Friday, 25 December 2015

Effigy "Evil fragments" 12'', 1999

The last two records I am going to rave about were recorded at the very end of the 90's, in 1999 to be specific, so while they technically belonged to that decade, they also heralded things to come crust-wise in the 2000's. In that sense, they are both transitional works and can be seen as bridges between the two eras, a perspective that makes them even more interesting. Let's start with a band that was all the rage in the first half of the 2000's: Effigy. I had never found a decent rip of this record so far so I figured it was high time someone did it properly. Yes, I am a man on a mission.

Nice carpet underneath, isn't it?

First things first: they picked a cracking name. I absolutely love it as it can mean a lot of different things in terms of representation and metatextuality (were Effigy an effigy of crust?) and it works all the better for Japanese bands, since they are really keen on referentiality and band-worship, sometimes excessively (remember that SDS were supposedly "the ghosts of Antisect"). And let's face it, the name "Effigy" sounds super cool. It may sound trivial, but it matters nonetheless. The trio formed in 1998 and were from Takamatsu, on the Shikoku island. I couldn't find any information about potential pre-Effigy bands so it might have been their first shot, although, given the high level of accurate punk references, even on their first work, I personally doubt it. But then, I am not an endless well of knowledge when it comes to Japanese punk.

I would tend to think that Effigy were not exactly from the same generation as the crust bands who were already established by 1999, like AGE or Abraham Cross, not to mention old-timers like SDS or Gloom. But Effigy were a few years earlier than the metal-crust revivalists like Zoe, Disturd or Acrostix, bands they are often associated with through their common crust background or through their respective records on Crust War. Were Effigy in-between both generations? Or perhaps the wave dynamics didn't have as much effect on Effigy because of their specific location? The fact is that Effigy don't really sound like their elders, although, of course, they sound like a Japanese crust band (but has there ever been a Japanese crust band that doesn't?). But I don't hear any real, tangible SDS influence, especially in terms of song-writing and production. There are a few riffs that could remind one of SDS, but they don't intend to have the same cold slickness as Antisect-era SDS or the same controlled and focused fury as their latter period. One thing they certainly shared is the obvious Antisect influence, but they didn't translate in the same way. Where SDS intended to rework the sound and the atmosphere of Antisect's songwriting, Effigy basically "japanized" Antisect riffs, meaning they played them with more over-the-top metal energy.

Undeniably, Effigy's influences had more to do with Antisect, Hellbastard, early Axegrinder with a touch of early black and doom metal than with the local crust production, which was the case of most Japanese crust bands at the time and the gloriously obsessive "Doom-Throat" approach of Abraham Cross attested to that. To be fair, it is pretty easy to spot Effigy's models. Their 2004's split 10'' with Hellshock contained two unashamed borrowed songs from Antisect ("Choice of darkness" is actually a slightly reworked intro that Antisect used to play in 1987) and Bathory. And I have to confess something here: I knew Effigy before I did Bathory. I know it may sound weird, but I have never been into proper metal and at the time, classic extreme metal bands weren't really appealing to me. And I thought that the riff on "The day the Devil reigned" was fantastic! How flabbergasted was I when I finally discovered that it was pretty much an undeclared Bathory cover...

Anyway, this 12'', "Evil fragments" was Effigy's first record and despite some sloppiness, a production that lacks crunch and an overall feel of incompletion, I think it is still a pretty solid, enjoyable effort. The four songs sound like a Japanese crust take on late Antisect and "Ripper crust" era Hellbastard with great over-the-top dual vocals only the Japanese know how to pull out. The beat is mostly fast, but there are enough groovy metal breaks to keep things old-school. And, to end "Evil fragments", they used the same tune as Concrete Sox on the intro to the "Your turn next!" Lp, which is both a little odd and lovely. It is not Effigy's best work by far, the "From Hell" Ep that Crust War released in 2003 is their defining moment but it definitely pointed in the right direction and I would argue that it may have triggered some renewed interest in the classic UK crust bands in Japan. And maybe even in Portland. The dudes in Hellshock had probably been listening to the Peaceville sound for years, but Portland being Portland, Japan is pretty big over there, so to speak. More than bands like Misery or Extinction of Mankind, a band like Effigy, with overt UK crust influences, might have ignited the idea to do a project along the same lines in Portland. I am not saying that the day after one of the blokes listened to Effigy, they started Hellshock, but it might have played a part. Or not.

