Friday, January 11, 2019

La Mort D'Un.e. Moderniste presents: Best picks of 2018 - International edition


 Source: GettyImages
Note: Yes, this powerful trio helped us out for picking up the featured records in this humble entry. Thank you.

Coucou, les chaton.ne.s! We're back with the first entry of 2019. Yaaayyy! As I already mentioned you, this selection already was made before the end of last year but I decided to wait some days later because some surprises could arise at the last moment. So, 2018 really was a good year in terms of hardcore releases since many new surprises saw the light and some unexpected comebacks re-appeared for reviving old glories as well. Likewise, I also have to admit that it was a difficult task and tried to feature underrated acts due to the fact that their absence in other specialized websites is evident. And, despite having one choice as the best album, all these records are highly recommended and pleased me a lot. Don't forget this is just a personal choice and it isn't a definitive list. If you consider that I missed some records, you can leave your picks in the comment section below and I'll try to review them some time later throughout the year. Lastly, the colombian edition of our best picks of 2018 is expected to appear next week since I still need to get some records I discovered during New Year's Eve (You see what I tried to mean some paragraphs above?). With all that written. Let's begin.    

City Hunter (USA) - Deep Blood LP (Youth Attack Records (USA))

https://youthattack.bandcamp.com/album/deep-blood

This Denver-based hardcore punk band that appeared sometime back in 2013, played a few shows and only recorded one self-titled demo that year. Everyone was talking about them and expected their first full-length album to release anytime soon. Well, the wait is over and, after 5 years, this marvelous LP finally saw the light. If you think a hardcore record could ever be a soundtrack to horror movies (notably the "slasher" subgenre), this one would definitely fit in. Indeed, the music is fast, outrageous with drastic and unpredictable tempo changes that simply will make your ears heavenly bleed. They reminded me of a strange cross between classic 80s japanese hardcore such as G.I.S.M. and ZOUO and 90s Holy Terror acts like Gehenna (USA). Now, imagine this scenario: you're desperately trying to run for your life from the creepy dude on the front cover but this abomination already stabbed you ten times in the back without even noticing it while this LP sounds loudly alongside your cries of pain and despair. Beautiful. I was really surprised with this record. Finally, this is highly recommended. Enjoy! 

Junta (Denmark) - Dystopolis EP (Junta Tapes (Denmark))

https://juntapunx.bandcamp.com/album/dystopolis

I discovered this impressive band from Copenhagen when they announced late 2018 their colombian tour in january 2019, alongside Finisterre, a well-known german neocrust outfit but I didn't pay too much attention. At first glance, I was like "Ok, european bands coming to the country. Yaaay" but when I listened to their more recent work Dystopolis, I simply loved it. Indeed, their style is a mix between old-school brazilian, finnish and italian hardcore executed in similar way to this nouvelle vague of d-beat-influenced american and british hardcore bands like Impalers or Arms Race. The lyrics are in both danish and portugues with political stances, for example, Uma Força Ingovernável track, invite us all here in latin america for doing anarchy. Cool. Finally, check it out. If you dig modern bands like Negativ (Norway) and Orden Mundial (Spain), Junta is for you. Highly recommended. Enjoy!   
 
Suburbanite (USA) - self-titled LP (Youth Attack Records (USA))

https://youthattack.bandcamp.com/album/s-t
  
Someone told me early this year that american hardcore has lost its "fuzz" since long time ago and there are only a few modern bands to remark to. What can I say about this statement? Well, this is partially true and Suburbanite is a clear example of that the so-called New Wave of American Hardcore is each day a real thing. This NYC-based outfit has different american and british hardcore influences with an impressive angst-filled vocal style and a straight-to-the-point musical execution. They also reminded me of some american bands like Green Beret and Pure Disgust that started to gave some new fresh air to some outdated styles. Such a blast. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Negativ (Norway) - Projections EP (Byllepest Distro (Norway), Sabotage Records and Ruin Nation Records (Germany)) 

https://sabotagerecords.bandcamp.com/album/negativ-projections-ep

We've featured this norwegian band in different times, for example, some of their contributed tracks to the Infection Vol. I Worlwide Hardcore Attack 2x7" 4-way split (You can re-read the original review by clicking here) and Blazing Anarchy tape compilation (You can re-read the original review by clicking here), and I get impressed with each new material they release. As we previously stated, this band reminded us of modern american acts like GAG and Creem with the trademark sound of classic 80s norwegian hardcore almost intact. Alongside outfits like Muro (Colombia), ZODD (Singapore) and GAZM (Canada), there shouldn't be labels for trying to describe their style, it's just hardcore punk, pure and simple. Fuck yeah. Finally, listen to it. Totally worth it. The artwork was made by our friend Juan S. Rosillo from Rat Trap Collective (Colombia) (You can check his work out on his Instagram account @juansebastianrosillo). Highly recommended. Enjoy!      

Cadaver Dog (USA) - self-titled LP (Youth Attack Records (USA))

https://youthattack.bandcamp.com/album/dying-breed

Cadaver Dog also is another example of this interesting modern hardcore punk explosion in the US. This Denver-based is pure non-stopping old-school hardcore driven aggression rabidly executed for fucked up modern times like ours. Indeed, the (beast) spirit of all-time classics such as Negative Approach, Necros, DYS and YDI, for naming a few, is intact. Now, you must know for the entire hardcore punk spectrum, the nostalgia factor could be like a double-edged sword, either a bliss or a punishment, but don't worry this band excels in its own surpassing any expectation. Finally, this 15 song LP will show you that 40 years of short, fast and loud hardcore punk haven't passed in vain. Oh, and I almost forgot, this is an one-man band. Awesome. For Fans Of: Krimewatch, GAG and Glue. Highly recommended. Enjoy! 

