Featured Release Roundup: July 11, 2019

Droid’s Blood: Be Free 12” (Drunken Sailor) Longtime Sorry State fans might recognize Droid’s Blood as the subtitle of the second Broken Prayer album that we released back in 2015, and indeed Droid’s Blood features two former members of Broken Prayer and continues to develop BP’s unique hybrid of synth-punk, new wave, post-punk, and hardcore. If I had to narrow down Sorry State’s 100-ish releases to my five favorite, Broken Prayer’s Misanthropocentric would be one of them, and Be Free is just as good or better. I’d be hard-pressed to even list everything I love about this band because I listen to them all the time and every time I find something new that blows my mind. Let’s start, though, with Scott Plant’s incredible lyrics, which have grown more cryptic as of late but remain as vivid and as thought-provoking as they ever were. Droid’s Blood have a great hardcore band’s gift for building and releasing tension by throttling the speed and density, but the extra layer of synth gives them even more dynamic range and makes the freakout parts a heady swirl of melody and timbre. Yet, despite how dense, how aggressive, and how chaotic it can sound, you’ll walk away from Be Free with at least a few earworm bits following you around. (Every time I listen to this record I repeat “look at the shape of the star child’s skull” over and over to myself.) If you’re familiar with Broken Prayer, hopefully you’ve already picked up Be Free, but if you haven’t, I can’t recommend this record enough. Droid’s Blood are without a doubt one of the most unique, challenging, creative, and important bands in punk rock right now.

Lifelock: 2018 EP 7” (Brain Solvent Propaganda) Demo-on-7” from this d-beat band out of Singapore. I suspect that all but a few hundred (maybe even a couple thousand) members of the earth’s population can dismiss Lifelock as straightforward d-beat, but I think they have an interesting thing going on. The riffs and song structures owe a great deal to Discharge, to the point where you can usually figure out which Discharge track they based any given song on. However, the production is more in the vein of Disorder or Confuse. The bass carries the riff while the guitar is an unbroken wall of distortion. I can’t even tell what the guitar player is playing until they rip into a solo, at which point it becomes barely more discernible. While it’s not dissimilar to certain eras of Disclose, I still don’t walk away from this EP thinking “I’ve heard this exact thing a million times before.” Furthermore, the energy level is high, and the EP doesn’t have an ounce of fat. Recommended for the d-beat lifer.

Languid: Submission Is the Only Freedom 12” (Brain Solvent Propaganda) Latest EP from this Canadian d-beat band. Apparently they’re a Dischange worship band, but to be honest I can’t recall ever listening to Dischange in my life, so I’m not the person to judge how successful they are at that part of their mission. What I can tell you, however, is that this is some raging and heavy d-beat crust. If the Lifelock EP that Brain Solvent Propaganda also recently released is all about the treble, then this Languid LP is all about the bass. The guitars are ridiculously heavy. The guitar sound reminds me of Celtic Frost’s heaviest moments because it has the dull scrape of a ship running aground. Aside from that notable aspect of the band’s sound, this is raging but straightforward d-beat that I can’t imagine that any existing fans of the Brain Solvent Propaganda label won’t love.

Yleiset Syyt: S/T 7” (Open Up and Bleed) 6-song 7” from this band from Helsinki, Finland. Discogs says they had an LP released in 2017, but this is the first I’ve heard them. This is one of those records that, right when I saw the cover art, I knew I would love, and I was not disappointed. Yleiset Syyt play fast, mean, and catchy hardcore that fits in well with their country’s tradition of producing great hardcore bands. Their songs range from blistering fast burners like “Sininen Hekuma,” whose million roll a minute drumming reminds me of Jerry’s Kids, to catchier, street punk-y songs like “Hyväntekijä,” which would be a standout even on Appendix record, and I consider that band the undisputed masters of this style. The production is rather polished compared to US bands who play in a similar style, but rather than making the music sound bland, it just better highlights the craziness of the drumming and the subtlety of the (excellent) guitar work. There’s nothing like being blown away by a 6-song hardcore 7” by a band you’ve never heard of, and I’m stoked that’s still happening in 2019.

Slaughter: Nocturnal Hell 7” (Urban Grandier) Official reissue of the first EP from this legendary Canadian metal band. According to the label’s description, Nocturnal Hell was one of the first death metal records to appear on vinyl, but to my ears it’s not as singular as the pioneering records by bands like Possessed and Death that would come out thereafter; which isn’t a comment on the record’s quality, just a note that it’s still apparent here which ingredients go in the death metal stew: thrash metal, early black metal, and hardcore punk. I hear bits that remind me of Celtic Frost, GBH, and DRI, bringing together the most evil and sinister-sounding elements of all of those bands’ sounds. This is a record you should know if you’re interested in the history of death metal, but even without the historical context this is a ripper.

