EPs

Booze & Glory: Reggae Sessions Vol. 1: Pirates Press
March 2

Now comprised of an international team of members, the former London-based crew Booze & Glory embrace a cleaner sound these days. But in the sessions from their prior LP, 2007’s Chapter IV, remaining founders Liam and Mark recruited The Londonians from the U.K. and Vespa from Poland to crank out reggae versions of three crowd favorites plucked from their catalog. Reggae Sessions Vol. 1 is three 45s with a mono and stereo version of each track, packed in 1000 polyvinyl bags for the standard version or 1000 slipcases for the deluxe version.

Giuda: Rock ‘N’ Roll Music: Rise Above Records
March 30

Italy’s golden boys, adorned in sweat and vigor, are ready to feed all of your glam needs. Whether you’re craving a soundtrack for the roller rink or just need an excuse to wear jorts, Giuda have come to inject unabashed catchy pop rock into your life. After three LPs and six EPs, this two-track banger is unleashed from Rise Above. That move is a nice nod toward seeing them catapult from small streetpunk circles into the ‘70s rock crowd. Clap your hands and strut that stuff on 300 purple, 300 fluorescent green, 200 lime green, 100 red trim, or 330 black vinyl units.

Kavyk: Futility Worship: Self-released
Jan. 10

Almost three years to the day, the black metal quartet from Hammond, Louisiana, submit their second release, Futility Worship, featuring their third and fourth tracks, coming in at four and seven minutes respectively. This second two-track EP—following 2015’s Hymns and Hollow Words—kicks forward with a Louisiana sludge influence. Spicing up the usual USBM formula, Kavyk—comprised of members from Suspended Obscurity, Celestial Mechanics, Withering Light, Legions Of Hoar Frost, and In Medias Res—triumph over a unique blackened sludge fest compacted in 11 minutes. Recorded by profound knob-turner, David Troia—who has worked with Down, Warbeast, Gristnam, Arson Anthem, and Haarp—at Balance Productions in Mandeville, Louisiana, the caustic spasms and slicing riffs illustrate isolation and morose atmospheres. The pulsating underbelly is beefy, yet the music homes in on melodic lines that claw at that withered, ashen organ trapped in your ribs.

Peel: Never Not Dead: Self-released
April 27

Beginning in 2016 with friends Pete Mueller and Kyle Hickey splitting guitar and vocal duties, Peel were joined by Dave Stach of Dethbeds on bass and Jake Anderson of Future Monarchs on drums. Itching to produce, Peel spat out two handsome full-lengths, Marlboro Country in 2016 and Goes Bananas—get it?—in 2017. The songwriting leaped bounds. A palpable hunger was frothing.

Now, it’s 2018, and Peel reveal Never Not Dead. Emanating from Chicago’s streets is the oozy, greasy rock ‘n’ roll explosion, feeding on contemporaries like Lantern, The Booze, Giuda, and Spiders and classics like Dead Boys, MC5, New York Dolls, and Jook. Peel have zero inhibitions about their party tunes, which embrace poppy hooks and glam stomps. Mixing classic rock with the grit of the ‘60s—The Stones and The Who—Peel heat up infectious rock on the first three tracks, then recede slightly on the last two, almost with a Lucero vibe—at least, when Lucero speed it up. The EP was recorded at Jamdek Recording Studio, and Peel celebrated its release with a party at Schubas Tavern in Chicago on April 29.

Pulver: Pulver: Gates Of Hell Records
April 27

Spaced-out cosmic kick combusts on Pulver’s ‘70s fuzz-rock with Lemmy-loving vocals. Five Germans join forces to pound through three tracks of unpolished NWOBHM-leaning rock on this self-titled EP. Thirteen minutes allow you enough time to catch the bite of Pulver as they present mid-tempo swingers like “Twilight Magic” and the devilishly seductive rager, “Howl.” The drumming shines with jazz-like time changes, echoing early Sabbath and moving onto Maiden and Priest on “Salvation,” influences that converge to showcase boisterous talent without being suffocated by overproduction. Limited to 400 units of black vinyl, complete with lyrics insert and download code. Art by Karmazid.

