2015 HONORABLE MENTIONS

by Jean

(part 2 of my personal 2015 top releases)

Here’s part 2 of my 2015 top releases.
I decided to articulate the remaing parts of this classification in no specific order, but three different rankings including:
1): hardcore/punk/metal (the one you’re about to read)
2): 90s indie/post-punk/garage,
3): the outsiders (I will publish these columns in several weeks I guess. First because I think the entire subject would be too “massive” otherwise, and also because I have a pretty busy schedule these days!)

Although it’s early 2016 and I’m sure you’ve already dug into 90% of these releases I wanted to share these words with you, especially these lines dealing with non-hardcore releases because some of the bands/artists involved in this column agreed to tell me their thoughts about their production and their connexions with hardcore punk. I’d like to thank them for their contribution to this column. Thanks to all the other bands mentionned here for the great work they did.

1): HARDCORE/PUNK/METAL RELEASES

ABSOLUT “Hell’s Highest Power” LP/D-Takt & Råpunk Records (Canada).

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Obviously, when you have red the name of the label company which have released this record you will immediately know what this is all about: something fast, heavy, which will crush your brain and entomb your coolness with really dark riffs and a gloomy spirit. I’m not a real connoisseur of the genre but in my humble opinion this record is a total success; some of my relationship who definitly are into this specific kind of hardcore told me the singing was actually quite disturbing but I really like this type of growling!
PS: Didn’t purchase the PARANOID “Satyagraha” LP yet but this record is also a killer.

AGGRESSION PACT ST 7″EP/Painkiller Records (USA).

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Probably the best Boston hardcore 7″ of 2015. Can’t tell how many time I’ve seen this record being reviewed as one of the best releases of 2015 and you just need to take a look to the different bands the different individuals involved in AGRESSION PACT are also playing with to realize these guys definitly know how to rock. Painkiller Records wrote a pretty efficient short text to describe this record, I encourage you to to check it on the label’s bandcamp.

AJAX ST 7″ EP/Static Shock Records (USA).

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If this NYC band still release records which end up every year in my top records I’m fine with this, even if at some point I think I will start to be really demanding towards their releases (by the way, hope they’ll record their first LP in 2016)! But this 7″ is really cool, although here is another strange record cover for another ST EP! I pretty much agree with Static Shock Records words about AJAX’s sounds: “[…] this new record continue their perfected blend of early Boston influenced hardcore and Swedish, TOTALITÄR influenced riffs and gruff, Choke-esque vocals.”

ALL OUT WAR “Dying Gods” 12″ EP/Organized Crime Records (USA).

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I guess everybody here knows how this Newburgh, New York band created something almost legendary within the metallic hardcore epiphenomenon? If no, maybe this latest AOW EP isn’t the best example of the talent of the band and I invite our readers who might don’t know their previous releases (especially their first LP) to listen to these records! This 2015 12″ EP is really cool though (really like the AMEBIX and CARNIVORE covers, of course).

ANXIETY HAMMER “What Stands Between Us” 7″ EP/Curtain Fire (USA).

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Great tribute to 80s USHC bands played by some of Philly’s hardcore veterans. This is one of the last 2015 records I purchased on Discogs before thinking to write this second part of 2015 top releases; the first and last songs of this record (“What Stands Between Us” and “Captive”) are my favorite, they also are the EP’s “longest” songs (1:43 and 1:47), I love how the band knows how to repeat their short and really simple riffs, plus the drums are really efficient, really moshing/dancing tracks.

ATLAS LOSING GRIP “Currents” LP/Cargo Records, Hamburg Records (Sweden).

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For a while I was sure this latest ALG record featuring ex-singer Rodrigo Alfaro would end up in my final 2015 top records but Fate has spoken differently due to the amount of strickly “hardcore” releases which came out in 2015. But, listening to it right now I’d be lying if I wasn’t telling you how great, perfectly composed and emotional this record is. I love every song featuring here, everything is so intense. Sometimes, it will remind you some heavy/thrash metal inspired riffs mixed with melodic punk/hardcore, like PROPAGANDHI used to play lately. A great record.

