Monday, January 11, 2016

First 2016 entry. The unofficial guide to "neocrust" and "blackened crust". Part I.


Note: Sometimes, I like my punk like my pizza: CRUST. 

We're back once again and this time around, as we have previously announced, we're running the blog in English. This will be a great challenge because we've lost the practice with this beautiful language. Hence, we beg of you to ignore our grammar mistakes and our lack of coherence in the writings but we'll make it. Yay! Somehow...And if we fail, we'll return to our lovely native language. Finally, we've already started the translation of the site, so in a few weeks we'll have a new image and a HUGE surprise (well, kinda). For the moment, the only new change that's going to be applied right now is the possibility of downloading directly a file just clicking on the image of the desired record. And, we have a facebook group page (https://www.facebook.com/lamortdunemoderniste). Give us like and Follow us. That would be pleasing. Cool, huh?

Introduction 

Note: Travis Bacon is crustier than thou. Period.

It's not a secret that there are two strange "movements" known as "neocrust" and "blackened crust". And they're strange because they have two of the weirdest names ever for a crust punk variation. Most of the purists of the latter subgenre hate these "new" trends, some others find them amazing (including myself). For years, I've been following these trends and since the last year I was planning a post for these crust punk styles. So, it's a marvelous way to start 2016 with these controversial terms, right?

Musically speaking, "neocrust" bands have strong influences of "modern" hardcore punk bands like Tragedy, From Ashes Rise, His Hero Is Gone and Remains Of The Day, etc. and, some others, have an enormous influence of screamo bands like Orchid, Neil Perry, Drift, Union of Uranus and One Eyed God Prophecy. Thus, some people will conclude that "neocrust" is a mix of crust punk and screamo. This is not true at all because some other bands have other musical influences including post metal, metalcore, black metal, death metal and even some bands experiment with "speed metal" and traditional rock 'n roll.

Regarding "blackened crust" bands, their musical influences range between traditional crust punk and black metal (especially the First Wave). I must confess I'm not a big fan of black metal but I dig some other musical projects that have its influence, including this one. The most iconic "blackened crust" bands are Iskra (Canada) and Gallhammer (Japan), both female-fronted, which is amazing. Also, Darkthrone, one of the most influential black metal bands, since their 2006 release The Cult Is Alive, have been experimenting with this style. 

Personally, I don't consider "neocrust" and "blackened crust" crust punk subgenres because they're only variations. In fact, a lot of late 90s hardcore punk bands like His Hero Is Gone, Black Kronstadt, and Cwill have already had some musical influences before these "modern" labels exposed in the present post. By the way, these "pioneer acts" won't be featured in this special but they'll appear in the next one.

Also, most of the time it's really difficult and annoying to identify the appropriate style for describing the sound of a band that is associated to these trends. In most cases, a band can be totally absorbed by a musical genre, for example, some Gallhammer's songs are pure black metal and some "neocrust" bands are more linked to screamo rather than to crust punk, for example, spanish bands like Das Plague and Sl'S3 and mexican bands like Maladie. 

Finally, I've chosen some records of some bands of these interesting crust punk variations. You'll see some of the Spanish "neocrust" bands that made part of a special in the ancient blog, essentially the precursors of that trend, and some other Latin American (including Colombia and Mexico), European and Asian bands of both styles. We'll spend around 2 or 3 more entries for finishing this special. So, no more talk and more action. Let's get started.


Fall Of Efrafa - Owsla

 https://mega.nz/#!6wAVRYbD!b4ww1zfB0XRwPlYR7zjhJKRfo1OaDETmmkfw_i5S09YAh!, the marvelous 2006 full-length debut album of this monstruous british outfit. Fall Of Efrafa is one of the most iconic, if not the most, act in this "neocrust" vague. Anyone that mentions that forbidden word immediately thinks about them. This is just a masterpiece. The name of the band, and all the lyrics, artwork and other stuff related to their music, is based on the story of Richard Adams' book Watership Down, a child's tale about rabbits desperately finding a new home.

