Felix Von Havoc
MRR #219 listeners guide to the y2k thrash revival
As promised here is the listeners guide to the Thrash/Hardcore revival.
OK, I don't want to be accused of trying to start and/or cash in on a new trend in music. You can throw around terms like Bandanna Thrash, Youth Crew or Powerviolence and they may or may not mean something to someone or be relevant to anything. But labeling and classifying bands does help us understand where punk music is going and where it is coming from. I'm not doing this to create a checklist for collector nerds or to start a bandwagon rolling for people to jump on. My goal here is to document the high energy hardcore that has burst on the scene the past few years that takes its cue from the glory days of hardcore in the early 80's. This article is pretty heavily stacked towards US and Scandinavian bands as that is most of what I am up on. Japanese and Continental European readers should feel free to mail in their own dispatches from the thrash front. Note: I'm only talking about vinyl releases here. CDs are OK for discographies and such but real HC is on 7"s and maybe LPs so drop the new school CD stuff if you want to be heard. The bands listed below take their influence primarily from early 80's US hardcore like Minor Threat, DYS, Poison Idea, Jerry's Kids etc. There are hundreds of other great thrash bands about that warrant documentation of their own, I could write a similar column on D-Beat thrash, or Japcore revival bands, remember this is only one small section of a scene that is at its best in years. For instance, Forca Macabra, Discarga, Abuso Sonoro and Excredores are more like Brazillian Thrash revival. From Ashes Rise, HHIG, Tragedy and Born Dead Icons are more of a dark and brooding and heavy sort of HC. Close Call, Count Me Out and Fields of Fire are more mainline SEHC. Disclose, Totalitar, Skitsystem, Wolfpack and Victims are more like D-Beat Swedish HC, Paintbox, Gauze, and Forward are more straight up Japcore. Kungfu Rick, Killers, Fuck on the Beach, Urko, and They Live are more fast core/Power Violence. We have to remember that Brazil, Finland, Sweden, Japan etc. all have their own trademark styles while what we are talking about here is the early 80's US style. That's not to say only US bands are an influecnce as Larm, Ripchord, Heresy and Negazione are frequently cited as influences but as I discussed a few months ago these bands were mainly imitating US thrash/HC style.
I would say there are a few decisive events in the HC revival. The Chicago Fests 2000 and 2001. The Life's Halt, No Reply Tour, the No Justice Tour, the What Happens Next Tour, Dead Nation and DS 13 tours and every Gordon Solie Motherfuckers show. If you caught any or all of this you became conscious of a new driving force and spirit of true DIY, underground hardcore that is all about energy and honesty.
An important thing to note here too is that some of these bands come from a more youth crew/SEHC background and others from a more crusty punk/HC direction yet they are all drawing on a similar set of influences to create a new style. Also of note is that some of these bands are made up of people in their 30's who were around to experience the salad days of hardcore, while others are young kids not even born when Minor Threat formed. Either way the music is all boss and we find unity in the pit.
It's not my place to say who started the current hardcore revival but a few bands are worth mentioning as sort of a preface.
Vorhees- This English band's first LP, Spilling Blood Without Reason, was a total mind blower when it came out. At the time most bands were playing either generic youth crew or crusty metal HC. Here came a band going to the early 80's Boston style. This record is a modern classic and has recently been remastered and re-issued. Check out the last Short Fast and Loud for a Vorhees interview and discography.
Los Crudos-This band took their cue from early 80's thrash bands like Wretched and Raw Power and really blew away the whole mid 90's emo and SE scenes with their raw thrash sound. I think this band helped to open the eyes of a lot of emo and SE kids to the Power of Thrash. La Rabia.. 7" on Lengua Armada, split 7" with Huasipungo on Lengua Armada, Las Injusticias.. 7" on Lengua Armada, Split 7" with Manumission (Lengua Armada?) Split LP with Spitboy Ebullition, Canciones Para Liberar.. LP on Lengua Armada, Los Primeros Gritos LP (ten different labels), Crudos Last Stand LP bootleg.
Capitalist Casualties-Here is a band going so long playing the same sort of fast, intense hardcore that bands trying to be "retro" sound like CC did at the beginning. Total furious fast paced thrash with a hint of crossover metal core.
Drop Dead-Another band around for over a decade and still playing absolute top shelf mad thrash. I guess a lot of people lump Drop Dead in with Crusty HC bands but their style is so fast and blazing it betrays its early 80's HC roots.
