Five of the Best – Olivia Neutered John Influences

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Grind is protest – well all know this. But sometimes, other than a vague sense of “society is bullshit” style slogans, it can be unclear exactly what a band is protesting against. That’s not the case with Olivia Neutered John. The London-based project focuses it rage on how society treats women, flipping the typical gendered dynamic of death and goregrind lyrics on their head. Ahead of the release of Complete Castration – a compilation that will bring together previous releases The Toxic OrgyTransphobia Annihilation Squad, and Kill All Men (Starting With The White Ones), and will include several new tracks – we asked mainman Dick Weeks about the five biggest influences on the project. Some might be what you’d expect from a death-grind band, but some are perhaps a bit surprising; yet, within the context of Olivia Neutered John’s sound and lyrical aims, they all make complete sense. Here they are, in the words of the mainman himself.

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Album of the Day: Ruiner – Prepare to be Let Down

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Label: Bridge9 Records

Prepare to be Let Down? Hardly. The debut album from American hardcore band Ruiner might have had a self-effacing title, but far from letting the listener down, this is one of the most urgent, emotionally devastating, and ultimately excellent records you could possibly listen to. Moving with a desperate pace, self-destructive urges, and sense of nihilism, this is the soundtrack to an emotional breakdown; uncomfortable, bleak, but oh-so cathartic. Bridge9 have a stupidly strong discography, but Prepare to be Let Down is one of the best things the label have ever released.

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Album of the Day: Punch – They Don’t Have To Believe

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Label: Deathwish Inc

The final album from Punch was the band’s best, and a highlight for modern powerviolence / fastcore. They Don’t Have to Believe is a short (less than twenty minutes!) blast of righteous feminist rage, that circumvents many of the conventions of powerviolence by actually having intelligent, mature lyrics, as well as songs that are actual songs rather than 5 second blasts (aside from, erm, the 5 second long title track). It’s an album that has lost none of its power since release, and that the band is no more is a real shame – though at least they went on to form other great bands.

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Five of the Best: Level Plane Records Releases

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That Level Plane Records is no more is nothing short of a tragedy. Between 1997 and 2009, the label released some of the best underground punk, hardcore, screamo, metal, and everything in-between. Originally set up simply so Greg Drudy had an address to put on the back of the first Saetia 7″, the impact and influence the label would go on to have upon the underground scene was huge. Some of these records have been re-issued by other labels – with special praise being given to The Archivist label for getting so many on Bandcamp – but some might require searching on Discogs or eBay.

As such, limiting this list down to only five releases has been rather painful. There’s so many I wanted to include – so many records of superb quality, so many that meant so much to me, and still do – but there’s a reason this series is called Five of the Best, not Twenty of the Best. So, here we go. Feel free to tell me what I missed or what your favourite records from this excellent label are. Enjoy!

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Album of the Day: Exhaustion – Demo

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Label: COF Records

It’s a real shame that Exhaustion went no further than releasing a single demo. Said demo was a short blast of blackened hardcore fury, moving with relentless fury and viciousness. A relatively brief affair – over and done within 12 minutes – it still contained more than enough power and quality to show that the band were capable of much bigger things over an extended period. Alas, it seems that is not to be, as the band have seemingly not so much split up, but drifted away.

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Album of the Day: War on Women – Capture the Flag

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Label: Bridge9 Records

The self-titled album from War on Women was one of the best punk/hardcore albums of the best… well, in a really fucking long time. Funny and furious in equal measure, its contained feminist anthems of protest and self-empowerment. New album Capture the Flag had a lot to live up to, and more than delivered. As stated in my review at PureGrainAudio, the album is tighter, stronger, more focused – all the things you’d hope for from a follow-up. It is also a modern classic, and one of the most inspiring albums since… well, since the last War on Women album.

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Album of the Day: Ringworm – Snake Church

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Label: Relapse Records

One of the greats of metal-infused hardcore (or, if you prefer, old-school metalcore), Ringworm don’t have a bad album in their discography, but Snake Church is the one I find myself listening to most. The 2016 album is a straight-forward, half-hour session of pissed-off riffs that bridge the divide between Slayer and hardcore; furious solos; and aggressive vocals that demonstrate why Human Furnance’s stage name is very apt. Songs race by in a blur, and before you know it the album is over – a real rush of adrenaline and righteous rage.

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