Regarding the sound, you should already know what to expect: dark, apocalyptic and gloomy hardcore punk with high dozes of crust punk, d-beat, post metal, post hardcore, black metal and sludge. There's even the sound of unconventional instruments for the crust punk subgenre like violins and pianos. Neurosis would be really proud of the chaotic yet beautiful ambient behind this record. Absolutely amazing. Oh, and their members are atheists and vegan. Should I say more for kneeling down before this monster?

Now, this record it's not only the beginning of their musical career but it's also a trilogy in the story arc that nourishes their records. You start with this one ("The Guardian" in the fictitious language of the book) that relates the actions of the ones that build to arms against the evil forces that are preying this world. After that, you must continue with the next album Elil ("The Enemy") and on and on until the end of this beautiful tragedy. Nice concept for a hardcore punk band in general. Clever.

Finally, you must have this record in your personal music library. Take a sip of this grail and live forever. Well, maybe. Oh, I almost forgot. It does exist a discography named The Warren Snares, released as a gorgeous box set in 2010 by Moment of Collapse Records, Halo of Flies Records and Denovali Records, that includes all of their work. Sadly, it's out of print. For the moment, enjoy this opus magnum. Mandatory download. Enjoy!.


Nux Vomica - A Civilized World

 https://mega.nz/#!Coh2lBID!X9NFS_f8XdaavfazY8pxAT57LPyxwEYuIqUIZadbofwA beautiful record from this amazing band located in Portland. This is their first full-length album. They have other records in their discography: 3 EPs named The Uninspired, The President Is Dead (whose name and front cover are a parody of the legendary The Smiths' album The Queen Is Dead) and Embrace The Cycles; 3 split EPs with Kakistocracy, The Makai and Wake Up On Fire; and, finally, two other full-length albums: Asleep In The Ashes and Nux Vomica.

Regarding the sound, Nux Vomica has great influences of crust punk, post metal, sludge, doom metal, black metal and crossover thrash. Also, they have an interesting experimental twist with deep percussions, samplers and slow and melodic guitar interludes. And, of course, their lyrics have that dark and pessimistic touch of crust punk. Recently, they have signed to Relapse Records and their last record has more sludge and post metal influences but they still have some "neocrust" traces in their sound.

Finally, I must say that you must download this amazing record. It's one of the best "neocrust" bands (well, at least their first records). Nice execution in their experimentation. Should I say more? The file in this post includes the artwork, inserts and lyrics sheet. All-In-One. Enjoy!.


November 13th - 2008

This is the third full-length album of this german monster. They have other records in their discography: a 2005 self-titled; two splits Eps with AK47 and Grube Und Pelen; and two LPs: Stillstand/Weiter and Stadt In Flammen.

 https://mega.nz/#!G1wAHaAB!fnh9mlDOTcQlJLo-8a4FtIMAAGCN7-sglNejgFnVFCkThe name of the band makes reference to the date of their first rehearsal back in 2002. Also, they say November is one of the most cold months in the year and the 13th reference adds some "darkness" to the title (creepy as fuck).

Regarding their sound, it's really cool. In effect, they have crust punk, metalcore, post metal and sludge influences. Also, they have an excellent and harmonic instrumentization, the two vocalists, each one with a particular style, make a fantastic work, and we can find slow and melodic interludes in some of their songs. The band has an anti-sexist, anti-fascist, and anti-homophobe stance and their lyrics follow this trend.  And, obviously, they have that negative and depressive vision of this sick world like other "neocrust" acts.

Finally, I reccomend you to listen to this amazing german outfit. Their last work it's more "progressive" compared to their first works but it's really pleasing. If you can, get it. Enjoy!.