Take Offense: Tensions On High: Flatspot Records

March 30

Our favorite Suicidal Tendencies’ crown inheritors, Take Offense, give us another lethal dose of hardcore. The Chula Vista band bring another EP of scorching, thrashing crossover. Tensions On High is their most realized sound to date without shedding what made us flock to them years ago. They stepped out just enough from the Suicidal Tendencies shadow while not separating too far. These five tracks burst with energy, relying on dual tone vocals, gang chants, searing leads, climbing riffs, and divebombs like No Mercy and Excel did it. Out on red cassette.

Ultra Sect: War of the Roses: LSM Records / Contra Records
Feb. 23

We had to say goodbye to Suede Razors, but luckily, from Bryan Zimmerman and Eric Davenport, along with Ian Williamson of Those Unknown, Ultra Sect were born. Still repping both sides of the Bay—San Francisco and Oakland—Ultra Sect switch gears and add a strong backbeat and chunky crunch to their stripped-down sound. Calling from the influences of British, ‘80s American, and French Oi!, Ultra Sect plant three brilliant bovver anthems. Available via LSM Records and Pirates Press in the U.S.—150 on black for the North American Version, and 350 clear with red and blue splatter for the European version—and via Contra Records in Europe on 150 black or 350 clear with aqua blue and ox splatter.

SPLITS

Black Mare / Offret: Alone Among Mirrors: Dark Operative

March 2

L.A.’s Black Mare cap their last few years of LPs and singles with a two-song split alongside Russia’s Offret. Their track, “Woman the Throne,” is technically metal in structure and tone, but fans of many genres should be able to accept this if they appreciate moody, dark music—dark, but not goth. As a complement, the music is cold, stagnant, and chilling, but not like TOOL who lean more pop than this. The song is tough to nail down: a hollow trek that never breaks, it just perpetually builds. Similar bands, if you need the comparison, would be King Woman, Insect Ark, and Big Brave. The track rumbles with the bass tuned low and sedating drums, while the vocals meander through a haunting lull. It never bursts into heavy distortion, just six minutes of melancholy drifting in ethereal beauty.

Offret complement Black Mare with their own six minutes. Reflecting with “We Are Waiting,” they skate through three minutes of ambience until a bass guitar fragments the track before descending into a swirl of jarring violin and saxophone. This is mysterious, minimalistic gold.

Ghoul / Ill Bill: Split 7”: Tankcrimes
May 11

Who the hell saw this coming? While an extremely pleasant surprise, at first take, this pairing seems odd. But if you are familiar with Ill Bill, you know he loves his metal. From his radio show, Merciless, to his song titles and many lyrics referencing metal and hardcore, The Cult Leader has never hidden his ardent affection for the devil’s music and continuously embeds nods to it in his hip hop. Bill is the perfect match for the mutants from Creepsylvania. Ill Bill gives an exclusive with Non Phixion and Heavy Metal Kings cohort Goretex on “Pentagram,” which has a nefarious conspiracy sample to open and is a fazed-out, eerie synth track à la “Suspiria”-era Goblin with a slow, hypnotic beat. Ghoul crush with their track, “Splatterthrash 2: Thrash Damage,” a fast blend of death and thrash metal. Stoked to know that these aren’t toss-away tracks and were made for this release. Tankcrimes hook it up with 200 on blue and red splatter; 250 on half blue, half red; 550 on blood red; and 1000 on silver.

Ordeals / Daethorn: Split Tape: Blood Harvest Records / Helter Skelter Productions

April 20

Ordeals play death metal and excel at it. Ordeals’ components merge to ravage through two tracks here, plus an intro and an outro. It’s blistering, bodacious death metal. From New York City, the band surprisingly only have a single prior EP, but here, they mesh and thrash with a bulky, full sound à la Massacre, Asphyx, and Grave. Ordeals capture a vicious sound on this split, complex but not tech-bravado. Just kickass.

Daethorn match kits and gits—and guts! Speed dominates their side with a pulverizing command. Amazingly, this is a one-man French band formed in 1997, reemerging after simply a debut demo and a split tape in 2002. A slimmer production route personifies the black metal blast beats and atmospheric guitar cloud. The swing into mid-tempo is a welcome change halfway through track one, “Pervasive Corruption.” Bold, grand black metal eschewing the tinny sparse aesthetics, Daethorn cements his authority here.

