Crea sito

“Anti-colonial Sápmi Black Metal” – Interview with Ruohtta

In this interview we will delve into the dark abysses of the mysterious Ruohtta project, a one man band that proudly defines its proposal as “Sápmi black metal”. An interview in which between history, anthropology and black metal, Ruohtta expresses his complete spiritual and political vision about the secular oppression suffered by the Lapp culture and people and the different forms of anti-colonial resistance put in place by the Saami still today against the Swedish and Finnish nation-states. “Anti colonial Sápmi black metal” is the only battle cry that echoes in the Lappish wilderness!
For a better reading of this interview and to fully grasp the atmosphere and the themes treated, it is recommended to listen to “Reetessä” the last wonderful Ep published by Ruohtta.

 

Your project is extremely fascinating in so many different ways, from the music to the subject matter. This fascination in my eyes is also exerted by the name Ruohtta. Can you tell us what it means and why it was chosen as the name of the project?

Thanks! Ruohtta is an entity/god (called a demon by missionaries) that reigns over sickness and death. This powerful entity is neither good nor bad yet demands offerings in order to spare the lives of the offeror or his/her close community. Ruohtta-aatto is a word that is still in use in my culture and points at the darkest days of the year. On these days, the dead spirits of one’s ancestors was/is particularly active. It is therefore wise to stay indoors during the nights in order to not get snatched into the land of the dead. Ancestors may both help the living as well as causing deceases or accidents if not respected properly. My music, regardless of genre-definitions, has always been a sort of tacit communication with dead people or dead places. This spiritual practice through sounds have increased during the years. Those who know me know exactly what I am talking about here.

I came across your project through Realm and Ritual Records, a label committed to publishing work in black metal and dungeon synth and explicitly anti-fascist. What is your stance on anti-fascism within the extreme metal scene? What are your thoughts on the scourge of NSBM?

Ruohtta has had an anti-colonial stance from the start and that won´t ever change. I despise totalitarian rulings and to be honest, I am not that into –isms and political ideologies at all. Fascism like capitalism seemingly eats its own tail in the end. NSBM as a music genre is a tricky issue and I think there are nuances to what is called NSBM as well. There are certainly many far-right leaned artists that has produced interesting music. And there are a lot of other people that sucks at being human that has created great art. August Strindberg, Phil Spector and Picasso are a few examples of that. At some levels, I think one has to separate the person from the art even though these two occasionally intermingle. However, I have not heard a fully fleshed Nazi-band that has produced what I deem as interesting sounds yet.

(I take the liberty to make a brief and necessary addition to the response issued by Ruohtta, to express my point of view about what was said. As you know Disastro Sonoro is a project that takes a clear and unambiguous position towards the NSBM and all the bands that wink at extreme right-wing positions, whether they are explicit or not. On the division between person and artistic project, I remain of the idea that the best thing to do is in any case not to support in any way such individuality and its projects so as not to give visibility to positions, ideas and actions of Nazi-fascist, racist, reactionary and conservative.)

 

In your latest Ep you focus on colonialism and the forced Christianization suffered by the Sámi people. How come the choice to deal with certain themes through the instrument of black metal?

It came natural, it was just there from the start. There is a lot of negative subjects and history to be found within our cultures that may be interpreted and dealt with through various art and music genres. It will most likely take a couple of lifetimes to explore and conceptualize them all. I am a grown man that has been into Black metal since I was 11-12 years old so this particular kind of music energy has influenced and seeped into my music making, regardless of genres, ever since. For me, Black metal is about reflecting, channelizing and/or portraying negative and dark energies. Ruohtta utilizes, remoulds, channelizes and spews these dark energies back at all aspects of colonialism.

On your bandcamp page, in the description of your last Ep Reetessä, you talk about Laestadianism, Stalinism and old pagan Finno-Ugric religion. What influence did these three very different dimensions have within Saami culture and how did they affect the struggle of resistance to the predatory colonialism of the Swedish and Finnish states?

It is important to point out that in my area there are roughly two different yet related minority/indigenous groups of Finno-Ugric origin: North/Lule/Forest Sámis and Tornedalians/Lantalaiset. I am of Forest Sámi origin yet has the language of Tornedalians/Lantalaiset, Meänkieli, as family language. These two groups have lived side by side in both turmoil and companionship for many hundreds of years. Laestadianism was a religious direction that actually kept a friendly bond between them. In the secular and modern decay society of today, this bond is starting to diminish. The state and colonial powers has done a lot to split these groups up during the last 150 years and turning them against each other. However, some people in said groups are now finally starting to wake up and redirect the anger towards the true enemy instead. Stalinism affected many Tornedalian/Lantalaiset-villages during its peak, a political direction that stood in stark contrast to Laestadianism. In some areas, this seemingly impossible contrast was jointed into something that strangely worked side by side. On top of this (or under perhaps), the old pagan religion influenced how this symbiosis appeared in the lives of the people. The practice and sermons of Laestadianism was initially touched by Sámi Pre-Christian religion. I think all these three spiritual and political dimensions resided in a tacit resistance towards colonial ideas of the Swedish state in their own ways. I don´t know about what the exact conditions in Finland and Norway were at the time but I assume something similar. If to apply an objective perspective, these three different views are quite extreme and together they form a vibrant and esoteric energy that serves the making of Black metal music perfectly.

In 1852 an important event in the history of Sámi cultural resistance to colonization and forced sedentarization imposed by the Swedish and Finnish central governments took place: the Kautokeino Uprising. What are your views on this moment of insurrection and what significance does this event have for the culture and history of the Sámi People?

The Kautokeino rebellion (Guovdageainnu stuimmit) had many ignitions and not all of them was due to resistance against colonisation. There is still unclear what really happened but an extreme form of Laestadian expression was also in the mix there. Today there are mixed feelings about the act, some salute the violent resistance while being less proud of the religious aspects. Speaking of resistance, the possible church burning at Nábbreluokta in 1650 is perhaps one of the first direct action against Christianisation up here. Some of my ancestors resided in that area during that time period so who knows… The Alta conflict in the late 70s is perhaps what lingers in people’s minds the most nowadays. Similar conflicts and resistances like that one will most likely appear soon again. The predatory colonialism and stealing of land here has not ceased.

What are currently the difficulties most felt by the Sámi people? Are there still feelings of resentment, anger and desire to rebel against European colonialism and the imposition of a sedentary lifestyle historically in antithesis with the Saami culture?

The biggest difficulties for both Sámi and Meänkieli-speaking people is to keep our languages and cultures from succumbing in a “modern” society dictated by others. The wounds of the past are deep and a lot of energy goes into saving what is left, both culture and land. The mining and logging corporations is trying hard to turn our part of the country into industrial areas. The sad part is that the hegemony of our town areas forces many of us to do the digging in order to support our families. However, there is pride in work and pride in the communion of the working class. Many have been doing mine work for generations without thinking about the destructive part of it. This is a large topic so I will leave it at that. Resentment, anger and urge to rebel? Absolutely.

