Friday 29 December 2017

A Crustmas Carol: a Retrospective Look at 90's Cavecrust Fury

Christmas. That time of year when you have to pretend that you are quite delighted to spend too much money, eat too much for no other reason than tradition and inevitably listen to your stepmother's nonsensical, but drunkenly loud, ramblings about the state of the world. What a shitshow. 

Ideally, this compilation should have been ready last week but its making was a time-consuming process I misjudged and, as usual, I wanted to make things properly. (Un)fortunately, there will probably be another Christmas season next year so it can still be of great use then. A Crustmas Carol (I know, the title is hilarious) is basically a collection of tastefully refined cavemen crust music released in the 90's (between 1991 and 2000, arguably the apex of this now derelict genre), with 64 bands and 64 songs in 90 minutes from all over the punk world. If you're like me and socially sanctioned festivities make you crave raw but super angry, pummeling crust music with hyperbolic gruff vocals then this is totally adequate and possibly the best present you're gonna get this year. Even if you're not so inclined, playing this comp on Christmas Eve will guarantee that you are never going to be invited again. You just cannot lose. 

Of course, the selection is not meant to be exhaustive but I tried to pick songs that reflected the essence of 90's fast crust in terms of textures, vibes and intents (there is no metallic crust bands on this one, it shall be for another time). Sound quality varies but I did my best to equalize everything and make the songs flow smoothly with one another. Most of them have been ripped from my record collection although I have to admit that I do not own every single crust tapes ever released so I had to use mp3's at times (the horror!). 

As usual, there is a download link at the bottom but, since we are growing lazier by the minute, I also magnanimously uploaded the thing onto youtube so that you only have to push a button to listen to it. 

This will outcrust the fuck out of you.    

01. Hiatus "Wars for murderers" from the Blind Justice for All / From the Outside Looking in split Ep with Embittered, 1992 (Belgium)

02. Deformed Conscience "Deep ecology" from their self-titled Ep, 1992 (U$A)

03. Warcry "Nazi punk fuck off" from the Keep Drinking Attitude demo tape, 1993 (Japan)

04. Embittered "In case of opposition" from the Blind Justice for All / From the Outside Looking in split Ep with Hiatus, 1992 (England)

05. Enough! "Alarm" from the Darkside tape, 1996 (Poland)

06. Global Holocaust "Média déformation" from the Split session '97 split cd with Obnoxious Race, 1997 (Canada)

07. Uncurbed "Mercenaries of war" from the A Nightmare in Daylight Lp, 1995 (Sweden)

08. Simbiose "Um lugar no céu" from the self-titled Ep, 1995 (Portugal)

09. Battle of Disarm "Human disaster" from the Join No Army Police And Politician / 反戦-反動物実験 split Lp with Brainstorm, 1993 (Japan)

