Cortez Initial


Initial (10th Anniversary Reissue)

Wooaargh / Get A Life Records

Rating: 2/5




Today only the two of the original trio that created Intial remain, however Cortez remain active as a musical trio, with Samuel Vaney acting a silent fourth member who contributes as a composer and studio engineer. To commemorate the release of Cortez‘s first album, Initial, a decade ago Wooaargh and Get A Life Records have co-released the tenth anniversary reissue of the debut album by the Swiss hardcore legends. This isn’t just a shameless anniversary cash in, the reissue of this landmark album has been completely remixed and remastered at the Autoclave Studio in Singapore.

Cortez were formed in Switzerland in 2001 as a trio that was uniquely comprised of drums, guitar and vocals. This is about as extreme an album as I’ve heard, it is a brutal and relentless album that encompasses the worlds of hardcore, post hardcore and there’s even a bit of extreme metal in it’s DNA. This is not an easy listen of an album, everything about this album is intense, from the opening seventeen second salvo of Prompt to the closing epic track, Patriarche. This is not just an album of the short sharp shocks that are frequently associated with hardcore, this is an experimental beast of an album that enbraces numerous genre’s and influences, this stops Initial becoming another repetitive assault on the your senses.

This is from the dark end of hardcore, I imagine that this will appeal to fans of the hardcore movement of the 1980’s, and to those who like their noise rock to be unpredictable and experimental, Initial would also be worthy of investigation if you’re a fan of the darker and heavier end of the punk spectrum. The production on the album reflects the stormy intensity, yet somehow the mix also manages to be clean and perfectly balanced, whilst this isn’t something that appeals to me you can’t help but be impressed by the intensity and brutality of this album.

Initial was released earlier this month on a limited edition run on black vinyl, it can purchased via Bandcamp here 
The album can also be ordered from Wooaargh here
Entropy DTW


Deinventing The Wheel

Say-10 Records

Rating: 3.5/5




Deinventing The Wheel is the latest release from irreverent New York hardcore punk outfit Entropy, they have generously included their 2015 So It Goes EP along with eleven brand new tracks. This album follows on from their previous full length album, All Work, No Plagiarism, that was released back in 2014. Deinventing The Wheel follows on in exactly the same vein as their debut album, and this very much a case of if something isn’t broken, then there’s no need to try and fix it.

Entropy bring a blistering old school blast of hardcore punk on Deinventing The Wheel, they have delivered seventeen tracks in around seventeen minutes on this album. Nearly every track is done and dusted in a minute or less, with the noble exceptions of, So It Goes, almost a minute and a half, and Game Over Man, Game Over which clocks in at an epic two and a half minutes. This is a relentless pummelling short lived beast of an album, but what marks it out from the pack is that this is a band, that whilst being as intense as anyone else that ever made an album of short sharp aural assaults, doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Hardcore albums can tend to be hit or miss for me, but I’m glad to report that Deinventing The Wheel is one that definitely hits the spot. The album has been perfectly mixed and this is old school hardcore that is just as it oughta be, loud, fast and aggressive. If you have any love for the hardcore scene then you should visit Say-10 Records and look at getting a copy of Deinventing The Wheel. The album can be ordered for free on download, but why not throw them some of your hard earned pennies and meet the suggested price of a measly five dollars, or even buy the cd, you won’t regret it.

Deinventing The Wheel can be ordered from Say-10 Records digitally or on CD here

Caskitt OFNW


Old Fires, New Frontier

La Escalera Records

Rating: 4/5




Caskitt is are a Californian punk trio, they are led from the back from the back by drummer and lead vocalist Matt Caskitt, up front they have Steffen Long, guitar, and Jesse Hernandez, bass, both of whom chip into the vocal duties with harmonies and even taking over lead vocal duties from time to time. Old Fires, New Frontier is their sophomore release, it follows on from last years impressive debut, This Machine Kills Sadness. If their previous release killed sadness then Old Fires, New Frontier appears to be gleefully dancing on it’s grave.