Like any nomadic farming culture, the relationship with the environment of the Sámi people has always been in antithesis with a predatory and devastating vision typical of Western and capitalist culture. How much does the wild nature of the Swedish Lapland region you come from and your relationship with it influence your music? Do you think that Ruohtta’s music has an “atmospheric” dimension that recalls Lappish landscapes and nature and a certain ecological way of relating to the natural environment?

Well, besides Black metal, I have a long history as a musician in folk and improvisation music genres. Through this I have delved quite deep into the music traditions of my own cultural environment and incorporated them into how I perform my instruments and write music. I would say that my perception of rhythm is quite affected by Sámi jojk, meaning that I tend to see rhythms as oval shaped motions instead of linear. My melodic language is definitely affected by old Finnish/Tornedalian folk music such as fiddle music, runo songs and sounding affordances of the kantele. I try to steer away from stereotypical views of how Laplandic music “should” sound like but sure, there a lot of big forests, mountains and streams here that most likely have an effect on my artistry. I live in a remote area in a village with six houses so the isolation and closeness to nature is inevitable inspirational for my works.

Perhaps this sounds like a stupid or trivial question, but can the choice to also write and sing in Meänkieli and Sámi be seen as a form of resistance to the linguistic colonialism imposed by Sweden and Finland on the Saami people and as a desire to decolonize their own culture after centuries of oppression?

Absolutely. Meänkieli and Sámi is slowly but surely transforming into becoming linguistic acts of resistance nowadays. On my upcoming album “Gutna” I mix these languages as a way of encouraging communion between the two Finno-Ugric peoples.

As we come to the conclusion of this interview, I wanted to ask you when the new record will be released? Will you continue to deal with the brutal issue of colonial oppression suffered by the Sámi people or will you deal with different themes?

The new album “Gutna” is out 30 April 2021 on cd through TormentRex. In July, a cassette edition of the album will appear through Realm and Ritual. Vinyl edition is in the works! I also have a small Black ambient release on the way later this year as well. Ruohtta will always remind of the bad and the oppressive in our part of the circumpolar area. In future releases I might highlight certain spiritual aspects of our existence more but I will never steer away from themes associated with Sápmi. Thanks for the interview! Greetings/ Tervaaj

 

 

Golpe – La Colpa è Solo Tua (2021)

Primavera 2021. Milano assomiglia sempre di più al volantino di un concerto punk che non c’è mai stato, un vecchio flyer che resiste sui muri grigi di questa metropoli corroso dal tempo e sbiadito dalla pioggia. Mentre sono sempre più lontane le nostre offensive improvvise e le nostre cinque giornate all’insegna del rumore e del DIY, mentre non si sentono più chitarre distorte attentare al quieto vivere e urla incazzate riecheggiare nella notte fino a perdere la voce, qualcuno decide di rompere il silenzio e pubblicare un disco di “chaos non musica”, un disco che prende le sembianze di un grido di disperazione e, al contempo, di una dichiarazione di guerra verso l’esistente di merda che stiamo vivendo. La città è quieta… I Golpe parlano.

Partiamo con delle doverose note biografiche e tecniche legate a La Colpa è Solo Tua, primo vero e proprio album in studio del progetto milanese Golpe. La pubblicazione è stata curata dalla statunitense Sorry State Records, una delle label DIY più interessanti e attente nell’attuale underground hardcore mondiale, mentre l’artwork di copertina è opera del solito Fra Goats, figura arcinota della scena hardcore punk milanese, attualmente dietro il microfono degli affascinanti anarcopunx Kobra e parte del collettivo Sentiero Futuro. Inoltre il disco è accompagnato da un poster-comunicato politico con cui Tadzio, mente e braccio dietro il progetto Golpe, presenta i suoi pensieri, ciò in cui crede e soprattutto ciò che per lui significa ancora oggi “essere punk”, invitandoci a mantenere uno sguardo e un pensiero critico sull’esistente e sul mondo odierno.

Passando invece ora al lato musicale, bastano pochissime note della titletrack che ci introduce a questo album per notare come i Golpe riprendano, senza nasconderle, quelle sonorità bellicose, immediate e grezze della vecchia scuola dell’hardcore italiano riconducibili principalmente a Wretched e Eu’s Arse. Ma il sound che caratterizza i Golpe non si ferma qui e prende le sembianze di certo raw punk/d beat di matrice svedese, chiamando in causa gentaglia come Mob 47, Disarm, Discard e Bombraid. Tutte queste influenze sono sintetizzabile in un conciso quanto chiaro “chaos non musica”, in modo da fugare ogni dubbio possibile su cosa ci troviamo ad ascoltare. Per quanto riguarda invece il comparto lirico, anche i testi che accompagnano le dieci tracce evocano in maniera convincente lo spettro dei Wretched dei primi Ep e gli Eu’s Arse di Lo Stato ha Bisogno di te? Bene, Fottilo!, riuscendo a ricordare in maniera sincera l’attitudine riottosa, l’irruenza espressiva e l’immediatezza tipica dell’hardcore italiano degli anni ’80. Inoltre è fin da subito chiaro che i toni di questo primo album in casa Golpe segnano un continuum logico con quelli che caratterizzavano il primo ep Subisci, Conformati, Rassegnati pubblicato due anni fa. Difatti se da un lato si può notare un continuo alternarsi di sensazioni come nichilismo, impotenza e disillusione, dall’altro troviamo testi molto più bellicosi e che invitano a scuotersi di dosso la rassegnazione per spezzare le sbarre delle prigioni che ci costruiamo (Sei la tua Prigione), continuare a bruciare sotto la cenere (Non Spegnerti) e rivoltarsi contro lo Stato (Non Piegarti). A livello lirico il buon Tadzio si trova ad affrontare anche tematiche classiche (ma che non stancano mai) del d-beat/hardcore punk come l’antimilitarismo e la repressione in un pezzo come Servo del Potere  o l’antiautoritarismo e la presa di posizione contro la politica istituzionale (Propaganda). 

In conclusione, seppur devo ammette che ero partito abbastanza prevenuto nell’ascoltare La Colpa è Solo Tua, pensando di trovarmi dinanzi all’ennesimo lavoro che segue in maniera scontata quel revival di d-beat/raw punk che va tanto di moda oggi, mi sono dovuto ricredere completamente perchè i Golpe sono riusciti a non far suonare il tutto come qualcosa di noioso o banale, ma anzi presentandoci un disco ispirato sia musicalmente che liricamente. D-beat, raw punk, hardcore punk, crust, kangpunk… chiamatelo un po’ come cazzo vi pare, alla fine dei conti questo La Colpa è Solo Tua è solamente un concentrato di “chaos non musica” riottoso, devastante e senza pietà! Mai arrendersi, mai morire. Pensa, agisci, reagisci. La scelta è solo tua!

