Tag Archives: Crust Punk

Køntraü – Un Mondo Diverso da Questo (2021)

Nella mia testa sogno un mondo diverso da questo e ne porto i segni sulla pelle.
Giorni neri nella mia testa, che si rincorrono senza fine, senza darmi tregua, lasciandomi inerme e impotente a guardare un futuro che non esiste più. E che per questo fa ancora più paura. Giorni neri con l’acqua alla gola e attorno a me dilaga impetuosa una sensazione di abbandono e sconfitta. Stringimi forte, sussurrami all’orecchio che possiamo ancora essere l’offensiva contro questa città di merda che ci soffoca, ci inghiotte e poi ci vomita senza alcuna pietà. Guarda fuori dalla finestra, sembra stia iniziando a piovere mentre, all’orizzonte, vedo il riflesso di Milano che ricomincia a bruciare nelle vetrine dei negozi di lusso. Non c’è più alcun posto per me in questa metropoli paranoica. Un mondo diverso da questo è quindi possibile?  Occupiamo queste strade con i nostri incubi di sopravvivenza. 

Milano brucia in una notte di settembre.

Punx-volpini, questa estate da qualche parte a Milano.

Nati nella saletta di T28 e da qualche anno attivi con varie apparizioni live nei vari squat e centri sociali milanesi e non solo, finalmente i Kontrau sono riusciti a dare alla luce il loro album di debutto accompagnato da un titolo che sembra una vera e propria dichiarazione di intenti da parte dei nostri: Un Mondo Diverso da Questo. Anche il nome scelto dalla band, che in esperanto significa “contro”, lascia presagire l’istinto bellicoso e l’attitudine rivoltosa dei nostri. Annoverando tra le loro fila gentaglia bellissima già attiva in altre band come Mesecina, Peep, Failure, nonchè volti noti della scena hardcore milanese, i nostri punx-volpini ci danno in pasto diciotto minuti in cui d-beat/crust punk e sonorità death metal vecchia scuola si mescolano in una ricetta convincente, brutale e che non lascia un attimo di tregua. Se musicalmente non stupisce l’intensità e la solidità della proposta dei Kontrau, tratto che si poteva notare già dai loro concerti (basti pensare a quelli di questa estate a Milano o in Scintilla a Modena), quello che maggiormente ho apprezzato durante l’ascolto delle undici tracce è senza ombra di dubbio il lato lirico. E’ infatti dai testi che emerge un continuum di tensioni e sensazioni che richiamano alla mente l’hardcore punk italiano degli anni ’80 e specialmente l’attitudine e il liricismo di band come Wretched o Declino. Testi che trasudano tutto il malessere, il senso di impotenza e di alienazione prodotti dal vivere in una metropoli come Milano e la necessità intima di rivoltarsi contro di essa e contro un mondo votato al profitto, al consumo e alla merce, allo sfruttamento di ogni forma di vita, alla distruzione del pianete e alla repressione di ogni forma di dissenso. Testi in cui emerge prepotente la tensione a trasformare l’apatia e il nichilismo in azioni per minare l’esistente capitalista, risvegliarsi dal torpore imposto dal quieto vivere e dalla pacificazione sociale, attaccare a viso aperto la repressione che minaccia le nostre vite, al fine di riuscire a costruire una vita radicalmente diversa, quel “mondo diverso da questo” evocato dal titolo dell’album.

Per quanto riguarda la musica, i Kontrau riescono perfettamente nel loro intento di condensare la loro passione per il d-beat/crust più classico di scuola svedese (l’iniziale Giorni Neri per esempio) e quella per le sonorità primordiali di certo death metal (Segni sulla Pelle, Con l’Acqua alla Gola), regalandoci così un sound che non mostra segni di cedimento e che si dimostra impetuoso, brutale e spietato nel suo incedere, incurante di ciò che si trova dinanzi così come delle macerie che si lascia alle spalle. Ultima nota che ci tengo a sottolineare è la prestazione dietro al microfono del buon Filippo, una voce abrasiva e rabbiosa perfetta per il genere e che risulta convincente e ispirata in tutte le tracce. Per concludere, i Kontrau hanno dato prova di essere devastanti sia dal vivo che in studio, quindi l’unico consiglio che mi sento di darvi è quello di correre ad ascoltare Un Mondo Diverso da Questo senza perdere tempo perchè erano anni che non veniva pubblicato (seppur al momento solo in versione digitale, purtroppo) un disco crust punk così valido, intenso e brutale all’interno della scena italiana! Bravi Kontrau, bravi punx-volpini!

E’ una notte oscura e piovosa nella metropoli, qualcuno fissa il proprio smartphone, qualcuno non riesce a dormire, qualcuno sta scappando dagli sbirri e 5 volpini corrono lungo le strade…

Rigorous Institution – Survival/Despotism (2020)