Madame Germen - Discography

I'm almost sure that this amazing galician crust punk band was the first one, along with Fall of Efrafa and Nux Vomica, that coined the term "neocrust" around the global underground circles. Obviously, they never used this hideous name for describing their music but everyone else did. This female-fronted project only released 3 records: An Untitled LP, and 2 EPs: As Cicatrizes Do Paraiso and Invocaión Á Morte.

Regarding their sound, I have no words to describe it. It's so amazing. In effect, they played brutal and abrassive hardcore punk in the vein of popular crust punk bands like Tragedy, From Ashes Rise and Remains Of The Day with a melodic and harmonious touch reminiscent of post rock and some screamo influences. Their lyrics are in their native language and they have a dark, pessimistic, and fateful vision of our distorted and sick world. A great piece of art between the ashes of a living graveyard.

Last but not least, I present to you this "discography". Sadly, it's incomplete (like most of the discography records around there). It contains the songs from the Untitled LP (named in this record Hinos do Sacrificio, I don't know why), the As Cicatrizes Do Paraiso EP, one previously unreleased track named Ensinadxs A Competir, and one live session in Goteborg, Sweden.  I highly recommend this powerful band. The file in this post includes the artwork, inserts and lyrics sheet (translated to spanish and english). All-In-One. Enjoy!.


Down To Agony - Réquiem por un mundo enfermo

As you may know, Spain, notably the autonomous region Galicia, had a "neocrust" explosion back in the 2000s. They were emulating the sound of popular crust punk bands of the time like Tragedy and From Ashes Rise, mixed with other musical styles related to hardcore punk and extreme metal, among others.

 https://mega.nz/#!H9R32ACB!rI3RjdUNfnnWf29ip34lpGa192fhpCu7VgVY_ZHhjjADown to Agony, along with Madame Germen and Ekkaia, was a fundamental piece in the creation and expansion of this crust punk "boom". Compared to their counterparts, they didn't have an experimental twist in their sound: they only played fast, rabid and unmerciful hardcore punk, as it should be.

Indeed, they sound like His Hero Is Gone but with spanish lyrics. And, well, the band has that  downhearted and sulky touch in their lyrics and image as a band.  I chose this record because, in my humble opinion, it's their best work and the title of the record ("Requiem for a sick world") displays the apathetic, gloomy and fateful vision of "neocrust". I'm thinking that these musical projects aren't recommended for a happy person.

Finally, you can visit their official website (www.downtoagony.com) where you can download all their discography: No Vida (2004), the amazing split with Fall of Efrafa (2006), the record featured in this post (2006) and El sueño de vernos caer (2009). Also, the website is available in english and you can read the lyrics of their songs and download the beautiful artwork of each record. Sweet. I hope you enjoy this band, it's one of my favorite "neocrust" acts. The file in this post includes the artwork, inserts and lyrics sheet. All-In-One. Enjoy!.


SL'S3 - Con La Venda Hacia La Pared

An excellent record originally self-released in 2004. This is their first and last full-length album and they had members of Madame Germen and Nashgul. By the way, they had a demo, prior to this release, and most of its songs are contained. Surprisingly, it was re-released by LongLegsLongArms, a japanese record label, in 2014. This is the first time, after 10 years, that an established label prints their work. 

 https://mega.nz/#!WwxkjIYK!gj3biZROqVSmzykVDZPcvIFw0r5N5c8-XKzNnTxZ2YwLike Das Plague, they had a heavy screamo/emoviolence influence in their sound. Indeed, we can think of Union of Uranus and Anomie as a reference but the chaotic nature of their songs also had that dark hardcore/crust spice filled with anger and apathy in the same vein as their "neocrust" counterparts. Also, some elements like slow-paced and introspective interludes, in some way reminiscent of post-rock, accompanied this symphony of desolation and catastrophe.

