Featured Release Roundup: November 21, 2019
Bombardement: S/T 12” (Symphony of Destruction) Debut vinyl from this French d-beat band. Bombardement takes a lot of inspiration from Discharge, as do a lot of bands these days. However, Bombardement doesn’t sound like many other modern d-beat bands. First, the recording is not self-consciously raw. This 12” has a big, clear, and modern sound that is heavy and thick without sounding polished or anything like stadium crust. Second, Bombardement seems to borrow more heavily from the Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing era of Discharge than the earlier singles and Why? MLP. Just listen to the track “Greed Prevails.” The main riff is a descendent of “Drunk With Power,” which is a strange Discharge track in how the riff seems to float rather than rip, rage, or crush, and Bombardement accentuates that quality with an excellent, lengthy guitar solo section in the middle. While I love the moments on this record that feel stretched out, Bombardement can also write a grade A ripping d-beat track, as evidenced by “Wheel of Destruction” and “The Brink of Collapse.” While much of the d-beat world’s attention seems focused on releases that are very noisy and/or psychedelic, Bombardement explores a whole different corner of the Discharge aesthetic here and, in the process, delivers a crushing record.
Warhead: Cry of Truth 7” (Break the Records) Reissue of this all-time Japanese hardcore classic, originally released way back in 1991. Basically, if you like Japanese hardcore of any stripe you should own this record. Cry of Truth was one of the early records I discovered as I started digging deeper into the Japanese hardcore scene. I love how it combines the almost melodic riffing and gang vocals of early Death Side with a sound that’s faster, looser, rawer, and more straightforwardly punk. The main riff for “Fight with No Fear” is an all-time classic, and “You in Corruption” is another standout with its epic chorus (it’s just two voices yelling “ugh!” (or maybe “yeah!”?) at one another in the two stereo channels), ripping guitar lead, and dramatic ending. The visual aesthetic is also perfect, a look that everyone wants to achieve and so few do. While these tracks appeared on the Warhead collection LP on 540 a few years back, I’m happy to see this back on the shelves with its brilliant original presentation.
Disclose: Nightmare or Reality 12” (La Vida Es Un Mus) I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how great Disclose is, or to convince you that La Vida Es Un Mus is doing the lord’s work by bringing another of their records back into print. The cult of Disclose is strong, and for good reason. Despite being more or less ignored in their time, they’ve become one of the most influential bands on 2010s punk. Nightmare or Reality (like the other two LPs that LVEUM has reissued) is a highlight of the band’s discography, coming at the tail end of what most people would consider their classic era. While Disclose had been releasing music since the early 90s, their final several years (1999 or so to 2004) were productive. Not only were releases coming out steadily, the band seemed to experience a burst of creative energy, experimenting and exploring their sound without losing their essential voice. Once again, kudos to LVEUM for keeping this material in print in an edition true to Kawakami’s original vision.
Celda: demo cassette (Destrozado) Demo cassette from this band from Mexico City. Celda’s big, crashing chords (particularly when they pair them with fast 1-2 beats) remind me of ripping 90s hardcore like Deathreat or Talk Is Poison, though they infuse that sound with the modern pogo-hardcore of bands like Gag or Blazing Eye. It’s a raw, scrappy explosion of anger, though they still make time for a great melodic guitar lead on “Dr. Pisquiatra.” Perhaps this isn’t an essential grip for a dabbler in hardcore, but if you’re interested in the contemporary Mexican hardcore punk scene, this is well worth hearing.
Confuse: Fuckin’ All Media 12” (Fan Club) Another Confuse bootleg rolls off the pipeline, this time compiling the band’s later material: the Spending Loud Night 7", Contempt For The Authority and Take Off The Lie 7", Stupid Life 7", and tracks from the Violent Party Omnibus and Neo compilations. The last Confuse bootleg we carried had truly atrocious cover artwork, but thankfully this one is better. As I've said, there are no bad Confuse releases, and if you love Japanese hardcore and/or noise-punk you should be familiar with all of their material. One thing I love about Confuse is how much they changed from release to release, and that’s on full display here. Spending Loud Night is one of the band’s nastiest recordings, a wash of hiss and treble that barely even qualifies as music. That stuff is great and very important for pushing the boundaries of noise not music, but I love Confuse’s releases with cleaner recordings even more. Case in point, the Contempt for the Authority 7”, which has a crystal clear recording that highlights how raw and crazy Confuse were even better than the noisier and more primitive recordings. The three tracks from compilations here are also essential (particularly the track from the Neo comp, which is the cleanest recording Confuse ever got), and the LP ends with the Stupid Life EP. While “General Speech” is a classic Confuse hardcore ripper, Stupid Life finds the band drifting away from traditional hardcore punk, delving even further into the noisy chaos. The title track even reminds me of 90s noise rock. This reissue includes an insert with lineup and recording info, reproductions of the original sleve artwork, and top-notch sound quality.
Hellish View: Reaper’s Hand 7” (Desolate) The insert for this record reads, “inspiration: Disclose, Disclose, Disclose,” just so you know what you’re getting into right off the bat. Interestingly, though, Reaper’s Hand starts with a mid-paced track, “A.P.O.D.,” that reminds me more of Amebix than Disclose. From there, though, it’s a wash of raw noise. It’s fitting that we’re writing about this in the same update as the reissue of Disclose’s Nightmare or Reality, as that record must have been a big inspiration on this one. While Hellish View doesn’t elaborate on that sound, they nail it with the chaotic, layered production I love to hear from this style of music. If you can’t get enough Disclose worship, this 7” should be up there with the new Physique EP on your list of buying priorities.