Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kurt - "s/t"

Kurt was a three piece band from Germany who played screamy, angsty hardcore that would probably appeal to fans of bands like Yaphet Kotto, Shotmaker, Yage, Drive Like Jehu, and/or maybe even the recently deceased Worn In Red. This disc is a digipack cd pressing of the bands first LP, two unreleased songs, as well as their contributions to the For Want Of.. comp 2x7", the Vita: Dez 94 - Feb 96 compilation, and finally, a song that originally appeared on their debut 7" from 1994. This cd was released by the notable German hardcore label X-Mist Records, and was the label that released all three of this rad bands full lengths.

The band's sound is reminiscent of Shotmaker in the way that both feature very "busy" bass lines, and the instrument is brought more to the forefront by being higher in the mix than most other bands. Great all around musicianship here, with solid drumming and a fuller sound than being a three piece would normally allow for. I've only met about three other people who listened to this band, which has always been pretty disappointing for me. I know mosh metal has always been pretty big over in Europe (ask the band Culture for details about that), but I'd be curious to know if these dudes had a prominent following outside of their home country. Oh well, thankfully for you this shitty blog exists. Kurt's final LP, "La Guard" (X-Mist Records, 2002) is also a really good listen, and might even be slightly better than this. If you're into any of the aforementioned bands, give this a go.


1) The Wait
2) Salt
3) Stayed Too Long
4) Car Drive
5) Minerals
6) Stroll Down Memory Lane
7) Feature Story
8) Wall
9) Community
10) Franklin
11) Groundless
12) Stifling

Empathy - "I Need"

This is far and away the best release by southeastern Michigan's Empathy. It came out in early 1996 as a split release between Cascade Records, which was operated by Nate Miller of Empathy, and everyone's favorite record label to hate on (then and now), Conquer The World. Look, say what you will about Mike Warden's questionable business ethics and whatnot, dude certainly released some awesome records. And some terrible ones. I don't know him personally so I can't really comment, but I've been told by bands who were once associated with the label that it was not a good situation to be in. I'm digressing here, that's enough of that.

The first time I listened this disc, when it was over I immediately pressed play and listened to these six songs all over again. Powerful, emotional hardcore with melodic sensibilities that is reminiscent of similar bands that were active around the same time, specifically Ontario's Shoulder and fellow Michiganites (Michiganians?) Ordination Of Aaron. The music here is relatively aggressive, rockin' emo hardcore, and is frankly pretty fucking fantastic. The vocals may have taken me a minute to get into, but once I "got it", I loved it. They are mostly of the "yelled" variety, but are sometimes spoken or whispered, and they give off a real pleading feeling, if that makes sense. The songs on "I Need" are better than the band's earlier efforts, as is the recording quality, making this perhaps my favorite record to come from The Wolverine State. That's certainly saying something. Members of Empathy either played in or went on to play in Elliott, Thoughts Of Ionesco, Mainspring, Chelsea's Gone Under, By The Grace Of God, and others. Empathy makes the (relatively short) list of bands that I never saw live but wish that I did. The songs that appear here were recorded during the fall months of 1995.

-and it killed to know you never asked-

1) Weathered
2) Penance
3) The Empty Sound Of Footsteps Walking Away
4) Black Eyes For Sale
5) Encaustic
6) 07.20

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sunspring - "Orange"

When you think about the Louisville hardcore punk scene of the early to mid 90s, bands such as Endpoint, Falling Forward, Metroschifter and Guilt are probably among the first ones that pop into your brain, and with good reason. The guitar player and vocalist of Metroschifter, Scott Ritcher, also played in Sunspring from 1991 to early 1995. Ritcher ran the seminal Louisville-based indie/punk/hardcore label Slamdek Record Company, which released records from loads of bands between the years of 1986 and 1995. "Orange", a posthumous release for Sunspring, was also the final offering from Slamdek. It was released on April 22, 1995.

