Drugs Of Faith | Decay | Selfmadegod Records
Often described as “grind ’n’ roll,” Drugs Of Faith—vocalist and guitarist Richard Johnson of Enemy Soil and Agoraphobic Nosebleed, bassist Ivan Khilko of Immanent Voiceless and Destroyer Of Worlds, and drummer Ethan Griffiths of Embra—have dropped a few releases: two LPs, a self-titled in 2006 and Corroded in 2011; a Decibel flexi and a Godflesh tribute, Fathers of our Flesh, in 2014; and splits with Atigama in 2007 and Cloud Rat in 2015. Coming out of Northern Virginia, the band return with five explosive tracks on Decay, released on Polish label Selfmadegod Records on Sept. 6.
Since 2006, this trio have brutalized their instruments to vent about sociopolitical disturbances. Drugs Of Faith combine some grind and d-beat but indulge with more mid-paced, sludge-injected noise rock on Decay. Recorded with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations in Baltimore—known for his work with Full Of Hell, Magrudergrind, and many more—and mastered by J.C. Griffin at Lakebottom Recording House in Toledo, Ohio—whose client list includes Cloud Rat, Ceremony Of Senses, and Blind Haven—Decay boasts chaotic hemorrhages of infectious and challenging hooks.
Vinyl is limited to 400 copies on black, as well as 100 on splatter wax available exclusively in Selfmadegod webstores.
Regional Justice Center | Institution | Triple B Records
Ian Shelton of Seattle’s New Gods and Drug Culture utilized his anger to rail against a system of injustice during the tribulations of his brother Max’s incarceration. Shelton, as a multi-instrumentalist, recorded and released a full-length, World of Inconvenience, in 2018 and a split with Wound Man in April. Many esteemed outlets have praised his mission and the music birthed from his anger. To add to the unique story, Regional Justice Center now thrive with a collective-like live lineup; this has permitted the band to tour, and tour vehemently, across North America and Europe.
At five songs in less than six minutes, Institution savagely attacks with chugging parts the pummel and fast parts that eviscerate, churning and pounding its audience with an audacious aural experience. This emulates the lyrical target of a system that manipulates, grinds, and punishes the less fortunate. Institution was released on vinyl Aug. 16, with 15 test-pressings, 200 on clear with red splatter, 300 on white, and 500 on black. Regional Justice Center headed out on Sept. 12 to tour the U.S. through Oct. 20 with Spine and Devil’s Den.
Woundvac | The Road Ahead | Corpse Flower Records
Woundvac whip a frenzied version of grind, hardcore, and death metal that pummels. The Arizona band have been gaining momentum over five years with West Coast tours and myriad shows; two EPs, 2015’s Disgraced Convert and 2017’s Infamy; plus a lauded debut LP in 2018, Terrorizing the Swarm. For the five-song The Road Ahead, released Sept. 13, they hit the trifecta with producer Zach Rippy at Sound Signal Audio, mastering engineer Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and cover art from Bite Radius Designs. This is a complete package of dirty riffs and heavy, vicious beatdown rhythms. Woundvac deliver four blindingly fast songs in under six minutes, punctuated by a four-minute closer, “Institutional Bloodshed.” Available on CD, digital, and translucent orange vinyl with red splatter, limited to 300.
Subhumans / The Restarts | 99% / 1% | Pirates Press Records
It could be coincidence—or it could be evidence that punk bands are fed up and frustrated with the grotesque wealth gap in the world. Either way, legendary UK82 band Subhumans and The Restarts from the East End of London, with 25 years of their own in the scene, submitted their tracks for a split EP and unknowingly addressed the same issue. Subhumans provide the yin to The Restarts’ yang, bolstered by commentary on the dispiriting distance between the world’s wealthiest people and everyone else. With classic punk albums such as the 1982 EP Religious Wars, 1983’s The Day the Country Died, the 1984 EP Rats, and 1985’s Worlds Apart, Subhumans have returned after 12 years of silence with a new full-length, Crisis Point, out Sept. 13, also on Pirates Press. The split 7” follows on Sept. 17, and their track, “99%,” complements The Restarts’ “The One Percent” extremely well. Only 2,000 white vinyl 7”s were pressed, so don’t delay!
