Archive for wolfpack

Review: Martyrdöd

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2019 by Magadh

Martyrdöd, Hexhammeren (Southern fuckin’ Lord)

I wrote somewhere, maybe here, that I always get kind of nervous when I hear that Martyrdöd are about to release a record. I can still remember when I first heard their classic In Extremis (2005), a record which rocked me as hard as anything crust record ever had. Ever since then I’ve been sort of waiting for them to drop off in quality. Sekt, released four years later, was good, but kind of didn’t live up to the earlier release. Paranoia was better but suffered from a bit of indistinctness that often happens to band that is tuned way down. Still, “Tragisk Zeitgeist” was a cut whose rage and power would not have been out of place on In Extremis. Eldop was great. List was better, especially the video for “Harmageddon,” with its footage of heroic women YPG fighters. Long story short, the bar for this band, at least in my estimation, could hardly be higher.

Hexhammeren opens with the title cut, a chugging, heal-damped jackhammer that gallops headlong into the darkness. The slightly more metallic picking style gives the music a different texture, swirling darkly underneath Martyrdöd’s signature melodic overlays. The second track, “Rännilar” (which I think means “rivulets” or something like that) gets back to the more mainline version of the band’s sound. But it is a pummelling track nonetheless, featuring yet another spiraling melodic line.

Since In Extremis, Martyrdöd have made their stock in trade the expression of the anger and sorrow of the world. That record was a barely contained explosion of rage and pain that seemed at all points ready to break the bounds of the recorded medium and to become manifest in the world, anguished and self-aware. Over successive releases, they have polished and refined their sound, but have never lost the edge of furious urgency of their early discs.

Something they’ve added to their repertoire since the release of List three years ago has been video accompaniment. The video for “Harmageddon” mentioned above was an excellent opening shot, juxtaposing footage of the band playing with clips of female YPG fighters doing the business against ISIS. This was particularly effective, not only demonstrating an interest in, and commitment to, actual struggles for actual justice, but also emphasizing the role of women in the ongoing struggle. The band themselves looked on the edge of desperation. Jens Bäckelin attacks his drum kit like a guy administering a beatdown to someone he hates from the old neighborhood.

The new disc is accompanied by videos for “Helveteslarm” and “Pharmacepticon”. The former is good, and has a slightly lighter tone than some of their other material. The latter gets back on model, showing dark and unsettling images over a chunky, mid-tempo cut with a melancholic melody, the sum total of which is quite unsettling.

The material on Hexhammeren constitutes a powerful reaffirmation of the validity of Martyrdöd’s approach. Songs like “Bait and Switch,” “Cashless Society,” and “Den Sista Striden” emerge like explosions of black flame, dripping with overdrive and raw emotion. Martyrdöd’s music is, in a sense, an aphotic apotheosis of crust as a genre, standing as a challenge to every other band to find new ways of fusing darkness and melody. Hexhammeren simply restates this challenge with the accustomed power and clarity.

Since their last record, they’ve had a bit of a lineup change, with Pontus Redig leaving and Tim Rosenqvist moving from bass to guitar. Filling his spot on bass is Daniel Ekeroth, formerly of Dellamorte and a bunch of other bands (and author of the definitive book on the early years of the Swedish death metal scene). So no worries there. If there’s anyone who knows how this music is supposed to sound, or how the bass fits into a band tuned down to somewhere around the key of C, it’s Ekeroth. If I hadn’t known this in advance, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

Maybe it’s something in the water. Or maybe they’re just all really depressed. For whatever reason, Sweden seems capable of producing a seemingly endless stream of devastating crust acts, and has been since the early 1980s. One can easily name a dozen such bands without thinking too hard, from Anti-Cimex and Crudes S.S., to Wolfpack and Skit System, and on to Myteri and Misantropic and myriad other groups churning out music that reflects the dark structures of life. Among these, Martyrdöd leads the charge, consistently delivering dark and punishing evidence of the world’s decay.

The world is going down the shitter. That is not news. But it is at least some comfort to be found in the capacity of bands like this to translate the sorrows of the world into forceful mixtures of light and darkness that have the power to block out the anguish of the lived crisis, at least for a moment.  

John from the Eastside

Crust/D-Beat Playlist

Posted in Playlists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by Magadh

We’ve been brewing up some weird stuff down in the bunker, but through the fumes it occurred to us that people might have an interest in what we were spinning in our long nights over the soilent vats. We’re going to try to offer up playlists on a bi-monthly basis, each with a thematic base. The theme here (as the title indicates) is a combination of crust and d-beat.  Discerning listeners will note that there are a couple of things in this list that are a bit marginal in terms of these categories, but I think they fit in terms of atmosphere. In the end, it’s up to you to decide.