Effigy got better and better time passing, the split Ep's with Äpärät and Häväistys showed definite improvement and the aforementioned 2003 Ep was their crowning glory. I would love to say that the split with Hellshock was brilliant but I have always felt a bit let-down by it, probably because of the very high expectations I had at the time. And then, there is that Bathory story that will make me feel like a fool for eternity.

After the end of Effigy, Kakuda, the drummer, played in Axewield, a band that tried to fuse doom-metal with the Effigy recipe but that I never really got into. He recently joined Disturd and plays on the new album, entitled "Dark". I have only listened to it twice but let me tell you that I am really loving it so far. One of 2015's best crust albums and hopefully one that will inspire a new generation of Japanese punks to work on these terrific Antisect riffs...

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

3-Way Cum "The last cumshow?" Ep, 1997

At the sorry game of "good bands with terrible names", 3-Way Cum might take the fucking biscuit. A few months ago, I had mentioned that Slimy Venereal Diseases pretty much shot themselves in the foot, but as corny as their moniker was, it still indicated that they were a grinding band. 3-Way Cum, on the other hand, picked a name fit for an embarrassing porngrind band reeking of sexual frustration, while they actually were a top-notch Scandinavian crust outfit, certainly one of Sweden's very best in the 90's. Blimey if that makes any sense. I guess one may argue that something got lost in translation, a bit like Raped Teenagers was fortunately not a band about child pornography, but they probably wanted a name that expressed the idea of "being young, skint and fucked by the system in 1984" and ended up with one of the most horrible things to type on Google 30 years later. I am honestly clueless about the meaning of the name "3-Way Cum", since there is nothing sexually graphic or sexist in their lyrics. One of the band members must have lost a bet after a drunken party and had to use that name for his next band.

Anyway, 3-Way Cum's existence stretched from 1993 to 1997, four years during which they recorded one full Lp, two Ep's and two split Ep's, one of which (with State of Fear-worshipping Another Oppressive System from Connecticut) would be released posthumously in 2001. The line-up comprised two members of Sauna, an early 90's crustcore band most famous for their split Lp with Disrupt, and that, incidentally, also had a bit of a strange name, and had the drummer of Warcollapse. So even if you have never heard about 3-Way Cum, these connections will already give you some idea about their sound.

Truth be told, 3-Way Cum didn't exactly start up as an all-out crusty madness band. Their first Ep, the really good "Battle of opinions" from 1993, successfully walked the thin line between furious Swedish hardcore and ENT-type crust, an exercise that many attempted in the 90's but that few did as well as 3-Way Cum. Fast, powerful Scandicore, not far from Asocial, enhanced with crusty dual vocals. Not as heavy and meaty as Hiatus, but faster and more hectic. "Battle of opinions" exemplified the great potential of blending crust and Swedish hardcore and can be seen as an early blueprint of what would come to be known as "scandicrust". 1996's "Killing the life" Lp, released on Sound Pollution like the aforementioned Ep, seemed to validate the fact that 3-Way Cum's essence was located in classic Swedish hardcore. With its cleaner, rocking production, that somewhat makes me long for the rawness of "Battle of opinion", the Lp tended to indicate that 3-Way Cum were efficiently using the same songwriting formula and even, if anything, that they were slowly drifting toward a more pronounced Swedish hardcore influence in terms of sound. And then, the following year, the band recorded "The last cumshow?" (I am not even going to try to understand the title of this Ep).