BANDIT “Heathen Rocks – 12 Distorted Truth For The Dumb” Reissue, Remastered LP/Flower Of Carnage, Ratbone Records, Solar Funeral (Japan).

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Although they were some good reissues of JUDGE’s “Bringing It Down” LP, BEYOND’s “Dew It! / Live Crucial Chaos WNYU” on Revelation Records and TURNING POINT’s “1988-1991″ Discography 2XLP + 7” on Think Fast! Records I also purchased, this BANDIT reissue is a record I was definitly waiting for since it originally came out as a CD on Chameleon Records in 1991. This title “12 Distorted Truth For The Dumb” really sums up the concept of the riffing style and the lyrics: this is definitly a machine gun of riffs and poisoned lyrics filled with rage, classic Japanese killing hardcore punk.

BITTER END “Illusions Of Dominance” LP/Deathwish Inc (USA).

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Honestly, if someone once told me I would cherish a single record of this band I’ve never been into before I would have been really surprised because none of BITTER ENDS previous releases had succeed to require my attention. But “Illusions Of Dominance” almost end up in my final top ten since this record is filled with some really heavy and well performed hardcore anthems. Some of the riffs have a really cool thrash vibe and each song is a success. I will definitly keep an eye on BITTER END right now!

BLIND AUTHORITY “Succumb To Violence” LP/Carry The Weight (UK).

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They are so much 2015 English bands and records I need to deal with I don’t know how to start. BLIND AUTHORITY’s first LP is really rough and catchy, full of excellent mosh parts and excellent guitar suggestions, in my humble opinion there is only a single flat concerning the incomprehensible singing although I think the lyrics are really well put into the songs.

BLINDSIDE USA “Wave Of Regret” 7″ EP/ Straight & Alert Records (USA).

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This is the pink vinyl limited edition from Alexis’s Straight & Alert distro. This is definitly one of my 2015 favorite 7″. BLINDSIDE USA comes from Kansas City, Missouri and is a killer band with a really old-school motivation: it really sounds like an intense tribute to classic early 80s NYHC which is one of my all-time favorite type of music. BLINDSIDE USA boys all play in a shitload of great local bands. You can definitly feel this listening to this great record.

BOMBERS demo tape reissue/Thrashzone Tapes (USA).

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Classic Boston hardcore 5 songs tape: catchy, messy, fast and aggressive with almost a “military rythm” which reminds some street punk/Oi! bands, with a rock & roll touch!

CASCARRABIAS “Odiando El Sonido! Y La Diversion!” self-released demo tape (France).

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It’s strange how time can change your relationship with some special kinds of music. For example, I’ve never paid so much attention to Spanish punk since a few weeks when I started to listen to pretty cool bands from Madrid and Barcelona. CASCARRABIAS comes from Lyon, France (where a lot of great French bands hail) but the band’s lyrics are written and sung in Spanish and it sounds really cool (for example “Cicatrices” song). Their credo is pretty cool too: their music is dedicated to all the moaners and they also put the face of Jean-Pierre Bacri on typical spiky-punk outfit on the demo cover sleeve, who is one of my favorite French actors, known for his grumpy talents. Can’t wait to see them live with PINKU SAIDO in my hometown at the end of the month.

COWARDS “Rise To Infamy” LP/Ruins Records, Throatruiner Records (France).

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I’ve already posted an interview here with guitar player Adrien several months ago. In my opinion, “Rise To Infamy” is the best tribute to all the people who loved KICKBACK’s penultimate LP on GSR Music “No Surrender” because “Rise To Infamy” is 10 times better delivered than this KICKBACK record although all of my friends know I’m really into this “legendary” French hardcore band coming from Paris. COWARDS hail from Paris too and their line-up features members and ex-members of well known bands from the area but COWARDS is in my opinion the best band among all these bands. They play an intense form of chaotic and metallic hardcore which really grooves.

COUPE GORGE ST self-released tape (France).

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COUPE GORGE hails from Brest, France. Featuring members from SYNDROME 81 (among others), they’re probably do not deal with the gloomy aspects of their town as much as SYNDROME 81 (or another Brest band like LITOVSK), but they share the same interest towards NEGATIVE APPROACH and French/English street punk/Oi! bands. This tape rips.