Una pugnalata alla schiena

Una pugnalata alla schiena sorprenderà le vostre truppe di frontiera, troppo impegnate ad annegare i propri fantasmi in litri di vodka scadente per guardarsi le spalle. Le loro polveri sono bagnate, i fucili divorati dalla ruggine si sono inceppati ancora una volta. Non si sentono spari né ordini impazziti, il nemico è invisibile questa notte e non indossa divise riconoscibili, la bufera è compagna fedele degli insorti ancora una volta. Il loro sangue caldo colora la neve fresca, il sol dell’avvenire è tramontato per sempre. Tutto è andato secondo i piani, uno stormo di voci e risate invade la tundra e spezza il silenzio assordante, le impronte nella neve ci raccontano che gli eretici son tornati a danzare nell’oscurità impenetrabile. Convinti che non li troveranno mai, perché le loro rotte impervie non sono segnate sulle mappe di morte del potere.

La bufera si placa. I soldati superstiti ricominciano a marciare tremanti e spaesati in direzione del prossimo avamposto, invocando un dio sordo e recitando a lui preghiere che tradiscono un timore atavico, sperando di venire risparmiati dalla sete di sangue di queste ombre senza volto e senza nomi; almeno per questa notte. Gli insorti si guardano negli occhi, si scambiano baci intensi e si sussurano all’orecchio: “saremo ancora agguati”. Bruciano gli stendardi rubati al nemico, illuminando per pochi istanti l’oscurità che li protegge ormai da troppo tempo. Puliscono i loro pugnali nella neve, rivolgono un ultimo sguardo complice alla luna piena e si rimettono all’inseguimento…

Grima – Rotten Garden (2021)

La foresta si sta annerendo e gli abeti sono verdi. La notte correva nel cielo e la tempesta stava ululando. Ululando sotto la luna…

Emergendo dalle glaciali ed inospitali terre selvagge siberiane, dove insidie e forze primordiali tanto visibili quanto invisibili son pronte in agguato per trascinarci con loro nelle profondità ignote delle foreste ancestrali, i misteriosi Grima ci lasciano in balia di questo Rotten Garden, un nuovo straordinario capitolo del loro personale viaggio nelle lande del black metal atmosferico. Un viaggio iniziato nel lontano 2015 con il primitivo Devotion to Lord e che oggi giunge ad un livello di qualità impressionante e una maturità compositiva probabilmente definitiva.

Il black metal a cui son devoti e di cui si fanno messaggeri i Grima invade territori glaciali e selvaggi tipici del genere, ma al contempo è attraversato da misteriose energie pagane e tensioni ancestrali, assumendo, ancora una volta le sembianze di una vera e propria maestosa ode alle antiche foreste siberiane e alle forze magiche che le attraversano, rendendole allo stesso tempo luogo ricco di fascino e di inquietudine. Inoltre, proprio come la divinità da cui prende in prestito il nome questo due siberiano, il black metal atmosferico, primitivo e pagano racchiuso nelle sette tracce presenti su questo Rotten Garden sembra voler rappresentare una sorta di punizione e maledizione per chiunque non rispetti la natura selvaggia, ma anche offrire protezione e riparo per le creature umane, animali e magiche che vivono nel profondo delle foreste ancestrali e primigenie. Un disco con cui i fratelli Velhelm e Morbius riescono in maniera affascinante ad enfatizzare quel lato ambient e atmosferico ricco di magia e folklore anche grazie a suoni che richiamano elementi tipici della natura selvaggia siberiana come nella bellissima Cedar and Owls, brano che ci introduce a questo rituale di quarantacinque minuti.

Come già vagamente accennato, anche su questo nuovo disco il black metal suonato dai Grima è caratterizzato da una dimensione ritualistica che si manifesta in una atmosfera sfera generale di completa devozione e rispetto profondo nei confronti della natura e dei suoi abitanti; difatti le sette tracce appaiono come veri e propri inni che i Grima dedicano alla natura selvaggia siberiana, alle sue enormi distese di tundra, neve e foreste e alle creature che abitano questo ambiente inospitale per l’uomo. Il black metal dei siberiani, come da tradizione, gioca sull’alternanza tra sfuriate glaciali e tempestose, dominate da uno screaming freddo, lancinante e tormentato che sembra provenire da tempi antichi e dimenticati e momenti di quiete effimera in cui a farla da padrone sono le atmosfere, le melodie e le tastiere capaci di costruire trame sinfoniche perfettamente inserite nel contesto generale e mai stucchevoli. Troviamo anche un breve quanto affascinante intermezzo interamente acustico come Old Oak, momento che sembra voler segnare un passaggio non solo materiale ma anche rituale tra la prima parte del disco e la seconda, preparandoci forse a quello che il momento più alto dell’intero lavoro, ovvero la maestosa e sublime titletrack, la sintesi migliore di tutto ciò che sono i Grima e delle differenti anime che vivono nel loro sound. Infine questo Rotten Garden, proprio perchè riesce nell’impresa di tracciare un continuum non solo musicale ma anche ritualistico con i precedenti lavori della band, non può che concludersi con una nuova versione di Devotion to Lord (brano già apparso sulla prima fatica dei Grima), quasi come a voler simbolicamente chiudere un cerchio e sottolineare ancora di più la totale devozione del duo siberiano nei confronti della natura selvaggia che domina incontrastata nella loro terra natia.

Siamo solo all’inizio di aprile nel momento in cui mi trovo a scrivere questa recensione, ma non posso non sbilanciarmi definendo questo Rotten Garden, come uno dei dischi migliori del 2021 a mani basse, un disco che dimostra come i Grima siano l’espressione migliore del panorama black metal atmosferico attuale. E allora, mente la notte impenetrabile cala sulla foresta innevata, mentre il vento ulula tra le fronde degli alberi insieme alle creature della notte, mentre il fuoco si sta lentamente consumando rendendo labile il confine tra il mondo reale, quello degli uomini e quello delle ombre, lasciamoci rapire da questo sublime Rotten Garden con cui i Grima riescono ancora una volta ad evocare in maniera vivida nelle nostre menti gli innevati e selvaggi paesaggi siberiani da cui provengono. Opera maestosa sotto tutti i punti di vista.

Si siedono e meditano i gufi sul passato, sul futuro. Su ciò che è malato e ciò che è urgente. Si siederanno ancora e aspetteranno l’ora del commiato, quando l’alba sorge con rinnovato vigore e il sole rovescerà l’oscurità…

 

Poison Ruïn – S/t (2021)

Si può parlare di dungeon punk? Forse, ma prima di tirare conclusioni affrettate proviamo ad andare con ordine.