Rat Cage (UK) - Blood On Your Boots EP (La Vida Es Un Mus (UK))

https://lavidaesunmus.bandcamp.com/album/blood-on-your-boots-ep

Another great hardcore band belonging to the so-called New Wave Of British Hardcore (NWOBHC) surprises us with their impressive debut EP (I know this is a trend we're really obsessed with ha ha). Unlike their local counterparts, Rat Cage is more in the swedish side of things in the same vein as american heavyweights Green Beret and Sunshine Ward. Indeed, you'll find in here an interesting mix of classic acts like Totalitär, Headsplitters and Mob 47 executed in a bostonian hardcore way. Pretty solid stuff. Finally, check this out. Rad as fuck. Highly recommended. Enjoy!   

Envy (Japan) - Alnair In August 7" single (Sonzai Records (Japan) / Temporary Residence Limited (USA))

https://envy.bandcamp.com/album/alnair-in-august

The glorious comeback of one of the most influential japanese screamo bands in the last 20 years is finally a reality. After the release of Atheist's Cornea EP, through Temporary Residence Limited, in 2015 and their brief yet successful US tour with the loved/hated renowned post-black metal act Deafheaven that year, Envy entered into an "indefinite hiatus" since his original vocalist left the band and no one knew if a reunion would ever be possible again. Luckily, he's back and the group released this marvelous single before the end of 2018. For these recordings, I think Envy is breaking the mould with their own self-imposed post-rock-influenced screamo style since the early-00s with a more refined, chaotic yet melodic musical execution. Indeed, there are slow and fast-paced moments with both clean and screamed vocals and a more complex and mature atmospheric feel. Even some slight black metal moments like many modern post-black metal bands do nowadays can be traced too. Finally, listen to it. I certainly hope a brand new LP from this band in 2019. Highly recommended. Enjoy!  

Vile Gash (USA) - Nightmare In A Damaged Brain LP (Youth Attack Records (USA))

https://youthattack.bandcamp.com/album/nightmare-in-a-damaged-brain
  
Vile Gash is four-piece hardcore band from Columbus, Ohio that has been in the game since almost a decade ago. This is surprisingly their first full-length album ever and I must admit it's a good debut. Indeed, the musical execution is only ferocious, harsh and ugly as fuck. You can relate them to other american d-beat-influenced hardcore punk bands such as Sunshine Ward, Warthog, Impalers and Ajax, for naming a few. There's even only an exception to remark to: the Nightmare In A Damaged Brain track, which is more sludgy and powerviolence-oriented with a "darker" approach that could be an interlude to this sonic madness. Awesome. Finally, don't miss out this band. You won't regret it. Enjoy!

Idiota Civilizzato (Germany) - self-titled LP (Static Shock Records (UK))


https://staticshockrecords.bandcamp.com/album/idiota-civilizzato

One of the huge surprises in 2018 I got to know. If you have thoroughly read the blog in the last two years, you must already know I'm a huge fan of 80s italian hardcore. And, luckily, this band fulfills my cravings for non-stop frantic music. Indeed, you'll find some traces of all-time classics like Wretched, Indigesti, Blue Vomit and Impact executed in a pretty awesome modern and fresh way. Yes, the lyrics are in italian dealing with different social and political issues from a personal and honest perspective. Finally, don't think twice trying to slamdancing with the world after listening to this great record. Just do it. Simple. Highly recommended. Enjoy!   

Baptists (Canada) - Beacon Of Faith  (Southern Lord Records (USA) / Daymare Recordings (Japan))

https://baptistssl.bandcamp.com/

Ahhh! Yes! I was waiting long time ago for final-fuckin'-ly feature this amazing modern outfit from Vancouver, British Columbia.  Don't get confused with the "modern" label since this band is pure fucking madness. Indeed, they mix the best elements of metal and hardcore punk with a superb musical instrumentation and execution (the vocal style is insane!) for creating their iconic style everyone has been talking of almost a decade ago. There are even some songs with an unique and personal sludge, crust, d-beat and stoner rock touch but without losing the hardcore grip. Imagine something between Converge, His Hero Is Gone and Neurosis (early-00s era). Finally, I must admit that even though some previous works are a little bit "darker" than this one, I completely enjoyed it from start to end and, yes, you should definitely check it out. Highly recommended for fans of ultra-apocalyptic dark hardcore (Is that even a style?) bands such as All Pigs Must Die, Gaza and Cursed. Up da long-haired pvnx! Enjoy!
 