10. Sauna "Love" from the Ei Leiki tape, 1991 (Sweden)

11. Blood Sucking Freaks "Alone in the aftermath" from the self-titled Ep, 1997 (England)

12. Accion Mutante "Fear" from the Fear Ep, 1995 (Germany)

13. Lies & Distrust "Dnesni scena" from the split Ep with Exekuce, 1998 (Czech Republic)

14. Warcollapse "Bloodtrade" from the Wandering in Darkness Ep, 1996 (Suède)

15. Mindsuck "Choice" from the self-titled split Ep with Unarmed, 1996 (Japan)

16. Under Threat "Bringing disgrace on humanity" from the split Ep with IAF, 1994 (Brazil)

17. Krvavi Mandat "Glupi fašista" from the self-titled tape, 1999 (Croatia)

18. Inhumanidad "Seguridad" from the Del Hombre y para el Hombre Factor #1 tape, 1999 (Mexico)

19. Masskontroll "An exercise in pointlessness" from the Carrion demo tape, 1994 (U$A)

20. Rotten Sound "With a sledgehammer to a head" from the Sick Bastard Ep, 1995 (Finland)

21. Disconcert "Your achievement" from the self-titled demo tape, 1999 (?) (Greece)

22. Blowhard "Motives" from the Harsh Ep, 1995 (Canada)

23. Doom "Reality" from the Greatest Invention demo, 1992 (England)

24. How Long? "Wojna (War)" from the self-titled tape, 1997 (Czech Republic/Poland)

25. Drunkard "Disarm the skies" from the Why, Why, Why? split cd with Manifest and Recalcitrate, 2000 (Australia)

26. Slaganfall "I'm the boozer, you're the loser" from the split 10'' with Scumbrigade, 1998 (Sweden)

27. Enola Gay "Yuppies death" from the Exempted Authority / Nihilism... split Lp, 1995 (France)

28. Destroy! "Yuppies beware" from the split Ep with Disrupt, 1991 (U$A)

29. Infekcja "Apolitycznosc" from the self-titled Ep, 1997 (Poland)

30. 3-Way Cum "Just another creep" from the The Last Cumshot? Ep, 1997 (Sweden)

31. Krush "Me and Mrs Jones" from the Murder Rhythms 2xEp, 1998 (Netherlands)

32. Proyecto Terror "Machicidio" from the Hagamos del Punk una Amenaza / Estado de Bienestar split Ep with Denak, 1996 (Spain)

33. Condemned "Depends on bloody human" from the Final Noise Attack compilation Ep, 1994 (Japan)

34. Hiastus "Your future" from the split Ep with Totuus, 1996 (Finland)

35. Namland "Dog will hunt" from the The Shame Ep, 1992 (U$A)

36. Acoustic Grinder "Stop the Flemish bloc" from the If you feel right you have to do it: Suicide / Greatest Shits split Ep with Turmoil, 1994 (Belgium)

37. Scum of Society "Questa e' la guerra" from the Violenza Legale Ep, 1996 (Italy)

38. Dischord "Fucking starvation" from the Uma Guerra entre Classes pela Paz entre os Povos split Lp with No Prejudice, 1998 (Brazil)

39. Disagree "Refuse to obey" from the Evolution or Regre$$ion / The End of Supremacy split Ep with Ungovern-Mental, 1996 (Canada)

40. Discordia "Ineleccion" from the Deteriorarse cd, 1998 (Mexico)

41. Toxic Bonkers "Goodness destroyed" from the If the Dead Could Talk cd, 1997 (Poland)

42. Unarmed "Massdeath" from the split Ep with Mindsuck, 1996 (Sweden)

43. Abraham Cross "Bad circulate" from the Meaningful Consolidation compilation 2xEp, 1994 (Japan)

44. Subcaos "Mete o lixo no lixo" from the split cd with Genital Deformities, 1994 (Portugal)

45. Disrupt "Lack of intelligence" from the This is the Cost of a Fur Coat!!! / Free split Ep with Resist, 1992 (U$A)

46. Amen "Leave me alone" from the Don't Imitate Show Your Hate Ep, 1993 (Finland)

47. Human Error "Fucked up school system" from the Another Bloody Intervention / Kill that Nazi Bastard split Lp with System Shit, 1999 (Hungary)

48. Intoxicate "Joza kraster" from the split tape with Radikalna Promjena, 2000 (Croatia)

49. MVD "Boiling with rage" from the split Ep with Pink Flamingos, 1994 (Germany)

50. Holocrust "The battle continues" from the Chaos of Destruction 2 compilation 2xLp, 2000 (Sweden)

51. Money Drug "Stanowczo Dość!" from the split Ep with Wind of Pain, 1995 (Poland)

52. Amnesty "Horrendous hypocrisy" from the self-titled Ep, 1997 (U$A)

53. Sarcasm "Ray the butcher" from the The Lowest Form of Wit Ep, 1992 (England)

54. Skitsystem "Slaves to misery" from the split Ep with Wolfpack, 1998 (Sweden)

55. Disbeer "Filthy and evil" from the Beerdrinkers & Hellraisers cd, 1998 (France)

56. Visions of War "Fucking choice" from the split Ep with Okotta, 2000 (Belgium)

57. System Shit "Pressure" from the Another Bloody Intervention / Kill that Nazi Bastard split Lp with Human Error, 1999 (Canada)