The lyrics of the songs are in spanish and have a socio-political context dealing with personal issues. Nothing surprising or extraordinary for the "neocrust" standard, but I have to say that it's really hard to compete against this melodic brutality. It's amazingly executed. After releasing this record, SL'S3 splitted-up and their members formed some other influential local "neocrust" acts like Hongo and Blünt, with less screamo/emoviolence influences.

Finally, I present to you the original 2004 release. When I was writing this post, I have noticed the existence of the forementioned 2014 re-release and I don't really know what changed (or what didn't change) compared to the original record. If I have the chance to get it, I'll let you know. The lyrics' sheet is included in the file. Mandatory download. Enjoy!


Ekkaia - Sombras del Progreso

We finally arrived to the milestone of the spanish "neocrust" outfits, Ekkaia. Well, at least in terms of popularity. Since long time ago, I have had an infinite admiration to this band. Their sound, their lyrics, everything. Ekkaia is love, Ekkaia is life. Ekkaia above all crustie things (Forgive me, Amebix father I failed thy...). Just kidding, but I have to say this is an amazing galician hardcore punk outfit. It's one of my favorite bands.

 https://mega.nz/#!vxYS1KBC!UHJQwCpTVDLtyEHQKefEUJrc7q9bQItz-mU0j-4R9OY
Ekkaia (whose name makes reference to The Lord of The Rings' fictional cosmology), started as a band named Icon. They had spanish and english songs alike with crust punk, screamo/emoviolence and even melodic death metal influences. So, for giving you an example, their sound was like putting in a blender Tragedy, Orchid and In Flames at high speed. Amazingly insane.

Later, they changed their name to Ekkaia and released a split with spanish grindcore band Unsane Crisis. The name shift also meant a change in their sound. Indeed, they reduced the death metal influences giving priority to the screamo/emoviolence sound. With the release of their first full-length Manos Que Estrechan Planes De Muerte y Sometimiento, the band gave priority to the dark, gloomy, anger-filled crustcore in the vein of Tragedy and His Hero Is Gone, the sound they're known for. Also, the screamo/emoviolence influences (principally canadian bands like Union of Uranus and One Eyed God Prophecy) weren't abolished at all and remained almost untouched. The perfect mix to please crusties and emo kids alike (like Orchid did in their time).

Finally, I present to you another incomplete yet interesting discography Sombras del Progreso, released in 2006 by Estajanovismo Records and No Mientras Vivamos Records. It contains the Manos Que Estrechan Planes De Muerte y Sometimiento LP, the Cuántos Más Moriremos Hasta Que Estén Satisfech@s EP, the track Dos Mundos (previously released on the D.I.Y or Die Vol. I compilation. We have it in the blog, go check it out), and the marvelous LP Demasiado Tarde Para Pedir Perdón (in my humble opinion, their best work). Sadly, the compilation doesn't include the fantastic Ya Hemos Aguantado El Sermón, Ahora Lo Destrozaremos EP, the songs from the split with Unsane Crisis or the demo as Icon. Do not miss this amazing short-lived yet influential "neocrust" outfit. Mandatory download. Enjoy!.


Das Plague - s/t

This great short-lived galician "neocrust" band released this amazing self-titled in 2006. In fact, they shared members with other local "Neocrust" pioneers like Blünt and Ekkaia. The name of the band makes reference to Das Plague (French For Germans), a Love Like...Electrocution's song.

 https://mega.nz/#!mwgBRBDY!_xYDPEj0HkUWdiXh3b0FLTAMZHsTNPSSIPOuDuOe-SU
They never printed this work because they had serious problems finding a label to do it and they finally decided to share it for free in their ancient MySpace account. Nonetheless, they were really active offering lots of concerts in Spain and some other European countries. Their charm and particular sound made that the local underground community praised them so much.

