Featured Releases: October 6, 2022
Foreseen: Untamed Force 12” (Quality Control HQ) Untamed Force is Foreseen’s third album, but it’s my introduction to the band. We carried their first two LPs on the respected metal label 20 Buck Spin, but I never got around to listening to them… they seemed to exist just outside the scene I pay attention to. While I don’t follow contemporary thrash and crossover, I love plenty of classics, and those are likely the records that inspired Untamed Force. There are plenty of moments that sound like classic Bay Area thrash, but there’s also some very complex riffing that has a virtuosic quality similar to technical thrash bands like Forbidden or Artillery. There are also a lot of breakdowns, some that have a classic Exodus-type sound and others that have more of a Cro-Mags influence. One of the most interesting moments on the record is the song “Oppression Fetish,” which oscillates between a triumphant power metal groove and a spin kick-inducing mosh part, two styles I never would have thought could work together so well. As a whole, Untamed Force comes off as ambitious and composed, military in its execution, its power undeniable. Not the typical fare at Sorry State, but I think this is interesting and exciting enough that it should interest people outside the typical scene boundary lines.
Outpatients: Readmitted 12” (Painkiller Records) Painkiller Records brings us a retrospective release from this 80s / 90s hardcore / metal band from Western Massachusetts. You might have heard of the Outpatients if you’re a big US hardcore nerd, but since they never got out a stand-alone vinyl release during their hardcore era, they’re relegated to being known by the people nerdy enough to remember how ripping their contributions to the Bands That Could Be God compilation are. Readmitted brings together tracks from what sounds like several recording sessions (it’s not clear which tracks come from which sessions, which is frustrating), all of them no-frills affairs from a production standpoint, but showcasing the band’s wide range as songwriters and obvious power as players. In terms of style, the songs on Readmitted run the gamut from tracks like “Cover Girl,” which is pure 80s US hardcore, to more metallic, crossover-tinged songs like “Backwards Birthday” (these more metallic tracks remind me of our North Carolina heroes Subculture), to post-punk-tinged tracks like “Light Blue” that sound a bit like October File-era Die Kreuzen. Some of these songs are so different that they almost sound like different bands, and you could chop Readmitted into to three separate records with totally different styles, all of them very good for what they are. One of those records would sound like a lost X-Claim! release, another could fit in with low-budget cult 80s metal bands like Medieval or At War (shout out Virginia Beach), and a third might sound like a band trying to get signed to Homestead Records. Despite the stylistic breadth, Readmitted hangs together based on the incredible musicianship—all three guys could tear it up—and the no-frills nature of the recordings. The recordings have a candid quality, like they just threw up some mics and let this great fucking band rip, and while some of them might have benefitted from, say, a second guitar track, I love the way they place the focus on the band’s tightness as a unit. Besides the rad, period-appropriate artwork, Readmitted also comes with an insert full of photos and flyers and an essay by Mike Gitter of XXX fanzine. Ultimately Readmitted is for the 80s US hardcore deep heads, but those of us who fall into that category will enjoy this fresh look at an underrated band who never got their due.
Sniffany & the Nits: The Unscratchable Itch 12” (PRAH Recordings) Earlier this summer, a friend whose taste I respect told me how great the Sniffany & the Nits LP was, and that he couldn’t stop listening to it. I gave it enough of a listen online to confirm that I felt the same way, but I held off on bathing myself in The Unscratchable Itch until the vinyl arrived. Fuck, this record smokes! I liked Sniffany & the Nits’ earlier 7” on Thrilling Living Records (we even included the track “Horse Girl” on our Best of 2020 mix tape), but I like the The Unscratchable Itch even more. One of the first things I thought when I heard it was that it sounds a lot like the Das Drip record Sorry State released back in 2019. Like the Das Drip LP, The Unscratchable Itch is a hardcore record—loud, fast, and aggressive—but it’s bent in different directions. In most every song, the drummer plays the same fast punk beat for the length of the song, hammering repetitively until you feel like you’re spinning out, while the guitarist plays Joy Division melodies like they’re Darkthrone songs, the bassist holds it down, and the singer has what sounds like a tantrum or a mental breakdown. The lyrics are fantastic, many of them deploying rich, poetic images that evoke so much with just a few words. Many of the topics deal (sometimes obliquely) with sexual double standards and a feminine viewpoint of the world, and reading them—particularly since they’re so well done—makes me realize how rarely we hear women’s voices in hardcore punk. The record is furious and menacing, not a dud among its 10 tracks. If you like the aforementioned references and/or you dug the latest Amyl & the Sniffers record or Sorry State’s own No Love, give this a whirl… it’ll scratch an itch you might not even know you had.