Caskitt have lost none of their fire, the energetic compositions encompass punk, hardcore and even a tiny pinch of pop punk in what is a frantic and highly enjoyable album from start to end. Don’t be put off by the fact I’ve mentioned pop punk, I’m aware that term can send some people running to the hills, but it only applies to the accessible way in which the relentless speedy punk riffs are delivered. This isn’t just a relentless barrage, there are break downs and quieter moments amongst the frenetic earnest numbers, notably the brief instrumental Crimes that, unlike many interludes in albums, fits perfectly alongside the rest of the material.

To my ears there’s a distinct influence by Propagandhi and Against Me! on their sound and that is by no means a bad thing, they haven’t copied those bands but rather they’ve incorporated elements of those bands style into their armoury without being derivative. Old Fires, New Frontier is an album that’s firing on all cylinders and it seems that they have focused and refined their sound into an impressive album that doesn’t disappoint on any level.

Old Fires, New Frontier is released today and you can purchase or stream the album here

You can also purchase bundles, including coloured vinyl, that can be ordered from La Escalera Records here

Death Koolaid V2

Death Koolaid

Vol. 2

Self Released

Rating: 3.5/5




Death Koolaid formed only a few years ago and they have been honing their sound, and their image, since that time. They are a visually striking and captivating band, and they match this with the intensity of their music, as this is a brutal blend of hardcore, punk and metal that has produced a loud, fast and uncompromising album. It shouldn’t be any surprise that Vol. 2 is their second release or that it is the follow up to 2014’s Vol. 1. Whilst album titles don’t seem to be their strongpoint, they have been steadily building a solid following, and a growing reputation, from their live performances.

Vol 2. is an album that harks back to spirit of the UK82 punk scene, the drums are relentless, the guitars are heavy, and incredibly distorted, and the vocals are delivered with raw aggression, singer Siren Sycho sounds like she’s on the verge of shredding her vocal chords throughout the album. From the opening track of Mirror to the closing number, Monkey 187, this is a brutal release that takes no prisoners and has a distinctly menacing undercurrent. The aggressive nature of the music is not to be misinterpreted though, this is the band that brought punk rock to Brighton’s Pride festival and they have been accumulating numerous awards and nominations in recognition of their music and live performances.

Death Koolaid have encapsulated a contemporary and heavy take on punk rock that has clear traces of Vice Squad and The Plasmatics in their DNA. If this album has a flaw then it’s that there isn’t much variety, every track is a relentless pounding assault on the senses. Personally I like a bit of variety across an album, but I appreciate that not everyone feels the same, if you want a band where absolutely no quarter is given, and no compromise is made, then I’d investigate Death Koolaid as they make a hell of a noise.

You can visit Death Koolaid‘s website for details of their tour dates, and to purchase Vol. 2 here

You can view the video for the single Emmeline below

Buildings Volunteer Split

Buildings / Volunteer


Triple Eye Industries

Rating: 4/5




Minneapolis’ Buildings and Milwaukee’s Volunteer have both been hard at work in their respective cities, each crafting their own distinct brand of dissonance over the course of the last few years. This release brings the two geographically disparate bands together for hell raising six track EP, each band has contributed three tracks to this Split EP that was released at the tail end of last month via Triple Eye Industries.

First up on this EP are Buildings, this is their first release since last years Life Doesn’t Matter EP and their contribution to this release continues in their fine tradition of genre defying brutal noise. Opening track Something Better is a brief slice of discordant alt rock, it’s a fine warning shot that just makes this Split hit the ground running with it’s brutal pounding beat and abrasive guitar riffs, the next two tracks are almost the equal of it and the first three rounds of this EP have all hit the mark. Buildings could fall under almost banner you try to describe them with, punk, noise rock, post hardcore and alt rock would all be appropriate, but somehow fall short of capturing their essence.

The second half of this Split opens in an even more aggressive fashion, Volunteer make an intense and heavy assault on the senses, if Buildings were the opening burst of shock and awe then Volunteer are the tank that crashes into your living room. They are angry, loud and heavy, very heavy. The guitars are pulverising distorted numbers that don’t relent until the final cymbal has faded away the end of the final track. This is their first release since 2014’s Goner EP and it sounds like they’ve been building their rage over the last two years, and have unleashed it all in the twelve minutes that their three songs occupy on this Split.