Krimewatch (USA) - self-titled EP  (Lockin' Out Records (USA) / Break The Records (Japan)).

https://krimewatch.bandcamp.com/album/krimewatch

Well, what can I say? I'm in love with this band. Great old-school NYHC savoir faire with both english and japanese lyrics. This is undoubtedly one of the best female-fronted hardcore bands around the globe today. We've featured it many times since 2016 (!) and that's why there shouldn't be more things to write about them right now. You can re-read our impressions of this long-awaited EP by clicking here. Absoultely a must. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

ZODD (Singapore) - Operationally Ready Dead LP (La Vida Es Un Mus (UK)) 

https://lavidaesunmus.bandcamp.com/album/operationally-ready-dead-lp

For this edition of our best picks, I was lucky enough to get to know this year more hardcore bands coming from the southeast of Asia, notably Singapore, whose scene has always spawned underrated yet great quality material like this one. ZODD is like one of these modern bands mixing different old-school hardcore styles and making one of their own. Think of bands like GAZM (Canada), Negativ (Norway) and even Muro (Colombia). Not labels, not trends, not subgenres, just pure and brutal hardcore punk. And that's it. Finally, don't miss this record out. There's a lot of fuzz and dissonance that will surely please anyone involved in this thing. Highly recommended. Enjoy!   

Sect Mark (Italy) - Worship MLP (Iron Lung Records (USA))

https://ironlungpv.bandcamp.com/album/worship-mlp-lungs-113
 
I remember when this band sent me an e-mail gladly requesting for a review. And, what can I say? I was completely astonished. Indeed, this is Italy's response to the emerging modern d-beat-influenced hardcore outfits nowadays such as Nomads, Deformity (USA) and S.H.I.T. (Canada). You can re-read our impressions of this great record by clicking here. Finally, don't forget to submit your material for reviewing it (in the Disclaimer section you'll see how to do it) and, who knows?, it could be one of the best picks of this year. Give it a try. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Exotica (USA) - Musique Exotique #03 (La Vida Es Un Mus (UK))

https://lavidaesunmus.bandcamp.com/album/musique-exot-que-03-ep

The third volume of their Musique Exotique series was chosen to be in our best picks of 2018. Why? Well, this impressive female-fronted hardcore punk band from NYC displays a primitive yet satisfying musical execution, which is clearly reminiscent of the content featured in different 80s hardcore compilations such as SUB, Beat The Meat and Raw War (The World of Punk), among others. (I know I must post them someday in the near future...). Also, the lyrics are in spanish and deal with different social and political issues from a latinx womyn perspective (You know how fucked up is the world about the immigration issue nowadays...). Finally, you can also try to get Musique Exotique compilation (Great Dance (Japan), 2018), which, as the name suggests, reunites all of the works of this band. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

SIAL (Singapore) - Binasa EP (La Vida Es Un Mus (UK)) 


https://lavidaesunmus.bandcamp.com/album/binasa-ep

The 2018 edition of Not Dead Yet fest in Toronto, Canada featured many high-quality hardcore punk acts around the globe (including Muro from Colombia) and I was highly impressed with the excellent repertory in general terms. But, among all the participants, one band really caught my attention: SIAL from Singapore. Indeed, this female-fronted outfit displayed such passion that I was completely mesmerized by their brutiful musical style, which is heavily inspired by old-school japanese hardcore like Gauze, The Comes and Confuse, for naming a few. Fantastic. Finally, if you dig female-fronted american hardcore bands like Krimewatch, La Misma and Törso, this is for you. Highly recommended. Enjoy!        

ORGA (USA) - Demo (Caligari Records (USA))

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/demo-4
  
Our anonymous collaborator codenamed Ariel-451 (Yes, s/he does exist and is more active than ever (albeit low profile). S/he also gave me permission to reveal the name) recommended this demo. I didn't listened to it back then but I did it when I was picking up the records for this humble list and, holy fuck, it's amazing. Imagine the perfect mix between swedish d-beat hardcore punk with early norwegian black metal. Pretty awesome. Some songs are more black metal-related while others reminded of this new wave of blackened metal punk acts such as Devil Master (US) but ORGA is more aggressive and relentless. No fuzz, no introspection nor interludes, just rage and hate. Just that. Yeah. Amazing. Finally, this is highly recommended. Enjoy!

Forra (UK) - Mostrame Lo Peor EP (La Vida Es Un Mus (UK))



Forra is a recently formed band from the UK with members from Argentina, Mexico, Catalunya and The Canaries Islands (Spain). The name means "dumb womyn" in argentinian slang. Now, this female-fronted outfit plays short, fast and loud hardcore punk heavily inspired by old-school bands from the iberian peninsule such as Último Resorte and Cocadictos mixed with the passionate force of 80s latin american acts like Fertil Miseria (Colombia) and Soberanía Personal (Argentina), for naming a few. Finally, try to buy this record since all the proceeds will be given to The Latin American Women's Right Services, a London based human rights, feminist organisation run for Latin American womyn, and 100% run by Latin American womyn. I expect new releases coming from this band in 2019. Highly recommended. Enjoy! 