OK, the contemporary Thrash Revival, to me the quintessential record that will be remembered many years from now as the definitive Thrash Revival record is the Gordon Solie Motherfuckers Chairshot Politics 7" on Rive on Fire records. This record is a total smoker and a voice of generation of over 30 misunderstood, maladjusted punks and hardcore kids. Also essential is the Gordon Solie Motherfuckers 10" on 625.
Totally overlooked these days is Wedge and Tony's previous band the H-100's whose sound I think was pretty similar to GSMF, they put out the Dismantle 7" on Bloodclot, Distort Cleveland 7" on Burrito and Texas Death Match 7" on Havoc. And of course Wedge and Tony are also in:
Nine Shocks Terror, this band is finally getting some recognition with their LP on Sound Pollution since earlier releases are hard to get. Nine Shocks Terror plays HC/Thrash in the style of early 80's Japanese bands like Systematic Death, Gauze and Lip Cream from whose LP they took their name. However, you can't take the Ohio outta these boys and their sound mixes in equal parts early 80's midwestern thrash like you'd hear on a Master Tape comp. Split 7" with Devoid of Faith, Earth Wind and the Sheik Throwing Fire 7" on River on Fire, Split 7" with Killers, Zen and the Art of Beating Your Ass LP on Devour, Mobile Terror Unit 7" on Havoc, Paying Ohmage LP on Sound pollution.
Demon System 13- I got DS 13's first ep from Vacuum and wrote them right away about a US pressing, still my favorite record on my label. DS 13 play early 80's US hardcore like Minor Threat or Poison Idea filtered through the fine tradition of Swedish HC from thrash to youth crew. Since that mind blowing 7" DS 13 has been prolific, Aborted Teenage Generation 7" on Busted Heads and Havoc, split 7" with STGM on Hepatit D, split 7" with Blood Of Others on Organic, For the Kids, Not the Business 7" on Bent Edge/Communichaos and Deranged, Vad Vet Vi Om Kriget? LP on Deranged, Jag Hatar Soldater 7" released by the band, split 7" with Code 13 on Havoc, Thrash and Burn 6" on Enslaved, Killed by the Kids LP on Havoc.
Last In Line, the Mass band, not the Chicago Band. Crosswalk 7" on Use Your Head (Hey I don't have this one, someone hook me up!) and L'Esercito Del Morto LP on Acme. This is total early 80's Boston style hardcore. Punishing live too, see them if you can.
No Time Left-I'm not sure exactly where this band is from, New York State I think, but their 7" on Third Party is amazing, cross early 80's Boston Style HC with the more aggressive youth crew bands of the late 80's and you're getting close. A band to watch.
The Gatecrashers-From NJ, have a 7" just out called Loud At Any Volume, great fast, pissed off, raw HC with the soon to be anthem "Fuck 1988."
Down In Flames-From NJ, fast hardcore frequently compared to Tear It Up but maybe a little closer to the Youth Crew sound than the punkier thrash bands. Start the Fucking Fire 7" on Gloom, Split 7" with the Gatecrashers on Brokenglass, S/T 7" on Platinum.
Dead Nation From NJ as well, energetic fast HC this band didn't get any of the recognition they deserved until after they broke up. Face the Nation 7" on Slaughterhouse, Cenk 7" on Slaughterhouse, Painless 7" on Dead Alive and Kangaroo, Dead End LP on Dead Alive, just when they were starting to get popular they broke up and turned into Tear It Up
Tear It Up-amazing fast paced hardcore from NJ. These guys are the hardest working band in hardcore and will no doubt be playing your town soon, if you miss them you are a fool. S/T 7" on Havoc, Just Can't Stand It LP on Deranged, one sided 7 on Uncle Slam and several other records should be out by the time you read this.
Think I Care- Boston HC which pays homage to the great Boston bands back in the day Draw the Lines 7" on Boiling Point.
Lifes Halt-For a lot of us the Lifes Halt/No Reply tour was a wake up call that hardcore was back and had hit hard on the west coast as well as the East and Midwest. We Sold Our Souls for Hardcore 7" on Youngblood is a total classic of the genre and up there with the GSMF 7", split 7" with No Reply on Indecision.
Code 13-I can't really talk about a band I was in without sounding pretentious and self-important. Although much of the earlier material was more crust/grind the split with DS 13 and A Part of America Died today 7"s on Havoc are certainly in the spirit of early 80's thrash.
