EPS

Mass Arrest: The Savage Season Continues: Self-Released

Released back in November, The Savage Season Continues is not only one of the best records of recent memory, but also one of the most important. Mass Arrest were birthed in Oakland, home of the Black Panthers. This is no coincidence or tangential fact. Vocalist Boo Boo—a Boston transplant from over a decade ago—screams with the indignation that naturally inhabits a Black man’s view when looking at the landscape of American society. The subjects of his screams include cultural appropriation, police violence, gentrification, and straight-up racism. Tracks like “Shuck & Jive,” “White World,” and “New Town Drag” are not here to comfort you. Musically, Mass Arrest mangle chords in the vein of Negative Approach meet old UK82 hardcore punk rock with a twist of Oi! Originally released on orange cassette, limited to 100. –Hutch

Cold Meat: Pork Sword Fever: Static Shock Records / Helta Skelta Records

Australia often exudes a hyper-masculine aura—but maybe that is precisely what conjured the beyond-tongue-in-cheek lyrics and ethos of Perth’s Cold Meat. The sardonic and sweltering garage punk of Pork Sword Fever is hypnotic and has all the feminine grace of a Brillo Pad. Fans can check the tracks “Nice Girls” and “Maternity Stomp” on Bandcamp prior to Perth’s Helta Skelta Records and London’s Static Shock Records releasing this five-track EP—also featuring “Meat Joy,” “Lazy Anarchy,” and “Boys Riot”—in March. Garnering anticipation after their 2016 EP, Jimmy’s Lipstick, this feminist punk group will flash iconoclastic hubris and brash anger. –Hutch

Arms Race: The Beast: La Vida Es Un Mus / Painkiller Records

Look who is back! Ola Herbich—of Quality Control HQ—and her boys follow up their mighty New Wave of British Hardcore LP from 2016 with The Beast. This new EP—released Feb. 8—is vicious and raw. Rough, brutal hardcore punk bathed in metal riffage that manifests in four speedy, nasty two-minute bursts. The Beast is dark and angry punk spirit exorcised through metallic sewage. Arms Race feature members of Crown Court, Violent Reaction, Farce, Stab, True Vision, Stand Point, and more. Available in a limited run of 100 on white vinyl and 400 on black. –Hutch

Combust: Demo 7”: Straight & Alert Records

Combust—freshly formed from members of Vice and Impact—are on a specific mission: to play no-frills New York hardcore. Directly applying the tough bounce and grit of Killing Time/Raw Deal, Outburst, and Cro-Mags, Combust explode on five tracks. Straight & Alert happily recruited this band to rep the N.Y. sound. Making it feel like it’s 1988 again, tracks like “Combust,” “Drowning,” and the others sound like lost outtakes from Killing Time’s Brightside—and that’s a good thing. Set to ship in March, the 7” comes in three versions: 100 with preorder cover on green wax; 100 with regular cover on green wax; and 300 with regular cover on black wax. –Hutch

SPLITS

Starkweather / Concealment: Split LP: Translation Loss
March 9, 2018

Encapsulating Starkweather’s sound or career in a few simple sentences is impossible. For a band named after a spree killer, that seems intuitive—but what a badass name. In Philly in the ‘90s, Starkweather were melding metal and hardcore—and other noise—into a distinct sound while still remaining beloved by both scenes, repping on labels such as Edison Recordings, Too Damn Hype Records and Chord Recordings, Harvest Records, Deathwish Inc., and now, Translation Loss. Translation Loss has had a hell of a past few years, packed with intense releases. This, however, moves even beyond that realm.

On this split LP, Starkweather and Portugal’s Concealment engage in elongated sonic assault. Both sides boast masterful epics of storytelling over sludge-drenched death metal and hardcore. Concealment offer the 20-minute “Liminality,” which is the true story of “the tragic case of Anneliese Michel, an example of a person with a misidentified mental disorder, treated with negligence, abuse, and religious hysteria,” vocalist and guitarist Filipe Correia explained in their press materials.