Both bands compliment each other perfectly and you couldn’t ask for a more perfectly dysfunctional match up. Unlike many of the Split EP’s I’ve encountered where the bands are at odds with each other, this is one where the bands compliment each others natural aggression and noisy style perfectly. If you’re a fan of either band, or just of noisy brutal alternative music, then this is a release that belongs in your collection, whilst I have a slight preference for Buildings contribution it is exactly that, slight, and this EP showcases two bands that I look forward to hearing a lot more of.

You can order a copy of the Buildings / Volunteer Split EP here

Fire From The Gods Release ‘End Transmission’ Music Video

Fire From The Gods NWith Excuse Me, the lead single off Fire From The Gods debut full-length Narrative currently racking up spins as one of the most played songs on Sirius XM’s Octane channel, the hard-charging Texas based five piece is now premiering the music video for another track off the album.

You can read the Punk Site review of Narrative here

Narrative can be ordered from Rise Records here

You can view the video for End Transmission below

Read More…

Everyone Dies In Utah Announce Self Titled Album And Tour

Everyone Died In UItah TourEveryone Dies In Utah are hitting the road with Convictions , Glass Houses and Conspire this October. They recently unveiled the first single, SYNRS, off their upcoming self titled album,  which is due out on October 7th via InVogue Records.

You can view the tour dates by clicking on the image on the left

You can pre-order Everyone Dies In Utah‘s new album here

Heck Release Incredible New Video For ‘Mope’

Heck PromoHeck have released a unique new music video for Mope, the third video to come from their critically acclaimed debut album, Instructions. The video was directed by Dan Sturgess at a secret location in the middle of England. One shot. Zero chance.
Heck‘s album, Instructions, can be ordered on download and physical formats here
The incredible video for Mope, and their upcoming tour dates, can be viewed below

Read More…

Caskitt Stream Title Track From New Album

Caskitt OFNWCaskitt have released the stream of the title track from their new album Old Fires New Frontier, which is scheduled for release on La Escalera Records and FTLP Records on September 16th 2016.

You can now pre order the album here or bundles, including coloured vinyl, can be ordered here

You can stream Old Fires New Frontier here and view the Blinders Video below


Read More…

Fire From The Gods Release ‘Excuse Me’ Video

Fire From The Gods NAustin, TX quintet Fire From The Gods will release Narrative, their Rise Records debut, on August 26. Narrative is based in heavy metal power, hip-hop consciousness, and even a little reggae spirit, the Austin, TX quintet urge for change via an album that’s both personal and universal.

To coincide with the launch of pre-orders, a music video is premiering for the track Excuse Me which can be viewed below

Narrative is available for pre-order here Read More…



Threefold Misery (Reissue)

Six Feet Under Records

Rating: 3.5/5




108‘s Threefold Misery album was originally released in 1996, it was their final full length prior to their original break up, to mark the 20th anniversary of the original release of the album, and to celebrate their reformation and return to touring, the album has been reissued with new art and two bonus tracks, both of which are culled from the Curse Of Instinct EP.

108 is an American hardcore punk band that began life back in 1991, they blend their spiritual beliefs, they are all devotees of the Hare Krishna faith, with a brutal blend of hardcore and metal, this may sound like an unlikely combination but punk, and especially hardcore, has always  spawned bands that have a message, whether that’s political, personal or spiritual, and this marriage may sound like it would make unlikely bedfellows, but it’s certainly one that works.

The ominous bass rumble that appears at the beginning of opening track, Invocation, gives you fair warning of what’s about to be unleashed, they then then launch into a dark and intense hardcore assault. Threefold Misery is an energetic and relentless album on which 108 manage to balance their spiritual beliefs with a dedication to playing an intense and heavy blend of hardcore and metal. You can hear the musical influences on here, from the hardcore of pioneering bands like Black Flag, through to the political rage of Rage Against The Machine and the intensity of Slayer.