1. Skitsystem, “Apokalypsens Svarta Änglar
2. Martyrdöd, “Vägen Ur
3. From Ashes Rise, “The Final Goodbye
4. Hellcrawler, “Devastation
5. Infäme, “Adeu Amarg
6. After the Bombs, “Bloody Aftermath
7. Monastery, “Mutilating
8. Passiv Dödshjalp, “Virtuella Bojor
9. Viimeinen Kolonna, “Sinä Häviät
10. Livstid, “Permafrost
11. Misantropic, “Raise the Gallows
12. G-Anx, “Victims of Our Ignorance
13. Instinto, “Dominación
14. Crude S.S., “Destroy Capitalism
15. Anti-Cimex, “Braincell Battle
16. Final Warning, “The Bunker
17. Disfear, “Misanthropic Generation
18. Warcollapse, “Timebomb State
19. Mördare, “Rivers of Diesel
20. Masakari, “Rapid Dominance
21. Kvoteringen, “Sjuk Värld
22. Discharge, “Doomsday
23. Infernöh, “Länge Leve Mig
24. Wolfpack, “A Basic Urge to Kill
25. Sacrilege, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Magadh

Review: Passiv Dödshjälp

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , on June 8, 2013 by Magadh

Passiv Dödshjälp Kollektiva Mönster Embrace My Funeral Records

pd coverI discovered Passiv Dödshjälp in one of those beautiful moments of internet serendipity in which I was looking for something else. As I recall, I was trying to dig up some information on their fellow Swedes Totalt Jävla Mörker when I stumbled on to an upload of Passiv Dödshjälp’s crushing 2010 release Häng Dom in the indiscriminate vastness of the web. There could hardly be a better advertisement for modern Swedish crust. Simple and aggressive licks dripping with overdrive, spun over a background of thundering drums and a vocalist who really sounds like he’s on the verge of a psychotic break. The songs on Häng Dom are mostly mid-paced. In those moments when they slowed down the music retains its punch, sounding at times like Tragedy’s more downtempo material. This was straight Swedish crust in a d-beat sort of mode, one which for the most part eschewed the melodicism associated with bands like Wolfpack and Martyrdöd in Europe, and with acts like From Ashes Rise on this side of the Atlantic.

Intrigued by this, I sought out their other releases. At the time these included a blistering split with Bergen’s Livstid, and a second full album from 2011 entitled Fasader. This latter release reflected a slightly more melodic approach than its predecessor. What followed, 2012’s Skit På Repeat 7”, was a trip to a much gloomier place. For fans of Häng Dom this was meat and drink. The stylistic theory was much the same as on the first LP, but the sound and atmosphere were if anything darker and angrier than on the earlier release. As on Häng Dom, the songs tended to be built around single string lines structured to accentuate impact rather than melody.

On Kollektiva Mönster, Passiv Dödshjälp’s latest recording, the theory has changed somewhat. The compositions are based around chords to a rather greater degree than on previous releases. A rather more rocking influence seems to have taken hold, with some of the songs reminding one more of bands like Kvoteringen or Fleshrevels than of the darker Swedish crust that marked their earlier style. Still the essentials remain: angry vocals, bludgeoning drums, and that razors-through-flesh guitar sound for which the Swedes seem to have a special talent. There are a lot of shorter songs on this release, but the pick of the litter is “Virtuella Bojor”, which clocks in at over four minutes and is rocking and aggressive all the way along.

In this day and age it is a little shocking to me that so few people outside of Scandinavia seem to know about these guys. Kollektiva Mönster is an excellent introduction to their work: an illustration of the aggression and dark atmosphere that have been the hallmarks of Swedish crust for so long. Andreas tells me that the disc itself won’t be out until sometime in July, so start saving your pennies because you will definitely want to get this when it hits the distros.

Magadh

Review: Wrathcöbra

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by Magadh

Wrathcöbra s/t Cobra Cabana Records

I’ve been meaning to review this Wrathcöbra record for a while now. I listen to it a lot, mostly because I have a car that is so old that the cd player doesn’t even have a jack to plug an ipod into. I’m therefore limited in my listening choices to whatever I can get it together to burn onto a cd and take out there. It will probably surprise no one (at least no one who knows me) that it is a rare day when I find the wherewithal to do so, and as a consequence I end up listening to the same stuff over and over. It is for this reason that I have listened to Wrathcöbra’s disc every day for about two months now.

