Mary Bell describe themselves as “Bikini Kill meets Dischord Records” as well as name checking Bratmobile and Sonic Youth. Though more obscure, the band could be best described as the Red Aunts plus 20 years. The big difference with Mary Bell is that while records from Bikini Kill and any number of Dischord acts practically ooze politics, Mary Bell dials up the attitude without being overtly feminist (or otherwise activist) in the way that Bikini Kill epitomized third wave feminism. There is an argument that the sheer act of being an all-female band is political unto itself, but over two decades removed from the riot grrrl movement, let’s hope the world is a better place and not do that anymore. Can we hope it no longer needs to be a “thing?” If you bring the rock, you bring the rock.
Some artists are iconic because of record sales or bigger than life personalities but a lot of the time they reach that hallowed status because of the influence they wind up having on others and their ability to stay humble in the face of praise. A lot of the time it’s because they have their own guiding philosophy that keeps them contributing long after others have come and gone. The latter can operate in the spaces between traditional measures of success much of the time. Some even deflect the praise onto those they’ve worked with instead of keeping the recognition to themselves.
Ah yes, it’s finally that time. I’ve discussed my love for the “edgy” forms of hardcore often, constantly citing powerviolence, screamo, fastcore, and crust as the superior forms of the genre. After all they’re the least “bro”-y of all the styles, less full of Hitler-youth-esque guys in Nike Air Maxes in camo shorts than the other genres (PV has always been more of a “you bet there’s a skull drawn in my notebook” type look). In fact I’ve often embraced those styles due to their rejection of the hardcore bro, their ability to remain fiercely independent in the face of senseless 90’s worship and rejection of some of the more intense aspects of straight edge. That is, however, all about to change as we delve deep into the style that spawned all the horrible hardcore “fashion” that so many awkward 20-something men, fresh off their warped tour phase, have adopted in a vain attempt to prove their masculinity. I’m talking of course about Youth Crew, where shirts aren’t necessary but the incessant need for gang vocals and floor-tom heavy breakdowns are.
Rash bursts of powerviolence are the best bursts of powerviolence. Why pack ten songs into twenty five minutes? Five in ten is just right. This fresh-as-all-fuzz release from Pissed On only stops to piss on a burning pedestrian at the culmination of a brief, brutal attack. Raw and ready, five tracks merge into one erratic performance, over so quick that words can’t catch up. Hence this rough, chopped up review of The Hanged Man.
There are some punk bands that still manage to subvert the grand cliches, both musical and stylistic, that overtook punk. One of those bands is Canadian hardcore/punk/experimental heroes Fucked Up, a band who has never shied away from pushing punk to its very furthest limits, effectively achieving the goals punk initially set out to accomplish. Recently I was lucky enough to talk to their drummer Jonah Falco about exactly what inspires Fucked Up to constantly push the boundaries of punk music, as well as their most recent release, Year of the Snake.
To simply sum Darkest Hour up to yet another ATG-core band would not only be insulting, but wildly inaccurate as well. The band has been different ever since their inception, as they started much more closely in line with the hardcore-metal crossover of their heyday in the mid-90’s. Eventually this would change, of course. The band began to overlay their blistering metallic-hardcore with melo-death riffs galore, showing that they were not only impassioned Integrity fans, but At The Gates fans as well. The hardcore always lingered though, driving their sound to blistering speeds and intensities that other bands simply could not keep up with. At the time it was remarkable in its own right, the perfect marriage between death metal and hardcore, but soon it led to just as many bands trying to rip them off as closely as many before them had tried to rip off In Flames.
Like gin and tonic or sunny days and the beach, crust and death are the perfect pairing. The glorious bludgeoning of death metal and overdriven, fuzzy crust makes short work of anyone uneducated in the mires of extreme music; novices may start and stop with Entombed, more shame on them. Henry Kane, a project headed by members of Wombbath, make even shorter work of those unwilling to get a bit of nasty dick crust in their jeans. Den Förstörda Människans Rike might compare to certain records with a certain guitar pedal sound, in that it sounds familiar in tone and feel, but not necessarily in terms of actual content.
Considering the prog metal trajectory they’ve been on for just shy of a decade now, it’s easy to forget that Canadian stalwarts Protest the Hero started out their career as a punk band. Of course, the punk roots are still intermittently noticeable throughout their post-Kezia discography — take the verses in “Spoils”, for instance — but for the most part, it’s plainly apparent that the band have comfortably adapted to a more technical, progressive sound over the years. In light of this, it’s actually somewhat surprising in retrospect that it took until 2017 for a more punk-oriented side project to arise from the band, but we’re now presented with Mystery Weekend, a three-piece featuring vocalist Rody Walker and drummer Mike Ieradi from Protest alongside guitarist/bassist Dan Hay.
Lecherous Gaze are a fun band (you kinda have to be with that name). Their prior efforts, On the Skids and Zeta Reticuli Blues, are ideal albums to toss on when you just don’t give a shit and need to kick out some jams. Chock-full of raunchy riffage, white-hot leads,…
Iron Reagan is made up of the singer and bassist from Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour’s old drummer, and DRI’s Crossover DNA. Then again, if you’re at all familiar with the thrash revival scene then you probably already know that about this band. And you can probably take a healthy guess about what their latest album on Relapse, Crossover Ministry, sounds like. All hints of predictability aside this is a rollicking throwback to the heyday of thrash when bands like Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, and so many others were as likely to be found shredding guitars and skateboards as digging themselves out of the pit.