I’m going away soon, something that’s been planned since winter. It’s so close now, I can practically taste it. As a result, time’s going really slowly, and finding proper motivation is not exactly at its apex. So what to do?
Not much has worked, to be honest, and no matter what I do, my anticipation cannot be quelled. I, of course, tried a musical approach to help me along before vacation and relaxation take hold. But nothing’s really worked that well. I have a ton of upcoming releases I’ve been anticipating that have helped a little, but I can’t formulate proper thoughts about them yet. I’ve tried spacious material hoping that it would take my mind elsewhere and let me tackle more intellectual things. That’s been for naught. I’ve even gone back to some old albums, some all-time classics to see if that could get my mind on the music and not seven days of luxurious craft beer. Nope.
The closest I’ve come to breaking through the doldrums of pre-vacation jitters has been some fiery hardcore. I admit, I’m not the biggest fan of that genre in the world. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m way more a metal dude. I grew up that way, and it’s something that’ll never be broken. But for some reason, the raucousness and fury has worked the best — though not perfectly — for helping me get on with things and muscle through the days I have left before I can turn off my brain, recharge my batteries … and drink hundreds of gallons of beer.
Southern Lord, which practically operates as a hardcore label these days, had a hand in helping. They have a few new releases in this realm coming at you, and two in particular have kept the meager fires going in my heart as the finish line comes into focus. I’ll go over the other ones we don’t discuss today at the end, and there’s no problem with those releases at all. As noted, not having hardcore in my blood, four new albums from that genre is a fuck of a lot for me to absorb at once. So these are the two that moved me the most, though there certainly is merit behind the others.
Both Oiltanker and Nuclear Death Terror (one of my favorite new band names, and not to be confused with the legendary Extreme Noise Terror) are a part of the Lord’s efforts to shed a light on the crusty underground scene that doesn’t get a whole lot of love by too many labels. Yes, you have your Deathwish your A398 and whatnot, but it seems all the shitty glossy crap is all anyone wants to discuss in magazines. Southern Lord’s taken a little bit of heat in places for sort of transforming what they do and going more after hardcore, but at least what they uncover is worthy, especially for someone like me who doesn’t care to dig too deep.
We’ll start with Oiltanker, who hail from Hartford, CT. Wait, a band from Hartford makes something this nasty and destructive? Look, it may not seem like hardcore heaven, but I’ve been there before and hated every moment of my trip. Maybe they do too. And maybe I’m just a jerk. The band boasts a D-beat fury, a sound that pays some homage to traditional hardcore, and a social/political platform that’s not uncommon in this genre but certainly hits hard this time of year as we’re slandering and libeling each other on our way to selecting our presidential choice.
This limited-pressed disc is called “Shadow of Greed/Crusades” for a damn good reason. The collection is a compilation of their “Shadow of Greed” LP along with their “Crusades” 7-inch, thus the crafty album moniker. With this package, you get 16 songs that blast by in 32 minutes, and you get almost no downtime to take a breath. The pace is punishing and nasty, the vocals are damn near infernal, and the whole thing is delivered with unbridled aggression.
The quartet hits hard on tracks such as “Who’s in Control,” that even has a bit of slide guitar mixed in for texture; “The Circle Complete,” that has tasty pockets of old-school thrash; “By Death or By Force,” a track that really needs no further explanation. “Suffer” also has some thrashy goodness but also folds in some catchy, meaty guitar riffs; “Crusades” is fast and unforgiving; and “Plagued” is total devastation, with mangled vocals, searing guitar leads, and smoke rising from the ashes. This is a really satisfying collection that, had the Lord not released it, I may never have heard. Glad things didn’t happen that way.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oiltanker/178083802211595
Nuclear Death Terror is more my thing, as they go the Entombed/Discharge route and even mix in some thrash metal influences along the way. So yeah, I dig it because it sounds more metal to me, and this Danish band is one I’m certainly going to explore further now that I’ve gotten familiar with “Chaos Reigns.” This is similar to the Oiltanker album, as it’s a compilation, but it’s made up of tracks taken from some of the band’s vinyl releases. That said, these songs all fit together quite well, and it never has that feeling of a best-of, and I’ve spent the most time with this than any other release I’ll mention here.
“Chaos Reigns” is an excellent title for this record for two reasons. First, complete, utter decibolic fury goes on here, and I’d imagine this would translate into a rather violent live display. Second, the word “chaos” appears quite frequently in the lyrics, so it makes for kind of a theme for these tracks. “Crisis” opens the collection on a growly, monstrous note, leading toward other hellacious cuts such as “Collapse,” that has some nice shout-along parts that make me think of the thrash connection; “Descent,” the song where the album title is actually shouted and that even has some slick rock and roll guitar work weaved into the pattern; “Devolve to Submission,” a crushing song with words that are practically spat out; “Chaotic Alliance,” where more metallic stabs enter the fray; and their awesome cover of Celtic Frost classic “Morbid Tales,” complete with that shrill opening scream that should make Tom G. Warrior blush.
If you’re more on the metal edge of metallic hardcore, Nuclear Death Terror may be more to your liking than Oiltanker. That’s certainly the case with me, as I prefer their thrashy riffs, forceful growls, and crusty crunch. This actually has inspired me to pull out records from some of their influences as well, something I always find satisfying.
For more on the band, go here: http://nucleardeathterror.blogspot.com/
As noted, there are more hardcore-based records ready for your dollars courtesy of the Lord. There’s a brand new Poison Idea reissue compilation in the form of “The Fatal Erection Years (Pick Your King)” that follows last year’s “Darby Crash Rides Again.” Nice history lesson here, kids. Milwaukee’s metallic hardcore heroes Enabler have their new record “All Hail the Void” out on SL imprint, and it’s righteous, catchy, and sarcastic. Find links to all the rest of the bands below, as well as where to buy their records. Now shut up and let me go think about beer.
For more on Poison Idea, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Poison-Idea/60605554861?ref=pb
For more on Enabler, go here: http://www.enablermke.blogspot.com/
To buy any of the albums above, go here: http://www.southernlord.com/store.php
For more on the label, go here: http://www.southernlord.com/