Whilst musically this is an influential hardcore album, the lyrical content of the songs captures 108’s beliefs and carries the message of their dedication to the Krishna Consciousness. It would appear that the old cliché that the devil has all the best tunes isn’t one that rings true, this album is evidence that the Krishna Consciousness has it’s own noisy standard bearers

Threefold Misery can be ordered from Six Feet Under Records on a variety of coloured vinyl variants here

Harm Shelter PC



Beatdown Hardware Records

Rating: 3.5/5




German Quintet Harm/Shelter formed in 2011, this is their debut full length album and it follows on from their 2014 EP, The Evil Within, but this album is a slightly sleeker beast compared to that EP and their sound has been honed to a razor sharp edge. Harm/Shelter have steadily been developing their heavy breed of hardcore over the last five years, essentially it sounds like a multiple pile up between early hardcore crossover bands, Bodycount and the punkier side of Thrash Metal.

Harm/Shelter deliver a pummelling aggressive brand of metal that has been spliced with the attitude of hardcore and the beats from rap, mid way through there is even a piece of actual hip hop. Vom Schatten Ins Nicht, is a mellow slice of German hip hop with light guitar and eighties keyboards, this unexpected path then leads back into more familiar heavy territory via Interlude . This is brutal and heavy music that is delivered with a heavy groove feel to the drumbeat, an influence that can only have come the more extreme end of rap music, but this in no way rapcore or anything similar, The rap influence is only in the way the tracks are delivered, it jut seems to make the battery of aggressive guitars and barked vocals somehow flow smoothly.

If you like things at the heavier end of the punk spectrum, then this is an album you might want to investigate as it is as heavy as anything I’ve heard this year, yet it manages to deliver it’s blows with a smoothness, in that respect Paycheck is the equivalent of being punched with a velvet boxing glove. If this was a traditional thrash or hardcore album I’d probably get a bit weary of it, but the amalgamation of influences keeps this album from being a relentless headache. I liked this a lot more than I expected to, it’s a subtle twist on the classic cocktail of hardcore and metal that works surprisingly well. 

 You can pick up your Paycheck from Breakdown Hardware Records here

Descendents Release ‘Hypercaffium Spazzinate’ Today

Descendents BandLegendary Californian punks, Descendents celebrate the release of their much anticipated new album, Hypercaffium Spazzinate today on Epitaph Records.

You can read review of Hypercaffium Spazzinate here

You can order Hypercaffium Spazzinate here

Caskitt Announce New Album And Release ‘Blinders’ Video

Caskitt OFNWLa Escalera Records alumni Caskitt have announced the release date for their new album Old Fires New Frontier, which is scheduled for release on La Escalera Records and FTLP Records on September 16 2016. In anticipation of of the release the new album, Old Fires New Frontier, the band has released a video for the song Blinders

Pre-orders for Old Fires New Frontier will be available on August 16th

The video for Blinders can be viewed below

Read More…

Descendents HS


Hypercaffium Spazzinate

Epitaph Records

Rating: 4.5/5




the Descendents are a legendary punk band, I probably don’t need to tell you that, without them we would probably be looking at a very different punk scene than the one we all know and love. Whether it’s the pop punk of Blink 182, or the harder edged sounds of the likes of NOFX, Pennywise and Face To Face, the Descendents have had a massive influence on the direction American punk has taken. Hypercaffium Spazzinate is the Descendents much anticipated new album, their first Epitaph Records release since Everything Sucks in 1996, and their first new material since 2004’s Cool To Be You. The Descendents trademark mixture of punk and hardcore has always been performed with a perfect pop sheen, and Hypercaffium Spazzinate is no exception

Hypercaffium Spazzinate veers smoothly between melodic hardcore, punk and pop tinged punk, and even occasionally into full blooded hardcore, without batting an eyelid. The opening duo of songs, Feel This and Victim Of Me, dispel any doubts you may have had about this album in the first three minutes, these two songs are exhuberant hardcore influenced blasts that carry their trademark melody. My personal favourites on this album are On Paper, Without Love and Shameless Halo but that’s not to do the rest of the album a disservice, there isn’t a single weak track amongst the sixteen cuts that populate Hypercaffium Spazzinate. All the Descendents hallmarks are present throughout the album, the harmony driven choruses, the ridiculously catchy songs, the mesmerising guitar hooks and the astute lyrical content, in fact everything you could possibly want from a new Descendents album.