REISSUES

Count Raven: Destruction of the Void and Storm Warning: Metal Blade Records
April 27

The Swedish lords of haunting doom finally see justified represses of two classics, 1990’s Storm Warning and 1992’s Destruction of the Void. These were the first two albums from the band. You can hear the group getting settled while commanding attention. On Storm Warning, out of print since 2006, then vocalist Christian Linderson beckons warnings from the depths of Styx with his fiery brand. The guitar tone and rumbling bass are doom perfection on this LP. Chugging riffs and rolling drums conquer with glorious splendor. Linderson would part after this record, soon to bellow for Saint Vitus, Lord Vicar, and Goatess. He is pure legend. Tracks “Inam Naudemina” and “True Revelation” kick the LP off in staggering fashion.

Count Raven charged forth as a trio, and Destruction of the Void was released, though never on vinyl. Dan Fondelius—whose solos on Destruction of the Void are mesmerizing—filled the slot for guitar, vocals, and keyboard. His voice is a dead ringer for Ozzy’s zenith vocals. The rhythm section of bassist Tommy Eriksson and drummer Christer Pettersson embraced Master of Reality on Quaaludes—wait, that’s redundant—but slower, with better—‘90s—production and a thicker low end. Oh, those bass pedals! When the boys step into gear, though, the speed is matched by power. Count Raven were pioneers, and here, they shine. Celebrate the unveiling of two mighty Sabbathian mammoths.

The Destruction of the Void gatefold double-LP is available on 180-gram black vinyl; 500 on burnt sienna and orange marbled; 300 on orange and red marbled; 200 on clear and pastel rose marbled; and 200 on dark maroon marbled.

The Storm Warning gatefold double-LP is available on 180-gram black vinyl; 500 on clear and rusty brown marbled; 300 on orange and brown marbled; 200 on clear and salmon pink marbled; and 200 on clear and yellow ochre marbled.

Deicide: Scars of the Crucifix and The Stench of Redemption: Earache Records
May 11

After 15 years of malevolent existence, in 2004, Deicide left their only-known label, Roadrunner, and found a new home on Earache Records—home of Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Napalm Death, and ENT. The same year, Deicide reemerged to expel Scars of the Crucifix. Death metal was trying to find itself after the lost ‘90s, and with nu-metal reigning, some bands were stumped about how to progress. Deicide knew to return to their Mecca, their Jerusalem: the legendary Morrisound Recording studio in Temple Terrace, Florida. The album saw Deicide reinvigorated with spewing vitriol on twisted grind-death classics like “Go Now Your Lord Is Dead,” “When Heaven Burns,” and “Fuck Your God.” Available on blood red vinyl, limited to 100 pieces; red splatter on clear; gold; and black

The Stench of Redemption followed in 2006. Vocalist and bassist Glen Benton, transcending the myth of Satanism, continued surpassing any meek “atheist” or “agnostic” moniker with a full-on confrontation of and assault on Christianity. Deicide’s arsenal of Steve Asheim’s blast beats accompanying staunch and taut riffing from Ralph Santolla and Jack Owen is sheer desire. As brilliant and brutal as any of their catalog, The Stench of Redemption was menacing and calibrated, anchored by a thickness their riffs hadn’t felt yet. Add some surprising melody in the guitars for a stand-out album.
Available on orange vinyl, limited to 100 pieces; ice blue splatter on clear; gold; and black.

SCREAM: NMC 17: Southern Lord
April 27

This record is a treasure. And with how exquisitely Southern Lord handled their Brotherhood, Uniform Choice, and Poison Idea reissues, there is no doubt that this will be a fine piece of wax. The sound is brilliant, in the literal sense: full and vibrant. For 1988, this is spectacular. Punks playing hardcore with some rock leanings, but not the DYS and Gang Green or Necros and T.S.O.L. route. SCREAM exposed dudes who could play as well as any seasoned rock musician. The leads are tasteful, never done simply to elicit fans’ lauding.

Oddly, No More Censorship was released originally on the reggae label, RAS, unlike SCREAM’s first three LPs on Dischord. Intentional or not, you can’t deny the Bad Brains influence, especially hints of H.R. in the vocals—in an anachronistic bend, Peter Stahl’s vocals and the music are eerily similar to Fireburn and Israel Joseph I. But the move showed growth. Another new aspect, something undeniable and unavoidable, is that this was also Dave Grohl’s first record with the band.

Here, the well-established SCREAM added flavor to charged punk riffs, like later-era Effigies, Bad Religion, and Marginal Man. Political and confrontational while still potent. As many punks in 1988 sought arty avenues, this is still fast albeit with clean vocals. The opening songs adhere to this paradigm until track six, “Dreams,” which reveals a lighter side.