Zorn (USA) - Demo '18 (Estranged Communications (USA))

https://zornphilly.bandcamp.com/

A pretty underrated demo from this spectacular band from Philadelphia, the homeland of bands like Devil Master, Blank Spell and Cape Ov Bats. Regarding the sound, Zorn plays blackened metal punk in the same vein as their local counterparts (notably Cape Ov Bats), perfectly mixing both hardcore punk and black metal with complex guitar riffs, slow breakdowns, mid-tempo changes and a shrieking vocal style directly taken from the 3rd circle of hell. There are also some slight post punk and goth rock elements à la Bauhaus and Christian Death but Zorn doesn't lose the grip at all. Finally, I've read in some other websites that this band has an interesting live performance involving coffins, candles, chains, BDSM elements and more, something like a twisted black mass. I hope to see that someday ha ha. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

GELD (Australia) - Perfect Texture LP (Iron Lung Records (USA))

https://ironlungpv.bandcamp.com/album/perfect-texture-lp-lungs-114

Amazing outfit from Australia, featuring members of different now classic outfits such as Krömosom and Power. If you dig those well-known bands, you already must know of what GELD is about. This is more noisy and apocalyptic than your conventional disclone out there. Indeed, both guitar and bass riffs are insanely complex with a mesmerizing psychodelic vibe, the vocal style is filled with lots of distorsion screaming about paranoia and banalities of the living world and, of course, the d-beat drumming is prominent as ever. There's also one song named The Perfect Texture with a slower interlude filled with industrial and noise elements. Wow. Also, look at the front cover of the record. Where are the skulls with mohawks, the chains, the Discharge style font, the photos of warfare casualties in black and white? Where are they at?. Finally, let dis-bea(s)t bite you and infect you with their brutal style. Amazing. Highly recommended. Enjoy! 


Candy (USA) - Good To Feel LP (Triple B Records (USA))


Last year, I featured their Candy Says EP and I was completely amazed expecting more material from this Richmond-based band. Now, with their first full-length album, I have to admit that my mind nearly exploded after listening to it. Indeed, the mix of 90s metallic hardcore, 80s japanese hardcore, powerviolence, some slight d-beat elements, and modern hardcore execution is something to not miss out so easily. Some songs reminded me of Thrash Talk and Ceremony's early recordings back in the early-00s, while others are more related to modern bands like Trapped Under Ice or Incendiary. Also, I have to admit that this LP is even, musically speaking, far more superior than their aforementioned EP. I was kinda shocked with the burst of brutal energy and musical variety displayed by this band. Last but not least, things cannot be more cooler than this after knowing that the name of the record is a reference to Velvet Underground. Ha! This record was meant to be chosen as our album of the year but sadly I picked up another one. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Joliette (México) - El Alphabiotista 7" single (Epidemic Records (Italy))

https://joliette.bandcamp.com/album/el-alphabiotista

This is the most recent single from this amazing Puebla-based post-hardcore band. For strange reasons, I haven't feature it yet and I'll try to reivindicate myself introducing them (finally). So, I have to admit that their musical style is a little it hard to describe since it really is eclectic. Indeed, Joliette mixes different styles such as screamo, post-hardcore, sludge and even some slight traces of black metal. The result? A chaotic, complex and unorthodox musical execution. They somewhat reminded me of Celeste (France) and Oathbreaker (Belgium) in some parts. Finally, they also released last year through Deathwish a live split with Frameworks from the US. It's pretty cool too but I prefer this single. I can't wait to listen to their upcoming full-length album (which will probably be released later this year). Highly recommended. Enjoy!     

Jesus Piece (USA) - Only Self LP (Southern Lord (USA))


https://jesuspiecesl.bandcamp.com/album/only-self

Throughout 2018, I saw everyone was talking about this band. Jesus Piece this, Jesus Piece that. I didn't pay attention to it back then but, later on I was kinda impressed with this Philadelphia-based hardcore outfit. Regarding the sound, Jesus Piece is technically a living homage to 90s metallic hardcore bands such as Disembodied, Deadguy and Buried Alive. I've also seen their live performances via YouTube (mostly on Hate5Six's channel) and they're completely insane full with energy and emotion. Their vocalist reminded me of Djinji Brown of Absolution, Chaka Malik of Burn or even H.R. of Bad Brains. I know right now why everyone is mad about them. As far as I know, this is the band's most heaviest material thus far. I completely dig it. You know I love the 90s. And, finally, no, this isn't our pick of best album of the year ha ha. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Derecho A La Muerte (Ecuador) / Agathocles (Belgium) "The Right To Die" split (Música Híbrida Records (Ecuador)

https://musicahibrida.bandcamp.com/album/derecho-a-la-muerte-agathocles-the-right-to-die
 
A pretty interesting split between the belgian "mince" legends and an emerging ecuadorian death/grind outfit. I think this is the first full-length album of the latter and I must admit that this is a pretty good way to start any band's musical career off. Regarding the sound, you'll find some both deathgrind and mincecore styles so, it wouldn't be necessary to write more about it. Finally, some of the Agathocles' contributed tracks were previously used in a 4-way split with Hybrid Viscery, G.I. Joke and Mucus (Belgium) while some others, well, I haven't found them yet in their ever growing, never ending discography. The artwork was made by our friend Fisch3r (you can check his amazing works here and here). Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Usa La Tua Rabbia (France) / Agathocles (Belgium) tape split (Bisounours Productions (France))

https://bisounoursprod.bandcamp.com/album/split-s-t

This is also the first full-length album of a recently formed band in Britanny, France. It features the vocalist of Sinnaciön (d-beat-influenced hardcore punk made by colombianxs exiled in France) and it took long time until I could publish this amazing work. The sound is priceless: crustgrind and powerviolence influences, somewhere between Disrupt, Capitalist Casualties, Spazz, Infest and Warcollapse and the lyrics are in spanish dealing with subjects like capitalism, misery, poverty and more. And, yes, the name is a clear reference to Wretched's song. I'm glad that France still is producing bands like this one. Last but not least, Agathocles' contributed tracks to this split are apparently brand new, including one sung in spanish. Cool. This year the record will be repressed on LP format so, I'll try to get my physical copy as possible. Highly recommended. Enjoy!   

