If you happen to dig a bit in the the early 80s' hc/punk scene from my hometown, Kobra is one of those name that, sooner or later, will pop up. It's one of those quite obscure bands that's mainly known between the collector nerds for their only release, 1985's "corri nel sangue dei tuoi nemici" (run in the blood of your enemies) self-released 7". Like it frequently happens, obscure doesn't necessarily mean great. It's like how Wretched would have sounded if they had a poor guitar work and were influenced by bad metal. Not even the fantastic cover could save that ep from its mediocrity. Apart from that, Kobra are mainly known for their 1983 UK tour with Wretched. Recently I was reading in General Speech #9 about a great live recording captured during that aforementioned tour. I usually avoid live recordings but this one intrigued me. I've asked around but since I'm not cool enough in the tape trading circuit, I couldn't get my hands on it. Then this bootleg ep, pragmatically titled "live queen's walk community centre nottingham 13 aug 83" surfaced in a distro. Recording is of course raw but not bad at all for being captured on stage. What really surprised me is that you can hear a completely different band here. While "corri nel sangue..." totally lacks of the trademark urgency of italian hardcore, songs here are more energic, faster and direct compared to the material they released 2 years later. It reminds a lot the Wretched side of their legendary split with Indigesti. All the eight songs featured here were also completely unknown to me. Perhaps material for a demo that unfortunately never got recorded? Anyhow, this bootleg re-evaluated completely Kobra in my books. A great piece of history for Milano and 80s italian hardcore in general.
martedì 18 aprile 2017
A couple of weeks ago, while I was listening to the recent SPHC repress on wax of Final Exit 2008 "seasons are going and going...and lives goes on" 3"cd, my partner suddenly came in the room. While she sporadically appreciates some hc/punk music, she usually hates grind/death/noise and everything in the middle. To my surprise she said: "I like this band. Who are them? They remind me Melt Banana. No wait, how was called that John Zorn band?". "Naked City", I promptly answered with my heart full of pride. "Yeah, Naked City! They sound like them". And I think she nailed it perfectly. It would be indeed too reductive to tag this album, and this japanese duo in general, simply as a noisecore band.
I've been enjoying Final Exit since they released their first split eps in the mid 90s. They've always been an unique band that was able throw in their low-fi noisecore assault a lot of weird and unexpected parts. But on "seasons are going and going...and lives goes on" they've outdone themselves to assemble their masterpiece. In barely 10.30 minutes, they melted perfectly their aural decimation with NWOBHM, Death Metal, HC/Punk, Pop, Doom, Surf, Rock, Industrial and Jazz parts. While they've obviously taken clue from Anal Cunt and Meat Shits (they are indeed named after the last ones), both Hisao and Ryohei are excellent musicians who could play whatever genre they wanted but consciously choose to stay loyal to their roots and keep gracing us with their wonderful noisecore. They've been able also to avoid the usual clichés of the genre: "SAGAGALGO" is a twelve tracks concept album about the flowing of the time. Tracks are named after the 12 months and the artwork reproduces perfectly the four panels of the cd version. It's housed in a full-coloured gatefold cover with a beautiful picture to represent each season. SPHC has given this reissue all the attention and quality it needed.
lunedì 3 aprile 2017
Recently I've been finally able to cross off from my wantlist one of my mexican top wants. I've scored it again from that endless pit of insanely hard to find south american records that is my friend Jum's collection. I'm talking about the Desgarracion Brutal/ Regimen Democratico split 7", the only vinyl effort by both bands (DB also released a demo tape). Released in 1992 by Producciones Septima Regione (a label run by the Hereja guys), this might not be as well known as other mexican punk/hardocore classicos, but it's on the same level of greatness. Both bands offer two tracks each. DB are the undisputed winner here, uber brutal & wild mexican hardcore with guttural vocals in the vein of Atoxxxico or M.E.L.I. This sounds way better than their demotape. Regimen Democratico plays a more controlled & predictable style of hardcore/punk, but still with an unquestionable mexican flavor. Solid band as well. Scored this copy in immaculate conditions for a great price. The artwork looks like it has been draw by a 8 years kid and I love it for this reason. An awesome split that should be in every south american hardcore fanatic's collection, good luck finding one!