The second side, with the title track and “It’s the Time” back to back, ventures into bluesy rock swagger. While the slower songs’ slip into cerebral over visceral is jarring, the subject matter never wades in the clichés of hookups and rock ‘n’ roll good times. And then, “Fucked Without a Kiss” comes racing back with stunning drumming and buzzed guitars. Having released four LPs in five years, SCREAM were bound to explore new sounds. Grohl’s drumming is impressive, admittedly, while Franz Stahl and Robert Lee Davidson offer playful and punchy guitars. A standout is Skeeter Thompson’s bass work, which is stern with flavor.

Southern Lord is unfettered in their new designs and packaging, reimagining the entire product from scratch. NMC 17 is available with new liner notes and photographs as a CD or on silver vinyl.

From the liner notes:


“The reissue is dedicated to the influential photographer, Naomi Petersen. […] Naomi found the original tapes gathering dust and passed them onto Pete Stahl before they perished. SCREAM saw this as a second chance to put the record out. The way they always wanted. Subsequently, Southern Lord had the tapes baked and prepped for a remix at Dave Grohl’s 606 Studio.”

“There is another side to the story of this album, of course, and deep-rooted reasons for bringing it to life again. As Pete Stahl explains, ‘This record was written and recorded during Reagan’s presidency. U.S. foreign policy was being disruptive in Central and Latin America, Iran-Contra… Art and music was being censored. Ed Meese, Ronald’s Attorney General, was appointed to do a report on the effect of pornography on society. Hearings were held in Congress about lyrics and albums, and warnings were placed on album covers. One bitter example being Dead Kennedys, who were taken to court over the Frankenchrist album’s Giger poster. SCREAM raised money to help in the Dead Kennedys’ court battle and, more widely, participated in benefits to raise money to fight this oppression. So much of what was going on then is still so relevant today. History repeats.’”

“Franz Stahl continues, ‘Activism and artivism was always very much a part of the SCREAM vernacular and a driving force behind the band’s music and attitude in the ‘80s. As SCREAM brought the re-envisioned remix to the contemporary, they also wanted the new artwork to parallel those ideas and update it to the present. Inspired by Ai Weiwei, the Chinese contemporary artist and activist, famously known for his own serious struggles with censorship. The CD and vinyl covers are each unique, but both were created in the spirit of one of Weiwei’s own exhibits, and our idea, limiting or censoring information. Leaving only an acronym for the original title and a number for the year we did the remix.’”

RARITIES

Napalm Death: Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs: Century Media
April 20

You know the name. Punk-hardcore-death-grind champions who repeatedly redefined U.K. hardcore and metal for 35 years, the Birmingham legends have produced some of their best material with their last four to five records. Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs gathers some B-sides, unreleased tracks, and covers from the past 10 years onto two LPS or CDs bursting with blast beats and death growls, 31 songs in over 90 minutes. Prepare to indulge in two B-sides and imports from 2005’s The Code Is Red…Long Live the Code; three from 2006’s Smear Campaign; three from 2009’s Time Waits for No Slave; four from 2012’s Utilitarian; and six from 2015’s Apex Predator – Easy Meat.

Also included are their 2010 Decibel Magazine flexi track, “Legacy Was Yesterday”; their cut from the 2011 Respect Your Roots Worldwide comp, “Lifeline”; and the B-side from their 2011 Analysis Paralysis EP, “Youth Offender.” You’ll also find tracks from their splits with Melvins, Converge, Heaven Shall Burn, Voivod, and Melt Banana and covers of Gepopel, Cardiacs, G-ANX, Gauze, Sacrilege, and Despair. Killer songwriting and production from these true behemoths of metal gives back to the fans on gatefold double-LP on translucent red.

COMPS

Various Artists: Veritahroja – Suomipunkin Salatut Sävelet 1979–1983 (Bloodstains – Rare Finnish Punk 1979–1983): Svart Records
March 30

Few things delight a record collector more than a label unearthing a scene’s worth of music. Svart Records, usually known for cosmic psych rock and thunderous doom, presents a trove of what is advertised: rare Finnish punk recorded between 1979 and 1983. Rattus kicks off the LP, and that’s about as well-known as these bands get. Unfettered by any expectations, the 15 bands here range in sound, speed, and signature. Last year, Svart began this push with 2017’s Kuoleman Tappaneet, a compilation of “self-published” punk joints from Finns. But here, on the sequel, we get buried, forgotten tracks. Liner note author Juho Hänninen urges, for those who want to read “a more detailed history on labels and bands, I direct you to my article in MRR #406 (pages 54–55).” 