I already wrote on Terminal Sound Nuisance that Sweden, like Finland or Italy, has not really produced a lot of proper crust bands. Of course, you have the mighty Warcollapse, G-Anx or Dom Där had their crust moments, and Counterblast's "Balance of pain" is arguably one of the best metal crust Lp's ever... Very often however, what people lazily call "Swedish crust" is really just heavy Swedish hardcore with harsh vocals (and there's nothing wrong with that type of punk-rock obviously) but lacks the specific groove and tension of proper crust. But "The last cumshow?" precisely has these two things. This fantastic Ep, without the shadow of a doubt, epitomizes Swedish crust, meaning that it is a distinctively Swedish adaptation of Disrupt/ENT's crustcore. Not unlike Warcollapse, they crustified the Scandicore influence and even the metal breaks nod to classic Swedish death-metal. This Ep is absolutely glorious, with enough beat variations to keep it from being redundant and a sound that is powerful, crunchy but spontaneous. The vocals are more upfront than on their previous recordings and the combination has never worked better. They sound like a disgruntled bear with a sore throat is having an argument with a chain-smoking wolf in a pub. The songs are actually pretty catchy as well and are bound to stick with you for the rest of the day (they are still difficult to hum to, but you get the gist).

To some extent, this Ep can almost be seen as the logical progression from Sauna's crushing "Ei Leiki" demo tape from 1991, although it was recorded much later. In any case, "The last cumshow?" is certainly as good and powerful as vintage Warcollapse and that's not a small thing. It also reminds me a little of 2000's crustcore band like Visions of War in terms of impact and intensity. The lyrics are your usual mix of politics (antifascism and animal abuse) and misanthropy, with the song "Slowly we rot", being about the decaying of the human body, infertility and and loneliness. The artwork is one of a kind with stylized drawings of anonymous but smiling bodies. I am not too sure about the cover though... You can see one of these faceless characters being tied down and blindfolded by an Hitler-looking geezer, who is also chaining a fake smile unto the poor fellow's face. There is a camera at the bottom that suggests that this is meant to be photographed. Was it the band's vision of the phrase "say cheese"? I'll go for that.

This Ep was released on Elderberry Records, a label responsible for putting out records from top Swedish bands like Dom Där, Warcollapse, G-Anx, Tolshock or Counterblast, which makes it Terminal Sound Nuisance's favourite Swedish punk label ever. Elderberry even did the Extinction of Mankind/Misery split Lp. I love you guys. Following 3-Way Cum, the singer Pjär played in Parasit and in Raised By Drunks, and Kalle kept doing what he does best with Warcollapse.  


Monday, 14 December 2015

Under Threat / I.A.F. "Self-titled / Masakre animal" split Ep, 1994


What does this word convey to the average wanker on the street? Clichés like football, beaches, parties, favelas and transexuals. I remember my stepmum telling me in a drunken state that she had sunbathed in Brazil more times than she could remember, and thus was a bit of a cultural expert, and that she couldn't possibly imagine Brazilians playing punk because it was not in the "Brazilian mentality". Of course, she didn't use the word "punk" because to her, anything faster than Oasis sounds like noise (or "ruido" in this case). The next morning, I played Rot and Brigada do Odio really loud, and I proved my point. Sort of.

What does the word "Brazil" convey to me? That's an easy one: in-your-face, intense, sloppy punk brutality. I am not going to do a dissertation about Brazilian punk since the country has had a long, prolific and dense love story with punk and metal for the past 35 years. But there is undeniably such a  thing as a Brazilian punk sound so that I can always spot a band from that area when I hear one. For some reason, crust was never Brazil's favourite genre and while they embraced hardcore and grindcore (and anything brutal and fast fast), they never really seemed to fell for Amebix-type bands. Acts like Extreme Noise Terror, Doom or Disrupt were certainly influences on many extreme bands but there were actually few local bands that played all-out crustcore, as if they had picked some elements from it in order to make their own stew, rather than follow the crust trend. The 90's provided many bands that were crust-influenced (like Subcut or Cruel Face for instance) but few that were actually crust if you know what I mean.

There are exceptions to this of course, and bands like Dischord, Masher and No Prejudice definitely carried the crust torch as brutally as they could. And you had Under Threat, a band that started as a side-project of the mighty Rot's drummer. Like the vast majority of Brazilian punk bands, Under Threat were from Sao Paulo (one of the world's punk capitals), and like most of their extreme music comrades, they were incredibly sloppy. Now, they were not "sloppy" in the same sense that the first demos of Disorder or Doom are sloppy. In that context, "sloppy" implies a sound that is direct and raw, if not rough, and yet intense and completely comfortable. It is not even a matter of technical abilities as the geezers can play, they just think that a DIY rehearsal sound conveys the energy and essence of the genre better than a proper studio. As Under Threat wrote it themselves on the Ep's insert:

"There's a care from us to keep the Hc music sources and characteristics in our music, showing a dirty and raw sound; then we think our recording on this Ep is OK. But also this is a way to show we don't need really to be involved with money to show we are active people acting on the things we believe". 