Un fulmine a ciel sereno. Un ascolto che prende le sembianze di un’escursione in territori musicali che all’apparenza hanno poco da spartire l’un con l’altro. Un viaggio che può apparire a primo avviso confuso, privo di senso o addirittura pretenzioso. Poi, in realtà bastano pochissimi minuti immersi in questo S/t album del progetto Poison Ruïn per accorgersi che le cose stanno diversamente, che a volte l’azzardo ripaga e che ci troviamo al cospetto di un disco estremamente ispirato, profondamente originale e attraverso da una vena sperimentale convincente, come non se ne sentivano da parecchio tempo.  Le dieci tracce che incontriamo su questo omonimo lavoro di Poison Ruin sono caratterizzate da continui saccheggi e incursioni razziatrici in territori musicali completamente diversi, un sound polimorfo in cui differenti anime e influenze si incontrano e trovano terreno comune in un tappeto sonoro e in un mood riconducibile all’universo dungeon synth; proprio quel dungeon synth che sembra poter fagocitare qualsiasi cosa in ambito underground ultimamente e che ha trovato tantissime incarnazioni e declinazioni degne di nota, basti anche solo pensare alle notevoli pubblicazioni dell’italiana Heimat der Katastrophe.

Tornando a capofitto nei meandri e nelle sfumature di questo dungeon targato Poison Ruïn, sono tante le anime diverse che si scontrano, si intrecciano, spesso rendendo difficile comprendere come sia possibile farle convivere in un’unica proposta in una maniera così convincente e addirittura godibile. Mac, mente e braccio dietro il progetto Poison Ruïn, ci riesce in maniera del tutto inaspettata al punto da lasciare sbalorditi e ammaliati come fossimo preda del canto di una sirena in un mare burrascoso. Un lavoro che, come un avventuriero in terra di frontiera, tende in maniera costante alle contaminazioni e alla fuga verso territori nuovi in cui proseguire il proprio viaggio e la propria visione, passando senza inibizioni futili dal punk rock degli albori al post punk variegato da venature deathrock e atmosfere vagamente gotiche. Ma anche incursioni improvvise in territori dominati dal primitivo heavy metal britannico e addirittura veri e propri agguati inaspettati e apparentemente fuori luogo alla ricerca di quella dimensione ritualistica e infernale degna di certo raw black metal degli ultimi anni (Sacrosant). Tutte queste incarnazioni sonore trovano libero sfogo all’interno di un sound a cui fare da filo conduttore appare chiaro essere da una parte certo primitivo punk di scuola britannica così come, dall’altra la costruzione di atmosfere e scenari affidata alla componente dungeon synth, soprattutto per quanto riguarda intro e outro dei vari brani. Lo stesso artwork di copertina, per via della sua dimensione misteriosa e oscura, evoca nelle nostre mente scenari e immaginari tipicamente swords and sorcery tanto cari alla scena dungeon synth.

 

Si può dunque parlare di dungeon punk, si o no? Forse non esiste una risposta univoca una volta che arriviamo al termine di questo assurdo viaggio accompagnati dalla conclusiva Hell Hounds, dunque lascio a voi decidere se a senso definire il sound di Posion Ruïn con tale fantasiosa etichetta. Forse è presto pure per parlare di dischi dell’anno, ma sicuramente questa prima fatica in studio del progetto Poison Ruïn rimarrà per molti mesi nelle cuffie e nelle orecchie di molti di noi.

“Make punk a way of protest again!” – Interview with War//Plague

This summer I wrote a long article about the Minneapolis hardcore punk scene that was published in the zero issue of Benzine, a punx fanzine created by some individuals from the Milan hardcore punk scene. The idea to write that article was born after the police murder of George Floyd and after the riots that crossed and burned the USA during the summer months. The publication of that article allowed me to get in touch with War//Plague, one of the most interesting crust punk bands in the Minneapolis scene and one of my favorites. I recently asked Leffer and Lutz a series of questions, covering a variety of topics ranging from revolts against racism and police violence, to the idea of punk music as a way of protest and political movement. Right now I can’t find the right words to explain you how happy and proud I am to have interviewed War//Plague, especially because we all share the idea that punk is and must still be a threat, so I’ll just leave you to their answers and wish you a good reading.

This summer, after Floyd’s brutal murder by police and in the wake of the raging riots, I wrote an article titled “Minneapolis Burns, Fragments of the Minneapolis Hardcore Scene,” starting first with the title of the Destroy EP “Burn this Racist System Down.”I wanted to ask, what can you tell us about the current hardcore punk scene in Minneapolis? What differences do you notice between today’s punk scene and that of the past in your city?

Leffer: Ever since George Floyds murder, life has been a bit unstable, yet the community is strong here in Minneapolis. Life has come to a stand still and a lot of people are in survival mode with the pandemic, etc. So punk life and energy has been redirected to the current state of affairs here. No gigs or gatherings but protests are constantly happening and that’s how many are coming together to give a sense of community and strength.

Lutz: The current state the punk scene here is a bit fragmented, but it’s still going strong. There just aren’t a lot of places to play and with the pandemic, no one is playing out. We’re all still on lock down for the most part, but hopeful things will turn around later this year. However, I think the punk scene is more charged than ever.

When was War//Plague born and where did your name come from?

Lutz: We started in the spring of 2008, still seems like yesterday. The name was kind of the amalgamation of ideas, surprisingly it’s probably a more relevant name now then it was back then!

Leffer: Like Lutz said, it was 2008, right after PROVOKED broke up. Lutz and I wanted to continue playing music so we started writing new material. Finding a name took quite a while as we wanted to really think on our approach and the basic musical theme of the band.

What is your position on the uprisings against police abuse and structural racism in U.S. society and culture that followed Floyd’s murder? How did the hardcore punk scene of your city live those days of revolt?

Lutz: The spring and summer of last year was very intense in the city. Constant protest, helicopters, military presence, etc. Not to mention all the white nationalists and knuckle draggers that came into the city to start more problems. The police in this area have been a menace for decades, many of them are extremely racist and violent. The day the precinct burnt down was very surreal… the turmoil in the air was thick. Police in riot gear on the roof, blockades, smoldering ashes and smoke from surrounding building, protests, people looting for diapers, food, etc.

The city spent millions to fortify downtown prior to the Killer Cop’s trial. After months of promising to dismantle the police and make changes, the city council invested millions to hire more police. People are pissed off and fed up. But one thing I can say, that the media doesn’t cover, is that summer really brought the community together. Not just the punk community, the southside community as a whole. The punk scene is and will always be allies. Systemic racism is real in this country and I believe this fight is far from over.

Leffer: The cops and police union here are incredibly corrupt. The history of racism within the police ranks has been running for far too long and the community has had enough. George Floyd changed the world and especially this area of Minneapolis as people are simply fed up with the constant fear. Floyds wasn’t the first murder to happen under a corrupt and racist system, but his unfortunate death has shed a large spotlight on what needs to change.

We are located quite close to where Floyd was murdered and have spent time at the intersection where he was killed as it is a memorial now. When you go to that spot, the feeling of sorrow and tragedy is overwhelming. However, it also gives a sense of urgency that something must be done and done now.