Regarding the sound, Das Plague is one of that "neocrust" outfits with a heavy screamo/emoviolence influence. When I first heard them, I thought the band was another act of the mentioned subgenre but I felt something weird about them. Something more complex. And, later, I knew the "neocrust" movement and the story goes on. When we made the galician "neocrust" special in the ancient blog, this record was really popular along with Ekkaia and Madame Germen. I must justify this because it's fantastic: short, fast-paced songs with slow, melodic and introspective interludes, heavy screams and deep guttural voices singing about desperation and loneliness in this fucked up world. Really neat.

Finally, I must recommend you this great galician band. It's their only work and it shouldn't be ignored. You'll be really satisfied. Believe me. Enjoy!


Ëbola - Demo  2006

This is one of the most amazing yet underrated spanish "neocrust" bands. They were from Getafe, a suburb near to Madrid, and I think they only released this mesmerizing demo. Warning, it should not be confused with the british and german bands of the same name. Also, they shared members with Ugly Bastards, a skacore/crustgrind outfit. Yes, I know the mix could be a little bit insane but it works fantastic for them. We've seen all kind of weird stuff in the blog so far. Maybe we will publish them in the future, maybe.

 https://mega.nz/#!f5xHwQ5J!AhxXD4rNeFcATbD3nUV6olV9Uj9FKBFo1zW1XfT7HgARegarding Ëbola's sound, they had that furious and angst-filled hardcore punk touch with evident elements of crust punk and screamo, in the vein of their national counterparts Asfixia and Pulpita de Fruta. Like them, Ëbola didn't have an experimental approach in their music but some songs had that particular slow-paced, introspective and melodic interludes present in most of the "neocrust" bands featured in this post.  And, the lyrics are intelligent, well-structured, and direct.

Finally, I recommend you this great short-lived band. Let this chaotic yet harmonic virus infect you with its brutal and unmerciful sound. You won't regret it. Enjoy!



Asfixia - self-titled

A great female-fronted "neocrust" band from the Basque Country. They released this self-titled in 2006 through Stonehenge Records, one of the most important yet underrated french hardcore punk record labels. 

 https://mega.nz/#!a0QQgSpb!oksD96CQ3ajqH3BYBxskxAR_dDbZnsudDrl1qH1Rd-4As you may know, Stonehenge Records was responsable for releasing some material of some of the most influential 90s french emo/screamo bands like Undone, Anomie and Fingerprint. Asfixia also shares a split EP with Annunaki Revenge, which it's unknown for me because I don't have that record. 

Regarding the sound, Asfixia played short, fast-paced and abrasive hardcore punk songs with high influences of crust punk and screamo alike. Their vocalist had an amazing voice, with a style between Anomie and Ruidosa Inmundicia. Awesome. So, compared to the other "neocrust" bands featured in this post, Asfixia doesn't have that experimental approach. In fact, they were so close to a more primitive yet impressive form of hardcore punk. Their lyrics advocate for the animal and human liberations alike. 

Finally, I must recommend you this great record. We support openly female-fronted hardcore punk bands and, of course, if these groups have interesting musical approachs like this record, they're more encouraged. I wish I had the split with Annunaki Revenge for completing you this powerful band's discography. Enjoy!


Hongo / Pulpita de Fruta "Alimento para el corazón I" split

A great split from 2 spanish "neocrust" bands. Hongo was formed back in 2000 but didn't have the proper line-up to record something. It wasn't until 2004 when Hongo, with some members of the recently defunct SL'S3, recorded their first demo.

 https://mega.nz/#!OlpRkJpI!MEpDEdEnN4EZjx5IUoRDL-uqnytwn5z_aGgsHenV26sFollowing the trend of Madame Germen and SL'S3, Hongo embarked themselves in the "neocrust" trend, a new musical explosion within the crust punk community emulating the dark, apathetic and aggressive stance of popular hardcore punk bands of the time like Tragedy, From Ashes Rise and  Wolfbrigade.

And, unlike their counterparts and the other musical projects prior to them, Hongo didn't have strong screamo influences, only the necessary dozes (at least in this demo). The lyrics of the band have always dealt with personal issues facing the horrors of the mediocre, egotistical, plastic and decaying lifestyle that we're doomed to live.