58. S.m.c. "Crkva" from the Hopeful about the Future split tape with Desinence Mortification, 1997 (Croatia)

59. Silna Wola "Potrojna konsumpcja w krajach rozwinietych" from the Chaos 10'', 1996 (Poland)

60. Society Gang Rape "Misär" from the No Fate cd, 1997 (Sweden)

61. Primitiv Bunko "Heavy bétail" from the Nový Světový Řád Stop Udělej To Sám / A La Plage Avec Le Conteur split Ep with Zygomatik Zone, 2000 (France)

62. Disabuse "Break down the walls" from the self-titled cd, 1994 (U$A/England)

63. Truth of Arize "Controlled freedom" from the No Hesitation to Resist compilation 10'', 1998 (Japan)

64. Χαοτικό Τέλος "Trampcore" from the Μπροστά Στην Παράνοια Lp, 1993 (Greece)

Sunday 3 December 2017

Kids of the 90's (part 10): Okotta / Visions of War "恐った / Untitled" split Ep 2000

Could there be a better choice than a Visions of War record to close the Kids of the 90's series with splendour? I think not. I am pretty sure everyone reading this will already be familiar with the mighty VOW. They have been going through thick and thin for twenty years, have toured extensively and released records at a steady pace, so unless you have been hiding under a crust-proof rock for years, you must have heard about them (which is not synonymous with actually hearing them, I'll give you that). Although it is true that the majority of their materials was released from the early 00's on, I personally see VOW as a quintessentially 90's band and not just because of the age of the participants. They stand for a specific genre - in terms of vibe and sound but also of casually genuine DIY attitude - let's call it eurocrust for the sake of clarity, that reached its peak during the mid-90's and almost completely vanished during the last decade (there have been a couple of sporadic instances to be sure but while everyone's talking about a so-called 90's revival, I am still not seeing much of a difference in my punk niche). But, not unlike bands such as Hellkrusher or Extinction of Mankind, they are still standing, undisturbed and unperturbed by the endless flow of newish punk trends and if that's not true dedication and crust heroism (albeit a quixotic one perhaps), then I don't know what is and I should probably open an organic, gluten-free, gender-neutral, streetfood stand selling kale cupcakes and lattes instead of raving like a cyber lunatic.

You can notice that the release date of this split Ep is actually 2000 (hence not the 90's, thanks for pointing it out Captain Obvious) but since the VOW songs were recorded in December, 1998, and mixed in January, 1999 (and since this blog is a domain I rule with an iron fist), I decided to select it as a logical conclusion. Let's start with Okotta, on side A. I must admit that I wasn't really familiar with this lot and therefore had to ask some knowledgable old-timer (merci Lolo!) for details about them. They were a short-lived band from the Antwerp area in Belgium, active in the late 90's (they had split up when the Ep came out). Okotta was made up of Tim and Kurt who had previously played together in Noise Reduction (who did a split Ep with Disaster-fanatics Deadlock from Japan), in Karma and in Orchestrange. Tim was also running Filth-Ear Distributions, a noisy label responsible for some solid records from the likes of Active Minds, Social Chaos and even Jobbykrust (the first Filth-Ear release in fact). With such a pedigree, I guess you can already imagine what Okotta may sound like, right? Noisy hardcore indeed.

The six songs on Okotta's side are raw and to the point, gruff and angry bursts of fast hardcore thrash with hoarse vocals and tightness as an option. If a bunch of grizzly bears tried to cover Hellnation, they would come close to this. There is an undeniable sense of fury and urgency conveyed by the rough sound of the recording and I would venture that the simplicity of the songwriting is also intentional and is meant to reinforce that vibe. But simple is difficult and although I think the songs work as part of the split Ep, I am not sure I could go through a full album. The lyrics are pretty dark, direct and aggressive which of course works well with the genre. There is no recording date but I suppose the songs were done in 1999. Another Okotta release does exist as Filth-Ear put out a cdr album entitled 恐った, same as their side of the Ep, in 1999 (apparently it means something like "I was scared" but I am pretty clueless when it comes to Japanese). 