Raw and captivating, there is no production quality sacrificed for the sake of snagging an additional track. Listening to Veritahroja is a blast. Fresh punk energy from a fertile scene, just 35-plus years prior. Less impactful Stateside but just as explosive and vital as any CBGB’s comp or California collective. This comp challenges listeners to yawn, to pretend they wouldn’t hop in a DeLorean to snag a peek of these bands live. The second track by Hurskas is needle-sharp and pogoing like X-Ray Spex, 999, and The Damned. On the fourth track, Woude sound like they are adjacent to early Sham 69 or Angelic Upstarts or Blitz on some U.K. comp.

The liner notes for the release dwarf The Iliad; the passion and adolescent excitement from Hänninen is tangible. He places each track into context while salivating and fawning. Veritahroja gorges on a plethora of energy, passion, and motivation. There is myriad information and raucous rebellion to cultivate here for any fan of music: punk, Oi!, hardcore, or otherwise. It’s challenging to highlight the stand-out tracks, as each one is a banger. It feels wrong to omit any single song. Sabostaasi and The Rash are darker, harsher Oi! type bands who clamor with urgency. AIV, Rappio, and Outo Elämä rock hard on the second side, syphoning the charge of the era’s U.K. scene while infusing unique slants of the Finnish social landscape. In fact, Ratsia literally translate SLF’s “Alternative Ulster.” This is a no-brainer. The only disappointing part of this comp is not having the space to elaborate on each individual track.

Various Artists: We All Want Our Time in Hell Samhain Tribute: Corpse Flower Records
May 4

Here we have a tribute to Danzig’s much beloved missing link between Misfits and Danzig. Samhain were the bastard child. Lacking the swagger and polish necessary for major appeal and the rock ‘n’ roll kitsch of the Misfits, Samhain were for the diehards. They were violent, brash, and punishing, boasting takes on real-life murder and horror. Named for the Gaelic or pagan autumn harvest, the devil’s favorite band gave the ghouls three albums and an EP. The demonic harmonics of Glenn, bassist Eerie Von, and drummer Steve Zing—also from Lodi, New Jersey—were spawned in 1983. The next year, they added former Minor Threat guitarist Lyle Preslar, but by the completion of 1984 debut Initium, it was Pete “Damien” Marshall on guitars, and Zing was later replaced by London May. Finally, guitars were played by John Christ on 1990’s Final Descent, which also featured the blonde Chuck Biscuits of D.O.A., Black Flag, Danzig, and Social Distortion drumming on one track. Samhain soon became Danzig after Rick Rubin became interested—but wanted a more marketable band—but in that flash of hellfire, four years garnered some blistering, blusterous punk.

So, now, in 2018, some of metal’s most sinister names banded together to form legion and rehash Danzig’s gnarly brainchild. Midnight slay the classic “Mother of Mercy.” Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust takes on “Night Chill.” Ghoul turn in an echo-drenched slow burner in “Macabre.” Acid Witch comb samples and sludge on “Halloween II.” Brain Tentacles, the sax-jazz-metal titans featuring Bruce Lamont of Yakuza and Dave Witte on drums, attack “Human Pony Girl.” Noise-mongers Child Bite knock out “Unbridled.” Shed The Skin take on “Kiss of Steel,” then, their guitarist Matt Sorg returns in Ringworm to cover “Black Dream,” keeping it stripped down and mean with a raw, live sound. Human Furnace’s screaming is bestial and visceral. Fast as all hell, the track is a definite highlight.

Mastered by James Plotkin of O.L.D., Scorn, Khanate, Khlyst, and more, We All Want Our Time in Hell will be limited to 300 copies in three color variants: black, white, and orange.

Full Track Listing:
1. Night Chill – Joel Grind
2. Mother of Mercy – Midnight
3. In My Grip – Nil Eye
4. Black Dream – Ringworm
5. Macabre – Ghoul
6. Halloween II – Acid Witch
7. The Howl – Multicult
8. The Shift – Like Rats
9. Kiss of Steel – Shed The Skin
10. I Am Misery – Immortal Bird
11. Unbridled – Child Bite
12. Human Pony Girl – Brain Tentacles
13. Archangel – Ritual Howls

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