To quote Ritcher from the excellent book Slamdek A to Z, "Orange is basically a compilation of two previous releases, 'The Sun Cassette' and 'Action Eleven', plus two songs recorded as Diet Sunspring, and two songs recorded at what is referred to as the Last Session". I first became familiar with Sunspring upon buying the aforementioned book when it was published in 1996. It came with a compilation cd that spanned the years of the labels existence, and had a couple of really good jams on it. Maybe I'll post it one day, maybe I won't. Anyway, the Sunspring song "Magnet" is one of said jams. Unfortunately, after repeated attempts in 1997 and 1998 to get into this release, I just couldn't. The music is interesting, artsy punk and has some good moments ("I Don't Like This Anymore", "Roadburn") but overall, not really my thang. I think it's the more-than-slightly off key and awkward vocals that stand out the most. But hey, YOU'RE not me, right? 25 Songs are included here, and don't expect me to type out the names of them below.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Creation Is Crucifixion - "Rerecorded Tracks From the Vinyl Splits" ep

Something was definitely in the water in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania circa 1998 and 1999 that allowed this cold, small metropolis of under 300,000 people to spring forth upon our world some really, really good metal. Willowtip Records, still considered one of the best grind / death labels in the history of the universe (by me), released its first record, the Creation Is Crucifixion / Fate Of Icarus split 7". CIC would release two more splits, both with good bands from Arizona; Suicide Nation and Unruh. These three songs would eventually be rerecorded in 2000 and released as this CDep, in a very cool clamshell case with minimal yet very effective packaging. The recording quality of these new versions is better than the original releases, though not by very much. Quite frankly, this is among their best work. The song titles, lyrics, band information, etc is printed directly on the clear and white cd, thus eliminating the need for a paper insert of any kind. I dig it. Unfortunately the track listing printed on the disc, however, incorrectly gets the order of the first two songs backwards.

For those unfamiliar with the band, they played excellent grind that had a tendency to be rather tone-heavy in sound. Added to this were awesome high pitched, scraping, dual layered vocals that really always stuck with me. There wasn't much in the way of typical death metal "growls" found on CIC songs, with the exception of one or two jams that I can recall. The lyrics dealt with machinery, computers, resistance, wiring, programming and mention luddites on more than one occasion (which should give you a good overall impression of the bands viewpoints on the matter of tech). There were also lots of "ambient / noise" tracks that appeared on their records. This material never really did anything for me, and I always wished they would just knock that shit off and give me some more top quality metal. But, hey, I wasn't in the band and I'm sure some people enjoyed it.

CIC was made up of members of the mid-90s vegan metalcore bands Chapter and Abnegation, who you may remember released at split 7" together in 1996, maybe. Anyway, these guys showed a marked improvement over their former bands in almost every aspect, and yes I know early Abnegation was fucking awesome. Willowtip Records and bands like Creation Is Crucifixion, Commit Suicide, Circle Of Dead Children and the aforementioned Fate Of Icarus really gave Pittsburgh area metal kids something to be proud of. Five more reasons why The Keystone State is the best in the union, yo.

-we are progenitors to machine code-

Tracklisting (correct)
1) The Allegory of the Algorithim (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Mimesis)
2) Subversion as a Tactical Metaphor AKA Species Traitor AKA Technology is Our Iron Lung
3) The Iconography of John Henry AKA Eliza Was a Program

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Sound Of Failure - "The Party Is Over"

Perhaps the hardest working Philly area hardcore band during the earliest years of the 21st century (fuck, listen to me!), The Sound Of Failure played aggressive, messy but not sloppy, angry and mostly faster paced crust-influenced punk. The lyrics were spewing pretty straight forward social and political messages ranging from the somewhat deserved death of a bullfighter ("Matador"), the stress of living in the 9 to 5 rat race that is capitalism ("Distress Signal"), the modern day war machine ("Disarm"), etc. Chances are, if you attended shows in Philadelphia between the years of 1999 and 2004, you probably saw them play. Their style helped them fit on bills with lots of different kinds of punk bands, and this fact was one of their greatest assets. Metalcore kids were into 'em, crusty hippies were into 'em, as were the horn rim-glassed "emo" kids, or whatever. Sound Of Failure (sometimes there was no "the" in there) went through a handful of bass players and a couple of second guitarists during its lifetime, but drummer Ron Macauley and vocalist / guitarist Joe Gough were mainstays. They were a great band, but, more importantly, great people. These particular dudes are currently active in Dirt Worshipper and War Emblem. Each gentleman wins extra points from me; Ron for letting me use his sweet Zildjian china cymbal every time our bands would play shows together (without bitching), and Joe for being a Philadelphia Flyers fan.