Malhavoc: Age of the Dark Renaissance 12” (Urban Grandier) Vinyl reissue of the 1986 demo by this cult Canadian metal band. Interestingly, Discogs notes that Malhavoc began “as a straightforward thrash band in 1983, […] moving toward playing industrial metal by the late 1980s.” I’ll take their word on the latter, but Age of the Dark Renaissance is anything but straightforward thrash. Malhavoc is unique in that they seem influenced as much by the cult underground metal of the period as the spacey, spooky sounds of classic horror movie soundtracks. It’s not uncommon to hear a spooky intro on an old metal album, but on Age of the Dark Renaissance these bits make up a big portion of the record’s running time and don’t feel like intros or transitions, but fully-developed pieces with just as much merit at the metal they sit alongside. That metal is raw, sinister and brutal, betraying the influence of bands like Hellhammer and Bathory, but those songs are also veined with more complex, proggy rhythms that remind me of Voivod. As if that weren’t enough, Malhavoc is also very adept at dropping into an anthemic chug worthy of an early Metallica record. It all adds up to a unique and exciting metal record. Age of the Dark Renaissance also has killer packaging and the extensive liner notes I love, making this a worthy purchase for any lover of cult 80s metal.

Cereal Killer: The Beginning & End of Cereal Killer 12” (Drunken Sailor) Australia’s Cereal Killer has been kicking around for a few years now, most notably producing a vinyl collection of demos on Neck Chop and Anti-Fade. Now they’re back with their first 12” vinyl. While Cereal Killer features members of bands like Ausmuteants and Wet Blankets, they’re very much a hardcore band. However, they take most of their inspiration from bands on the more punk end of the hardcore spectrum… I’m thinking Circle Jerks, Zero Boys, Minor Threat, and the like. The riffs are catchy and straightforward, but the drumming is what takes them over the top. Like Jeff Nelson or Lucky Lehrer, Cereal Killer’s drummer is all about dramatic accents and tight, technical fills that, rather than weighing the songs down with show-off moves, elevate them from solid punk tunes to jump-out-of-your-seat blasts of excitement. This is timeless hardcore punk that would have stood out in the 80s or at the height of the No Way Records era, moments when this style was much more in vogue. Even if Cereal Killer isn’t quite in step with the zeitgeist, I’m happy to throw this on in the here and now.

Curleys: S/T 7” (Total Punk) 6-song debut EP from this Gainesville band on Total Punk Records. I don’t associate Total Punk with the 6-song 7” EP format, but this record combines a lot of my favorite aspects of garage-punk and US-style hardcore into a nasty little ripper. The label’s description mentions Wimpy-era Queers, and that’s also the first comparison that jumped to my mind when I heard this record thanks to the rawness and the snot factor. However, Curleys have more USHC in their DNA than the Queers did, also reminding me of punky, first-generation hardcore like the Teen Idles or the early Necros. Like most Total Punk singles it’s over before you know what hit you, which only makes you want to go back for more.

All New Arrivals

Kaleidoscope: After the Futures 12" (Toxic State)
Genetic Control: First Impressions 12" (Return to Analog)
Lifelock: 2018 EP 7" (Brain Solvent Propaganda)
Languid: Submission Is the Only Freedom 12" (Brain Solvent Propaganda)
Cereal Killer: The Beginning & End of Cereal Killer 12" (Drunken Sailor)
Droids Blood: Be Free 12" (Drunken Sailor)
Yleiset Syyt: S/T 7" (Svart)
Outo / The Clay: Split 12" (Limited Punk Releases)
Possessed: Revelations of Oblivion 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Crow: S/T 12" (Crowmaniax)
NOFX: Maximumrocknroll 12" (Mystic)
Malhavoc: Age of the Dark Renaissance 12" (Ugly Pop)
Slaughter: Nocturnal Hell 7" (Ugly Pop)
Curleys: S/T 7" (Total Punk)
UV Race: Made in China 12" (new)
Golden Pelicans: Grinding for Gruel 12" (Aarght)
Coloured Balls: Won't You Make Up Your Mind 7" (Just Add Water)
Coloured Balls: Flash 7" (Just Add Water)
Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavillion 12" (Domino)
Sufjan Stevens: Love Yourself / With My Whole Heart 7" (Asthmatic Kitty)
David Bowie: DJ 7" (Parlophone)
David Bowie: The Mercury Demos 12" (Parlophone)
Kriegshog: Paint It Black / White Out 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Asid: Pathetic Flesh 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Bad Breeding: Exiled 12" (Iron Lung)
Cyberplasm: The Psychic Hologram 12" (Iron Lung)
Malcria: El Reino De Lo Falso 12" (Iron Lung)
Big Hog: World's Greatest Hits cassette (self-released)
Ydintuho / Ydinaseeton Pohjola: Split 7" (Nightstick Justice)
Kidnapped: Collected Works 2017-2019 12" (Redscroll)
The Moor: S/T cassette (Doomed To Extinction)
Zygome / Kaltbruching Acideath: Split 12" (Doomed To Extinction)
Various: Soviet Freakout: Volume One cassette (self-released_
The Rats: In a Desperate Red 12" (Mississippi)
Dead Moon: Defiance 12" (Mississippi)
Depressor: Hell Storms Over Earth 12" (Sentient Ruin)
Negativa: 03 12" (Sentient Ruin)
Panopticon: The Crescendo of Dusk 12" (Bindune)
Abbath: Outstrider 12" (Season of Mist)
Deathspell Omega: The Synarchy of Molten Bones 12" (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
Verwoed: De Val 12" (Sentient Ruin)
Deathspell Omega: The Furnaces of Palingenesia 12" (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
Deathspell Omega: Manifestations 2002 12" (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
Anderson.Paak: Ventura 12" (Aftermath)
The Black Keys: Let's Rock 12" (Fat Possum)