Existence (Sweden) - Into The Furnace EP (Quality Control HQ (UK))

https://qualitycontrolhq.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-furnace

I must admit that this EP really caught me by surprise. I didn't expect such living homage to the well-known 90s hardcore scene in Umeå, Sweden. Indeed, you'll find herein the sound of bands like Refused, Abhinanda, Doughnuts, Saidiwas, Final Exit, among others. There are also some interesting and mesmerizing more rock-oriented guitar riffs and "groove" (much like Abhinanda's late recordings) without losing the chugga chugga hardcore grip. The lyrics are in english with personal content (notably dealing with mistakes made in the past and some references to reincarnation from the perspective of hinduism). Last but not least, his vocalist was some years ago in prison due to some antifascist activism led by him. He's now free and stronger than ever and, of course, he still remain an antifascist activist until death. The artwork can remind you of the "Bosch", the renowned dutch painter in the 15th century, whose style could be regarded as anachronic and advanced for his time. Cool. Highly recommended. Enjoy!    

The HIRS Collective (USA) - Friends.Lovers.Favorites (SRA Records (USA))



This is the first full-length album from Philadelphia's The Hirs Collective, previously known as +HIRS+, which is also one of the most well-known american hardcore bands with trans and queer individuals nowadays and their lyrics, political stances and activism involve, as the group itself says: "the destruction of capitalist misogynist scum and empower womyn, PoC and the LGBTiQA community". Now, just like previous works, there are grindcore and powerviolence influences with short and loud as fuck songs but there are other ones more experimental with more electronica, hard techno and industrial sensibilities. The latter are remixes made by artists such as Jenny Pop and Moor Mother. There are also collaborations with renowned indivuals like Martin Sorondeguy of Los Crudos, Sadie Switchblade of G.L.O.S.S., Alice Bag of The Bags, and Shirley Manson of Garbage (Yup, no kidding), among others. Finally, this record also contains some bonus tracks from You Can't Kill Us and You Can Remix Us EPs. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Geraniüm (France) - Fear Is The Enemy LP (Contraszt! Records (Germany))


https://geraniumcrust.bandcamp.com/

It's been  a while since I feature a neocrust / blackened crust-related band. I think there aren't so many bands of this loved/hated style out there (or at least I haven't been really aware of them, I guess). So, this is the second LP from this impressive Strasbourg-based outfit. I haven't had news coming from them like 4 years ago and I was kinda surprised by the fact that they still are together making good music. Regarding the sound, I guess they haven't changed so much their neocrust trademark sound but I also detected some more slow-paced moments with sludge traits. Finally, listen to this record. I'll try to feature more bands like this one in the near future. Highly recommended. Enjoy!   

Warthog (USA) - self-titled EP (2018) (Toxic State Records (USA) / Static Shock Records (UK))


https://staticshockrecords.bandcamp.com/album/warthog-2

This impressive New York City-based hardcore punk is back once again in another edition of our best picks of the year. The first time we featured them was in our best picks of 2016 with their outstanding self-titled EP that year. Regarding the sound, nothing has changed so much at all but their d-beat-influenced hardcore trademark sound is more mature and refined than ever. You can detect different influences drawn from all-time classics such as Mellaka (Finland), Sacrilege (UK) and even Massacre 68 (Mexico). Finally, I highly recommend this 4-track EP. Such a masterpiece. Enjoy!


ZETA (Venezuela) - Magia Infinita EP (IFB Records (USA))

https://joinzeta.bandcamp.com/album/magia-infinita

This is the latest EP from this amazing experimental hardcore band from Puerto de la Cruz, Venezuela (now living in the US). I know this band since long time ago but I haven't featured it properly (I guess there's one compilation featuring them). Regarding the sound, well, it's one of those bands that is so eclectic that is really hard to describe. I guess if such thing as "avant-garde fusioncore" exists, ZETA would definitely fit into. You can detect traits from different styles such as screamo, mathcore, avant-garde, ambient, post rock, jazz, latin fusion, post-hardcore and even they use some percussions made with caribbean instruments. Absolutely nuts. There are both slow and fast-paced moments so, draw your own conclusions when listening to them. This is by far their more experimental and ambitious record to date. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Tragedy (USA) - Fury LP (Tragedy Records (USA))

https://tragedyhc.bandcamp.com/releases

One of the most influential modern crust acts in the last 20 years is finally back with this brand new LP. The band remained almost inactive (with some exceptional and occassional live performances across the US and Europe) since Darker Days Ahead LP (Tragedy Records, 2012). This latter, despite the high-production value and maturity of sound behind it, didn't pleased so much for the change of musical execution. Now. with Fury, Tragedy is back to their original roots displaying their ferocious melodic yet brutal crustcore style they're widely known for. Finally, I have to admit that, even though the rise of d-beat-influenced american hardcore punk nowadays has left good musical outfits, Tragedy-like bands still were missing for these troubled times. I'm so happy that they're back. Highly recommended. Enjoy!     