The band released a 7", a few splits and 2 full lengths during their existence, and it's all really good stuff. This is their 2nd cd, recorded as a four piece, and uploaded with Jho's gracious blessing. These songs were recorded in May 2003 (about a year plus before they broke up) at Skylight Studio in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania by Vince Ratti and Rachel Minton. It was a split release by Ed Walters and Cheap Art Records.

-this is where dreams get fucked-

1) Zombie Death March
2) Trapped Inside Burning Wreckage
3) Lemmings
4) 8848
5) Horsham Clinic
6) Old Man
7) Pursued By Invisible Enemies
8) Marching Orders
9) By Your Own Hand
10) Disarm
11) Threes
12) Still
13) Death To The Weird
14) Distress Signal

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Antarctica - "23:03"

Three songs of meandering and shoegazey dream-popish stuff from this New York band, released on the then-based-in-Philly indie label File 13. I saw them play once in late 1998 or early 1999, picked this up at the show, and that was that. A few months later, I heard that they had broken up and there isn't really much else to say. Although I can't just throw this record on and listen to it very frequently, it does do the trick on shitty, rainy afternoons when you find yourself stuck inside and you're trying to convince yourself to vacuum the house or clean the right now. Recorded at RPM in NYC, 1998.


1) Drown The Days
2) Full Crescent Crusade
3) Closetful Of Churches

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bound - "Fire's Dying"

Central NJ emotional hardcore (as in "emotive", not "Promise Ring") that really had their own thing going at the point in time which they occupied. They didn't really"fit the mold" of any mid or late 90s style, so to speak. It wasn't uncommon to see this band playing with your typical vegan (as the members of Bound subscribed to these ideologies) metalcore bands one weekend, with your typical youth crew 1997-era redux the next, and then a week later play with somewhat similar emo hardcore bands like Introspect or Autumn. For example, I saw this band twice. Once in Baltimore, in early March of 1998. They played with Turmoil, Torn Apart, Prisoner Of Conscience and Culture. The music Bound played was definitely heavy, but I'm not sure if one could just lump them into the "metal" category. They were a pretty original band, and the fact that this album includes a Police cover helps to prove these kids weren't shortsighted as far as influences go. There is also a liner note that states "Cherish ends with Little Earthquakes in honor of Tori Amos". I'm not familiar with any Tori Amos songs so I really can't comment on, uh, how that song ends. BUT, the last song on this cd, a hidden track, has a 4 or 5 minute piano intro, and I've always found that to be interesting. Plus, it's almost 14 minutes long and eventually turns into a completely different song with some screamy female vocals and at least 1 male band member shouting "go vegan!" It's probably either a cover song or a song from their demo, but I'm not privy to that information. Other liner notes include contact information for various animal rights organizations, which was par for the course because this was 1996 / 1997. Lots of angst would come across in both their records and live shows.

Bound released two records to my knowledge, both of which were released by Spiritfall Records, from Bridgewater, NJ, which couldn't be more than a 45 minute drive from the town of Ringoes where Bound was from. Bound's singer, Jay Shevchuk, went on to play in the much more popular bands None More Black and Kid Dynamite. These jams were recorded at Graphic Sound System in Ringoes during November of 1996. Best songs? "Mind-Forged Manacles" and "Formulated", easily. Lastly, I remember the bands drummer, Dana, looked remarkably like the girl I took to my senior prom but, alas, was not the same person.


1) Unholy
2) Mind-Forged Manacles
3) Formulated
4) New Spirit
5) King Of Pain
6) Circumstantial
7) Embossed
8) Cherish
9) Echo
10) Fire's Dying
11) (hidden track)

SevenYearsWar - "Ranks of the Common People"

Please let me begin this post by telling you that this band was amazing. SevenYearsWar was a four piece from Burlington, VT and they played energetic and furious straight edge hardcore that was heavy, but without necessarily being metallic, per se. Let me also inform you that their self titled 7" from 1995  is certainly one of my favorite seven inches, period. Also, if you asked me who the five best straight edge bands in the history of ever were, this band would find their way into that answer*.