I Rigorous Institution sembrano provenire direttamente da qualche umido squat di Bristol o di Norwich della prima metà degli anni 80, quando il crust come lo conosciamo oggi non esisteva ancora ma si respiravano solamente i fumi nauseabondi del suo antenato, quel marciulento brodo primordiale conosciuto come stenchcore. Si ma sia chiaro a tuttx, il sound dei Rigorous Institution non ha niente a che vedere con quel metallic-crust che andava tanto di moda nell’underground nella prima metà degli anni duemila e nei primi anni ’10, bensì riesce a rievocare perfettamente quel calderone di influenze che sembra provenire da un’epoca in cui Discharge e Hellhammer, Amebix e Celtic Frost, avevano molte più cose in comune di quanto oggi si potrebbe pensare. A differenza dei precedenti Ep “The Coming of the Terror” o “Penitent“, con questo Survival/Despotism, i nostri punx di Portland si spostano in maniera ancora più netta verso territori e sonorità di amebixiana memoria, in cui atmosfere post-punk enfatizzate dall’utilizzo del synth e ritmi tribali che chiamano in causa la sezione ritmica dei Killing Joke, rivestono un ruolo centrale e riescono a dipingere paesaggi dai toni post-apocalittici, dominati dallo sconforto e dall’impotenza. Stando a quanto scrivono sulla loro pagina bandcamp, i Rigorous Institution definiscono il loro sound con termini come “synth crust” o con la ben più fantasiosa etichetta di “descendant angel-crust“, ma in fin dei conti poco importa come lo si voglia chiamare, perché quello in cui ci imbatteremo durante l’ascolto di questo ep non è altro che la versione più embrionale e primordiale del crust punk da cui tutto ha preso poi la forma che consociamo noi oggi. Musicalmente le due tracce che compongono questo Survival/Despotism riescono dunque a sintetizzare in maniera estremamente convincente e ispirata sonorità che spaziano dagli Amebix di Winter/Beginning of the End agli Hellhammer di Apocalyptic Raids, accompagnando questa primitiva versione del crust punk di scuola britannica con un’atmosfera fortemente oscura che ha il compito di evocare nelle nostre menti scenari apocalittici e desolati, da cui veniamo sopraffatti in preda allo smarrimento e alla disillusione. Se vi mancano quelle sonorità e quelle atmosfere che solamente i primordiali gruppi stench-crust britannici sapevano creare e trasmettere, questo Survival/Despotism è un lavoro che non dovete assolutamente farvi scappare!

 

“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!

 

 

“Are We Not a Plague On Our Own?” – Interview with Plague Thirteen

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of asking a few questions to Plague Thirteen, authors of one of the most intense, dark and devastating crust/d-beat records I’ve heard in the last year. A record that I reviewed a month ago on these pages defining it “the perfect soundtrack of the pandemic nightmare“. An interview in which, talking about climate change, pollution, war and environmental devastation, Plague Thirteen ask us two fundamental questions, perhaps rhetorical but extremely relevant: are we not a plague on our own? Are we doomed?

HOW AND WHEN DID PLAGUE THIRTEEN FORM? WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR NAME FROM?

We formed the band around 2019, myself and Geoffrey played in another band called LINK, unfortunately we split up after more than 20 years of playing due to various reasons, we had already the idea to start a new band and it was the right time to do so, Bjorn and Arthur completed the lineup, Bjorn used to be a former member of LINK a few years back, and he and Arthur were playing in a band called SORE who split up as well , we locked ourselves up in the rehearsal room and the result is PLAGUE THIRTEEN

The name PLAGUE THIRTEEN has different meanings, who are we as individuals? Who are we to judge one another? Are we humans so superior in our kinds that due to our selfishness we ignore what is happening to our lovely planet and environment? War, poverty the hate wave that’s spreading, are we not a plague on our own?

YOU RELEASED YOUR FIRST RECORD DURING THE SECOND AUTUMN LOCKDOWN, SO UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES AND EMOTIONS DID YOUR FIRST ALBUM COME ABOUT?

The recordings of the album already took place before the whole covid  situation, we first brought it out on a cd version as we went on a small tour at the end of 2019, we wanted to bring it out on vinyl and our good and long time friend Nico from Loner cult records was willing to help us out with it together with deviance records, phobia records,shove records and up the punks records.

The songs of that album are packed with emotions and struggles we all faced during a certain period. the split of the bands , the losses we encounterd , for me personal , it  was a hard and emotional period that i have  been in for a while and this translated in writing the music together with the rest of the band.

WHAT THEMES DO THE TEXTS OF YOUR SONGS DEAL WITH? ARE YOUR SONGS MORE POLITICAL OR PERSONAL?

We are not an outspoken band who writes political songs, most of the songs deal with the everyday struggle we have in this life we are living, some personal and some have a political touch in them, and we try to put as much of our emotions in them, bring them with no compromise, say what you mean, mean what you say…..

WHAT SONG IN THE ALBUM ARE YOU MOST ATTACCHED TO?

There are a few songs that i am attached to musicaly and lyricely.

EYES WIDE OPEN  is one of them, the song talks about how we stand in this society , controlled by our goverment , no matter what you do or not , we are being watched 24/7. Or MOURN who talks about loosing your loved ones , when this song was writing , we lost a very close family member at a young age

WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE BELGIAN HARDCORE/PUNK AND DIY SCENE? ARE THERE ANY SQUAT THAT YOU ARE ATTACHED TO?

There is a big scene in Belgium and a lot of new bands are rising from the ground up, bands like HETZE, SILENCE MEANS DEATH, GAGGED, RAW PEACE FRUSTRERAD, ARROGANT….and many more, from the region we are from there is also a big hardcore scene called the H8000 scene, too bad that there has always been a gap between different scene’s here in Belgium, but it is what it is, few active squats here.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE POLITICAL DIMENSION OF HARDCORE PUNK FOR YOU?

It is very important, punk means revolt , if you are angry about something, speak your mind out  don’t just stand there and act like you are a victim of society, it is easy to claim yourself a punk or hc kid ,rebelling from behind your computer screen, go out on the streets, get involved in a good cause.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR PLAGUE THIRTEEN TO PLAY CRUST/D-BEAT AND BE PART OF THE HARDCORE SCENE?