DRUG CHURCH “Hit Your Head” LP/No Sleep Records (USA).

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No Sleep Records has been an interesting record company for years now and I really love some of their releases. For example. DRUG CHURCH’s “Swell” EP released earlier in 2015 is, in my opinion, completely different from their previous releases and really better. When I was able to listen to their soon-to-be second LP I automatically felt in love with “Hit Your Head” sound. It is something which really sounds like a tribute to 90s (post)hardcore bands a la Dischord brought back with a modern twist and some alternative/indie spirit. I’m pretty disappointed with the fact I got no news from the band’s members since I sent them an interview request months ago…

FREEDOM “USA Hardcore” LP/Triple-B Records (USA).

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Since 2013 “Pay The Price” 7″ EP on Back To Back (and recently reissued in 2015 on Triple-B Records), I’ve been really focused on this Detroit straight edge hardcore punk band. I personally think their live performances are incredibly good and the spirit of the band, mixing influences from both classic 80s Boston and NYC with an important will to deal with straight edge, definitly relevant. My favorite song on this record is probably “Song And Dance”, it sounds like “well-played” early AGNOSTIC FRONT.

IN TONGUES “Rituals Of Failure And Ruin” LP/Carry The Weight (UK).

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You already know nowadays UK bands are the best when it comes to metallic hardcore/metalcore sound. Probably because in the early 00s they had xCANAANx, which have captured the minds of UK audience with its 90s metalcore vibes. Right now, I think IN TONGUES first LP is a whuppin’ machine. Why? Because this record is above all the rules of any kind of music (especially hardcore punk and metal/metalcore). “Rituals Of Failure And Ruin” has an incredible epic sound: This is goddam heavy, brothers and sisters, like a call to the battlefront. This record also has gloomy aspecst and emotional parts. I recently got this LP in the mailbox, that’s why I didn’t get the opportunity to listen to it on vinyl in 2015 and, therefore, classify it in my 2015 top ten releases. Otherwise, you can be sure this record is one of my favorite release of the past years.

LIFE OF REILLY “Break The Silence” EP/Xpressions Records (USA).

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I remember feeling pretty stoked listening to this really expeditious hardcore punk release for the first time on their record label bandcamp page. I’ve automatically looked to order some copy and Alexis from Straight & Alert Records got me one. This band definitly pays homage to 80s USHC sound but the vocals really remind me of that DISCHARGE-Cal era (the best period of the band).

NEU-RONZ ST EP/Adult Crash (Denmark).

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Vocals remind me of the early days of BLACK FLAG-Henry Rollins early days’s era mixed with a tribute to that 80s LA/Hermosa Beach/Orange County spirit. I’m not a real connoisseur of Danish hardcore although this Euro country’s contribution to worldwide hardcore History is pretty big. Anyway, this record is incredibly good: super fast and catchy. I really need to keep on eye on this band.

NO TOLERANCE “You Walk Alone” LP/Quality Control HQ (USA).

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This is the UK press of NO TOLERANCE first LP. A lot of my peers seemed to have prefered the band’s previous releases but I don’t really have an special opinion about that. This record is really heavy and matches with what I expected from the band for their first LP: catchy riffs and rythm with angry vocals, cool moshparts… Since I wasn’t expecting some new NO TOLERANCE release this year I was pleasantly surprised by this record.

NYC HEADHUNTERS Demo Tape/Straight & Alert Records (USA).

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Oh boy. You just listened to BLINDSIDE USA reading these lines? Look for this demo on bandcamp: I think they share the same late 80s NYHC influences like BREAKDOWN/LIFE’S BLOOD. Plus, this band consists in members of various really cool bands like CREEM, BACKTRACK, FREE, STEP FORWARD and HAVE HEART just to name a few. I like how this band worships some classic heavy shit without being boring. On the contrary This is definitly a killer band.

NO IDEA “Jag Hatar Punk” 7″ EP/Just 4 Fun (Sweden).