This isn’t just a great comeback album, it’s a truly great Descendents album, this has without doubt been the most eagerly anticipated punk album of 2016 to date, and it doesn’t disappoint on any level. The Descendents have influenced the way punk developed, almost four decades later they’re still showing us the way things should be done. This is one of the best albums you’ll hear this year and will be amonst my personal highlights come the end of 2016, very few bands who have been around this long produce albums that are this good. The Descendents are on the road at the moment, including a rare UK appearance where they are headlining the opening night of the Rebellion Festival on the 4th August, if you are lucky enough to be going to Rebellion this year I would ensure you catch the Descendents set.

Pre-orders for Hypercaffium Spazzinate are available here

You can visit the Descendents website here

The Epitaph Records website is here

Lagwagon Tour

Lagwagon / Useless ID / Versus The World

Club Academy, Manchester, UK

19th July 2016

Rating: 4/5




Lagwagon 2016Summer has made it’s belated arrival in Manchester as Lagwagon, Useless ID and Versus The World roll into town, it’s hitting boiling point in the city and everyone has spilled outside the pubs and bars that populate the area, regardless of this temptation we are headed into Club Academy. Thankfully the venue lies in the basement of the University, which at least offers some respite from the heat. The music being played prior to the first band seems to be an odd choice, we get a selection of 70s and 80s disco, but to hear a, slightly drunk, member of the early evening crowd hollering It’s Raining Men almost makes it tolerable… almost. 

Versus The World 2016Versus The World, the only band on tonight’s bill who aren’t signed to Fat Wreck Chords, open tonight’s proceedings, sadly they open to a sparse crowd. Versus The World, whose line up includes members of Lagwagon, The Ataris and Antifreeze, play their set regardless and they start to bring in a few stragglers. The Californian five piece play their hard edged variety of pop punk to those who have forsaken the early evening sunshine. Versus The World play an energetic set that is a fine opening to tonight’s show, whilst their sound may not be original concept it is delivered with an admirable level of commitment and enthusiasm.

Useless ID July 2016Prior to Useless ID taking the stage the random selection of music continues, for some reason we get treated to Lynard Skynard‘s Freebird before Useless ID take the stage. Useless ID are touring in support of their impressive, and in my opinion their best album to date, State Is Burning. The Israeli quartet wake up the venue with their intense brand of melodic hardcore, they play a set that, whilst mainly culled from their latest release, is interspersed with a selection of songs from their past glories. Apparently Manchester is as “hot as Haifa” tonight, despite this Useless ID play a energetic set in the now oppressive heat.

The harmonies that inhabit their material areUseless ID July 2016 present live, and everything about this band just screams commitment, impressively they sound even better live, and believe me I loved State Is Burning. Useless ID leave the stage and you can see the sweat dripping from the microphone which underlines just how much they’ve put into tonight’s short set. The only issue I have with Useless ID tonight is that their set just isn’t long enough, a band of this calibre deserve more than half an hour, and their set is over in an impressive, but all too short instant. On the basis of tonight I would recommend catching Useless ID live if you get the chance.

Lagwagon 2016The crowd has swelled during Useless ID‘s set, whilst by no means sold out the Club Academy now has a healthy and enthusiastic crowd that are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lagwagon. The Bonanza theme tune rings out from the PA and this signals that their arrival is imminent, tonight they are playing their classic Hoss album in full. A small but enthusiastic mosh pit immediately forms, and more impressively remains in place throughout the set. Even the Californian’s are struggling with tonight’s unrelenting heat, Joey Cape informs us that this is the hottest stage that Lagwagon have ever encountered in the UK.