It means a whole lot to me, it has been a part of my life for more than 30 years, it is a network of friends, a world within the world we are living, I can’t express myself enough how great it has been to visit all the nice places we were able to go and play all around Europe, see how people live, sharing stages with great bands, people inviting you to their homes, made delicious food, give us a place to sleep.

MUSICALLY YOU SOUND VERY SIMILAR TO CERTAIN MODERN CRUST PUNK BANDS OF THE EARLY 2000s. WHICH BANDS HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC?

Our main influences are bands like HIS HERO IS GONE, TRAGEDY, FROM ASHES RISE, NEUROSIS…. but also older stuff like NAUSEA, CELTIC FROST, GRIEF,DISCHARGE,MOTORHEAD,….

THE HEALT SITUATION IS NOT STILL STABLE, SO I KNOW IT’S NOT EASY TO TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE. BUT WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR PLAGUE THIRTEEN IN THE NEXT MONTH? 

We are currently working on writing a new album, and hoping this pandemic will be over soon as we did not play any live gigs for more than a year now, as soon as this blows over we are going to tour Europe again and play as many gigs as possible.

THE COVER OF THE YOUR FIRST S/T ALBUM IS VERY SUGGESTIVE. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF CHOOSING THAT PARTICULAR ARTWORK? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CONVEY WITH THAT IMAGE?

It represents what mother nature gives us and sometimes we need to stand still and look at its beauty, but it is also a reminder of what we can lose if we keep exploiting this earth , how long can we live this life, this rat race ? Pollution, climate change…..are we doomed ?

CONCLUDE THIS INTERVIEW AS YOU SEE FIT.  THANK YOU AGAIN FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER NY QUESTIONS AND I HOPE TO BE ABLE TO ORGANISE YOU CONCERTS IN ITALY SOON!

First of all, thank you so much for this interview and giving us the opportunity to present ourselves

We hope to share the stage again very soon!

Stay safe and take care of each other

“Making Punk a Threat Again” – Interview with Misantropic

In the past few days I had the chance to send some questions to Misantropic, authors of the wonderful Catharsis, one of the best crust-core records of 2020 and without a doubt one of the best listened in recent years. Matte and Gerda answered my questions about the hardcore scene, punk as a threat, feminism, revolution in Rojava and much more and I want to thank them again with all my heart. No retrat, no surrender, making punk a threat again!

 

LET’S START WITH THE OBVIOUS QUESTIONS. CAN YOU GIVE US SOME BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ON THE BAND? HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE NAME “MISANTROPIC”?

We started playing around 12 years ago, with a slightly different lineup. The members basically came from three local bands: LESRA, HELLMASKER and PERSONKRETS 3:1, and we had an idea to play bit darker and more stench/death influenced stuff than we had done in our previous groups. After the first EP (the split EP with DEATHRACE) vocalist Johannes left the band and Gerda took the mic. We also changed our sound a bit at that time I guess, writing a bit faster and thrashier stuff. “Insomnia” was released in 2011 and a split LP with EATEN RAW was released in 2014. In 2020 we released a one-sided flexi 7” and a LP/tape called “Catharsis”. About the band name… well, I honestly don’t remember. But it is miss-spelled on purpose. There are too many metal bands around called “Misanthropic”.

A FEW MONTHS AGO YOU FINALLY RELEASED YOUR NEW ALBUM ENTITLED “CATHARSIS”. UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WAS THE RECORD BORN? DOES THE TITLE HAVE ANY PRECISE MEANING FOR THE HISTORY OF THE BAND?

Yes. “Catharsis” can be translated to “purification”, “cleansing” or “clarification” and the title track kind of sums up the past few years for us a band. Health issues, and life in general, made it pretty much uphill for us as a collective for some time. But things turned around and we were able to get our shit back together. The result is this album. It took us a long time to record, and I guess “Catharsis” is a bit more metal and experimental than the previous releases, but it still sounds like Misantropic. The album has gotten positive feedback, but its still a bit sad that it was released during this epidemic since it means we cant play any shows. Fucking bummer.

IN MY OPINION YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST BANDS IN THE SWEDISH MODERN HARDCORE/CRUST SCENE. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS SCENE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MISANTROPIC TO BE PART OF IT?

Thank you! Well, Sweden has a small population and I guess most bands know each other in one way or another. Many of the “classic” Swedish bands keep doing their thing, but there are also lots of new bands coming out of Sweden these past few years’ worth checking out. REMISO, SOCIALSTYRELSEN, SKROT, ZYFILIS, WARCHILD, GEFYR, ETT DÖDENS MASKINERI and ANTI METAFOR to name a few.

But there is a pretty big difference between northern and southern Sweden. We live in the north, and our scene is a bit cut off from the rest of the country. Only about 10% of the Swedish population lives in this northern half. The vast majority of swedes lives in the southern part, which makes us northeners a bit isolated. If we want to play in “proper” Sweden there is usually a 10 hour car ride to that first gig hahaha. Not many foreign bands tour here so it is a bit boring sometimes. But our local scene in Umeå is great, at least before covid 19 came, and I would say it is pretty much the same amount of people attending a hardcore punk gig in Umeå as it is in the bigger cities down south.

MY POLITICAL POSITION ABOUT HARDCORE MUSIC CAN BE SUMMARISED AS “MAKING PUNK A THREAT AGAIN”. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT? WHAT DO PUNK AND HARDCORE MUSIC MEAN TO YOU? WHAT MESSAGES DO YOU WANT TO CONVEY WITH YOUR MUSIC?