Aburadako: S/T 7" (Crowmaniax)
The Swankys: This Is My Lifestyle 7" (Crowmaniax)
Ghoul: Jerusalm 7" (Crowmaniax)
Rikk Agnew: All By Myself 12" (Frontier)
Lebenden Toten: Mind Parasites 12" (Overthrow)
Project X: Straight Edge Revenge 7" (Bridge 9)
Antidote: Thou Shalt Not Kill 7" (Bridge 9)
Swankys: Never Can Eat Swank Dinner 12" (Rat)
Power Trip: Opening Fire: 2008-2014 12" (Dark Operative)
Danzig: S/T 12" (London)
Attitude Adjustment: American Paranoia 12" (Taang!)
Subculture: I Heard a Scream 12" (Puke N Vomit)
Micro Edge: '83 Demo 12" (Ugly Pop)
Raw Power: '83 Demo 12" (Ugly Pop)
Plasticheads: Nowhere to Run 12" (Ugly Pop)
Chrome Skulls: The Metal Skull 7" (Vanilla Box)
AFI: Black Sails in the Sunset 12" (Nitro)
Alice in Chains: MTV Unplugged 2x12" (Music On Vinyl)
Apparat: LP5 12" (Mute)
Bad Brains: I Against I 12" (SST)
Coheed + Cambria: Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume One 12" (Columbia)
Darkthrone: A Blaze in the Northern Sky 12" (Peaceville)
Dead Kennedys: Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death 12" (Manifesto)
DJ Shadow: Endtroducing 2x12" (Mowax)
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours 12" (Reprise)
Foo Fighters: S/T 12" (Roswell)
High on Fire: Electric Messiah 12" (Entertainment One)
Iron Maiden: Number Of The Beast 12" (Sanctuary)
J Cole: 2014 Forest Hills Drive 12" (Roc Nation)
John Mayer: Room for Squares 12" (Columbia)
Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour 12" (MCA)
Kanye West: Late Registration 12" (Roc-A-Fella)
King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King 12" (Inner Knot)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Fishing for Fishies 12" (Flightless)
Lord Huron: Strange Trails 12" (I Am Sound)
Metallica: Kill ‘Em All 12" (Blackened)
Metallica: Ride the Lightning 12" (Blackened)
Misfits: Collection 12" (Caroline)
Misfits: Collection II 12" (Caroline)
Motorhead: Ace of Spades 12" (Sanctuary)
Mumford & Sons: Delta 12" (Glassnote)
Nirvana: In Utero 12" (DGC)
Nirvana: Nevermind 12" (DGC)
Notorious B.I.G.: Life After Death 3x12" (Bad Boy)
Notorious B.I.G.: Ready to Die 2x12" (Rhino)
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody OST 12" (Hollywood)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik 12" (Warner Bros)
Social Distortion: S/T 12" (Music On Vinyl)
The Black Keys: El Camino 12" (Fat Possum)
The Cure: Disintegration 2x12" (Rhino)
The Replacements: Tim 12" (Rhino)
Weezer: Blue Album 12" (Geffen)
Soundgarden: Superunknown 12" (A&M)
Soundgarden: Down on the Upside 12" (A&M)
Etta James: At Last 12" (WaxTime)
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain 12" (Westbound)
Funkadelic: S/T 12" (Westbound)
Dead Moon: Strange Pray Tell 12" (Mississippi)
Dead Moon: Trash and Burn 12" (Mississippi)
Dead Moon: In The Graveyard 12" (Mississippi)
Dead Moon: Unknown Passage 12" (Mississippi)
Poison Idea: Feel the Darkness 12" (TKO)
Poison Idea: Legacy of Disfunction OST 12" (American Leather)
Watain: Sworn to the Dark 12" (Season of Mist)
Craft: Terror Propaganda 12" (Season of Mist)
Deathspell Omega: Kenose 12" (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
Gaahls Wyrd: GastiR - Ghosts Invited 12" (Season of Mist)
Abbath: S/T 12" (Season of Mist)
Constant Mongrel: Living In Excellence 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Crisis: Kollectiv 2x12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Disclose: Tragedy 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Disclose: Yesterday's Fairytale, Tomorrow's Nightmare 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Enzyme: Howling Mind 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Mau Maus: Society's Rejects 12" (Sealed)
Rata Negra: Oído Absoluto 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Rixe: Collection 12" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Screaming Sneakers: Marching Orders 7" (Euro Import)
Sial: Binasa 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)
The Execute: A-Z 7" (Euro Import)
TSOL: Dance with Me 12" (DINK)
Rat Cage: Blood On Your Boots 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)

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