Starkweather push boundaries further with their 30-minute track “Divided By Zero,” played all in one take and recorded twice by Alap Momin, formerly of Dälek. Both tracks owe as much to atmosphere as they do to musicianship: chaos and dread reign over the angular guitars, sporadic time signatures, and double bass rants. The CD release includes a 12-page booklet of “dystopic” images by Philadelphia-based artist Alex Eckman-Lawn. –Hutch

Neolithic / Martyrdöd: Split EP: Deep Six Records

On this split EP release, side A presents four minutes of crusty death metal from Maryland’s Neolithic. This is to prime the world for their following EP, Cult of Ignorance, due out April 4, also on Deep Six. Neolithic are less than one year into their existence and perched to spread their vile D-beat malevolence. Comprised of Baltimore vets, Neolithic are anxious to share their music. Starting with early ‘90s Earache adoration, the band then recorded with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations and mastered their tunes with Brad Boatright at Audiosiege.

Sweden’s Martyrdöd continue the air raid atmospheric D-beat splendor on side B with a five-minute rager, “War of Worlds.” This track engages all of their arsenal with caustic vocals and sizzling guitar solos laid over the rhythm section’s relentless pummeling. In the vein of Wolfbrigade, Hail Of Bullets, and Tragedy, this split hands us more of the masochistic magic heard on their four albums over the prior 15 years, notably on Havoc Records and Southern Lord Recordings. This split EP was released Feb. 15 on colored vinyl. –Hutch

REISSUES

Alone In A Crowd: Alone In A Crowd EP: Atomic Action!

Aside from dropping the record that shook the world on Feb. 16, Fucked & Bound’s Suffrage, Atomic Action! also released this extremely limited 7”. The label previously reissued Alone In A Crowd’s work in 2014, the five-track—with one Government Issue cover, “Teenager in a Box”—repress of the band’s classic self-titled 1989 EP for Flux Records, produced by Killing Time’s Anthony Drago. Alone In A Crowd’s tracks “Is Anybody There?” and “When Tigers Fight” are undeniable anthems. It’s a shame this band—comprised of members of Side By Side, Killing Time, Raw Deal, Breakdown, Kings Destroy, Uppercut, and Electric Frankenstein—did not create more.

This new Feb. 15 reissue is due to some sad reasons, but ultimately, for a good cause. The limited pressing of 100 EPs and black or navy long-sleeve shirts will cost $50 and go toward covering the medical expenses of guitarist Howie Wallen. The silk-screened covers are all hand-numbered, and the package includes a newly-designed lyric sheet. –Hutch

Cardiac Arrest: Morgue Mutilations: Transcending Records

Morgue Mutilations delivers exactly what you’d expect—and more—from such a morbidly magnificent title: dirty, rotten death metal. Originally released in 2006, this delightfully demented debut from Chicago-based merchants of deathly hallows, Cardiac Arrest, is getting a CD and vinyl reissue courtesy of Transcending Records in advance of the group’s upcoming sixth record, A Parallel Dimension of Despair, due out April 23 via Memento Mori. Cardiac Arrest’s sound would fit right in the middle of a Venn diagram of Relapse Records’ three best death metal bands: Gatecreeper’s majestic might, Mammoth Grinder’s punk edge, and Genocide Pact’s Incantation-style frenzy. What clearly sets Cardiac Arrest apart from the onset—aside from excellent musicianship—is that these Chicagoans aren’t interested in being old-school for the sake of hero worship. This is decade-spanning OSDM that should appeal to a wide spectrum of metal hounds. Out now. –Nicholas Senior

The Casket Lottery: Choose Bronze, Moving Mountains, and Survival Is for Cowards: Run For Cover Records

For two decades now, Kansas City, Missouri-based The Casket Lottery have been churning out an inspired mix of post-hardcore, math rock, and emo music. Across four LPs, just as many EPs, and countless 7”s, the band have grown their fan base from a regional following to devotees in just about all reaches of the globe. But their first three efforts have long been out of print on vinyl, so in comes Run For Cover Records to fix that. The label is reissuing all three records—available individually or as a box set—on Record Store Day, April 21. –John B. Moore