Ah, yeah I totally share that Profane Existence-motto. Misantropic is a political band and all our lyrics is about politics in one way or another; anti sexism, anti fascism, anti capitalism, animal rights issues, environmental issues… stuff like that. I think it’s a bit lame to see that so many punk/hardcore bands these days have stopped talking about politics on stage. It’s just “Ok thanks, here´s another song from our new album” and that’s it. If you have a mic, you should use it to speak up. You don’t have to go full on CRASS, but at least say SOMETHING.

DO YOU CALL YOUSELVES A POLITICALLY ANARCHIST BAND? IF YES, WHY AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN ANARCHY FOR YOU?

No. I would say that politically we all identify ourselves as “leftists” but we don’t always agree on everything all the time. There can be political arguments within the bad as well. And that’s a good thing, because it means that we are not a sect. I have spent a lot of time in the anarchist/activist environment while others in the band have other backgrounds (trade unions, solidarity groups, ABC etc). Erik is working his ass off as a local union representative for example, while I put my time on stuff like international campaigns, demos etc. Different methods, common goal I guess.

Anarchism to me is basically about freedom, in all aspects of life. When I was a kid I started reading stuff from AFA and The Swedish Anarcho-Syndicalist Youth Federation, which got me into reading more about anarchism. In my late teens I got involved in the syndicalist trade union SAC. 20+ years later, I am still trying to figure out exactly what anarchism actually means hahaha. But I guess Goldman said it in a good way: “Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion, and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals”.

 

IN A TRACK LIKE “DEATH CULT” YOU TALK ABOUT THE ROJAVA REVOLUTION. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON DEMOCRATIC CONFEDERALISM AND THE FEMINIST AND ECOLOGICAL PROCESSESS THAT PERMEATE THIS REVOLUTION?

Sure, I try to read up on jineology and Öcalan’s philosophy of democratic confederalism but to be honest our support for YPJ/YPG is pretty much based on what we see on the news and read in the press: brave men and women unleashing hell on patriarchy and religious tyranny. And that’s good enough for us.

RELATED TO THE PREVIOUS QUESTION, WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PUNKS FOR ROJAVA PROJECT AND WITH BANDS LIKE ADRESTIA AND MARTYRDÖD ACTIVE IN THIS PROJECT?

Punks For Rojava is a network consisting of people from the punk community worldwide, and I guess that makes us a part of this network as well since we have made a few solidarity releases for Rojava (like the digital version of the Death Cult single for example). But we don’t really know the people behind the network. We bump into members in Martyrdöd from time to time I guess, and Adrestia is a great band but I don’t think we have met or played together….

HOW IMPORTANT TO YOUR VISION OF PUNK AND HARDCORE MUSIC ARE SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT FOR PROTEST MOVEMENTS LIKE BLM, INSURRECTIONARY MOMENTS AND RIOTS CARRIED OUT BY OPPRESSED SUBJECTIVITIES AND COMMUNITIES AROUND THE WORLD?

Hm, Im not sure I understand the question. Yes, we support many protest movements and insurrectionary movements but in the end it comes down to the actual political goal. The Trumpists in the US probably called their storming of the Capitolium a “revolutionary protest” as well, you know? Personally, I think the situation in Russia and Belarus is something worth following and showing support with right now. Same goes for the women fighting for their abortion in Poland.

ANOTHER TRACK THAT I REALLY ENJOYED IS DEFINITELY “ARM YOUR DAUGHTERS”, WHICH IN MY REVIEW I DEFINED “A STICK OF FEMINIST RAGE”. WOUKD YOU LIKE TO ELABORATE ON THE FEMINIST THEME ADRESSED IN THIS SONG? HOW DO YOU THINK PATRIARCHAL, MACHISMO AND GENERAL RAPE CULTURE DYNAMICS CAN BE ADRESSED AND FOUGHT, OUTSIDE AND INSIDE THE PUNK SCENE?

“Arm your daughters” is written by Gerda so she should answer this. Here is her reply:

I wrote this song a long time ago and as I recall it, I wrote it in rage after reading in the news about another murder of an innocent woman. Unfortunately, I have no real answer on what needs to be done to stop men’s violence on women, children and LGBTQI people. Many processes around gender equality moves forward so damn slow; time and time again, new research shows how men (also young men!) see feminism and women’s rights as less and less important. Sometimes you just want revenge, and if we who are oppressed by the patriarchy would start arming ourselves as a last resort to avoid being murdered and raped, I´m all in! That’s pretty much what to song is about.

WHAT DOES “NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER” MEAN TO YOU? THESE WORDS SEEM TO PERFECTLY REPRESENT THE ATTITUDE OF MISANTROPIC TO MY EYES.

Well, that’s the chorus of the track with the same title. The song is about war mongers sending people off to die in meaningless wars, so it´s not about us as a band. But sure, why not? Never give up.

PUNK IS NOT JUST MUSIC AND I THINK WE AGREE ON THAT. BUT AT THIS POINT OF THE INTERVIEW I HAVE TO ASK YOU ONE QUESTION. WHICH ARE THE BANDS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR SOUND?

We all have pretty different backgrounds musically. Some of us come from the hardcore/punk scene and some of us come from the metal scene, so this is a really hard question for me to answer. But there are a few bands that I guess we all can agree on, like ANTICIMEX, TRAGEDY, CONSUME, BOLT THROWER, SLAYER, HELLSHOCK, SEPULTURA, METALLICA, ENTOMBED… Everyone contributes with their thing, so its hard to name a specific band.