How is the current social and political situation in Minneapolis?

Leffer: The socio/politcal environment here is very strong and constantly moving. This community thrives on coming together and making sure voices are heard. Protests are frequent and well organized, which spreads far and wide with many people coming together as the urgency to be heard is felt by all.

The down side to it, is having provacateurs from the outside coming in to harm the cause or make things worse. We had random groups of white supremists and other trouble makers travel into town to start burning down parts of the city and trying to blame it on the peaceful protestors. Thankfully some of the media caught wind of this and some were caught, but the forces of evil are persistant with these types of people so the struggle continues.

Lutz: It is still very active. I expect momentum will pick up. Winter here is extremely cold and frigid. Though that has not stopped people from protesting. Not only are there protests against the racist system that has enabled these police to get away with murder, there are protests against the Line 3 pipeline going on. These oil lines break and poison the water. This also breaks treaty with the Anishinaabe peoples and will cause more climate change.

In a thought-provoking interview with DIY Conspiracy in 2019, you define punk as a Way of Protes and Political Movement. Would you care to elaborate on this approach of yours (which I totally agree with)?

Lutz: There are many different ways to protest. It can be throwing a brick through a window, but it can also be writing, music, art, etc. I think punk has always been a political platform for people that want to express themselves and go against the grain. Punk means questioning the norm, not conforming to the mainstream’s ideals and morals, etc. That in and of itself is a form of protest.

Leffer: Punk has been a political movement since its inception. It’s a form of protest and by raising your voice you want to be heard in a world that doesn’t listen. Punk is a also an educational tool. Personally, I learned more from a punk record at a young age than anything else. You learn about animal rights, free thought and working together for a better world.

What does it mean for you to play this kind of music and to be part of the punk scene?

Leffer: For me, it’s means everything. Punk and the punk community are in my blood and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. I’ve met amazing people, played all over and travled the world all because of our passion for punk. It really is a driving force.

Lutz: Well, for me it’s a way to just let it all out. Scream and yell… get all that noise out of me. Use it as a way to put something out in the world that can inspire someone or change their point of view. Punk has been around for a long time now, some move on, sure, but that doesn’t mean give up the fight. You need to keep that rebellious spirit alive, keep dreaming and keep fighting. Otherwise, you’ve just given in to the system that oppresses so many.

Your last work “Into the Depths”, released a few years ago now, is a great work of riotous and angry crust punk. What can you tell us about that record? What themes did you try to address with that album?

Lutz: Thanks, glad you enjoy it! I guess the overarching theme of the record comes down to a few things like revolution, idealism, and internal conflicts. There’s a lot of songs that tackle the struggles with one’s self and the world’s problems constantly pushing its way into our everyday life. From war and capitalism to the mistreatment of others – treating people like they don’t matter or that they are just expendable machines. Basically, coming down to the fact that people can only take so much before everything boils over. The rich have had their time in the sun and really done nothing to contribute or help others, it’s time for everyone to get a piece of light. Yet you’ll regularly hear Conservatives and the rich talk about ‘trickledown economics’ and that the stock market shows a strong economy, blah, blah, blah… It’s all bullshit. Those are the fairy tales they tell people so they can keep making money while other starve.

Leffer: I feel that album is a reflection of our current world. We’ve written more intricate or mid-tempo songs in the past but this latest album was soley derived from the socio/political environment we’re in and it keeps getting uglier. So as long as it continues, we’ll continue the fight and to create rage and protest through our music.

Under what circumstances did the collaboration and split with Warwound come about?

Leffer: I was working closely with Ian Glasper (bass) of Warwound and through years of communication and friendship, it just sort of happened and both bands agreed on it.

Speaking for a moment of the purely musical side, which have been the bands that have influenced your sound since the beginning?

Leffer: We have diverse range of taste, but I could say a lot comes from a mix of UK crust/stench and old school Scandinavian hardcore punk. We do mix up some metal punk style riffs in our music but all in all we just write what feels good.

Lutz: So many, maybe too many to name. But I’ve been influenced by everything from Sepultura, Disfear to Killing Joke. Obviously growing up here, I was also influenced by bands like Misery and State of Fear. The Twin Cities scene over the years has had a big impact on me.

Minneapolis has a long and important history of protests and riots but also a very fertile hardcore punk scene. What do you think have been the most important bands that have kept this scene alive?

Lutz: Misery for sure, they carried that torch for decades. But I think a lot of great bands have come and gone, all of them contributed to the history of this punk community. I think we’re all antsy to get through this pandemic and hear what everyone has been up to.

Leffer: I agree with Lutz, MISERY definitely but there are so many. Minneapolis punk and those involved in the community around here usually are in it for life. It’s never usually been a trend or a fad but something more important in our lives. It also goes beyond the music, in regards to “bands”. There’s record stores, community action and venues to support others forms of politcal events, etc.

On Disastro Sonoro I have from the beginning shared Profane Existence’s famous motto “make punk a threat again”. Profane Existence is undoubtedly one of the most important historical realities of the Minneapolis hardcore punk scene, what is your relationship with this DIY project/collective/label?

Leffer: Most of the bands we’ve been involved with have been released off PE and have usually been a part of the PE collective through shows and other music related festivities.

Lutz: We’ve been involved in some form with PE for the last few decades. Provoked (our old band) put out some records on the label and the first War//Plague LP was on PE. At one point, the PE distro was in our living room at a punk house we all lived at, affectionately called the Shit Haus. We’re still friends with Dan, though he’s not really involved with PE these days, he still drives us on tour sometimes. Right before the pandemic hit, we played the PE anniversary show out in Pittsburgh at Skull Fest. Really fun time, saw a lot of old friends, met some new ones and Aus Rotten even played a few songs! It’s always cool to run into people you haven’t seen in over 20 years and they’re still involved and active in punk.

How are you experiencing the situation regarding the Covid 19 pandemic in the US? How has your life as a punk band changed at a time of such a severe health crisis?

Leffer: It’s been tough, but we’ve been able to keep somewhat sane through this process. We are constantly writing music, even if we’re not at band practice we write at home and even record guitar riffs on our computer and share them, so when we do meet up (once a week) we already have ideas of what’s next song wise. So the pandemic has actually been good for writing a lot of songs and finishing up our next LP.

The bad side of it, besides the vile and depraved system not taking care of it, is that venues and gigs are suffereing which a lot of artists rely on. It was a crushing blow for us when we had to cancel our tour with AXEGRINDER and to also play HAGL fest in Vancouver. We were really looking foward to touring again, but we’ll need postpone that until things are better. It’s always good to make sure people are safe during these times.

Lutz: Well… to put it bluntly, it sucks! But I know there are people struggling more, so you just have to roll with the punches and do your part to keep the disease at bay. There are a lot of conspiracy theorists in this country, not to mention the former orange-cheeto-wannabedictator, he really didn’t help the situation. For the most part, I think we are just trying to stay positive and active. I mean for the first like 6 months, we didn’t jam at all. We’re back to a regular schedule now, which has been great. We mask up and social distance. I think there is a sense of urgency in the new music we’ve been writing. We’re living through some historic times and I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.