Iron Age | The Sleeping Eye | 20 Buck Spin
When Austin, Texas’ Iron Age first appeared, their 2006 debut LP, Constant Struggle, came via Youngblood Records, a legendary hardcore label that usually propelled punk and youth crew bands such as Carry On, Desperate Measures, Our Turn, and Lights Out into the public eye. However, Iron Age came slinging Cro-Mags and mid-’80s-Agnostic-Front crossover, with lead vocalist Jason Tarpey being compared to Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, Integrity’s Dwid Hellion, and Earth Crisis’ Karl Buechner. Their peers in the mid 2000s were Blacklisted and No Warning, and their 2006 single, Butcher’s Bill, was on Lockin’ Out Records alongside labelmates Righteous Jams and Mental.
After releasing a 7” with psychedelic cover art, The Way Is Narrow, on Painkiller Records in 2008, their 2009 follow-up LP, The Sleeping Eye, was released via Tee Pee Records, started by Jay Mascis of Witch, Dinosaur Jr, and Deep Wound. The label boasted killer stoner rock with the likes of Nebula, The Atomic Bitchwax, Spirit Caravan, and Earthless.
The Sleeping Eye, immortalized in a stellar reissue from 20 Buck Spin on Oct. 11, erupted with thick, hazy riffs after plodding slowly out of the gate in the first half of the over-six-minute opener, “Sleeping Eye of the Watcher.” Iron Age’s guitar work had been elevated to a sinister metallic epic, and the songwriting and thunderous, layered production warned ears that this mammoth album was something different. At five minutes in, organs and chants are heard.
20 Buck Spin wanted this lesser-known LP to be recognized as the modern classic it is. They tapped Jerry “Wyrmwalk” Hionis specifically to create all-new artwork that embraces the Lovecraftian influences dripping from the tonal adoration and lyrical themes. The lofty goal was achieved with stunning vision and risk taking.
The rest of The Sleeping Eye—featuring classic tracks like “Dispossessed,” the thrash-fueled “A Younger Earth,” and the two-part, over-nine-minute “Arcana Pt. 1” and “Arcana Pt. 2.”—certainly kicks into high gear with nods to Corrosion Of Conformity’s Animosity from 1985 and Cro-Mags’ Best Wishes from 1989. Iron Age channel a demonic sound with the Sabbath- and Cathedral-influenced riffs employed on the opening to “Burden of Empire.” Certainly, any fan of current bands like FORESEEN and Power Trip will dig. This is no coincidence, as Iron Age’s members have spent time in Eternal Champion, Mammoth Grinder, Hatred Surge, and others.
BLU-RAY / DVD
Nekromantix | “3 Decades of Darkle” | MVD
Just in time for Halloween, Nekromantix give the drooling hordes a radiant 4K Blu-ray celebrating their demonic stroll through the last 30 years. Beginning in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1989, Kim Nekroman and his coffin upright bass have soared through nine LPs. The concert featured in “3 Decades of Darkle” was filmed in 2019 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California, and the film is directed by Vicente Cordero, writer and director of 2019’s “Room 37: The Mysterious Death of Johnny Thunders” alongside his brother, Fernando Cordero Caballero.
MVD issues this limited-edition package boasting exclusive interviews and rare photos on Oct. 29. The stunning eight-panel Digipak will include a DVD, audio CD, and a digital version of the set, in which Nekromantix rip through beloved, classic psychobilly songs like “Struck By a Wrecking Ball,” “Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Gargoyles Over Copenhagen,” “Subcultural Girl,” “Brought Back To Life,” “Horny in a Hearse,” “Haunted Cathouse,” and “Who Killed the Cheerleader?”