Personally, I´m a sucker for old UK crust and anarcho punk and I guess bands like ANTISECT, DISCHARGE, AXEGRINDER, CONFLICT and SACRILEGE have influenced me a lot. I also enjoy primitive death/thrash like ONSLAUGHT, DEATH, CANCER and stuff like that, so I probably steal some stuff from there as well when I write riffs for Misantropic.

THE INTERVIEW HAS COME TO AN END, ARE YOU ALREADY THINKING ABOUTE CONCERTS OR WORKING ON NEW SONGS/ALBUM? Do you think there are chances to organize a Misantropic concert in Italy in the next months?

We have actually been writing a lot of new material these past few months, so another album is definitely on its way. But it will probably not be finished until 2022 or something like that. Misantropic works very slowly. At the moment we don’t rehearse or get together at all, due to covid 19. Regarding a concert in Italy, I very much doubt it. This covid shit will probably not be over for another couple of months and I guess travelling abroad will still be a bit problematic a while after that. My guess is that we won’t play much live at all this year, not even in Sweden. We rarely do tours (too many kids and stuff) but if you have a budget to fly us in – get in touch.

THIS END SPACE IS YOURS, YOU CAN SAY AND REPORT ANYTHING YOU WANT. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE TIME YOU HAVE TAKEN TO ANSWER NY QUESTIONS.

My brain is blank after a long day with a bunch of kids having a pizza party in our livingroom (my sons 10th birthday party) so I cant figure out anything smart to say. Thank you for the interest, hope we will be able to play in Italy some day. Stay punk. Much love.

 

Soundtrack of the Pandemic Nightmare

Non è facile parlare di pandemia, quarantene, covid-19 e delle disastrose conseguenze che tutto questo ha avuto sulle nostre esistenze, su piani completamente diversi che toccano tanto il personale quanto il politico, tanto la sfera psicologica quanto quella materiale. Non è facile e tantomeno ho le energie per addentrarmi in tali discorsi. Per questo motivo nelle righe che seguono mi limiterò semplicemente a parlarvi di alcuni dischi usciti durante questo tragico 2020 e che per chissà quale ragione non avevano ancora trovato spazio sulle pagine di Disastro Sonoro. Tre ottimi dischi che hanno fatto parte costante della mia colonna sonora durante questi due lockdown e che hanno tenuto compagnia al mio isolamento forzato, alla mia rabbia, all’entropia che mi ha assalito divorandomi lentamente, alla sensazione di affogare per sempre tra paranoie e debolezze e a tutte le mie inquietudini che abbracciavano e abbracciano tuttora la sfera del politico e del personale. Perchè non so dire se l’hardcore è ancora una fottuta minaccia per questo esistente fatto di sfruttamento, oppressione, repressione, alienazione, depressione e morte, ma vorrei tanto lo fosse così da poter finalmente far divampare le fiamme della nostra gioia in nome di una vita radicalmente diversa. Ai/alle punx, ai/alle compagnx, ai/alle amicx, a chi non è niente di tutto ciò, a chi non vuole essere più nulla e a chi non ha più le forze per essere qualcosa, questo è Soundtrack of the Pandemic Nightmare!

Life – Ossification of Coral

Continuo a pensare che questo Ossification of Coral, nonostante a mio parere rappresenti uno dei migliori dischi crust punk usciti negli ultimi anni, sia passato invece fin troppo in sordina nel corso del 2020 e sinceramente non saprei spiegarmi il perchè. I giapponesi Life sono in giro dalla fine degli anni 80/inizio dei 90 e hanno sempre dimostrare di essere uno dei gruppi più interessanti, convincenti, intensi e coerenti emersi dall’affascinante scena hardcore punk nipponica. Autori di dischi grandiosi come Violence, Peace and Peace Research pubblicato nel 2013,  lo scorso anno hanno finalmente dato alla luce il nuovo, magnifico Ossification of Coral, quello che a tutti gli effetti si può definire senza remore il manifesto definitivo del crusher-crust punk suonato dai Life. Partendo come sempre da un sound che tradisce l’innegabile influenza della storica scena hardcore/crust giapponese, soprattutto nei momenti maggiormente raw, aggressivi e selvaggi (Crush Them, Endure Every Day o Same as War), i nostri riescono a scrivere tredici tracce radicate in un crust punk costantemente in bilico tra una natura votata alla crudezza e all’istintiva violenza da una parte e la tensione verso incursioni in territori metallici, toni oscuri e atmosfere dal sapore vagamente post-apocalittico dall’altra.

Immaginatevi dunque l’ascolto di Ossification of Coral come una sorta di viaggio tra gli abissi e le diverse sfumature della storia del crust punk nipponico e non solo, passando attraverso tante scuole e influenze differenti che vanno dai Doom ai Death Side (in certe melodie, assoli e riff), dagli Abraham Cross agli Excrement of War, dai Warhead agli Hiatus, dai Bastard alle primissime pulsioni stenchcore britanniche (tracce come la titletrack o Abscence of Life). Come da sempre il punk suonato dai Life è musica di protesta e rivolta, difatti anche nelle liriche di Ossification of Coral sono centrali le tematiche politiche supportate dall’attitudine riottosa e anarchica da sempre marchio di fabbrica dei Life. Basti solo pensare al titolo scelto per questo disco per comprendere il forte messaggio ecologista che permea le liriche del gruppo giapponese e che anima tracce come la titletrack e The End of Mother Nature, così come la sempre presente critica furiosa alla guerra, agli interessi che la muovono e ai suoi orrori, come da classica tradizione d-beat raw punk. Ossification of Coral è dunque un disco assolutamente devastante, un sincero manifesto del crust punk più crudo, riottoso, feroce e intransigente! CRUST AS FUCK LIFE!