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The songs featuring on this record featured in a cassette compilation on Punish Tapes in 1987 called “Container Party”. I stumbled upon this “Jag Hatar Punk” purchasing records on Discogs. Actually, I was looking for this NEU-RONZ EP and the seller told me that for the same shipping cost he could send me another 7″. I looked after his 2015 releases and discovered this band NO IDEA. This reissue really interested me because it sounded like late 80s thrashcore bands, I haven’t listened to the 18 bonus MP3 songs yet but I hope they’re great too.

OBSTRUCT “Loss Of Blood” LP/Carry The Weight (UK).

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In regard to the band’s line-up and its previous releases you won’t be surprised at all to read I really loved this record, the first LP of the band. Nothing really different from all the other great English hardcore punk bands they play with but it’s cool though!

PERSPEX FLESH “Ordered Image” 12″ EP/Static Shock Records (UK).

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Fuck me. I think PF is definitly an awesome band but their latest 12″ is really, really, really good. As to me, listening to this band is like trying the Rorschach test. Logically, if you feel things like that when you are listening to a punk record, I guess it kinda sucks: who needs to wonder things like that listening to a punk record or attending to a punk show? But PF is so strange, unique and violent in terms of hardcore punk, I think it’s like listening to some sort of THE RESIDENTS or EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN-hardcore punk, you know what I mean? No? Ok. Forget about it then.

SKIN CRAWLER “Worship.Regret.” Tape Version/Kick Out The Jams (Belgium).

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Already interviewed this band here, and the tape version of their first record is still a hella release. A tribute to Belgium glory days of metallic hardcore and H8000. Just listen to it if you haven’t!

STICK TOGETHER ST LP/Triple-B Records (USA).

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It’s strange how I’ve never paid so much attention to this band’s previous releases before they put out this excellent first LP on Triple-B Records. STICK TOGETHER does not sound like any other current straight edge hardcore punk band I’ve been listening to: they got a different approach towards the guitar riffing and sound, between some riffing tribute to DISCHARGE (they almost sound like this Japanese DISCHARGE-worshipping band FINAL BOMBS), youth crew mosh parts, guitar solos (“The Great Escape” solo, it really reminds me of WARZONE’s heavy metal solos)… Anyway, this record rips.

SWEET JESUS “You Destroy Yourself” LP/Atomic Action Records (USA).

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I actually listened to SWEET JESUS for the first time in fall 2015 but in the very begining I didn’t feel anything special coming from this band and this record especially but after several times repeting this LP, I finally started to like it and feel quite the same things than DRUG CHURCH LP even if I wonder if I do not prefer DRUG CHURCH on this one. Anyway, SWEET JESUS is definitly a great tribute to SWIZ and it’s a pleasure to hear Pat Flynn’s voice again!

TRUE IDENTITY “Demo ’15” tape/React! Records (USA).

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What would you expect from a band which consists in ex-members of CHAMPION, BLUE MONDAY, BETRAYED and KEEP IT REAL? Nothing but the continuity of what these musicians know the best, I guess: I mean playing some typical early 00s youth crew/straight edge hardcore punk. Although this demo is really cool (bought it a few weeks after its release) it kinda sounds really cliché in terms of straight edge hardcore!

TWITCHING TONGUES “Disharmony” LP/Metal Blade Recordings, Closed Casket Activities (USA).

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Definitly better than their previous LP! TT is my guilty pleasure since I don’t listen to strickly metal records anymore. But I don’t know if got something interesting to write about this record… Unfortunately…

VIOLENT REACTION “Marching On” LP/Revelation Records (UK).

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This band got signed on RevHQ and that’s all they deserved! Personally, I think this record is a total tribute to NEGATIVE APPROACH and it’s fucking brilliant. It’s almost perfect! Really love the picture on the cover and hope I will see them on stage again.

WORLD WEARY “Life As We Know It” 7″ EP/Powertrip Records (UK).

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WW broke up leaving with a really cool metallic hardcore EP. Red on FB that some member(s) is/are starting new band(s). Hope it will be as interesting as WW was!

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Filed under Hardcore, Jap Core, NYHC, Revelation Records, straight and alert, Straight Edge, Uncategorized

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