Slund (Slovenia) - A Very Slundy Christmas (Bruxism Records (Austria))

https://slund.bandcamp.com/album/a-very-slundy-christmas

When we reviewed some months ago the impressive Grind Your Teeth To This compilation, released by Bruxism Records (Austria) (You can re-refresh your memory by clicking here), we also remarked many great outfits among them Slund from Slovenia. Indeed, this outfit was completely a mystery to me since I'm not really familiar with the underground scene from their local country. So, in december 2018, they released this interesting christmas-related grindcore album. You know, christmas and grindcore apparently are a good combination and this band proves no wrong with their unique sarcastic and black humour-filled grindcrushing musical style. I fell in love with this. Highly recommended for Disney and Wham! fans and, of course, the perfect gift for your grandparents. Try to offer it this year. Enjoy!   


Fatum (Russia) - Edge Of The Wild CD (Zay-Nin Records (Japan)) 

https://fatumhaarp.bandcamp.com/album/edge-of-the-wild

I also discovered this band when we reviewed the Blazing Anarchy tape compilation (You can re-read the original review by clicking here) and I completely dig this band. This is basically another great living homage to good ol' british stenchcore (the original crust punk sound) in the same vein as Hellbastard and Deviated Instinct. Both musical execution and instrumentation are quite fantastic with Motörheadish guitar riffs, d-beat drum beats and the dark, gloomy and gritty ambient the crust punk subgenre is known for. Really dope. If you dig german bands like Instinct Of Survival and Indian Nightmare, this russian powerhouse is definitely for thy. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

YURI (UK) - 2 Blast 2 Furious (Adorno Records (UK))

https://adornorecords.bandcamp.com/album/2-blast-2-furious

This is probably one of my favorite current emoviolence from the UK. It's short, fast and loud with prominent powerviolence elements into their repertory like the good ol' days of bands like Usurp Synapse, Combat Wounded Veteran and The End Of The Century Party. I'm also pretty sure that both the band's logo and front cover of the album makes you think of a some sort of Slap-A-Ham records tribute band. Well, this is a little bit beyond that. Finally, YURI recently disbanded so, this is their last record ever. So sad. Highly recommended. Enjoy!
 
Komusō (Japan/Sweden) - self-titled EP (Zegema Beach Records (Canada))

https://zegemabeachrecords.bandcamp.com/album/komus-2

An impressive japanese / swedish screamo "supergroup" featuring members of different modern screamo outfits such as Cape Light, Careless, Det är därför vi bygger städer and No Omega. We already featured it so, you can read our impressions by clicking here. Highly recommended. Enjoy!  

Racetraitor (USA) - 2042 (Good Fight Music (USA))


https://racetraitor-hc.bandcamp.com/album/2042


Another blast from the past is back once again with this superb record. Racetraitor was a pretty well-known political outift in the 90s with outspoken and uncompromising stances and was also one of the first bands mixing both metal and hardcore alike creating thus a more extreme form of music slowly drifting apart from punk (Well, kinda). Following the hedious political and economical events of today, the band decided to reunite again two years ago and release new material. They still have their iconic anti-capitalist, anti-racist and anti-colonial statements fused with their 90s metallic hardcore savoir faire. I'll write more about them in the near future. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

KODOS (UK) - self-titled tape (Middle-Man Records (USA) / Adorno Records (UK))


https://adornorecords.bandcamp.com/album/s-t-9

Ok, with this record things are getting a little bit weirder. I remember my friend Harold, who also is the guitarist of Empatía, the band we both participate to, asked me after a rehearsal if I knew something about sass grindcore. I told him I didn't know much about it and when I was picking up the records for this list, BAM! that strange term re-appeared once again. KODOS is probably the only band I know playing that style, which happens to be a mix of 90s emoviolence and experimental grindcore in the vein of Combat Wounded Veteran, The Locust, Melt Banana, Daughters and Usurp Synapse, among others. The musical structure of the song is pretty experimental with drastic and unorthodox tempo changes, weird and obscure parodies and references in the lyrics and female/male duet vocals directly taken from an abattoir of  trolls. Finally, give it a try even though your "purist" grindcore ears will label this band as faux grind. (Just like in the 90s. Ah, the memories...). Highly recommended. Enjoy!
 
Perra Vida (Perú) - self-titled EP (self-released (?))

https://perravida.bandcamp.com/releases

An impressive female-fronted hardcore punk band from Lima, Peru. Featuring members of other local outfits such as Venganza!, Alias La Gringa and Desakuerdo. This is their debut album which contains only 5 songs. But don't let the number fool you. This work is such a blast. Regarding the sound, the band shares the same sensibilities of emerging spanish-speaker bands in the U.S. such as Tozcos, Futura, Exótica, etc. but the iconic 80s latin american hardcore punk and spanish punk (AKA punk ibérico) feel is prominent. There are also some interesting breakdowns and mid-tempo arrangements. The lyrics are highly political denouncing machismo and sexism within their lives. In fact, Perra Vida is sadly one of the few "not only boys" peruvian hardcore and punk acts in their native city nowadays. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Hank Wood And The Hammerheads (USA) -  self-titled LP (Toxic State Records (USA))


https://hankwoodandthehammerheads.bandcamp.com/album/s-t

This superb New York City-based experimental hardcore punk outfit was already featured here in the blog in  5 modern american hardcore punk compilations special post, notably their contribution to Ground Zero NYC 2013 comp, as well as in our Damaged City Fest '17 mini-special post (You can re-refresh your memory by clicking here). Once again, this band surprise us with their sound mixing garage rock and old-school hardcore punk adding other not so common elements such as noise, lo-fi and synth punk. I also think this time, the band tried to explore less frantic tunes but still is good enough to please your cravings for speed and fuzz. Great musical instrumentation and execution comme d'habitude. Pretty outstanding. Higly recommended. Enjoy!