Phane – S/t

Se per una volta volessimo giudicare il disco dalla copertina, questo self-titled album dei canadesi Phane si presenterebbe come un selvaggio e devastante assalto metal-punk ottantiano e il gruppo di Vancouver apparirebbe come un’orda barbarica pronta a mettere a ferro e fuoco tutto ciò che trova sulla propria strada, non risparmiando niente e nessuno e totalmente incapace di provare pietà. Bisogna ammettere che questa descrizione non è poi così troppo lontana da quello che andremo ad ascoltare e dalle sensazioni evocate dalle rabbiose quattrodici tracce con cui i Phane ci danno in pasto un’ottimo lavoro che guarda con nostalgia all’hardcore punk britannico degli anni 80.  Non sono moltissime le band attive oggi impegnate a riproporre sonorità hardcore punk radicate nella tradizione di quell’UK82 sound marchio di fabbrica di band storiche come Varukers, English Dogs e soprattutto Broken Bones. Sarà a causa del mio amore mai celato per i Broken Bones e per il fatto che i Phane strizzino spesso l’occhio ai loro lavori migliori, ma continuo a pensare che la band di Vancouver sia la più convincente e godibile nel riprendere certe sonorità capaci di ricordare immediatamente dischi del calibro di Dem Bones o Bonecrusher.

Le incursioni razziatrici in territori metallici sono estremamente presenti nel sound dei Phane, seguendo ancora una volta la strada che intrapresero i Broken Bones fino ad arrivare a  F.O.A.D. o certi English Dogs, ed emergono chiare fin dall’iniziale Golden Calf così come in tracce quali No Mercy o Shootsayer. E’ dunque facile percepire quanto certe sonorità più orientate a territori (thrash)metal e addirittura motorheadiani abbiano influenzato i Phane nel riffing e in certe melodie, mentre la batteria e le rabbiose vocals riescono perfettamente a rappresentare quella viscerale quanto istintiva riottosità tipica di certo d-beat/hardcore punk britannico a la Varukers di capolavori immortali quali How Do You Sleep?. Quattordici tracce per una mezzora abbondante di hardcore punk radicato nell’Uk82 sound e fortemente influenzato dalle prime pulsioni crossover tanto care ai Broken Bones, cazzo volete di più? Nessuna pietà, nessuna salvezza, solo ossa rotte!

Plague Thirteen – S/t

Questo è stato forse il vero compagno di disperate notti insonni e giorni infiniti privi di energie psicofisiche durante il secondo lockdown autunnale. Un disco che ha occupato in maniera costante le mie cuffie, la colonna sonora perfetta per lo stato d’animo e le emozioni che mi avevano sopraffatto durante gli ultimi mesi del 2020. I belga Plague Thirteen, emersi dalle ceneri dei fighissimi Link, mettono tutto loro stessi in questo primo omonimo lavoro: rabbia, tensioni, angoscia, disperazione, disillusione. Tutte queste emozioni vengono accompagnate musicalmente da un d-beat/crust punk di tradizione novantiana, profondamente oscuro e orientato a costruire un’atmosfera opprimente e desolata, ma animato da buone dosi di melodia al punto che qualcuno potrebbe vederci delle sfumature neocrust. I nomi a cui si ispira però in maniera palese il sound dei Plague Thirteen sono da ricercare nella scena crust/hardcore d’oltreoceano e specialmente in band del calibro di From Ashes Rise, His Hero is Gone, Remains the Day e certe pulsioni più dark hardcore dei Tragedy. Inoltrandosi nell’ascolto di Modern Slave, brano con cui si apre la nostra discesa in questo self-titlted album, ci si accorge presto che le sei tracce suonate dai Plague Thirteen assumeranno di lì a poco le sembianze di voragini pronte a inghiottirci in una spirale di inquietudine, incubi e apparente impotenza, senza lasciarci alcuno spiraglio di salvezza.

Il crust punk oscuro suonato dal gruppo belga è attraversato da due anime ben distinte ma che si amalgamano in maniera grandiosa: da una parte rallentamenti dai toni atmosferici riescono perfettamente a dipingere sensazioni di desolazione, smarrimento e angoscia,  mentre dall’altra ci si imbatte in in furiose tempeste d-beat in cui tutta la rabbia e le tensioni possono finalmente trovare libero sfogo e divampare impetuose accompagnate dalle vocals sofferte e tormentate del cantante Michael (basti pensare ad tracce come Mourn e Haunt Them). Inoltre c’è da sottolineare come i Plague Thirteen sappiano ricreare con gusto e convinzione un’atmosfera cupa e minacciosa, evocando, in brani come Eyes Wide Open, quei toni più apocalittici e oscuri tanto cari a certi Neurosis e Amebix. In poche parole, per concludere, i Plague Thirtheen hanno saputo comporre quello che a tutti gli effetti è un maestoso soundtrack of the pandemic nightmare!

Civicide – A Sign of Times to Come (2021)

Ci ritroviamo a vagare tra città in macerie come ultimi sopravvissuti di un’umanità condannata a morte. Attraversiamo le rovine di scenari urbani abitati solamente da desolazione e morte, calpestando ossa e teschi umani, nascondendoci da creature spaventose di una nuova era preistorica post-apocalittica. Questo è il segno dei bui tempi che ci aspettano, mentre l’acre odore nauseabondo di un futuro che non esiste più invade le nostre narici abbandonandoci ai demoni della disperazione e agli spettri di un passato che vogliamo cancellare. 