No Reply-did the split with Life's halt and a 7" on Mankind records. We'll Kill You All is the toughest of hardcore anthems from such a nice bunch of guys. These guys ripped up the Chicago Fest.
Don Austin from Akron, Ohio, Negative Approach influenced 80's HC 7" on Rubber City and a new 7" I don't have yet.
Dumbstruck-OK, these guys are totally OG since this is Ex Ripchord, who are like pioneering first generation thrash core. If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It 7" on Dubstruck.
Holier Than Thou-more Crossover influenced than most 7" on Six Weeks.
Crucial Unit-From Pittsburgh PA, also have a crossover sort of influence in their thrash Iced Tea 7" on Crucial Blast.
Vitamin X-SEHC from Holland first two 7"s SE Crew and Once Upon a Time (both on Commitment) are more Youth Crew style but the People Who Bleed 7" on havoc and the forthcoming LP on Underestimated and tour 7" on Underestimated are total fast HC thrash. What can I say, I drove these guys on tour and got to see them every night for two weeks.
Shark Attack-In your face fast aggressive HC from Philly in the early 80's Boston style. I'd like to see Matt go back in time and mosh it up with the Boston Crew circa 82. Seriously, brutal HC, Blood in the Water 7" on My War/Bridge Nine.
Total Fury-Killer HC from Japan that goes back to DC circa 1981 for inspiration, that is undistorted but still raw and chaotic hardcore. Spring Thrash 7" on Dan Doh, Split 7" with Grissle on MCR and split 7" with Oath on Gloom. New 12" was sold on their US tour, but I don't have one. (help me out here folks)
Oath-OK I shouldn't like this band because poser extrordinaire Mark McCoy is involved, and I thought he was a short timer! Killer aggressive fast HC super group with a really raw 80's HC sound. S/T 7" on Coalition/Gloom/Youthattack
Esperanza-Crucial HC from LA. OK, all I have is a demo tape, but by the time this is printed I imagine they will have some vinyl on the streets.
Sin Orden-from Chicago rapid fire HC sung in really pissed off sounding Spanish Brutalidad Juvenil 7" on Lengua Armada
Sound Like Shit-Power thrashing mayhem at light speeds from Japan, Deep inside the Metal 7" on Six Weeks, playing with these guys in Japan was awesome, our best show over there.
Holding On-Youth Crew HC from Minnesota that gets more fast, aggressive and thrashy with each release. Demo 7" on Looking Back, split 7" with Real Enemy on 1%/Havoc, What Happened 7" on 1%, Just Another Day LP on Havoc/THD/1%.
Real Enemy-fast political HC from Minnesota, Attack 7" on Underestimated, Too Little Too Late 7" on 625/Underestimated, split 7" with Holding On.
Melee-Boston Thrash Attack, just a demo out so far, but definitely a band to watch.
Rambo-OK this is pushing it calling these guys Thrash, as they are maybe a little bit more on the XmoshcoreX side musically, but lyrically and in the pit these guys are 100% DIY thrash hardcore with XmilitantX lyrics and antics. Split 7" with No Parade (not out yet, but maybe by the time this is printed) LP on 625.
Deathreat-Mixing Japanese 80's thrash with US 80's HC and a healthy dose of ramp shredding skate core, and a little crustcore in the mix. S/T 7" on Partners in Crime, Split 7" with Talk Is Poison on Prank, S/T 7" on Prank, Severing of the last barred Window Lp on Partners in Crime. Split 7" with DSB (another one I don't have yet)
Charles Bronson- I remember hearing something once about this band. I think they were a parody like Crucial Youth or Grudge or something. Somebody told me they put out a record but you can only get it on Ebay. I think Civil Disobedience beat these guys up once.
No Parade-My favorite record at the moment is the No Parade 7" on Partners in Crime, a perfect mix of 80's HC with darker crusty sort of HC super powerful and intense. Also have a 7" coming with Rambo on Elevator Music.
OAC-Out of control fast HC from Japan maybe a little like AOF or something. Dukowski's T shirt 7" on Skinny Dip. Members went onto Breakfast who did Eat Rice 7" on 625.
Ruination-HC Supergroup who fly to practice, the most vexing thing about this band is whether to file their record with the American or Canadian 7"s. Punishing HC that leans towards Raw Power intensity. Split 7" with They Live on DeadAlive, S/T 7" released by the band. 7" coming soon on No Idea.
