Monday 19 December 2022

Live by the Crust, Die by the Crust: Genogeist "S/t" demo tape, 2018

And Portland does it again. 

I have been whining on many occasions like a proverbial sad bastard about how PDX (that's how punks who are not posers call the town) has, time after time again, given birth to brilliant hardcore punk bands. I am not sure why it is. Perhaps the younger generations basically emulate the good music and bands that preceded them, thus ensuring the continuity and survival of local quality punk. Does good music basically spawn further good music? Being able to watch Hellshock or Dog Soldier or Harum-Scarum or Autistic Youth or Tragedy (the list really is endless) is a considerable advantage in your formative years. As young punks we all used to look up to and admire older punks, sometimes just slightly older really, with starry eyes and a bit of envy because they all seemed to play in cool bands and were thus undeniably much more self-confident than your spotty self trapped in rampant insecurity. In that PDX context it would probably inspire you to sound as good, or even better than them, and basically to write good songs. Good music calls for and attracts good music, it is a magnet. It creates a dynamic that will lead people to move to this place in order to be part of this movement, immerse themselves in the energy and contribute further good music. From afar PDX is like going to Hollywood to make it as an actor or actress but for punks who are into Discharge cosplay. If you need another metaphor because you are under 25, it is like a massively popular motivational Instagram post that everyone strives to emulate.

On the other hand, maybe they also have shite bands in Portland, we just never hear about them. Maybe the town's best-kept secrets are actually its terrible bands that have to be contained in order to safeguard the good reputation of Portland. What would people think if they knew the town was overrun with skacore revival bands or Smash Mouth cover bands? I trust the local punk police with its unlimited trendsetting power will do its best to keep the city's name untarnished. And if they plan to hire at some point, they know where to find me. 

So Genogeist is yet another class PDX crust band if you have not already guessed. The love story between the city and crust music is famous and seemingly unbreakable. I mean, you could do an advent crust calendar with only PDX crust bands (seriously, I did). A few months ago in Live by the Crust, Die by the Crust I touched upon others bands from the area, namely crasher crusties Horrendous 3D and the Sacrilege-loving Terminal Conquest and because the scene is rather incestuous, a member of Genogeist played in the latter. In fact, the people involved in Genogeist also got their hands dirtier than they already were in Dödläge, GAASP, Vastation and Decomp - bands that I rate very highly indeed - so it is little wonder that a coalition of such craftpersons would result in something remarkable (well, there have been exceptions to that rule but common decency and basic cowardice force me to remain silent on the matter). And of course, Genogeist absolutely rips. In fact their 2019 Lp is one the strongest crust albums of the decade and it would probably make it to my personal top 10. It just sounds and looks stunning. But before this gem the band recorded a five track demo tape in 2018 which is what we are all religiously gathered for tonight.

Granted, the tape was pretty limited with only 100 copies being made which may account for its relative obscurity. I distinctly remember - and I am sure many others unfortunately also do in spite of themselves - rambling inarticulately about the Genogeist demo upon hearing it, even to people who are not into crust at all. Even to random strangers apparently. As if I were twatting innocents in the face with emphatic praises about the band. But what can you do? I am an enthusiast. I am not completely sure about the name "genogeist", the prefix "geno" meaning "race" or "family" and "geist" is the German word for "mind" ("ein gesunder Geist in einem gesunder Körper" as my brutally scary German teacher used to tell our class while specifically staring at me for some reason) so I suppose it suggests an idea of an overarching collective mind which would go well with the futuristic dystopian robotic imagery of the band and the anguished and unhinged vibe of the music, each reflecting the other. This cohesion and fluid link between form and content is meant to create a sense of crazed technological alienation for the self and the collective alike, an idea that was notably at the core of SDS's super intense Digital Evil in Your Mind (and Ameber although with a different songwriting), a brilliant and unique work on which Genogeist clearly built and developed the concept further. This is basically the definition of cybercrust: half-punk, half-machine, 100% crust. They could have gone for robocrust or mechacrust too but I am thankful they left crustmorpher out.  

The band has often been compared to later SDS, and rightly so, but AGE's Four Wings Lp must definitely be mentioned too as this rather underrated album of exploding and rocking metallic crust explored very similar themes to SDS's and Genogeist's visuals actually hint more to the Niigata's legends. Therefore, one would be right to argue that these PDX punks pay tribute to the aforementioned periods of those Japanese bands, not just in terms of music but also in terms of message and aesthetic stance. And clearly, the music absolutely smokes. Relentless Antisect-ish Japanese-styled metallic crust with a sense of atmospherics, ripping solos, angry gruff vocals, rocking mid-paced filthy metal moments and a relentless energy (let's throw a bit of Disturd). Japanese-inspired crust is often associated by the average singleton to the distorted blown-out crasher crust school of Gloom, Collapse Society, Zyanose and the likes but the SDS way is just as meaningfully influential and part of this magnificent equation.

This is a very strong punishing recording with a heavy but still raw production, the sole minor issue being the level of the cymbals that sound a little distracting. Black Water would release a visually stunning full album the next year that further highlighted the band's furious referential take on the Japanese greats. A supernova cybercrust cracker and as I said, one of the best crust albums of the decade. The tape was released on Malaysia's very prolific Black Konflik Records and Sickhead Records. 

Praise the cybercrust                    


  1. Very good stuff. There's supposed to be an EP coming out next year. On YT there are some killer footages from this years shows.

    1. That's very good news indeed, Genogeist do not get the credit they deserve.