Note: As I’m writing this on October 5, 2022, this LP is out of stock at Sorry State. We’re working on getting more, but in the meantime I encourage you to use the “email me when available” button on our website. This one is worth waiting for!
Abyecta: Enemigos De La Razón 7” (Symphony of Destruction Records) Enemigos De La Razón is the second EP from Barcelona’s Abyecta, arriving about two years after their first record, which Symphony of Destruction also released. In case you don’t remember that first EP, Infrafuturo, I’d describe Abyecta’s sound as fast hardcore punk with some light metallic and progressive flourishes. At their core, the songs are barreling hardcore punk in the broad tradition of Discharge (though not self-consciously d-beat), but the guitarist fills the songs with quick metal licks and rapid-fire palm muting. That approach reminds me of early Paintbox and later Death Side, but even more so, Abyecta sounds of a piece with Texas bands like Criaturas and Peace Decay, both of whom are also into that classic Burning Spirits Japanese hardcore sound, but dedicated to a more straightforward hardcore approach. These four tracks blaze by in a haze of riffs, rolls, and crashes, and every time I spin it I want to listen to it again because it feels like there’s still so much detail to appreciate in these dense and powerful songs.
Mirage: Immagini Postume cassette (Roach Leg Records) Roach Leg Records brings us the debut cassette from Mirage, who are from the label’s home turf in the New York City area. Roach Leg has been dropping a lot of tapes and it's tough to keep up with all of them, but Mirage isn’t the one you want to skip. Their sound is unique, with the (mostly) Italian language vocals tying them to the rich history of Italian hardcore while the music draws on post-punk atmosphere and psychedelic texture without sounding like anything other than hardcore punk. The chorus on the guitar and the dark chord progressions make comparisons to spooky-sounding punk bands like Part 1 and Rudimentary Peni obvious, but Mirage really reminds me of Wretched’s last 12”, La Tua Morte Non Aspetta. Immagini Postume feels more interesting, exciting, and better-executed than most of the vinyl releases I hear these days, so if this is what Mirage is offering as their demo cassette, I’m very excited to see where they go from here. While we wait to find out, though, Immagini Postume will give us plenty to chew on.
Syndrome 81: Prisons Imaginaires 12” (Black Water Records) We first stocked Prisons Imaginaires, the new album from Brest, France’s Syndrome 81, earlier this summer while I was away on tour with Scarecrow. That initial batch sold out immediately, so I didn’t have an opportunity to listen to the record until this restock arrived earlier this week. Hearing it now, it’s easy to see why so many people snatched this up… Prisons Imaginaires is an infectious album. The basic framework of Syndrome 81’s is a collision between battering ram French oi! and angular yet melodic post-punk. That mix of styles isn’t unprecedented, but it’s not common to hear bands attempt it, and even less common to hear bands who really makes it work. Within that framework, Syndrome 81 finds a lot of room for stylistic variation, from the manic “Violence Sociale,” a near-hardcore song that sounds a bit like a faster version of something off of Leatherface’s first album Cherry Knowle, to more mournful songs like “Avenir.” My favorite tracks, though, are the super poppy up-tempo tracks like “Fuir Son Passe” and “Dans Les Rues Des Brest,” which approach the pop bliss of early Cure or New Order tracks with an added injection of punk energy. For the closing track, “Lumiere Magnetique,” Syndrome 81 switches out their acoustic drums for synth drums, going full darkwave and proving they could pass an audition to open for the Soft Moon or Boy Harsher. Through all the twists and turns, the songwriting remains immediate yet sophisticated, making for that rare record that knocks you out on the first listen, yet rewards you for coming back again and again.