Archive for asocial

Sounds from the Bunker

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2012 by Magadh

For the last couple of days, I’ve been grooving on the Lost Tribe demo that I got from the Captain. For those who haven’t heard it, I heartily recommend it. I get the impression that it’s considered neo-goth or some such thing. In the days of my youth we would have just called that punk rock. It isn’t really quite as decadent as (what I consider to be) mainline goth acts like Christian Death or (taking the term a little more broadly) 45 Grave (to say nothing of such puffy shirt favorites as Spear of Destiny, Sisters of Mercy, etc.). If I’m not mistaken, the first time that I heard 45 Grave was on a compilation that also featured Social Distortion. [Subsequent research showed that this was the Hell Comes to Your House comp, originally released in 1981, which was kind of a watershed moment in terms of the early punk/goth crossover.] In any case, Lost Tribe rule and should be listened to by all civilized people.

In the name of trying to expand my musical horizons a little bit I’ve been digging into a bit of French music that was recommended to me: the Rigorisme EP released by Calvaiire. France is another one of those places in which my knowledge of the hardcore scene has really lagged. In the last ten years or so, there has been a real efflorescence of black metal bands in France, with groups such as Deathspell Omega, Glorior Belli, Merrimack, and Haemoth creating a dark and chaotic sound that seemed specific to the scene there (to the extent that such a work is descriptive in this case). Calvaiire is the first French hardcore band that I have heard in many a year and, on the strength of this four song release, they show massive promise. Their music occupies the border land between dark hardcore in the vein of Rorschach and more mainline screamo acts like Hoover (just to pick a name). More info is available from their site, which gives the impression of a real d.i.y approach. There is some (and perhaps complete) overlap between the band and the people who do Throatruiner Records. The latter have put out a whole bunch of cool stuff, about which more will be said in future posts. More power to them.

As it turns out, Calvaiire are related to another awesome French band: Birds in a Row. They too used to be on Throatruiner, although for the new record (which was released recently and which I haven’t heard yet) they have moved over to Deathwish Inc. Their Cottbus EP sounds a lot like Calvaiire, but the sound is more spare, a little like a less distorted MITB. They do thrash quite hard, throwing in plenty of pace and tempo changes that keep the listener interest. They are just not one of those bands that it’s very easy to tap your foot to (or bang your head if such is your inclination), but their music has a harsh, emotional quality that is quite distinctive.

Along more well-travelled lines, Münster’s Unrest have released a self-titled EP featuring four songs of intense, crust tinged d-beat on Germany’s Rising Riot Records. The music is tight and aggressive, sort of in the vein of Audio Collapse, but played with more precision. The song structures are pretty simple with slight melodic overtones, but relying more on heavily overdriven guitar and razor sharp drumming. This is definitely one of the better mixed releases that I have heard in this genre lately. The production is thick but still clear, giving the music a dark and brooding feel that that lifts it above the run of releases in this vein. Older listeners might notice a similarity to Crude SS or early Asocial, although the inclusion of blast beats certainly differentiates Unrest from those acts.

Ok, well that’s a little insight into what has been echoing around the Thousand Trivs bunker these days. We’ll be back tomorrow evening with more stuff, including a review of the much anticipated (at least by us) new Martyrdöd record.

Stay cool and don’t get eaten (because it seems like there are more zombies every day).


Review: Crutches

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , on June 29, 2012 by Magadh

Crutches Demo 2012 self-released

I’ve never actually been to Sweden, but I’ve got to think it’s a pretty interesting place. For starters, they must have more anarcho-crust bands per capita than any place on the planet. Little did I know when I procured my first Crude S.S. 7”, back in the long forgotten days of the early 1980s, that it would be the start of such a fruitful relationship.

One problem that arises out of this for aspiring Swedish thrashers is that if you’re going to mine this vein now you’ve either got to be a bit ignorant or a bit arrogant. If it’s the former, it’s a matter of not recognizing that you will be judged against every band from Asocial to Wolfbrigade, with about a thousand points of reference in between. If it’s the latter, it’s a matter of knowing this and not caring, which is also a viable strategy. It’s often said that rock and roll should be played as if one had just discovered it five minutes ago, and this holds a fortiori for Scandinavian d-beat bands. This particular furrow has been so extensively plowed that the hope of finding some new twist within the format must be vain.

With that granted, I still believe that it is a thing worth doing. This is a powerful mode of expression; one that combines dissonance and dissidence, so to speak. It is a mode of counterhegemonic art and identity formation that still provides the opportunity to create a self outside the norm, and to forge connections with others similarly inclined to form identities outside of society’s norms.

It is from such a perspective that I had the pleasure of discovering the recent demo from Sweden’s Crutches. This is some angry, aggressive d-beat hardcore in the tradition of Anti-Cimex, Avskum, Diskonto, yeah, you get the idea. The recording quality is quite good, with guitars rendered in that razors through flesh sort of sharpness that the bands of the early waves of d-beat could only dream of. The most common failing of bands like this is to dwell to long on song structures that are too simple. Crutches avoid this pitfall, concocting short, angry blasts that leave the listener wanting more, rather than wondering when the song is going to end. You have to love a band that manages five repetitions of the f word in the first ten seconds of their first cut. They also get added points for most evil rendering of a squid in their logo.

They’ve released this demo via bandcamp and on their website. Head over there and get it. Yes, you! Do it now.