Bloodpact-from Ann Arbor mix thrash with SE and modern HC into a potent and powerful blend As Good As Dead 7" on Element, Split LP with Varsity on +/-, split 7" with Reaching Forward on Reflections
USV-From LaCrosse Wisconsin, fast thrash like Siege or Jerry's Kids with a little modern Power Violence influence. Split 7" with the Krammies, Escapist 7" on Havoc, Chokeslammed Back to Life LP on Deranged.
In Control-Nardcore Revival! I think there will be a 7" out by the time you read this.
No Justice-whose 7" will never do their live show justice. One of the definitive bands of the genre, just out of control. Still fighting 7" on Underestimated.
Bladecrasher- pre No Justice, a little more YOT influenced fast HC than the more AF, DRI influenced No Justice. I don't have this one, I've only heard Anton's tape (anyone want to help me out with this one?) 7" on Youngblood.
Neighbors-a band that has gone pretty un-noticed in the US. Poison Idea influenced powerful HC. The More Money One has 7" on Kangaroo, Negative Reaction LP on Six Weeks.
Out Cold-Another criminally under appreciated band in the US these guys are pretty well known in Europe. Aggressive Boston HC, these guys have been going for 10 years or so. Split 7" with Psycho on Axcxtion, Lost Cause 7" on Fudgworthy, No Eye Contact 7" on Kangaroo, split 7" with Bratface on Devour, Split 7" with No Side on Acme, s/t LP on Lowell, Live In Amsterdam LP on Kangaroo, Two Broken Hearts are Better Than One LP, Warped Sense of Right and Wrong LP, Permanent Twilight World LP all on Kangaroo,
Shitbastards-now known as Spitting Teeth, from Seattle, just a demo, but great fast HC, spearheading the Million Man Mosh.
Killed in Action-From Ohio, nothing out yet, but high energy fast hardcore.
The Anti DiFrancos-from Montana, just a demo tape so far but really raw fast HC.
What Happens Next-Bay Area HC super group. Brutiful Feeling 6", Hollow Victory 10" on Not a Problem, S/T 7" on 625, Standfast armageddonjudgement fighter LP on Sound Pollution, Ahora Mas Que Nunca ep on Lengua Armada.
Life.Set.Struggle- form Toledo Ohio, punishing powerful HC, should have something out on Element by the time you read this.
MK Ultra-crossing modern HC with early 80's thrash S/T 7" self released, Melt 7" on Lengua Armada, Split LP with Seein Red. MK Ultra were almost not included as they have a very 90's sound more akin to power violence than 80's thrash. However, their more recent material is more 80's HC influenced and the songs on the Tomorrow Will Be Worse LP on Sound Pollution are some of best tracks on what is by far the best comp. LP in many years.
Authority Abuse-Chicago HC 7" on Lengua Armada, with all these great bands from Chicago you'd think their scene would be cool like Minneapolis, but they live forever in our shadow. Just kidding, the Chicago/Minneapolis rivalry thing died when Mark Mc Coy left for art school.
ExClaim-Fast Core maybe leaning a little more towards grind but in my mind a total Thrash HC band, Out of Suit 7" on Sound Pollution. I think and LP or 10" is coming soon.
Strong Intention-Maryland Hardcore, their earlier stuff is more like NYHC mixed with power violence but the Each Day Lived 7" on Six Weeks is pure HC/Thrash Gold.
Flash Gordon-Japanese band that defines the term Bandana Thrash! I think maybe a split 7" and Flash Til Death 7" on Skippy.
Amdi Petersens Armee-Copenhagen Denmark's answer to Dischord circa 1981. Super catchy and energetic HC that sounds highly reminiscent of SOA or DC Youth Brigade but still has that Scandinavian flavor as the lyrics are all in Danish. S/T 7" on Kick N Punch.
Fairfuck-from Norway, aggressive short fast blasts of thrash power. Blamm! 7" on Kick N Punk and Underestimated.
Limp Wrist-Another Super Group, fast thrash HC that is even more in your face since they are the first out of the closet SE band. Putting the Hard back into hardcore. 7" on Parology. Harder than you?
Rain on the Parade- OK maybe this is a little too close to Floorpunch or Ten Yard Fight type youth crew HC for some but I think this band sits more squarely in the 80's style than the retro cornball youth crew thing that has, come, and gone. Body Bag 7" on Contention, Full Speed Ahead 7" on My War, Fired Up! Ep on Youngblood. Listening to these guys now, I think they were a few years ahead of the trend at least in the SE scene. Wish I'd seen them when they were around.