On side B are the always valiant VOW, also from Hellgium, with their second vinyl appearance. The first one was on the Ups The Record compilation Ep from 1998 (which also included Sin Dios, PCP, Boycot, Dekadent, Shears and Point of Few) but the least you could say about VOW's contribution is that it was a bit of a miss since the song "D-Cay" was at the wrong speed and sounded much slower than it was supposed to (I also love the 90's for stories like these). This track was actually part of the band's first demo, recorded in April, 1998 (VOW formed during the autumn of '96), an ultimate collection of eight songs epitomizing rough and ready dual-vocals cavemen crust that makes Accion Mutante and Warcollapse sound almost soft in comparison. The three songs included on this split Ep were taken from the second demo recorded in January, '99 (the full demo can be found on the cd version of the split with Mass Genocide Process from Czech).

Because the 2002 split Lp with Olho De Gato was released on Maloka Records, it was very easy to find copies of it in Paris in the early 00's and a mate of mine taped the Lp for me at a time when I was slowly but surely getting heavily into crust. But in these days of intense crust exploration, I suppose it kinda got lost in the midst of so many other bands, so I did not pay that much attention to it at first (though I did mentally classify VOW in the ENT/Disrupt drawer). Then in early 2004, at an afterparty in Leeds, someone (I cannot remember who exactly but I do recall that, among the guests, he was reputed to play only "super gruff crust and grind" which, reflecting on it now, I am not sure was exactly a compliment) played VOW's side and, amidst the cider fumes, I was struck by how bloody great it sounded. Fast-forward to spring and to the 2004 K-Town festival, back when it was still an anarcho/crust event relatively hipster-free, where some good mates of mine went (I could not for some stupid reason I forgot) and saw VOW play. According to several trustworthy reports (with the usual hyperbolic storytelling of course), the band pretty much outcrusted everyone on stage: they were savagely intense and the equivalent of time-traveling to see ENT in 1988. At that time, to be convicted of outcrusting at K-Town was not something many could claim to have achieved so I was, once again, really quite impressed and thus the aforementioned record (which I had bought in the meantime) got played even more often at home. 

These are all silly stories of course, but, being sentimental, I suppose the band means a lot to me. VOW is a bit like that old friend you can always rely on. Sure some years were better than others in your relationship, but he's one of the proverbial boys. I am not sure whether or not the band still played the songs from this second demo when they hit the K-Town stage, but it can still give you a significant idea about where the allegation of outcrusting comes from. 

Prior to VOW, vocalist Stiv (who is gossiped to have started as the "high-pitched" screamer in the band) had been singing in Insane Youth, a crusty and noisy hardcore punk band who did a split Ep with Boycot, second vocalist Steffen was part of Deconsume and guitar-hero Stef played in Corpus Christi, a Mob-47-meets-Zyklome-A-at-a-crust-conference kind of band who did a split Ep with Força Macabra, and in the late Insane Youth Lineup. As for the very original moniker, the rumour has it that it was the result of a dare with the guys from Hellkrusher who challenged Stef to form a crust band with a clichéd Discharge-inspired name. I doubt anyone involved expected said band to last twenty years but here it is. 

And the three songs on this particular Filth-Ear split Ep I hear you ask? Well, they are top-shelf pummeling gruff crust with dual vocals and a crunchy, powerful and heavy raw sound, up there with the finest of the 90's. Vintage Hiatus, Amen, Warcollapse, Amnesty, MVD, all the best come to mind and the VOW side can be seen as a "90's crust for dummies" guideline, or, perhaps more accurately, as the perfect eurocrust synthesis of the decade. Absolutely ace stuff done with taste and knowhow. In 2000, Lolo from Primitiv Bunko and Arnaud from Detritus joined the band and contributed to the making of the furious split Lp with Olho de Gato. More records followed but that's a story for another time. 

Get some fucking 90's crust in your life, yeah?