Circle Jerks: Wönderful: Porterhouse Records

Perhaps not Circle Jerks’ most well-known or well-loved release—their classic, crazed 1980 full-length debut, Group Sex, takes that title—Wönderful was first released in 1985 on Combat Core Records. This 13-song album was their fourth LP and features the long-running lineup of vocalist Keith Morris, guitarist Greg Hetson, bassist Zander Schloss, and drummer Keith Clark. Replete with their signature sarcastic, snotty quality, it features such classics as “Killing for Jesus,” the inimitable “I, I & I,” and the silly send-up, “American Heavy Metal Weekend” and is certainly deserving of the reissue and remaster treatment. Released March 2, Porterhouse Records has done a great job of introducing this quintessential SoCal punk must-have to a younger generation—and reacquainting us old folks who may have forgotten its relevance and importance. Janelle Jones

Hyborian: Vol. 1: Season Of Mist

From a land more associated with BBQ smoke than Mary Jane—Kansas City, Missouri—Hyborian are setting the stoner metal world ablaze. Their stupidly fun and meaty 2017 debut, Vol. 1, was recently reissued by their new home label, Season Of Mist, so it’s as great a time as any to become acquainted with your new favorite progressive sludge group. Their sound takes the winningest attributes of the genre’s best—Mastodon, Red Fang, and Baroness—and slaps it on a time-traveling sci-fi concept record. What sets Hyborian apart is their laser-focus on agile riffing and dangerously addictive hooks. Vol. 1 can prog and get spacey with the best of them, but those are all just tasty seasoning for its meaty, heavy core. Released Feb. 23. –Nicholas Senior

Imperial Triumphant: Inceste: Temple Of Torturous

New York City’s Imperial Triumphant are among the most visceral and challenging of the recent crop of avant-garde extreme metal acts. Their progressive black/death hybrid takes a keen influence from jazz, classical, and non-metal avant-garde, which explains how their songs can be simultaneously maniacal, horrifying, and utterly beautiful—they’re more baroque metaphysical horror than silly satanic pageantry. Thus, for this vinyl reissue of their magnificently disquieting 2016 EP, Inceste—which centers around the life and works of French aristocrat Marquis de Sade—they’ve added four left-of-center B-sides that double down on the macabre dissonance. The two added choral arrangements are some of the most terrifying musical numbers I’ve heard in a long time. However, the original EP is still the star here, showcasing a masterclass in controlled chaos. Imperial Triumphant are a special band operating at an impressive artistic level. Out March 23. –Nicholas Senior

Laughing Hyenas: Merry Go Round and You Can’t Pray a Lie: Third Man Records / Touch And Go Records

The relatively short-lived but wildly influential blues punk band Laughing Hyenas called it a day in 1995, but thanks to a partnership between Third Man Records and Touch And Go Records, their entire discography is finally being reissued. The first two to get the special treatment are 1987’s Merry Go Round and 1989’s You Can’t Pray a Lie, released on black vinyl on Feb. 14. The Merry Go Round reissue—spread across two LPs—includes the five bonus tracks that were originally included on the 1995 Touch And Go CD reissue, while this iteration of You Can’t Pray a Lie is a straight copy of the 1989 release. –John B. Moore

Noi!se: The Scars We Hide: Pirates Press

The Scars We Hide is only four years old, but Washington State’s Noi!se have remixed, remastered, and reissued this 2014 gem with the help of Pirates Press. Noi!se’s sincerity is palpable in each note. The band consistently balance emotion and grit with artistic mastery. The lyrics boast vulnerability and honesty while the music engages and punches with pure punk fury. Strapped with Nate Leinfelder’s bass work—which propels and wanders for flair—Kenny Dirkes’ pounding rhythms, and the dual guitars of Matt Henson and Jesse O’Donnell, who adds stunning leads, the strength of Noi!se is Henson’s voice, which is wrought with emotion and authenticity. Noi!se know how to produce their sound and incorporate a catchy chorus and gang vocals, so seeing one of their rare appearances is a cathartic experience. You sweat and sing in a room filled and roiling with camaraderie, expelling raw feeling to their anthems. Pick up the remixed and remastered repress of The Scars We Hide now on vinyl: 500 on Ultra Clear; 500 on Ultra Clear with black, white, and silver splatter; and 1,000 on black. –Hutch