Wrathcöbra come from Pittsburgh, and the fact that both they and Heartless come from there suggests that the Steel City is really humming. This self-titled disc comprises their 2008 demo and their Fang and Tail 12”, released in 2010. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even know if they are still together, although this interview on The Noise is Ours suggests that they are still alive and kicking. If that is the case, I respectfully request that they head up I 80 as soon as possible.

So far as their music goes, comparisons to bands such as Skit System and (even more justifiably) Wolfpack are common on the interweb, but the band they really reminded me of was Misanthropic Generation era Disfear. There is definitely a strong element of d-beat represented in their style. You also get the feeling that they’ve probably listened to a lot of Motorhead, and more power to them. Their music has a more galloping, metallic feel than some of the more straight hardcore type band with which they share this genre. They have a lot more sort old school guitar solos than bands like this tend to do. Fans of A New Dawn Fades will notice a distinct similarity here, but Wrathcöbra’s solos tend to be a few bars longer, as well as being more organized and melodically developed.

If I hadn’t looked it up on the web, I wouldn’t have known that this release compiled two earlier ones. The recording and production values on both are comparable, as is the quality of songwriting. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that these guys don’t get more recognition, given the current renaissance of d-beat. Well, he’s hoping I’ve done my little bit to rectify that. Their record is available from Bandcamp.

Magadh

Review: Wolfbrigade

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on May 22, 2012 by Magadh

Wolfbrigade Damned Southern Lord

The guys at Southern Lord have really been making a play for world domination lately. If you stick with this blog you’ll find that the Captain and I have a real fascination with their catalog. When we heard that the new disc from Swedish d-beat veterans Wolfbrigade was coming out on Southern Lord we were, needless to say, breathless with expectation. I am happy to report that it does not disappoint.

First a little history. In 1986, I was living just outside of Nottingham in the U.K. Notts was a great place to be if you were a punk rocker kid in those days. I was hanging out at the Salutation in Nottingham when word went around that Anti-Cimex were coming over from Sweden to do a couple of shows. We were all pretty stoked. I traveled the hour or so to Birmingham with the Concrete Sox guys, who had sort of taken me under their wing. We met up with Anti-Cimex and Agoni, another Swedish band, before their show at a pub called the Mermaid (as I recall, Heresy played that night as well).

It was under these circumstances that I met Jonsson, the singer for Anti-Cimex and, incidentally, one of the persistently drunkest people I have ever encountered. About ten minutes after I met him, Sean from Concrete Sox and myself had the pleasure of trying to keep him from beating the shit out of some guy (who kind of deserved it, to be fair) with a bullet belt. At the show in Nottingham a few days later, Jonsson, who was totally rat-assed (and from what I could tell had been so constantly in the intervening period) planted himself beside the front door to the gig. Whenever anyone would go in, he would wave a picture of himself in their face and say very earnestly, “Me.” Of course, being totally lit had no discernible adverse effects, either on Jonsson’s performance or on those of his bandmates. Anti-Cimex played two blistering sets while being absolutely pickled in lager.

The presence of Jonsson was a big selling point for me of the early Wolfpack discs. As in Anti-Cimex, his vocals were gruff, but you could understand what he was saying, which for me was a plus. Those early Wolfpack releases, especially A New Dawn Fades and Lycanthro Punk, were a real step forward for the d-beat style. As Anti-Cimex had begun to do on Country of Sweden, Wolfpack differentiated themselves from the d-beat pack by adding a melodic element to their approach which made their simple, straightforward song structures noticeably more effective. Bands like Crude SS and Asocial were great, but a little melody mixed gave the style in general a bit more punch and variety.

Wolfbrigade, the band that Wolfpack became have had mixed results in terms of quality since they parted ways with Jonssen in 1998. Progression/Regression, released in 2001, set the tone for a lot that came later. The songs were good, but lacked the cutting edge of their earlier material. Their new release, the first since Comalies four years ago, marks a triumphant return to form for the band. Throughout their existence, Wolfbrigade have consistently delivered bludgeoning punk rock. On Damned, the quality of song writing once again rises to the level of those early releases. The melody is more in evidence that it has been for the last several releases, and it is accompanied by production that is slicker, but crucially thicker than their recent offerings. They also seem to have branched out a bit stylistically. There are moments when this disc sounds like Motorhead. At other times, one can discern something that sounds like black metal, especially on “From Beyond,” which contains a passage that sounds a lot like Dissection’s “Where Dead Angels Lie.” All of this is very much to the good. The crucial thing about this record is that the level of aggression has been upped along with the melodic content, perhaps not to the level of Disfear, but enough to ensure that this disc will be getting plenty of spins here in the bunker.

Magadh