This cd was a split release by NY's Struggle Records and the extremely important and prolific Moo Cow Records, and was released in 1996 with 1000 pressed. If you are reading this blog and you aren't familiar with Moo Cow, then you need to go ahead and make sure you do that. Legendary 90s d.i.y. hardcore punk label that covered a vast array of styles. Anyway, the band had originally planned to record this record with Brian McTernan at Salad Days Studios. Apparently there was some sort of mix up, and the band recorded at a different studio (Bristol Studios) and, instead, had McTernan remix it at a later date. This gives me the same sentiment I feel towards Turmoil's "From Bleeding Hands": all of the songs are quite excellent, but with the quality of recording the album should have received, who knows how awesome the final product could have turned out. As an aside, the cover art was done by Ten Yard Fight's Anthony Pappalardo.

"Ranks of the Common People" is full of intelligent, political and socially conscious lyrics to go along with rrrreeeeaaaallllyyy awesome, hectic, well played hardcore punk that was pretty technically proficient. You can tell vocalist Jonathan Hughes felt strongly about the subject matter of the lyrics he was yelling and screaming. Also, the drummer of this band is really good and that's important to me because, well, I play drums. Underrated and often overlooked, which means you probably need to have a go, mate. Recorded during April of 1996.

-have a go-

1) Eighteen
2) Hibakusha
3) Caged
4) Witness
5) Nativecrown
6) Nrubaidem
7) One Of Every Three
8) Terrestrial
9) Pogrom
10) Phonemes

*Threadbare, Undertow, Chokehold, SevenYearsWar and either Mouthpiece, Judge or Groundwork, depending on the day.

Neglect - "Hang In There" ep

Heavy, hateful as fuck hardcore from Lindenhurst, Long Island, NY that really sends a message. That message being that the vocalist, Brian, is one extremely misanthropic individual. The lyrics are completely stuffed to the gills with hatred for other members of his species, and make you think to yourself, "Yo, if this dude wasn't singing in this hardcore band, would he already be dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound?" They deal with subjects like suicide, hating everything and everyone, and they often explain just how shitty living on planet Earth can be sometimes. There was a double-disc discography released many years ago on the German hardcore label Gain Ground Records, but the first half second of the song "Good For Nothing" is, for whatever reason, cut off on that release. Not so on the original version presented here, which came out in early 1995 on Chicago's We Bite America. These two songs were recorded on November 12th, 1994, and are fucking awesome.

The music is metallic and mid-paced hardcore that provides a solid backdrop for the cynical, depressive lyrics. The recording quality on these two tracks is much "better" than some of their other recording sessions, for sure. These are probably my favorite Neglect songs, and this record was my first exposure to the band. A word of warning: the song titles on these digital uploads from my cd might be backwards, so keep an eye / ear out for that when transferring them to your music player of choice, ya dig?

"It's a shame but a fact a bullet would fix this mess. This world fucked up and I refuse to pay its debts."

1) Pure Living Hell
2) Good For Nothing

Index for Potential Suicide - "The Newest Youth Rebellion"

Here is the first and only full length by this South Carolina spazzy, grindy hardcore band, released by Ohev Records. The band was active during the late 90s and very early oughts, and the bass player from Index for Potential Suicide was also a guitarist in one of  The Palmetto State's best bands ever, Prevail. This album would appeal to fans of bands like I Am The Resurrection, Black Dice, Racebannon or Knives And Greenwater, the latter of whom happened to appear on a split 7" together released in 1998 by Witching Hour Records. It makes perfect sense that IFPS and Usurp Synapse released a split 7" on that label as well, a year later, given the bands propensity to play the more electronic-influenced (see: synth) style of screamo that was pretty popular at that time. The music on this full length was recorded during August and September 1999.

100% worth the listen for the songs "Eat Lightening, Crap Thunder" (the last 50 seconds of which I could listen to all day on repeat) and "Rock Out With Your Cock Out". While this probably won't be for everyone, it will be a rewarding find for those who can indeed hang with it. Extra points for the "Heathers" sample, too.


1) The Newest Youth Rebellion
2) Flavor Of The Month
3) Remote Controls and Mousepads
4) Eat Lightening, Crap Thunder
5) Global Injustice
6) Rock Out With Your Cock Out
7) Arriving At Suicide
8) Escape Unsuccessful
9) Death Toll Confirmed
10) Electronics, Sabotage and Surveillance
11) Escape From Uncle Bill's Lap
12) The Nine Envelopes Contents
13) How To Build A Silencer
14) Monoroid Manipulation
15) Silencer, Completed
16) 212, Fuck You

V/A - "Is the Human Heart So Selfish? A Benefit for Food Not Bombs" compilation cd

Pretty rad late-90s comp from an Athens, Georgia (I lived there from 2004-2010, nice little southern college town) label called 893. There are some notable bands on here and I haven't seen very much about this record on the internet, so here you go. The booklet that comes with this has a good layout going on; band pics, info on FNB and kids living in poverty, some personal writings (what 90s compilation would be complete without some of those?) and a fucking Curtis cartoon, which is something I had completely forgotten about.