Organectomy: Domain of the Wretched: Unique Leader Records

Organectomy are going to be the next great brutal death metal act, so it’s no surprise that Unique Leader Records scooped up the New Zealand-based band and is rereleasing the group’s 2017 debut. There’s certainly a game of “Wheel of Subgenres” at play here, but Domain of the Wretched is significantly better than the sum of its viscera-soaked parts. Combining top-tier slamming brutal death with tech-death, melodeath, deathgrind, and even some old-school death flourishes, one could say that the band’s sound is exceptionally Organ-ized. What really elevates Organectomy above their peers is their attention to detail, face-melting riffs, and shockingly hooky songwriting. Their style is more Aborted and Dying Fetus with truly eviscerating slams than mindless technical brutality. This is blood-dripping style and substance. Out May 11. –Nicholas Senior

Urge Overkill: Saturation: Porterhouse Records

One of the seminal records of the ‘90s, Urge Overkill’s remarkable breakthrough, Saturation, is getting the vinyl rerelease treatment just in time for its 25th anniversary. Though a set release date remains elusive, Porterhouse Prime Vinyl has announced that they will put the record out on a limited run of 1,000 pieces on clear blue vinyl. There will be other colors in subsequent pressings. Produced by the Butcher Brothers, the 1993 album marked Urge Overkill’s first for Geffen Records and was ubiquitous on college campuses across the country throughout the mid-‘90s. –John B. Moore

Voivod: War and Pain: Metal Blade Records

Prog-thrash sci-fi ice warriors Voivod have seen a fair amount of represses recently. Unfortunately, War and Pain only won itself a CD box set in 2004. Until now. Metal Blade finally caved to the fans’ demands. This reissue of Voivod’s groundbreaking debut album, War and Pain, will bring you back to 1984 with its tension and paranoia. Tracks like “Live for Violence,” the blistering solo on “Suck Your Bone,” “Nuclear War,” and, of course, the title track and the killer opener, “Voivod,” are resurrected with clarity and malice. The thrash classic’s frequencies were remastered by Patrick W. Engl and etched into vinyl as a “Metal Blade Originals” LP. According to Metal Blade, “Special treatment and 400g heavy cardboard spine sleeves (inside out print), 60x60cm two-sided artwork posters and 250g inserts guaranteed!”

Released on Feb. 14 on digipak CD or vinyl: 180g black; 500 on transparent red and black marbled; 300 on steel-blue and grey marbled; 200 on opaque red and purple splattered; 300 on dead gold marbled; and 500 on deep purple and black marbled. –Hutch

COLLECTIONS

Mean Jeans: Jingles Collection: Fat Wreck Chords

The Who kind of half-assed it on their 1967 The Who Sell Out LP, but Portland’s Mean Jeans go full corporate whore with their brilliant and brilliantly funny Jingles Collection: 23 truly inspired jingles for real products—that, for the record, were never really requested by the companies who make them. The lovingly-prepared pop punk ditties include odes to Wendy’s Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, Coors Light, Pop Rocks, Sizzler, Hot Pockets, and many other food-related tracks, but thinking like real Madison Avenue jingle types, the band even tossed in some songs about Rain-X wiper blades and a paper shredding business. Fat Wreck Chords released the record on Feb. 16. –John B. Moore

Rotting Christ: Their Greatest Spells: The Best of Rotting Christ: Season Of Mist

Rarely does such an influential act continue to challenge themselves 30 years into their career, but Rotting Christ—the Greek masters of mid-tempo extreme metal—have proven to be a truly rare breed. To commemorate their third decade of existence, vocalist and guitarist Sakis Tolis helped curate this sprawling 33-song, two-disc collection of the dark metal group’s most compelling incantations. While anything labeled “best of” can be controversial for fans, Their Greatest Spells highlights Rotting Christ’s long-form evolution from forebears of the Greek black metal sound into a uniquely gothic black/death behemoth. However, the album concludes with a new track, “I Will Not Serve,” which hints that there’s quite a bit of musical apostasy left in Rotting Christ’s tank. Their musical witchcraft always conjures images of ancient evil, and this new song serves notice that they are not done serving up menacing and haunting extreme metal of the highest order. Out March 23. –Nicholas Senior

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