Future projects for War Plague? When will a new album be released?

Lutz: We’re working hard and have a ton of new material. So, I think a new album is definitely in the very near future.

Leffer: Yes, we’re working very hard to get this next album out. We were able to record a secret song for a future international compilation coming out later this year. Besides that, more touring and always more albums!

We have reached the end of the interview, so this space I leave completely to you, feel free to tell anecdotes or talk about anything you want! Thank you again for the time you spent answering my questions! Let’s continue to keep punk a way of protest and a movement of revolt!

Leffer: Yes, stay punk and stay active! Now is more important than ever to use what we have, and if that’s using your voice to scream, then so be it. Everything adds up and the more voices we have the louder we get. Thank you for the chance to have this interview and hope you and everyone else are staying safe in these uncertain times.

Lutz: Thank you for the interview, we really appreciate the support! I guess all I want to say is just keep up the good fight. Times are dark and they’ll probably get darker, but keep your head up, talk to your community, get involved, even if it’s just something small. Like I said, there are many different forms of protest, so do what you can. As much as it seems like the world in coming apart, remember there are tons of other people out there fighting hard to make a change. Depression during Covid is another pandemic I’m sure many are dealing with. Don’t bottle it up. Reach out and talk to people. There are a lot of assholes in the world, but there’s only one you and there’s a community out there willing to help. Cheers!

 

“Dis means war, Noise means friendship!” – Interview with Just a Nightmare Zine

Nightmare o reality? Dis means war! If you need your monthly ration of d-beat raw punk, Just a Nightmare Zine is the one for you, a real d-beat raw punk assault without mercy! This time I had a some long and in-depht chats with Alex (formerly active in Disease), the mastermind behind Just a Nightmare Zine, nothing better than a fanzine totally faithful to Do It Yourself and focused on d-beat and raw punk. In the past few months he has already published ten issues of the fanzine filled with interesting interviews with bands like Giftgasattack, Besthoven, Warvictims, Framtid and many, many more. Long live fanzines, long live Just a Nightmare Zine and let’s not forget that Noise means friendship!

Hi just a Nightmare Zine! I stumbled across your project recently and I must admit I was immediately fascinated by this zine. Can you tell us how, when and why you decided to start writing and printing a fanzine like this?

Hey, thanx for showing interest in this small D.I.Y zine.

Just A Nightmare wasn’t intentional. At one point in 2018, i decided to do a talk with a friend of mine, Per,  but in something like a more formal format like an interview. Although it was just a friendly talk. There was no intention this to be the start of something that’s called Just A Nightmare these days.
That’s why that conversation took 2 years till we are done. We would’ve done few questions, then totally forgot about it, then do few more and again forget about it. There’s a lot of different moods in that issue cause it was done slowly in 2 years time.
This will become the 1st issue of the zine that came out in June 2020 and will include the bands Per have taken part in, Giftgasattack, Warvictims, Martyrdod, Agrimonia, Kirai, Honnor SS etc..

As far as why i started, i’m not really sure, i think i’ve had on mind that every punk bands interviews are just a scratch at the surface. The same questions asked over and over again, kinda qeneric. I do love that as well, but i just wanted to dive a bit deeper and to get a glimpse of peoples lives.
Why  they do what they do, what was their life path, their struggles, the things they love and hate to do, and just their daily life.
So, it was never cause of the Corona, it was just the time to do it.

Why i decided to do it in a physical form and not digital? I’m also not sure.
Maybe as most of the things i do in life, if i can chose the easier or harder way, i’m always a fuckup and go with the harder one and put myself into more shit ha!

The name you chose immediately gave me the impression that it was meant to be a sort of homage to Disclose, but maybe I’m wrong. Can you tell us about the choice of the name of your zine?

Disclose and Kawakami are without a doubt an endless inspiration for me, no matter if it’s zine or some other project. The name came out spontanious as everything else in the beggining of this zine. I think its a nice reflective vision of the content that’s inside of it.

From what I could read and understand you define Just a Nightmare as a fanzine dedicated to d-beat/Raw punk in all its forms and incarnations. How come the choice to dedicate and focus on this specific genre of punk music? What were your first approaches with this genre?

When i was a kid the internet was not a thing back then, and in a thrid world countries it came even later then in the most of the rest of the world.
So when i was around 9 years old a heard Nirvana from a friend of mine older sister.
One day i went to a CD store with my dad and saw a Nirvana CD at the shell, i don’t know why i decided to buy it.
And thats how it started, the story with the music. After that, i kept searching for more and new ‘extreme’ music. I discovered bands like Exploited, Dead Kennedys, Disorder, Chaos Uk. As well as bands like Ramones and Clash, but i never liked them, although all the local punks were crazy bout em.
One day, one of my older punk friends called Savo gave me a Discharge tape. I can say that this was my first real encounter ever with D-beat. Then i bought the Final Blood Bath CD from a local record  strore. After that, the descovery of new dbeat badns just continued and i got more and more into it.
So i think this is the answer as well for  why the dedication of the zine for raw punk.

In the last years there seems to be a sort of fashion/revival of raw punk/d-beat around the world and often you end up getting lost among the many releases that crowd the scene. Which are your opinions about this explosion of bands dedicated to play “raw punk”? What do you think are the best recent bands playing d-beat?

D-beart raw punk was never a trend and will never be. Occasionaly there’s a wave of new bands every now and then which i think it’s great.The more bands the better no?  Time will prove which bands will last and leave a mark.
I think it’s really good when there are new bands making new noise.
I just don’t like when some make it out of joke and boredom and it’s not serious. Which can be noticed in their music most of the time. I do respect dedication and being sensire in what you do. Todays world gives opportunities for everyone to make their own part. So sometimes punk is made by people that are not punks and do not live it.
The more recent bands i like, some that comes on my mind right now are –  Physique, Zodiak, Hellish View, Kritik, Temor, Löckheed, Affect, Progress, GLÜ, Anti-Metafor, Detesto, Collapsed from Indonesia,  Burning//World, Better Reality, the one man project Forclose is great, End Result, PissSniffers,just to mention a few, i am also looking forward for a debut release of the Japanese ‘No’, and of course-the amazing Heavy fucking Nukes with Earth Crust Displacement!

You’ve already published ten issues of Just a Nightmare full of interviews with a lot of extremely good bands, how do you choose the bands to interview?

Yes, i decided to make it as a monthly zine. Since most of the zines comes out on every few months, why not to do something that will come out every 1st day of the month.
I wasn’t sure if that’s possible but time proved it is.
The goal that i made to myself as a challenge was to do 10 issues. So, that mission now is complete.
I do interviews with people/bands that i love. Everyone that i have done interview with have played in more then 1 band. So the zine covers every band that the person has been involeved with.