mercoledì 22 marzo 2017
Some saturday afternoon of 1993 I was, as usual, digging through New Zabrinskie Point's grind/ death/ black metal lps crate, looking for a way to spend the few money I've saved during the week. Instead of buying bus tickets or food, I used to save every lira I got to buy an lp during the weekend. I had just discovered death metal a few months earlier and everything was new and exciting to me and my friends. We usually bought records basing ourselves solely on how cool an album cover was or on the sporadic suggestion of older metalheads that were lurking around the shop. I bumped into a copy of Amorphis debut lp "the karelian isthmus" and was immediately intrigued by it. I liked the logo & the artwork and the guys on the back cover looked cool as fuck. Then I timidly asked to Stiv (the shop owner) if he could play it for me. While he usually blasted only Oi! or hardcore bands (and I've always suspected he hated metal in general), he was always extremely kind and friendly and played whatever we asked him. After the melancholic intro, "the gathering" erupted in all its slow brutality and a few seconds later I was immediately a devoted fan of this unknown finnish band. Flash forward to one year later. As soon as I found they just released a new album titled "tales of the thousand lakes", I immediately bought it. Of course again on vinyl simply 'coz back then they were cheaper than cds. Loved every single notes out of it just like every one else. While being weird and experimental, it was still brutal as fuck death metal! Expectation for the following album were of course high but when "elegy" came out in 1996, I was extremely disappointed. It wasn't metal enough for me and I simply lost interest in the band.
Recently I've been playing Amorphis first two full lengths a lot. While checking their discography on discogs, I've discovered their ep from 1993 titled "privilege of evil" that I've never heard of back then. It has just being reissued by Relapse in 2013 for the very first time on vinyl. After a quick listening on youtube, I immediately ordered a copy. While it came out one year after "the karelian isthmus", it has been originally recorded one year before it and was supposed to be a split lp with Incantation (!!). Here Amorphis doomish death metal was extremely raw and the melodies that characterized their sound were just outlined. The result indeed is not too far from other finnish death metal institutions from the same era (Demigod, Convulse & Disgrace above all). Three of these tracks are indeed a rougher version of songs that would be featured on their debut full length. Cherry on top, an Abhorrence cover, "vulgar necrolatry" with Jukka Kolehmainen (Abhorrence singer) doing vocals!! While you basically get only 2 unreleased tracks, this is an essential listening for all early finnish death metal maniacs!
mercoledì 15 marzo 2017
mercoledì 8 marzo 2017
Time to fill in some embarrassing gaps in my collection of two heavyweights of 90s grindcore. You know them since I've talked a lot about them in this blog: Warsore & GBN. Let's start with the australian undisputed kings of grindcore. Their split with Nee!, released in 1997 by Mortville Rec. was the last piece I needed to complete my Warsore collection (well, not considering all the posthumous releases that keep coming out). Scored it for cheap from a swedish dealer. Here these melbourne hillbillies have been captured at their peak: everything is balanced so perfectly without being overproduced that the final result is probably one of their best studio performance ever. Can't praise this band enough. As far as I know, this is their only release that came on coloured wax (or was the lathe cut with Egrogsid on clear?). On the other side, dutch noisegrind band Nee! pales in comparison. Poorly recorded and badly mixed (drums are way too high!!), they are just another number in the endless list of forgettable bands.
I've been listening to Gore Beyond Necropsy a lot lately and since I still enjoy them as much as I did 20 years ago, I've decided it was about time to finally complete my collection. I've started with their split with tasmania's Egrogsid, released by Dry Retch twentyone years ago. GBN was and still is one of the most extreme noisecore band ever. Started as another mere Carcass clone, they quickly morphed, or I'd better say mutated, into something deformed, scary & unique. Their ultra downtuned putrid sound, surrounded by a constant wall of feedback noise, mixed with some of the lowest growls ever and insanely fast drumming shaped what has become their trademark sound. Here they still used a drum machine and it fits perfectly in the gloomy atmosphere they created, making these eleven tracks sounding even more extreme. Not only GBN were a true aural butchery, their records also always looked damn cool. They had one of the most putrid logo (and band name) ever, all their artworks were dark and filthy and they used the coolest font ever for all their inserts/backcovers. No band pics were in their releases, adding more mystery to surround these japanese maniacs. The only one I saw in the 90s was a very blurry one featured in a zine. They simply built the perfect iconography for the putrid noise they played. Eighteen years old me was impressed just as much as forty years old me still is. Egrogsid performance on the other side aint bad at all. Filthy grindcore not too dissimilar to Warsore (with whom they shared some members). Overall, a very solid split release!
mercoledì 22 febbraio 2017
Over the years, there has never been too much bands outta Rome that caught my interest. The roman scene always seemed to me more youth crew & Oi! oriented. And I've never developed any interest in these two sub-genres. That being said, there are a couple of classic roman bands from the early 80s that played pure hardcore in the classic crazy italian style. One of them is Shotgun Solution. The best HC band that ever came outta the capital city. They released only a four songs EP titled "shotgun" in 1983 on High Rise Production. Simply a masterpiece. High-octane, fast & unpredictable hardcore that resembles a bit Negazione but, like all the italian bands from the golden era, simply sounds unique. Scored this record via a trade with a guy that I've met a few times at some gigs more than 10 years ago and then completely lost touch with him. Ahhh, the internet era! Cover has seen better days but this is what I call "italian EX conditions". For some reasons it's almost impossible to score local hc classic that weren't used to party hard back then...