Ogni amante dell’hardcore punk che si rispetti ha avuto certamente, in un preciso momento della propria vita, una qualche forma di infatuazione, seppur vaga, per la scena punk finlandese negli anni ’80 e per band assolutamente iconiche come Rattus, Kaaos, Terveet Kadet e Riistetyt. Non ho dubbi su quanto appena affermato e personalmente l’infatuazione per l’hardcore finnico è stata abbastanza importante durante i miei primi approcci a questo genere, tanto che anni fa era presente l’idea di scriverci un articolo a riguardo da pubblicare proprio su queste pagine. Poi si sa, il vizio di procrastinare ha sempre la meglio e ad oggi quell’idea abbozzata di un articolo sulla scena hardcore punk finlandese non ha ancora visto la luce e forse mai la vedrà, chissà. Detto questo, se son qui a parlarvi di punk e finlandia è perchè recentemente mi son imbattuto in A Sign of Times to Come, nuova fatica in studio targata Civicide, un gruppo a me sconosciuto fino a pochissime ore fa. Appena schiaccio play e decido di avventurarmi verso l’ignoto nell’ascolto di questo A Sign of Times to Come, il sound dei finlandesi mi sorprende come un fulmine a ciel sereno e cattura in men che non si dica tutta la mia attenzione. Bastano difatti i primi minuti strumentali dell’iniziale Premonition/Omen per accorgermi di essere al cospetto di una band impegnata a suonare un ibrido convincente seppur non originale di crust punk e thrash metal, un sound che evoca gli spettri di quel brodo primordiale conosciuto come stenchcore e che non cesserà mai di esercitare fascino su di me.

La proposta di cui si fanno portabandiera i Civicide prende certamente ispirazione dalla seminale lezione dei Sacrilege e degli Axegrinder, ma il gruppo finlandese dimostra di aver fatto suo certe sonorità e di saperle riproporre e ricreare con passione, convinzione e soprattutto con una buona dose di qualità che emerge specialmente nella capacità di costruire quell’atmosfera apocalittica e desolante tipica del genere, un’atmosfera che aleggia minacciosa e opprimente sull’intero lavoro. Sei tracce che ci danno una convincente e godibile prova di metal-stench-crust, una formula quella proposta dai Civicide che riesce a sintetizzare dentro sè tanto le primordiali pulsioni del genere quanto le incarnazioni più moderne, in uno spettro di influenze che saccheggiano senza problemi sia i territori del primitivo thrash metal britannico di Sacrilege e Onslaught che le inospitali lande del crust punk dominate da desolazione, miseria e oscurità, ricordando per certi versi i toni più cupi ed epici di certi Warcollapse e Swordwielder. Se, come già sottolineato, non siamo di certo al cospetto di una proposta estremamente innovativa, c’è da evidenziare il fatto che i nostri punx finlandesi possono contare su una una buonissima qualità tecnica; una qualità che si manifesta in maniera netta nel songwriting e nella capacità di costruire riff veramente ispirati alternati a melodie che sanno come enfatizzare quell’atmosfera apocalittica perfettamente evocata da tracce come Depths od Despair o Final Frontiers. Accanto a tracce caratterizzate da questa natura più oscura che potrebbe chiamare in causa le atmosfere care agli Amebix, spiccano però anche momenti come Already Dreamed, ovvero assalti metal-crust attraversati da una furia selvaggia e bellicosa che si dimostrano assolutamente senza pietà. Per concludere non posso che scrivere queste righe come fossero una sorta di grido liberatorio: A Sign of Times to Come rappresenta finalmente un lavoro di stench-crust marcio e oscuro come piace a me, un album che mi permetterà di dare un attimo di tregua a dischi che ho ormai consumato in maniera famelica come When Daylight Reveals the Torture degli Agnosy e System Overlord degli Swordwielder.

Tower 7 – Entrance to a Living Organism (2020)

Non ho idea di come sia possibile che mia sia scordato di inserire questo Entrance to a Living Organism dei Tower 7 nell’articolo “Music Critics and Records Collectors are Pretentious Assholes“, articolo, per chi non se lo fosse ancora letto, dedicato ad alcune delle pù interessanti uscite in ambito punk e hardcore del 2020. Rileggendo l’articolo mi sono accorto di questa grave mancanza, perchè si tratta a mio parere di uno dei migliori dischi “punk” ascoltati negli ultimi anni, nonchè uno dei miei ascolti più assidui da marzo (mese di pubblicazione del disco) a oggi. Fatta questa premessa auto-assolutoria, cerchiamo di andare con ordine e addentriamoci in questa prima fatica in studio dei Tower 7, gruppo che sembra uscito direttamente tra la fine degli anni 80 e l’inizio dei 90. Il sound che caratterizza le otto tracce presenti su questo Entrance to a Living Organism è permeato di quel sapore e di quell’attitudine anarchica e riottosa tipica dell’underground hardcore/crust punk, riuscendo nell’impresa di sintetizzare tanto la lezione seminale di band anarcho punk come Anti-System e A-Political quanto l’irruenza selvaggia e furiosa di gente come Electro Hippies e in parte dei Concrete Sox più crust.