What aspects do you prefer to dwell on when you find yourself interviewing bands? Do you prefer to deal with more political issues or with more personal issues related to the more musical side?

I consider it all. Although the main aspect is the persons life i do the interview with . Since the kid days to very present today. So yeah, all aspects are involved, more or less, depend on that persons life. Obviously since we cover every band that the persons has been part in, music aspect in the zine is mostly covered.

What band do you dream of interviewing and publishing on Just a Nightmare? And why?

The one bend and person that i will never be able to do an interview with and i love to, is of course Kawakami and Disclose.

If you had to choose your favorite issue of the zine from those published to date, which one would you choose and why? And which interview are you most proud of?

Every issue is special cause every person that i have talked to is different. All of these people are different in their own unique way. No life story can be a bad or borring, quite opposite, they are all very interesting and challenging for me to do. That’s why i do it.
I don’t want to look at this zine in a way of achievement, cause for the people that have taken part in it is very personal. I just wanna look at it as a sensire punk work, those people have influenced me in one way or another.
I am just the one asking the questions. It’s the people that do the zine. It’s their story. I just put it on paper.
And they all have one thing in common and that’s punk. They are all true raw punk warriors!

When you decided to start writing and publishing the fanzine, were you inspired by any other punk fanzines in particular?

I was inspired to do this in a physical zine format cause that is the thing that i can most connect with. Punk has always had a connection and sharing through the zines.
But what really inspired me to do this in the very essence and the core of its meaning was the peoples life stories.

What does it mean for Just a Nightmare Zine to be part of the global hardcore punk scene? What does punk mean to you?

I would like to think that when I do something I love, I really put dedication and focus in it, and im really  glad that the small cyrcle of punks that know this zine, like it.  This zine is not a big one, it’s pretty much isolated and small.
But considering the content in it, maybe that’s just the way it should be. As the years go by, people has been changing and life gets different. Generations grow old and new younger ones come. It is the cycle. Everyone have their own opinion on what punk is for themselves. Some are here to stay, other just come and go.
Punk is sacred, it has always been and will always be. That’s the way I want to perceive it.
It’s the way I live, the things I do and why and how I do them, it’s freedom and understanding. It’s friendship, sharing, caring and unity.

What are the biggest challenges and greatest satisfactions you’re encountering in keeping alive a project that is certainly as challenging as Just a Nightmare Zine?

The possitive exciting challenge is to catch and do every issue on time ha!
I do understand that the talk we do in the interview is very personal, so i’m serious when we talk about delicate subjects or periods in these peoples lifes. The bad challenge is to cover expences the for printing it, post mail these days is fucked up even more then usual cause of Covid, but it’s not a reason to stop till i can meet end to end.

 

Point-blank question: what are your five favorite punk/hardcore records of all time? And what bands are currently out there that you think are really good?

For this talk that we have now these are the top 5 records:
Disclose-Nightmare Or Reality/A Mass of raw sound assault/Neverending war/Once the war started
Framtid-Under the ashes
Disaster-War Cry
Discharge-HNSNSN.
No Fucker-Conquer the innocent.
Decontron S/TWait!? Is that already more then 5?!
Some bands that are great and i haven’t mentioned already, D-Sagawa, Dispose & Kajsajuntti, Disable, Absolut, Svaveldioxid, Ambush, Besthoven, Contrast Attitude, Cønditiøn, Singe & Tortur, B.E.T.O.E, Avslag, Hellish Inferno, Bipolar from Greenland(the only punk band from that country that i know off), Final Slum War.

If I understand correctly, Just a Nightmare Zine is a project intimately tied to the raw punk/d-beat band Disease. Can you tell us about what the Macedonian hardcore/punk scene is like?

Yes, you got it correct, I also take part in a band called Disease, and all of the members together with the vocalist of Born for slaughter are also the ones behind the band Angza.
Marce the drummer, also plays in Arlekin, and he and the vocalist Fixa both take part in Stagnator.
Spagi takes part in Transhunter and Goli Deca.

The punk scene in Macedonia at the moment is very small. No punk bands around. But at different points in time the scene was better or worse, so I guess these last few years we are in the worse period. Or the worst ha!
There’s been some really good punk bands in the past like New Police State, Tank Warning Net, Bloody George, FxPxOx, Disclass.
Today is different, there are separations between the crews which devided the scene even more, caused by some specific people.
But it is what it is.
I keep myself focused on the things we do, trying not put too much thoughts on the bad things in the local scene.

We have come to the end of the interview, this space is completely free and you can use it to write anything you think is valid.Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. Long live Just a Nightmare Zine, make punk a threat again!

Thank you too Stefano for taking your time to do this.
Life is sometimes better sometimes worse, at the moment these are some fucked up times that we go through and none really know when or will this will end.
Take care for each other and stary safe.
Noise is friendship!
Stay Punk!

Disease, the d-beat raw punk band in which Alex plays!

 

 

Avamposti prima dell’ignoto

Ennesima notte di coprifuoco, ormai ho perso il conto di giorni che si somigliano tutti, come un lento cammino verso il patibolo. Il quartiere è deserto. Non che in tempi di “normalità e quiete” sia poi molto diverso. Ma più i giorni passano più questo silenzio spettrale si fa assordante, come fosse un vortice di voci che parlano un milione di lingue sconosciute. Nell’aria c’è qualcosa di angosciante ma stranamente confortevole, forse un sapore di sconfitta a cui sono già abituato. Siedo su un marciapiede freddo ad osservare la notte, riesco a sentire i miei mostri ancora intorpiditi che si risvegliano. Mi parlano, ma hanno ancora paura a mostrarsi completamente, a mettersi a nudo in mia presenza. Chissà dove si celano quando chiudo gli occhi, chissà in quali meandri della mia testa si coricano per riposare e darmi tregua. Eppure sono solo qui ora, fatevi avanti, nessuno vi potrà fare del male adesso. Mostratemi i vostri volti insofferenti, non dovete avere paura di me, forse in fondo sono anche io un mostro. 

Mi sento come se fossi l’ultimo uomo in questo fottuto paese di provincia uguale identico a mille altri paesi di provincia che prendono le sembianze di avamposti di frontiera prima dell’ignoto abitato da fameliche creature selvagge senza nomi. C’è ancora un ignoto da esplorare? Ci sono ancora creature libere e selvagge sconosciute ai nostri occhi mortali? Divago… Abbandonato senza nessuna casa a cui fare ritorno, senza nessuna meta da raggiungere, solo abissi in cui tuffarsi e annegare, solo incubi da interrogare ma che non hanno più risposte da darmi. Mostri fatemi compagnia in questa notte solitaria, la mia carne fresca è pronta per accogliervi e farvi banchettare senza opporre alcuna resistenza. Vi tendo la mano in segno di resa.