Coma Regalia (USA) / Drei Affen (Spain) split (Miss The Stars (UK) et al)

https://missthestars.bandcamp.com/album/coma-regalia-drei-affen-split

If someone asks me "how would you describe the whole screamo subgenre in 2018"?, I'd gladly respond: "Dude/tte, pick this record up and listen to it". I know it's such a bold statement due to the good amount of records released last year but, yeah, this on mostly covers everything up. So, Coma Regalia has both late 90s and early 00s screamo and emoviolence influences in the vein of outfits like Jeromes Dream, Orchid (USA), June Paik and Louise Cyphre (Germany) whilst Drei Affen is a female-fronted musical group, featuring former members of OsoLuna, adding some crust traits into their repertory making us remember thus great spanish screamo-influenced neocrust bands like SL'S3 and Das Plague, for example. Finally, listen to it. You won't regret it. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Big Cheese (UK) - NWOBHC FM Live '18 + Sports Day Demo '16 (Quality Control HQ (UK), 2018) 


https://qualitycontrolhq.bandcamp.com/album/nwobhc-fm-live-and-sports-day-demo

They're currently the kings of this so-called New Wave Of British Hardcore (NWOBHC) so, they must be featured here in our best picks of 2018, right? An excellent living homage to the good ol' days of NYHC in the 80s. No more, no less. In fact, if this band was born in that decade, they definitely would be featured in mythic compilations like New Breed (Urban Style Records, 1989). We already featured this record before (You can re-refresh your memory by clicking here). Highly recommended. Enjoy!

 
Subdued (UK) - 4 Track EP (La Vida Es Un Mus (UK))

https://lavidaesunmus.bandcamp.com/album/4-track-ep

When we reviewed early this year some recent New Wave Of British Hardcore (NWOBHC)-related bands (You can refresh your memory by clicking here), there's also featured Torment and Torture, their first EP, and we were kinda impressed with their homage to anarcho-punk classics such as Amebix, Rudimentary Peni and Icons of Filth, executed by a modern hardcore punk band. So, their more recent 4-track EP is no exception to their unique and personal touch and it's more brutal than ever much faster and louder. They even added some kind of manifesto à la Crass on the first track. Neat. Finally, get this record. You won't regret it. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Devil Master (USA) - Manifestations LP/CD/Tape (Relapse Records (USA))  

https://devilmaster.bandcamp.com/album/manifestations

This is the remix and remaster of their now sold-out demo '16 and Inhabit The Corpse EP (the latter was featured in our best picks of 2017) and this Philly-based blackened metal punk act sounds more malevolent than ever. Indeed, their black metal, death rock and hardcore punk influences are enhanced with this well-deserved boost of technology. Due to this record is a re-release of previous works, I wasn't really sure to feature it, but there's always an exception to the rule. And, their great work deserves any kind of recognition as possible. I love it, sorry. Finally, in March they will be releasing their first full-length album named Satan Spits On Children Of Light, also through Relapse Records, so I'll try to get and feature it in that month. Highly recommended. Enjoy! 
 
Paranoid (Sweden) - Heavy Mental Fuck-Up (Paranoid self-released) 

https://pndftw.bandcamp.com/album/heavy-mental-fuck-up

When we reviewed the Blazing Anarchy compilation (You can re-read the original review by clicking here), we mentioned that this swedish powerhouse was a potential candidate to the best picks of 2018. Well, there you go. They're featured in here. I completely liked their japanese-influenced swedish d-beat hardcore punk musical execution and instrumentation and for this record they add some crust, metal punk and early black metal elements to the repertory as well. I think the record speak by itself and has our seal of approval. Satisfaction guaranteed. What else could you ask for? Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Thou (USA) - Magus 2xLP (Sacred Bones Records (USA))

https://thou.bandcamp.com/album/magus-2

This is another band I wanted to feature long time ago but, for strange reasons, I always forget about their existence. Luckily, when I listened to their latest LP named Magus some months ago, I wrote the name in my notebook. Holy fuck. I don't even have the proper words to describe this. If you dig sludge bands such as EyeHateGod and Crowbar, Thou is for you. However, note that this band is pretty complex, both musically and lyrically, so, not everyone will enjoy them. In fact, I had some difficulties trying to décortiquer its content. Now, compared to previous works, this LP is a total progression with more atmospheric and ethereal elements. I also detected lots of both 70s psychedelia and stoner rock influences (for saying the least) with pretty slow, hazy and even melancholic moments but the record still is enough aggressive, chaotic and overwhelming for pleasing your ears. That's the magic of the sludge subgenre. Also, read the lyrics, they have a message and needs to be identified. Pay attention, les chaton.ne.s! And, last but not least, the vocal style is pretty dope, closer to black metal. Cool. Highly recommended. Listening to this record is a complete magical ride while blazing it. No joking. Enjoy!

