,” “Echoes of Death,” and “Blood Ritual” in case you were skeptical of their subject matter. The Denver, CO trio, deriving their name from “pertaining to the underworld,” write cavernous death metal, surging with defiance. Riding a double bass which gallops, the opener boasts a twisting guitar line with growling, bellowing vocals, while “Echoes of Death” inherits a slow, churning feel for the first half of its two and a half minutes. Then, it bursts forward with a quickened pace, holding out for a churning ending. All which tout a seamless flow. The variations ad in the music refusing to become stale.
If you missed this the other two times, nab this.
Vinyl available on Neon Violet and Blood Red Merge.
SIKM Demo 2023 Designated Moshers Unit
December 23, 2023
Instagram is a buzz. And I am not in with enough of the cool kids to know the members (hints being they are quite recognizable). Regardless SIKM fly out of the gate and deliver two gnarly original rompers in three and a half minutes. Then, they close with a two-minute Radio Birdman cover.
They have won my heart. The music is gritty, tough Oi! (Is there another kind?) played with talent. A short burst solo adds spice but is not meant for rock star adoration. The track “SIKM” *(by SIKM on the demo, SIKM) is rager. A touch of melody, a lo-fi delivery, sing along vibe – all components enhance the tried-and-true sound of the streets. “Detonation” is 90 seconds of fast-paced stomping. The last third has a swirling guitar part supplying a cool added texture. With a name like SIKM, you know it is savage. The snarling photo depict the band’s voracity honestly. Cannot wait until the drop more than two tracks.
Buy the cassette demo at Designated Moshers Unit shop.
A cool three-color print of black, yellow, and red (for blood!) multi-page inlay card includes lyrics.
RIYL: Concrete Elite, Lost Legion, Problem, Violent Reaction, Empire Down
Bladecrusher Death, Revenge, War Cosmic Key Creations
This five piece offers pounding thrash from Frsia, The Netherlands. Bladecrusher give us four (well, including one interval) tracks of brash blackened thrash. Prior record was strict crossover. The band reports to have moved from that, but the crossover foundation and instinct remains in my opinion.
The band themselves cite Slayer, Exodus, Sacrifice, Toxic Holocaust, Cro-Mags, Power Trip as influences. Tight riffing, dive bombs, chugging paces, fat ripping sections all are packed in Bladecrusher’s cache. Vocals range from the growling to a Skeletonwitch feel. Production is well mixed, so all elements are textured and audible. Icy delivery helps create tone and atmosphere meandering intros add anticipation.
The songwriting is stellar. Fast-paced, upswing tempos relay that crossover feel with a touch of black metal, think Wolvhammer. Songs are 3:30 to 4:30, nothing to droning, just large beefy riffs with full production but not an arrogant grandiose approach. Outrageous, squealing guitars open Reassembled in Pain leading into a charging thrash riff and commanding vocals. This is dark music with blistering speed, tight riffs, and double bass.
On Spotify, the band photo shows five Dutch dudes with emblematic shirts: Forbidden, Ultra-Violence, Bolt Thrower, Hell Hammer, and Kickback (Killer French metallic hardcore). Ingest that and press play.
Note: Guest vocals on “Justification” by James McBain of Hellripper and artwork by Irfan ‘Hailraw’ Ramad
Vinyl is to limited to 300 on black, hand numbered. Buy at Cosmic Key Creations shop.
Xibalba Aztlan Closed Casket Activities
January 30, 2023
Los Angeles, California’s heaviest hardcore troupe are back. A few days ago, Closed Casket Activities put up a cryptic image with a one-word caption, “midnight”. Fans left a barrage of guesses. The following day, Xibalba Aztlan was posted for pre-order.
Since their prior release was 2016, maybe you are unfamiliar with Xibalba’s brand of hardcore driven death metal. Or death metal infused hardcore. But since 2007, before this resurgence of USDM or the recent influx of death metal/hardcore hybrid was all the rage, Xibalba employed enormous riffs which would coerce fools to mosh in an extraordinary fashion. Think Gatecreeper, Harm’s Way, Jesus Piece, Fuming Mouth, Frozen Soul, Mammoth Grinder, Creeping Death, etc. Employing their Latino roots into all they do, former records have channeled Mayan imagery, language, and gods (Xibalba is the Mayan Hell). Spanish lyrics are often utilized. Xibalba unleash Hell upon audiences. Anos en Inferno; Diablo, Con Amor, Adios; Tierra Y Liberdad all exhibit this intense infusion of cultures.
Engaging with some Cali royalty for production purposes, summoning the heaviest knob turners, Xibalba worked with Taylor Young at The Pit Recording Studio for recording and mixing; King Midas himself, Brad Boatright at Audio Siege for mastering; and even tapping Martín Stewart (Terror) for the layout. If you are even slightly into heavy music, all these names should be familiar.
Xibalba return and do not disappoint. The opener, “Descending into…” is a quickie at two minutes, seemingly written just to set a show the fuck off. One track, “The Place of Fear” is a call back to the title of their 2007 demo (which did not include a song of that that name, though). It is a brutal track of vicious breakdown. Two more songs all stay fresh adhering to the formula. Xibalba’s sound feels like a cascade of cinder blocks. Treachery and vengeance all coalesce to serve the sinful indulgence for the purveyors of the pit.
Follow the mighty Xibalba on instagram.
Preoreder at Closed Casket Activities.
Red White and Green Striped (Mexican Flag), 300
Clear with Gold White and Brown Splatter, 500
Golden Nugget, 700