Ho appena intravisto una pattuglia all’angolo della strada, credo abbia finto di non vedermi, oppure questa tenue nebbia e la fedele oscurità che mi nasconde sono state abbastanza complici in questa fredda notte di marzo da evitarmi un incontro ravvicinato non gradito con questi cani da guardia di un mondo in cui anche le macerie son divenute merce. Il tempo scorre sempre più lento al punto che sembrerebbe non scorrere affatto. Nell’aria un vago quanto acre sapore di malinconia, mentre le mie mani tradiscono una paura a cui non sono mai stato in grado di dare un nome. Mi avvio verso le solite strade deserte in cui spero inutilmente di perdermi per sempre, a rincorrere ombre cangianti che percorrono sentieri che conoscono a memoria, con una domanda che mi rimbomba nella testa senza darmi tregua: <<Quante volte può uccidersi un uomo prima di non provare più alcun dolore?>>.

 

Ascolti che hanno accompagnato la genesi di questi pensieri e dunque consigliati per accompagnare la lettura:

Altar of Eden – Chimeras

Poison Ruïn – S/t

Zero Again – Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity (2021)

Sarà il nome che evoca in maniera ingombrante e volutamente mal celata lo spettro dei miei amatissimi Rudimentary Peni, ma devo ammettere che gli Zero Again hanno esercitato un certo fascino su di me fin dal primo momento in cui mi sono imbattuto in questo Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity, seppur non avessi la minima idea di quali potessero essere le sonorità in cui mi sarei imbattuto. Cerchiamo però di andare con ordine, partendo da inutili note biografiche. Gli Zero Again vengono da Bristol e tra le loro fila troviamo gente già attiva in altre band come Warwound, Grand Collapse e Regret. Passando al lato musicale, l’hardcore punk proposto dagli Zero Again è estremamente ricco di sfumature e influenze e le cinque tracce che ci vengono date in pasto senza scrupoli vivono di un’alternanza costante tra momenti furiosi e veloci e altri più lenti e cadenzati capaci di evocare sensazioni e atmosfere dominate da paranoia, impotenza e desolazione. Anzitutto lo spettro degli immortali Rudimentary Peni emerge non solo nella scelta del nome ma soprattutto nelle linee del basso (e più in generale in quasi tutta la sezione ritmica) che mi hanno riportato alla memoria in più momenti dischi del calibro di Archaic o Cacophony. Proseguendo nella vivisezione di questo breve quanto affascinante Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity, ci imbattiamo presto in una serie di  rallentamenti che contribuiscono a creare quell’atmosfera apocalittica in cui desolazione, smarrimento e impotenza la fanno da padroni assoluti, così come nelle vocals dense di sofferenza e lamento che si insinuano nelle nostre teste fin dall’iniziale Tragedy.Death.Pain; la combinazione di questi due elementi riesce ad evocare in maniera sincera le primitive sonorità (post)hardcore dei Neurosis di lavori seminali ma ancora acerbi come Pain of Mind così come le atmosfere che chiamano in causa, anche se alla lontana, addirittura il fondamentale Souls at Zero.

Inoltre, se in certi momenti il sound degli Zero Again presenta alcune melodie (No One to Mourn) e accenni di riff che sembrano voler manifestare apertamente una sorta di riconoscimento nei confronti del post punk dei maestri Killing Joke o delle visioni apocalittiche di certi Amebix, in altri passaggi caratterizzati da toni più aggressivi e tirati si possono sentire perfino echi dell’hardcore dalle tonalità scure suonato da certi Tragedy. Come se non bastasse tutto questo spettro di influenze, ispirazioni e sonorità che convivono nelle cinque tracce di questa prima fatica in studio targata Zero Again, non manca nemmeno quel sapore tipico di certo anarcho-crust britannico che accompagna una traccia come la conclusiva Hope You’re Proud? e che in fin dei contri attraversa, in maniera latente, tutto il disco. Aspettando di poter ascoltare il nuovo Revert to Nothing, altro ep di cinque tracce che il gruppo di Bristol ha già annunciato uscirà a breve, godiamoci l’aggressività e la furia annichilente che ci travolgono senza pietà durante l’ascolto di Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity, lasciandoci stesi al suolo, impotenti e inermi come la figura rappresentata sulla copertina.

Feastem – Graveyard Earth (2020)

Dagli anni 90 ad oggi la Finlandia è stata la culla di tanta musica estrema che ancora oggi fa parte dei miei ascolti e di tanti gruppi che hanno contribuito a  formare i miei gusti musicali. Da una parte il death metal col suo sound iconico, opprimento e oscuro, di band assurde come Convulse, Rippikoulu, Demilich, Sentenced (da cui ho preso il titolo di una rubrica presente su queste pagine), dall’altra certe band black metal di ieri e di oggi come i maestri infernali Beherit e i selvaggi quanto pagani Havukruunu. Ma oggi non si parlerà di tutto ciò, perchè la nostra attenzione sarà posta su Graveyard Earth, ultimo brutale disco pubblicato in casa Feastem, un vero fulmine a ciel sereno totalmente inaspettato visto che l’ultima fatica del gruppo finlandese era datata 2015! Con Graveyard Earth siamo infatti nei territori del grindcore più devastante e furioso, un grindcore feroce e spietato che affonda le proprie radici nella tradizione scandinava del genere, risentendo profondamente delle influenze dei Nasum e dei connazionali Rotten Sound, ma sempre con una buona dose di personalità e intensità che fa emergere il marchio di fabbrica proprio dei Feastem. Quindici schegge di grindcore impazzite e tritaossa che non recidono mai del tutto il cordone ombelicale che le lega all’hardcore punk vecchia scuola, soprattutto nell’attitudine riottosa, nello spessore lirico e nelle tematiche trattate; un sound quello proposto dai Feastem che al contempo non disdegna incursioni razziatrici in territori tipici di certo black metal, saccheggiando atmosfere oscure e glaciali (Spreading Darkness) e riffing (Terror Balance) che potrebbero riportare  alla mente il sound del metallo nero scandinavo, tanto di tradizione finlandese quanto svedese. Tracce come I Will Never Kill, Varta Ja Lihaa, In Isolation We Die o Mouth of Others spazzano via ogni dubbio sull’intensità, la brutalità e la furia devastatrice che porta con sè il grindcore dei nostri finlandesi, un sound robusto che sintetizza al meglio la seminale lezione della vecchia scuola del genere e le pulsioni più moderne. Il grindcore senza compromessi suonato dai Feastem in queste quindici tracce impazzite e brutali appare implacabile nella sua cieca ferocia distruttrice e avanza senza lasciarsi alcuna possibilità di salvezza e senza risparmiare niente e nessuno!

Graveyard Earth dei Feastem rientra senza ombra di dubbio nei miei dischi preferiti del 2020 e finalmente son riuscito a trovare il tempo per parlarvene. Una gran bella lezione di grindcore senza pietà ne compromessi, moderno, intenso e assolutamente devastante! Born to be Grind!