The previous release from Arid, Offerings, was a punishing EP of “anti-fascist, anti-state, anti-human” crust, fueled by a righteous anger and sense of protest. It was a great release, that hinted at something very special to come. Now, following a shift in line-up and direction, the band return with Scars of War. Whilst you might expect such changes to potential undermine the momentum the band had previously displayed, Scars of War displays a band that are still possessed by the same sense of anti-fascist anger, determined to kick back against the growing tide of fascism, with these four songs (and Doom cover) being the soundtrack to protest marches and direct action.
Your Fault doesn’t start in the strongest of ways. The opening track to the new album from Gravehuffer contains plenty of powerful riffs, ugly vocals, and furious drumming; but it never quite comes together, with its combination of crust, death metal, and raw punk energy missing the mark. Thankfully, this is an anomaly on an album that is otherwise full of vicious crusty metalpunk, switching between genres at ease, and with songwriting deft that is surprising for music that is so ugly and hard hitting. The first track aside, this is an invigorating listen, and a fine half hour of underground snarl and spit.
One of the real joys of underground music is watching bands develop before our eyes, going from promising early releases to albums that more than live up to expectations. Such is the case with the latest album from Abstracter, Cinerous Incarnate. The band have evolved, building on their earlier sounds, bringing further elements of noise and dark ambient to their already soul-crushing fusion of doom, black, death, and crust. It makes Cinerous Incarnate an album of utter despair and world-ending heaviness, filled with the kind of riffs that can collapse buildings and an atmosphere of the most haunting, searing dread.
A short split, this one, but one filled with a lot of power. Crust punks Phantom Corporation team up with German death metal beasts Slaughterday for 11 minutes of devastation; there’s no real sophistication here, just riff after riff after riff. It’s a split for those who like their music uncompromising and unsubtle – but also without really testing the boundaries of either genre. One for the purists, then, and taken as such, it’s hard to disagree with what either band offers.
When Amebix rose after almost twenty years of inactivity, it was a cause for celebration. Here were one of the most important bands in underground punk and metal – pretty much the first crust band – reforming and releasing new music. Of course, new music from classic bands can be a cause for concern, as no one wants to see a legacy sullied in the way that, say, What The… did for Black Flag. So when Sonic Mass arrived, it was a huge surprise. Here was a classic band, releasing a reformation album that not stood up to the best of their back catalogue, but also showed the band building upon what they had done before.
Some music should hurt. Such is the vase with the sludge/doom/crust of Body Void; the trio’s music is of such monstrous density and power that it can almost be physically painful to listen to. And yet, as off-putting as that may make it seem, there is something deeply rewarding and cathartic to be found within their cataclysmic, all-encompassing soundscapes. There is no easy route to finding such succor though, and I Live Inside A Burning House is an album that will challenge you; but the more you put in to the album, the more you get out of it.
Does Pope Richard ever sleep? Judging by his consistent stream of quality releases, I’m hard pressed to believe it. One of the latest is Crustfucker under the Discord moniker, which is – as you might expect from the name – a nasty slice of crust and D-beat. Featuring songs with titles like ‘Cop Crusher’, ‘New Nazis’, and ‘Racists Don’t Own Shit’, it’s as politically charged and unsubtle as you’d hope for from the writer of songs such as ‘Stop Supporting Racist Bands’. And, just as you’d hope for from a crust records, it’s full of high energy riffs and righteous energy, the sound of a one-man protest against the bullshit systems that oppress so many.