Crispus Attucks-Maryland Hardcore, S/T 7" on Bullet Records, Destroy the Teacher LP, "First" LP raw thrashy HC-Punk. These guys get extra credit in my book because they live in the neighborhood where I lived in the early 80's. .
Cops And Robbers-great Boston HC, 7" on ADD/X Claim.
Scarred For Life-Southern California HC that draws on 80's bands like Battalion of Saints and Final Conflict LP on Know, Far From Home 7" on Know.
Run for Your Fucking Life-Pissed off HC from San Diego mix up a little Black Flag, Battalion of Saints and maybe Septic Death, 7" on Ataxia records, LP on Gloom.
Spazm 151-Texas hardcore, drawing heavily on Poison Idea, Black Flag and Offenders, S/T 7", Power Songs 7" on Havoc, split LP with React coming on Elevator, LP on Mind Control out soon too.
The Control-Tough hardcore with a really sick and heavy attack you gotta check out the 10" on +/-
Insurance Risk- From Norway. musically this is really good early 80's Boston Style HC, however, depending on how you look at it the lyrics are at best in poor taste and at worse hateful and homophobic. I propose a battle of the bands with Limp Wrist. 7" On Crucial Response.
Fit For Abuse-A band that's been around for a while but has only one 7" and has gone through a few line ups, Boston HC meets Negative Approach. 7" on Crust records.
Crucial Section-Japanese Bandanna Thrash, Language isn't the only form of Communication LP on 625.
Assel-Super fast thrash from Sweden, S/T like DRI or Larm mainlining bathtub crank. 7" on Busted Heads, split 7" with Second Thought on 5 Swedish labels.
Epileptic Terror Attack-Fast skate-core mayhem from Umea Sweden. The Racket 7" and We're Not the Problem LP both on Putrid Filth Conspriacy.
A Poor Excuse-Early 80's Boston style HC, for some reason they remind me of YYY (if anyone remembers YYY) Crashed Out, Wasted, Useless Hated 7" on ADD, split 7" with Right Brigade on Bridge Nine.
Vilently Ill-Totally under appreciated one man "band" that is the most raw and pissed off HC you could imagine, I think Vilently Ill is better known in the grind/noise scene, but to me this music is pure early 80's HC. Split 7" with Pneumatic Values, S/T 7" (Flags and Bodybags), 12 song ep 7", Plastic Society 7", One Sided ep 7" all on Knot Music Rising Up From Underground 7" on Pentragrandma and AG96.
Intensity-Malmo Sweden. Mix Posi Core with 80's HC, a really hard band to describe, you have to listen for yourself, these guys would be huge if the fucking fascist pigs hadn't deported them before they could start their US tour. Battered Soul 7" on Putrid Filth Conspiracy, Virtue of Progress 7" on Six Weeks, Wash Off the Lies 10" on Putrid Filth Conspiracy.
Puncture Wound-virtually unknown outside of Cleveland, really raw HC from members of Gordon Solie Motherfuckers. 7" on Bloodclot.
Ruido-Fast HC from LA, very thrashy and raw. S/T 7" on Six Weeks, S/T 7" on Deep Six, Split 7" with Insult on Know, split 7" with Fuck on Beach on Know.
No Side-Japanese thrash, don't know much about this band except the split with Out Cold mentioned above.
Comps-Memories of Tomorrow on Youngblood, Tomorrow Will Be Worse 2 on Sound Pollution, Prevent this Tragedy on Eelement, Wild in the Streets on Element, Sk8 or Die on PigPen, Intense Energy on Camel Clutch, Bandanna Thrash vol 1 flexi on 625, Barbaric Thrash Demolition 7" on 625, I guess I could list comps all night you can fill in the blanks.
If it seemed like you kept seeing the same labels pop up again and again, there's a reason. There is a huge infrastructure of totally dedicated DIY, in if for life, type people behind the scenes running the labels that are making this scene so strong and vital. I'm sure some Monday morning quaterback is sitting there saying this is all "retro". Fuck that, this shit is right now, get in the pit when one of these bands is playing and tell me it's "retro" this music is true, sincere, and from the heart. Retro is Exploited and Circle Jerks doing re union tours and shit. Hardcore music is here to stay it might fade in and out but its as much a part of the American musical lexicon as Bluegrass or Delta Blues and nobody calls those cats "retro."
January 1, 1988
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