E’ dunque un’anarcho punk fortemente caratterizzato da un’attitudine tipica del crossover britannico fine anni 80 e che non nasconde all’ascoltatore l’influenza di certo metal (in alcuni momenti il riffing ricorda il trash metal più primitivo e crudo). Rimanendo sul lato prettamente musicale, se da una parte il sound generale da una sensazione di rabbia primitiva profondamente istintiva, dall’altra il riffing di matrice crossover/metal sembra molto ispirato e suonato non solo con qualità ma anche con una certa dose di personalità. A tutto ciò si sommano le vocals, estremamente selvagge e abrasive ma anche sofferte in alcuni passaggi, perfettamente in grado di segnare un continuum, sincero per quanto riguarda l’attitudine anarchica e riottosa, con i gruppi sopracitati. Come da tradizione anarcho punk, ad attirare e catturare l’interesse di chi ascolta sono sicuramente i testi e la volontà dei Tower 7 di rendere la musica principalmente un mezzo con cui esprimere le proprie tensioni di rivolta, tensioni tanto personali quanto politiche che necessitano di deflagrare liberamente, invece di venire soffocate per l’ennesima volta. In estrema sintesi questo Entrance to a Living Organism è si un disco da ascoltare tutto d’un fiato facendosi completamente inghiottire e distruggere, ma anche un lavoro che merita il giusto tempo per soffermarsi a leggere i testi di tracce devastanti come Ritual of Detention, Fatigue e Endless Growth. Se vi mancano gli Electro Hippies, ora potete consolarvi con i Tower 7 senza avere rimpianti!

Misantropic – Catharsis (2020)

Questo disastroso 2020 sta finalmente volgendo al termine e come un fulmine a ciel sereno irrompe sulle scene Catharsis, nuova fatica in studio che segna il ritorno dei Misantropic, un disco con cui i nostri punx svedesi di Umea innalzano fieramente al cielo la bandiera del crust moderno, un crust-core intransigente e furioso, soffiando sulle braci di un genere che necessitava di nuove uscite di questo calibro per vedersi ravvivare la fiamma in maniera decisa e convincente.

Tante le influenze che saltano all’orecchio durante l’ascolto di questo Catharsis, ma i Misantropic danno alla luce un disco che rappresenta perfettamente il loro sound robusto, devastaste e con molti brani dal tiro anthemico a cui è seriamente difficile resistere. I Sacrilege sono la prima influenza che salta all’orecchio in modo preponderante, influenza che emerge principalmente nelle vocals femminili e nel riffing di classica matrice thrash metal, seguita dalle altre radici che vanno a comporre il sound devastante dei nostri. Dal furioso d-beat/crust di scuola svedese, da sempre punto di riferimento e partenza dei Misantropic, con melodie che si alternano invece tra Martyrdod e addirittura Nux Vomica, questi ultimi soprattutto nei passaggi più vicini a certi riff “melodici” riconducibili a territori estremi del metal, si giunge ad un gusto generale per le atmosfere e nel songwriting che mi ha fatto pensare in più di un momento contemporaneamente ai grechi Kataxnia e all’hardcore più oscuro dei Tragedy. Inoltre certi riff e certe melodie dal sapore (neo) crust sembrano evidenziare un continuum di sonorità e attitudine con un altro grande gruppo crust di Umea degli anni duemila, ovvero i mai troppo incensati Ambulance.

Riff che provengono da territori propriamente thrash metal irrompono prepotenti come nell’iniziale No Retreat, No Surrender, una traccia caratterizzata da alcuni momenti addirittura groovy sommati a cori hardcore dal sapore anthemico che rendono il brano un’ottimo inizio e uno dei momenti migliori dell’album. La titletrack si apre invece con un arpeggio interrotto presto da un riffing melodico che si avvicina molto ai Nux Vomica di “A Civilized World“. C’è sempre questa aurea di classico crust punk svedese che aleggia sui Misantropic, toni dai tratti vagamente apocalittici ed oscuri che ricorda atmosfere di matrice Warcollapse. C’è tanto groove anche in un brano come Blood Stains, momento del disco che sintetizza perfettamente le influenze della scuola crust/d-beat svedese e la lezione thrash metal dei Sacrilege. Death Cult è un altro dei brani migliori in cui ci imbattiamo grazie soprattutto ai toni anthemici che lo accompagnano, ad un coro/ritornello che si stampa immediatamente in testa e addirittura melodie dal sapore mediorientale che irrompono nella seconda metà della canzone conferendo al brano una veste inaspettata e mostrando una buonissima dose di personalità dei Misantropic. Ma il punto interessante di questa traccia è sicuramente il  testo, un furioso e bellicoso inno di solidarietà e complicità con la rivoluzione del Rojava, una rivoluzione in nome dell’ecologismo e del femminismo che ha mostrato e sta mostrando a tutti che un altro mondo è possibile e che che la lotta rivoluzionaria contro lo stato, il capitale e il patriarcato è più necessaria che mai. Altra traccia che spicca per intensità e contenuto lirico è sicuramente Arm Your Daughters, un brano crust/hardcore con pochi fronzoli e che non ne vuole sapere di scendere a compromessi, una mazzata in pieno volto di furiosa rabbia femminista che si scaglia contro la violenza patriarcale e la cultura dello stupro. Attitudine, qualità nel songwriting, intensità, gusto per le melodie, toni anthemici dosati con intelligenza, infinite dosi di rabbia e coscienza politica, tutte queste componenti fanno di Catharsis un disco di cui si sentiva estremamente bisogno e che, ne sono certo, rimarrà a lungo negli ascolti assidui di molti di noi.

Non mi piace fare classifiche o inutili “competizioni” in ambito hardcore/punk, ma mi concedo uno strappo alla regola e vi dico che questo Catharsis se la gioca insieme a Crimson Dawn degli Ahna per il titolo di migliore disco crust dell’anno. Cosa ci fate ancora qui? Correte ad ascoltarlo e ad acquistarlo! Mai indietreggiare, mai arrendersi, mai morire! La fine di questi tempi sarà la nostra catarsi.