If you ever need a quote to illustrate the difference between the 90's and our present decade, then look no further. Under Threat didn't try hard to have a "raw punk sound", they didn't need special effects, they didn't need a studio and they didn't even need a bass player (yes, you are reading correctly, on this recording Under Threat were a fucking duo!). They just came in their own DIY practice space and unleashed a barrage of simple and effective distorted crusty punk. That's probably where a lot of the typical 90's Sao Paulo punk sound originated from: they didn't try to sound, they just did. And that's why a band like Neurose Urbana will always be more "raw" and aggressive than its heirs. Now, it doesn't mean that there was never any level of production involved or that the songs are rushed, but it underlines a certain lack of self-reflexivity and self-consciousness that is refreshing when compared with the abusive and excessive self-referentiality of current days.

But back to our lovable sloppy slice of crust. This was Under Threat's first release and it must be said that their subsequent split Lp with Battle of Disarm or the split Ep with their noise comrades Dischord were not as sloppy and rough. The first time I listened to these four songs, I couldn't help but smile as it sounds really thin, very much like a tape recorder was placed in the middle of the rehearsal room. Some of you will probably think that it sounds like shit, but I personally find the Under Threat side quite marvelous as it epitomized the energy and the exuberant aggression of early 90's crustcore. Just imagine the first take of the first Disrupt demo but with only two members and you won't be too far. Just simple, fuzzy, fast, pummeling, dual vocals crustcore. And what vocals they are! They are so over-the-top and uncontrived that it works perfectly for the genre. This is miraculous practice room Sao Paulo crustcore and you need these songs in your life.

Following this Ep, the band got a little more serious, with one full-time singer, a bass player and a second guitar. They gradually went for a slightly more Scandinavian, crusty D-beat style, and even though their sound improved significantly, they always kept that "sloppy and proud" touch. Lyrically, Under Threat proved to be quite political, despite the broken English, and even wrote a short text explaining their cover choice for the Ep and how a picture from the Apartheid era was still relevant not only to South Africa, but also to Latin America.

On the flip side are three songs from IAF (meaning "Ideal Anti Fascista") from Barcelona. Believe me, after the Under Threat side, they will almost sound overproduced. IAF existed for 10 years, from 1994 to 2004 roughly, and involved old-timers from bands like Violent Headache and later on Mobcharge and Totälickers (and probably many others). This split Ep was the band's first offering and it is a relevant look to what the band would come to be not so long after. While their 1998 Ep or the 2000's split Ep with HOW showed a strong influence from the faster brand of Swedish hardcore (think Scumbrigade meets Disfear) and super fast hardcore, this 1994 record has punkier production and songwriting that reminds me of mid-90's anarchopunk bands like Antiproduct or Disaffect but with a Dropdead touch. It is an enjoyable listen actually and I strongly recommend their Sludge Records follow-up. Lyrics are, obviously, of a political nature, this time with an emphasis on animal suffering and corridas.

This split Ep was released on Japankore Records, a small label run by Dropdead's drummer that was originally dedicated to putting out noisy Japanese punk-rock like Disclose. Well, Under Threat were from Brazil but they still gave the Japanese a run for their money in terms of distortedness, although I am sure their recording budget, if there even was one, was much lower, not even the price of a Disclose Ep on Discogs in 2015.            