Raw Peace (Belgium) - Total Death LP (Hypertension Records (Belgium))

https://rawpeace.bandcamp.com/releases

Ah, a brutal display of violence courtesy of this Ghent-based politicial and outspoken powerhouse. You can consider this as a "supergroup" since it features members of local bands such as Reproach, Blind To Faith and Agathocles, among others. Regarding the sound, I think this is the perfect cross between Discharge and Battalion of Saints with some crust and thrashcore traits as well. You'll even detect some drum beats and guitar riffs closer to some of the band members' previous projects. Cool. Last but not least, the beautiful artwork was made by our friend Mateo Correal (You can watch his work on Instagram as @mattscorreal). Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Gulch (USA) - Burning Desire To Draw Last Breath 

https://gulchca.bandcamp.com/album/burning-desire-to-draw-last-breath

This another of those bands being so eclectic that makes kinda difficult to even try how to describe their style. In general terms, I was really pleased with the final result. Indeed, Gulch mixes different types of hardcore punk such as metalcore, mathcore, post-hardcore, grindcore, crust, d-beat and powerviolence, thus creating an unique and personal form of vicious musical execution. This is probably one of the best experiments involving fusions of "core"-related styles. You'll definitely love this record after listening to it. Trust me. Finally, remember this particular statement made by one fan of the band: "This band rips so hard and makes me want to punch my neighbors". Kudos for that. Highly recommended. Enjoy!   
 
VEGAS (Belize) - Digital Affairs Neurotic LP (Judas Chair Collective (Finland) / The Final Judgement Records (Poland))

https://vvegas.bandcamp.com/album/digital-affairs-neurotic

It's been a while since we feature Holy Terror-related records and I'm pleased doing so once again with the most recent work of this cryptic outfit, fronted by their enigmatic yet charismatic representant simply known as "T". If you carefully read our infamous yet successful unofficial guide to Holy Terror (You can re-read it by clicking here), you already know of what this band is about: dark, apocalyptic and vicious metal-infused hardcore punk with some kind of idolatry to both Charles Manson and G.I.S.M. (most of the time) exploring existentialist, occultist and demonology related themes. There are also some more slow-paced songs with slight industrial, neofolk, dark ambient and even grunge traits that could also be considered as a interlude of this campaign of destruction of mankind as a way of salvation. Last but not least, VEGAS re-released some early recordings in 2018 compiled in X - Remastered and ReVelations (both available in their official bandcamp account). You should check'em out too. Highly recommended. For Fans Of Integrity, Ringworm and Rot In Hell. Enjoy!        

Blood Pressure (USA) - Surrounded 12" LP (Beach Impediment Records (USA))

https://beachimpedimentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/surrounded

Following the steps of powerhouses in this so-called New Wave Of American Hardcore such as Impalers, Ajax and Sunshine Ward, Blood Pressure displays a relentless and straightforward hardcore punk with both american and british influences (notably bostonian style and d-beat). There are even some slight Oi! influences too. Finally, if you dig the aforementioned american bands as well as New Wave Of British Hardcore - NWOBHC acts like Violent Reaction, Blind Authority and Blindside, this Pittsburgh-based outfit will surely blow your mind. Highly recommended. Enjoy!      

TANKE (Mexico) - Centroamerican Noiseterror (self-released (?))


TANKE are a grindcore band from my natal country, Mexico. According to the band, they come from a small industrial town (I haven't discovered which one is yet) full of alienated workers who already get customed to both noise and nocive ambients and that's the reason why this band displays such a powerful sound. If you dig old-school grindcore bands from Spain such as Machetazo, Looking For An Answer and Denak but with the latinx power flavor added, this is for you. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Redbait (USA) - Red Tape (Not On Label (Redbait self-released))


https://redbait.bandcamp.com/releases

A pretty good female-fronted political hardcore punk band from St.Louis, Missouri. This is their debut and I liked their style fusing crust and 90s metallic hardcore alike with a frenzy energy and bonecrushing breakdowns. I think their sound is somewhere between Misery and Morning Again. They also reminded somewhat me of 00s bands like R.A.M.B.O. (USA), Betercore (Netherlands) and Migra Violenta (Argentina) (probably by the fact that I discovered the term crust for the first time with those acts more than a decade ago. Good memories...). Finally, listen to the record and try to get a physical copy while you can. I'll patiently wait for their first full-length album. Highly recommended. Enjoy!     

And, final-fuckin'-ly, the winner of the Album Of The Year award goes to...

Cult Leader (USA) - A Patient Man LP (Deathwish Inc. (USA)) 

https://cultleadermusic.bandcamp.com/

Lastly, we conclude our humble list of our best picks of 2018 with this impressive hardcore outfit from Salt Lake City, Utah. Their sound is pretty reminiscent of those so-called dark hardcore bands like GAZA, All Pigs Must Die, Baptists, etc., for naming a few, with a relentless, unmerciful and chaotic musical execution. It's one of those records that makes you want to break things and persons without even trying to question why is wrong doing so. There are also some songs with a more slow-paced execution with more post-rock and sludge-oriented sensibilities but there still is the dark, isolated and gloomy feel this musical production preojects, for example, To: Aclys and A World Of Joy tracks, are a pretty creative way for accompanying the insane display of non-sense musical violence of this brutiful voyage in other tracks like I Am Healed or Curse Of Satisfaction. So, there's two sides of the coin (one savage, and the other one more docile) and that's something that not many bands dare to explore entirely since is either one side or other. Even there's a third way: a mix of both. Cult Leader excels in both sides individually creating thus something of its own to highly remark to. Absolutely a must. Highly recommended. Enjoy and until next time. Kisses and hugs!.

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