Their second record Formas De Vida Que Se Precipitan Hacia Su Destrucción (2007),  it's one of the jewels in this galician crust punk explosion. In my humble opinion, it's their best work and a defining record of that prolific era in the spanish underground circles. Later, they released a split with fellow mates Aguirre in 2008 and they had a hiatus until 2012. In that year, they came back with a marvelous LP titled ...Y Sembrarán Los Campos De Odio, with a more refined and complex sound reminiscent of sludge. Finally, in 2015, Hongo teamed-up with Ancient Emblem (a spanish crust punk band) for releasing an awesome split.

Regarding Pulpita de Fruta, it's one of that mysterious yet captivating hardcore punk bands whose die-hard fans and close friend are the only ones that know about them. Indeed, they don't have a website, they don't precise their whereabouts (I think they're from the Valencian region in Spain, because in one of their songs, the vocalist recite a sentence in valencian dialect) and since this split, which I think it's unofficial, the band hasn't released new material.


Now, their sound it's absolutely top-notch. Indeed, they have that interesting mix of crust punk and screamo paying tribute to canadian emoviolence acts like Union of Uranus, Drift and One Eyed God Prophecy. In the same vein of their counterparts Asfixia and SL'S3, Pulpita de Fruta plays short, fast-paced, and furious hardcore punk with personal, sincere and political lyrics. If Ekkaia, Das Plague, SL'S3 or Madame Germen pleased crusties and emokids alike, this band took that particular symbiosis to the next level of perfection.

Finally, this split contains their respective demos and it was released in 2007. It is said that Mexican record labels Cryptas Records and Verborrea Records were behind this project but I never saw an official announcement by the bands. In fact, the Hongo's official bandcamp page (https://fungivoro.bandcamp.com/) doesn't make any reference to this record. And, the Pulpita de Fruta's songs were incorrectly listed, so I had to fix the error. Anyway, official or not, this is a great split, very popular in its time and, obviously, in our ancient blog. You should download it and give it a try. Don't forget to visit Hongo's official bandcamp page in order to download their prolific discography. If you can, pay the right price. They deserve it. Enjoy!.


Asedio - El último invierno LP 

I'm wondering, maybe, just maybe, that at this point you're already a little bit tired of all the screamo references mentioned so far in the post. I remind you that it's the true screamo sound that nourish some of these bands and not the mainstream stuff around there. And, as you may also know, every rule has an exception and the next band it's a perfect example of it. It's not a surprise but at least they tried to sound a little bit different.
 https://mega.nz/#!HoRliABC!m9wP23nmp8TNu6PvHUgDBIlpcYkIbRSrLAlgBbQFvVg

Featuring members of Ekkaia and Das Plague, Asedio was another short-lived galician "neocrust" band with the common crust punk elements of their counterparts. But they added a special flavour to their sound: melodic death metal influences. Indeed, they sounded more close to swedish crust punk and melodic death metal acts like Wolfbrigade, Skitsystem, Disfear, In Flames and At The Gates rather than their local "neocrust" counterparts. Also, we find some black metal influences (especially the first wave). As you may expect, the lyrics have that dark, violent and pessimistic nature, key element in this post.

Finally, this is their only work. I have the first edition of this record published in 2008 by La Agonía De Vivir Records, which only had 7 songs. Later, Maca Ataka Records, our lovely ecuadorian record label, re-released this record, I think in 2011, with 5 extra songs. I'll give you the first original release with 4 of the 5 extra songs, because the one that is missing (Lavando las piedras) I couldn't get it anywhere. Both versions are out of print since long time ago. I recommend you this amazing band. Enjoy!.

With this record, we finish the first part of this special. Hope you liked it and see you soon for the next post. More surprises are coming. Kisses and hugs!


Remember bros and sis: Crüst Äs Fück, always, ALWAYS.

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