Sunday, 6 December 2015

MVD / Pink Flamingos split Ep 1994

Throughout recent conversations with fellow nerdy punks, we realized there was something weird with Germany. While the country is the host of a massive, dynamic punk scene with top venues, an incredible amount of touring bands and probably the highest rate of punks per inhabitant anywhere in the world, it has not, considering these elements, delivered that many classic bands (I don't include the ones from the 80's in that comment). Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I dislike German punk-rock as there are bands that I hold close to my sensitive heart. But still, compared to its potential, Germany has never been a high producer in the field of anarchopunk or crust. Or could it be that they just didn't spread? Bands like Accion Mutante, Enola Gay, Lost World, Autoritär, Acid Rain Dance, Cluster Bomb Unit and Instinct of Survival (possibly the best crust band of the past 10 years) are obviously really good, but the truth is that, while everyone enjoys pilgriming to Berlin, local punk music isn't exactly the most popular outside of home, especially in recent years. There are certainly genres that German punks have excelled at, with cult bands like Yacopsae, Acme, Mörser or (sigh) Gut, but these are not really Terminal Sound Nuisance material. But wait, there is one iconic crust band from Berlin that, for some reason that I don't even want to try to understand (but it could be the dreaded "had they been Swedish theorem"), is constantly left out of the crust canon: MVD.

Apparently, if my German is not too rusty, MVD formed in 1986 in Berlin and were originally called Mundus Vult Decipi , which must have been a bit of a mouthful since they switched to MVD after their first release, a split Lp with deutschpunk heroes Malinheads in 1990. Probably because some of their songs on this Lp had been written a few years prior to its release, the MVD side is not actually that crusty. Rather, I would argue that it sounds like the brand of hardcore-punk that original crusties would have played to death. In 1989/1990, MVD delivered raw and intense, angry political hardcore influenced by bands like Crude SS, AOA, Final Conflict or even early Doom, but faster. There is a German punk feel to the music and one can suppose that local bands like the brilliant Enola Gay or Vorkriegsphase were also on heavy rotation at the MVD HQ.

Their first Ep, the classic "Stagnation of thinking" Ep from 1992, saw them pick a new singer (like Amen, MVD have had quite a few singers shouting behind their microphone) and polish their sound. A bit, not too much, they remained firmly rooted in raw and angry hardcore for the punks, only this time with a noticeable Extreme Noise Terror influence added to their own brand of beefed-up, "Italy + Sweden = <3 " hardcore. By the time of their third release however, the present split with Pink Flamingos from 1994, MVD had definitely fallen to the crust side of the Force. The addition of a second singer with vocals so gruff that I think he may have been locked up in some damp room with "Phonophobia" constantly playing (hence the famous phrase "he who shall be Sore-Throated to life") certainly enhanced the crust element in the music and complemented the first singer's hardcore vocal style perfectly. The dual vocal work on this Ep happens one my of favourites ever in the crustcore field, worthy of the much-coveted "Terminal Sound Nuisance Dual Vocal Attack Award". Musically, the songs are fast as ever, hit even harder and should be considered absolute eurocrust classics, hands down. Lyrically, MVD were (and still are, if you are wondering) a seriously angry bunch. Songs about police brutality, alienating consumerism, servility and racist violence, all written in a very brutal, direct fashion (and a slight "English as a second language" feel as well). And to top it all off, there is a Shitlickers' quote in one of the songs. What else could you possibly need?

The following MVD record was yet another split Ep with Pink Flamingos, recorded live this time, and it is arguably even more intense and manic as the studio one, albeit a bit more shambolic too. It is difficult to release good, live crust records, only top bands like Hiatus can pull it, but MVD's side on this one is definitely one the best examples of a crunchy, powerful, raw set of crust punk songs played live. The following MVD records would confirm the band's potential and position as one of the most reliable eurocrust band ever, that has never failed to deliver quality crustcore: 1997's split Lp with (German) Ebola (with whom they shared one member), 2001's split Ep with Préjudice from Canada and their latest convincing Lp, 2009's "War species". I don't think MVD managed to reach the same level of aggression and "all-out-crusty-bollocks" as on their first Ep with Pink Flamingos, but then, I am a pretty picky bastard.