This compilation features bangers by Atlanta's Quadiliacha and Aslund Constant, an almost ten minute jam by Cerberus Shoal, and what is arguably Griver's best song (fyi - the Griver / The Exploder split lp is really, really tight). The Twenty Seven Hours song "Dear You" also smokes, and they are probably known best for doing a split with Canada's Republic Of Freedom Fighters.


1) Orlock "Dressed up"
2) The Mike Douglas "Untitled"
3) Aslund Constant "Number Six"
4) Party Of Helicopters "There's A Bomb In My Food"
5) The Perpetual Sciamachy Theorem "Acquiring the Asymmetric Ear"
6) Griver "Postmarked Division"
7) Twenty Seven Hours "Dear You"
8) Wheeljack "Baton"
9) Cerberus Shoal "Broken Springs Spring Forth From Broken Clocks"
10) Blue Stockings "Bubble People"
11) Quadiliacha "What's Wrong With This Picture?"
12) The Forty Two "Sounds Age"
13) Bughummer "Bird Dog"
14) Full Scale Replicas "Raised"
15) Flack Scramp Tramauntra "Dueling"
16) Titus "The What Little Boys Are Made Of Trilogy"

Mach Tiver cd

Noisy, two-piece, do it yourself  hardcore with a noticeable Shotmaker influence. At some point (2001/2002-ish), one of my old bands was supposed to do a split with these kids, but unfortunately that never happened. Alluring stuff from Ottawa, Canada that makes me wish these songs aren't the only ones I've ever heard from the band. Recorded in August, 2001.

1) Nameless
2) I Always Wanted To Be An Architect
3) Nirvana Covers And Stuff That Don't Impress The Kids Much These Days
4) Words Can Paint 1000 Pictures
5) Singing Through The Night Sky Like A Pair Of Bottlerockets
6) You Can't Wash Out These Stains


Thursday, November 20, 2014

V/A - "Remain Standing" compilation cd

This compilation was released by California's Pictora Pilota Records sometime in early 2004. Most of the bands that appear here play some form of screamy emo type stuff...some are clearly influenced by 1994-era emo, and some play a more modern, "grindy", heavier version. There are some interesting and weirdo noise jams on here, too (Word Up Bedroom Empire, Fresh Threats). A few of these bands you may already be familiar with if you were into this style of hardcore a decade or more ago. The layout of this disc is heavy on the color grey, and the liner notes list all of the appearing bands' contact information, where the songs originally appeared (if elsewhere) and a statement by Steven Whitright, who ran the label:

"sometimes escapism is necessary. it can be a much needed distraction from the problems that are constantly going on around us. we need to detach ourselves though, at least periodically, to react to the shit around us, intangibles...ideas, art, music, other forms of expression...are among the few things in life that cannot entirely be diluted/tainted by greed and other outside variables. they shouldn't be taken for granted. we shouldn't reduce them down to mindless forms of escapism. the only thing that arrogance, elitism, joke songs, faked sincerity, etc. could ever really accomplish is a detraction from something that is arguably one of the best ways of transcribing/transferring emotion/ideas."

                                                  Overall, an enjoyable listen.


1) Five Stars For Failure "Last words" (incorrectly listed on the cd as "Last monument")
2) Deadseraphim "Call my dad i quit the band"
3) Bright Calm Blue "Sources and procedures"
4) Mara'akate "My head is too small for that giant hat"
5) Instrument "All things considered"
6) An Albatross "The man eating pigs of madidi"
7) Phoenix Bodies "Lawn of decadence"
8) Choke Their Rivers With Our Dead "Crayons"
9) Fresh Threats "The formation of troops and sentences"
10) Jeremy From Boise "Hats off to due respect"
11) Letters In Binary "Open your mouth"
12) The Spirit Of Versailles "Recite this dialog"
13) Hospital "September flowers"
14) Word Up Bedroom Empire "Fttt"
15) In The Marrow Of Kings "Impatient"