There are bands that just cannot help shooting themselves in the foot.
The first contact you have with a band is through the name (yes, this review is co-written with my long-time friend and mentor Captain Obvious) and while good bands don't always stick - for whatever reason - good names do. Just look at 3-Way Cum. An absolutely brilliant band, one of the very best in the gruff crust genre in the 90's, a decade when the style was about as fashionable as a Tik Tok lip sync challenge today (don't ask) and yet the strange choice for a name may repel a lot of people and insured that wearing a 3-Way Cum shirt at the supermarket would raise some highbrows and attract some acutely disapproving looks (not so much at goregrind shows though). Not really a sticker (or for the wrong reasons). I am not going to talk about average or even mediocre bands that had great names because I am not that kind of person, especially since the last lawsuit, but let's face it: a good name for a band is like a good name in life, it's a good first impression. But it still is just an impression: Spectres for example is a fantastic moniker and yet they have become a Tears for Fears cover band.
That's a little how I feel about Juggling Jugulars and Enough! - especially for the latter to be honest - good bands but why go for such names. And I do know what I am talking about as I play in a band called Turquoise (yes, go figure). People may not be aware of it but the phrase "juggling with out jugulars" is actually a line taken from a song by the mighty Rudimentary Peni entitled "Slimy member" (itself the name of a rather good US band). And - wait for it, wait for it - this very same song also has a line that says "severed head of state" just like that Portland band that used to be famous. How unlikely is that? A one-minute song with merely twelve lines reading like a poem has inspired not one but three bands in their brainstorming for a good name. That's some solid trivia if you want to show off like a dick on New Year's Eve. I recommend you start a drunken conversation about this exact subject at around 4AM with a total stranger. That'll show them. But to get back to today's topic, in spite of its clever and nerdy origin, which I personally like, Juggling Jugulars cannot be said to be a convenient name as it is a bit of a mouthful and the meaning is rather, well, cryptic.
JJ are from Tampere and Pori and have been around seemingly forever, basically since 1989. The phrase "they are still around?" abounds whenever the band is mentioned. And yes the are still around. They have changed a lot throughout the years and have managed to forge their own brand of tuneful anthemic political female-fronted punk-rock that can be sung in the shower but still has an aggressive powerful edge. They did not start quite like that although you could already hear, here and there on this Ep, a tendency for melody and a quest for the balance between snot and tune. There are some really catchy moments and "Toy voters" with its infectious chorus and dark guitar lead is genuinely good and my favourite number. The one song in Finnish, "Suolia Ja Ulosteita", is a completely different animal, an enjoyably chaotic and humorous take on classic 80's Tampere hardcore. Very fun. The remaining three songs are decidedly punk-rock, navigating between snotty UK punk, Deutsch punk (or is it just me?) or even early hardcore. Not bad but nothing too spectacular either about those.
On the other side you will find the real heavyweight of this Ep with Enough! from Gdansk. To be quite honest, Enough! are the reason why this record made it to this series (which is a bit like being selected for the Crust Olympics). They check the two main Terminal Sound Nuisance boxes: they play groovy gruff crust and (yet) they are (still) vastly underrated. Arguably the band took some questionable decisions. The name "enough!" does not sound too good (why a name in English if all the lyrics are in Polish?) even if I like the sentiment behind it as it can be the source of a lot of misunderstandings and shit puns ("do you know Enough!?", "Enough! is enough" or "damn, I just can't get Enough!!"). As for wearing a shirt, well it'd just look a bit silly or even arty, innit? Not as silly as my English Dogs top depicting naked women riding dragons but still a potential inspiration for bad dad jokes. As for the artwork neither JJ and their cheesy drawing of a juggling clown nor Enough! with the sketch of an eye wide open really manage to grasp the attention (but then the Poles' Darkside tape displays a ridiculously ugly bat so the eye is not so bad after all). And despite all this, I consider Enough! as one of the best Polish crust bands of the time (and there was some harsh competition not like in France where about three bands were fighting for the throne). Actually, to be fair, I also rate Enough! as one of the best metallic crust bands of the 90's (name and visual aesthetics notwithstanding).
Terminal Sound Nuisance is very much a home and safe space where prejudices are fought and notions of "good" versus "bad" music are challenged (to put it mildy). Maybe narrow-minded crusties ignored Enough! because they were not curious enough (pun half intended) and I seriously pity them because the band deserves much more attention than they get. These two songs are old-school metallic crust miracles with a thick and heavy production that is just dirty enough and highlights the pummeling groove and power of the songwriting. Of course the band emerged from the prolific and qualitative Polish anarcho/hardcore/crust scene of the 90's so they should definitely be seen in this exceptionally creative context that gave birth to better known bands like Homomilitia, Sanctus Iuda or Infekcja. You could argue that retrospectively, from the outside, the band may seem a little lost among all the other top bands and that may account for their relative obscurity outside of Poland.
Darkside, their 1996 demo (six songs of which would land on a split 10'' with Nula in 1998) was already a strong start, a raw and aggressive dual male/female vocal filth-crust attack with a metallic edge (a bit like a fistfight between Homomilitia and Excrement of War taking place in a discarded scrapyard) but the improvement on this second recording session is impressive. Enough! sound unstoppable here.
It can be difficult to sound genuinely heavy without sounding too produced but the two songs are just viscerally heavy, at the core. The first number "Życie To Tylko Łzy" reworks a classic Deviated Instinct riff to launch the track into a heavy groove-laden mid-paced vintage crust anthem with cavemen vocal to die - or kill - for. The second song "Bez Litości" also uses a classic band's riff as a songwriting basis, this time Sacrilege's, for the old-school thrashing stenchcore bollocking of the year. Colossal stuff. There is a definite 90's feel too on those two songs and the crushing power and the textures of Hiatus do shine through as well and I sense some of Misery's sense of gruff apocalyptics and at the same time Enough! definitely sound like a Polish crust band. Flawless and leaving the listener begging for more but, of course, there would not be more from Enough!, sadly. The crust adventures were not over yet as two members of the band teamed up with members of Money Drug and Stench of Death to start Filth of Mankind, a much more popular band whose album is deemed, rightly so, as a proper crust classic.
Did Enough! have enough (well) to record a full album with that crunchy blend of old-school UK crust and 90's eurocrust? Well, who knows. I see the band as a case of proto 00's stenchcore revival in a lot of respects although they sounded more primal and frontal. The degree of intentionality of the refrences in the songwriting remains unknown. In any case you should rush and get yourself the recent Lp reissue of Darkside as it also includes the two songs from the split Ep with a new cover but with an equally horrible closeup picture of a deranged looking bat. Really guys?
This nice split includes two very different bands who share the "network of friends" DIY vibe of the time. And it can be found for cheap. It was released on Trująca Fala in 1997, a label run by a wonderful man that started in 1992 as a tape label and is still very much active.