On the flip side are four songs of Pink Flamingos, another Berlin band. PF belongs to this category of bands that I know because I have split records with them but that I bought for the band on the other side (like MVD or Substandard). So they are a familiar name but not really a band that I am actually familiar with, if you know what I mean. So listening properly to the PF songs made me realize how absolutely ferocious they were. I mentioned earlier on that there were some styles that Germans did really well, and insane, ultra fast hardcore with tons of manic breaks (aka powerviolence) was certainly one of them in the 90's. This is not a genre I often listen to so it may sound fresher to my ears than it actually is, but I feel the four PF songs on this split are probably top-of-the-shelf in their field. The lyrics are really dark and violent, very direct and graphic as well, but I suppose they adequately fit the genre's requirements. I will definitely play the split with Substandard soon.

Both MVD and PF recorded their songs in the same studio, Hole In the Wall in Berlin, so you've got the same kind of sonic urgency throughout the records. Two local bands recording in a local studio: now if this is not a genuine split Ep, I don't know what is. One last thing though... The name... Seriously? Pink Flamingos? This is moniker fitting for a fun-loving and costume-wearing high-school ska-punk band, not a bleak powerviolence one, but there you go...

This split Ep was released on Farewell records from Hannover, a label that has been around since 1991 and has been involved in releasing materials from MITB, Battle of Disarm, Uranus, Wolfpack and even Extreme Noise Terror reissues.


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Ανάσα Στάχτη "Self-titled" cd, 2005

I couldn't possibly do a 90's crust special and not rant diabolically about Greek crust. It would have been a major mistake, so terrible in fact, that I would have almost expected a mob of disgruntled crusties waiting for me with forks and torches.

90's Greek crust should be seen as genuinely classical. Greek bands should be mentioned spontaneously and with awe when discussing crust. Some albums are just so good that they should have become points of reference. But none of that is actually true. For some reason, Greek crust is beloved by punk nerds but has largely remained obscure, even for those who claim to love crust music. Could it be the language barrier? Unlikely, since we all love Finnish hardcore. It is true that, for a long time, a lot of classic Greek crust was really difficult to listen to, since the records were so hard to find and super expensive (this has not changed actually...). But thanks to the internet, they are now freely available and it should have generated a lot more interest than it actually has. It is a bit of a mystery to me to be honest... I cannot accept, on an intellectual level, that such great bands remain vague record collector items instead of proper crust classics. You happy? You all made me angry now...

Greek crust has this specific feel that makes it instantly recognizable. The Greek wave was probably the most influenced by the original British one, even more so than the Californian one I would argue. Basically, Greek punks just got Amebix, Antisect, Axegrinder. I don't know why, but they embraced this brand of apocalyptic, crunchy mid-tempo metallic punk and built upon it, enhanced it, often through the addition of synth, which is fine by me, but can understandably annoy some people (but then, what would Amebix do?).

Thankfully, Greek crust is slowly being reissued, like the Chaotico Telos Lp, the Panikos demos or the Psychosi unreleased Lp that should be released - hopefully - soon. But there are still so many amazing, unbelievably good stuff left that it truly is a task of epic proportions. Like this Anasa Stahti album for instance.


- Hey you! At the back!
- Who? Me?
- Yeah, you with the Axegrinder backpatch. Come here for a sec please.
- Alright...
- (showing the Anasa Stahti Lp) Do you recognize this album?
- Nope... doesn't ring a bell... Some band from an Eastern country, yeah?
- Not really, no. It is a classic record of 90's Greek crust. 
- From Greece? I didn't know they did the crust thing over there.
- I wish I were deaf... Of course they did, and they did it much better than most. 
- But do they sing in Greek?
- They do. 
- I am not sure I am gonna like it, it sounds weird...
- Do you listen to any Greek punk-rock at all?
- No... I don't think I know any Greek band actually...
- I thought as much. So instead of liking Hellshock videos on Facebook, why don't you give this geezer a shot. It will change your life and you will become addicted to Greek stenchcore and spend ridiculous amounts of money on discogs when you go home blind drunk from a gig.
- Thank you Terminal Sound Nuisance! You have just renewed my faith in crust. I was actually toying with idea of switching to indie-rock... (sobs heavily)
- You're welcome. I am only doing my job. Now go and enjoy the Greek crust life. And don't come back until you can actually spell Ανάσα Στάχτη!
- I will! 



Anasa Stahti formed in 1992 in Athens and was originally made up of Thanasis (from the early Chaotico Telos line-up and Χαμένα Ιδανικά, a late 80's raw hardcore-punk band somewhere between Disorder and Lärm), Nikos (from the obscure ισοπέδωση), Kostas (from Σκατόψυχοι) and Themis. The latter two would soon be replaced with John (from Αναβίωση) and Georgios (from Akros Antithetoi, a Broken Bones-type band). The final line-up of Anasa Stahti would see John leaving room for Makis on bass, who also played in the brilliant Αρνητική Στάση (yes, that's the Negative Stance that did an Ep on Profane Existence).

Like most political punk bands at the time in Greece, Anasa Stahti were connected to the Villa Amalias radical anarchist squat in Athens and the label that released their Lp, Do It Yourself Records, was actually run by Villa Amalias and another squat in Thessaloniki, Villa Barbara. The label only did four records though, with the addition of the fantastic Διατάραξη Οικιακής Ειρήνης compilation Lp (that also had bands like Panikos, Psychosi or Mastiga), the Shit Hit The Fan Ep and the second album of Ανατέλλων Τρόμος. The record we are dealing with today is not, however, the original Lp, but the classy cdr reissue that was released in 2005 by Do It Yourself Records and Punk.Gr, a small label that reissues classic Greek punk (probably to fight the ridiculous prices on Ebay and make the music available for an amount of money that is not outrageous) and also helps releasing top modern Greek bands like Pandemia or the rather good Balkan tribute to Amebix.

Don't be scared by the phrase "cdr reissue" as it is probably the best-looking cdr record I have ever seen. The actual cd even looks like a vinyl! There is an Ep format booklet with the original poster and artwork so it really couldn't have been done better, and in fact, a lot of "proper" cd releases don't look half as good as this one. As a bonus, they even included the two songs that Anasa Stahti contributed to 1996's Διατάραξη Οικιακής Ειρήνης on the cdr, so really there is nothing to complain about here. Musically, Anasa Stahti played pure Greek crust with a groovy, tasteful thrash-metal touch in the guitar. It is heavy, intense, dark, apocalyptic metallic punk with gruff vocals, bits of synth here and there (because that is what people do over there) and epic songwriting. It is probably best defined as "Hellbastard-meets-late-Antisect-at-a-Coitus-gig-in-Athens-when-they-opened-for-Naftia". Or something. The vocals are aggressive and angry, the riffs are effective and more intricate than they first appear to be, there is an anthemic, brutal, threatening quality to the music. The whole beat range is covered on the album, from crunchy mid-tempo scorchers, to faster pummeling moments. If it were not for the typical 90's production (there is no real technicality to it in this case), some of the songs would have been genuine hits during the last stenchcore revival of the mid 2000's.

Aesthetically, the album is a small wonder. The cover is stunning, with a drawing of a young crusty punk armed with a stick entering an evil computer screen. Each song is illustrated with its own drawing which makes for an impressive result and gives that much strength to the band's lyrics. Although some of their contents may have been lost in translation, Anasa Stahti wrote superb songs. The topics are usually dark and rather hopeless, but there always remains a sense of insurgency, a glimmer of life, like a faint heartbeat. Evocations of social and religious alienation, despair, self-hatred, self-sacrifice, imprisonment... The band smartly ties our darkest feelings, our inner suffering with the more global oppression and control. This is intelligent, deep and yet unintellectual political punk music (that's a compliment actually).

Icing on the crusty cake, there is an Anasa Stahti interview included with the booklet. It was done in 1993 and was published in a local fanzine called "Audiatur et Altera Pars". It is all in Greek so I don't have a clue about what they are talking about, apart from Villa Amalias and nazis...

This album is by any reliable, decent standards, a crust classic and anyone who gives a shit, even a small amount of it, about the metallic end of crust should be familiar with it. When Anasa Stahti called it a day, three members formed Ανατέλλων Τρόμος in 1998, helped in their glorious quest by an ex-Pyschosi member. Ανατέλλων Τρόμος carried on where Anasa Stahti left but, as good as they genuinely are, I guess they lost a little of the heaviness and primitiveness of crust, key elements indeed, and tried to write more complex, more melodic songs.