WhilstLagwagon July 2016 the crowd tonight is smaller than Lagwagon are used to playing to, I doubt they’ll encounter a more dedicated crowd on this tour, the mosh pit expands throughout the set until it occupies most of  the floor, with sweaty die hard fans throwing themselves around with admirable abandon. Once Hoss has been played in full we get a crowd pleasing encore or two including two of my favourite Lagwagon songs, May 16, and Falling Apart. What really comes across during Lagwagon‘s set is that they clearly love what they’re doing, this is just as well as they have now been around for more than a quarter of a century.

Lagwagon 2016On the hottest day of the year in Manchester, in a venue that resembles a building site, where the main bar was shut and despite the truly awful selection of songs inbetween the bands, a respectable crowd still attended on what was a very close, sweaty and humid night. For those who opted for an evening outside the pub and a few cold beers instead of attending tonight’s show, I understand your reasoning, but you made the wrong choice. There’s nowhere I would have rather been in Manchester tonight, although I will admit that some air conditioning would have been a welcome addition.

Lagwagon 2016You can visit the Versus The World bandcamp here and their facebook page here

You can visit Useless ID‘s website here and order the State Is Burning LP here

You can visit Lagwagon‘s website here and order the Hang LP here

You can visit Fat Wreck Chords here and  Kung Fu Records here

Photography is by Dean Unsworth, he will be launching his website soon, you can visit his Instagram account here

You can read‘s reviews of  Versus The World‘s Homesick/Roadsick LP here, Useless ID‘s State Is Burning LP here and Lagwagon‘s Hang LP  here

Fire From The Gods To Release Debut Album ‘Narrative’

Fire From The Gods NAustin, TX quintet Fire From The Gods will release Narrative, their Rise Records debut, on August 26. Speaking from a platform cast in heavy metal power, hip-hop consciousness, and even a little reggae spirit, the Austin, TX quintet urge for change by conveying a story that’s both personal and universal. That story stems directly from vocalist AJ Channer‘s life. Born in the Bronx to a single mother of Jamaican descent, he spent his childhood moving between London, New York City, Los Angeles, Norfolk, and even Ghana where he attended middle school. Drawing from this diverse experience, he speaks with unmitigated honesty about the state of the world, this story is backed by their brutal blend of hardcore, hip-hop  and rock.

Read More…

Criminal Mind LTD

Criminal Mind

Life To Defend

Death Or Glory Promotions

Rating: 4/5




 This is the second album from Bristol quartet Criminal Mind, after witnessing them do an impressive opening set at North West Calling earlier this month I felt compelled to investigate whether they are as impressive in the studio as they are live. I’m happy to report that this is the case, aside from losing the visual impact of the gurning hyperactive guitarist, all the impact and fury they bring to their live show is present and correct. They have written an impressive sophomore album, traditionally that ‘difficult second album’ we hear so much about, but they seem to have breezed through this challenge.

This is relentless in your face punk rock, but it’s not just a barrage of angry protest, there is more to Criminal Mind, much more. The attack and pace is varied throughout the album and the style and tone switches across the sixteen tracks. Aside from the obvious elements of punk, street punk and hardcore there are also touches of ska and dub incorporated in the mix. It seems that whatever they do, when they decide to do it, they do it well and it would appear that there is no challenge this band can’t rise to.

If I had to pick a favourite song from the sixteen cuts contained on Life To Defend I would probably pick Cannonade or the impressive closing track, Rebel Sounds, but it’s not an easy task. Apart from the problem of actually finding them on the internet, you will find a million pages on a certain American television show of a similar name, they are hard to fault. This album is seriously worthy of your attention if you like your punk rock with a politically sussed swagger.

You can order Life To Defend here:

Restarts SOTM

The Restarts

A Sickness Of The Mind

No Label Records

Rating: 4/5




The Restarts have been around for approximately two decades and have recorded numerous EP’s, splits and albums, A Sickness Of The Mind is their latest release. I must admit that our paths hadn’t crossed until I saw them do a blistering live set at North West Calling 2016 and after that gig I was a convert to their cause, over the years I’ve seen many hardcore bands whose act works live but their recordings don’t quite capture the fury and energy of the band, is this the case on this album?

This is blistering political punk rock with a hardcore edge to it, the recording caputres the essence of the band with the relentless upfront attack that reflects their live performance. They manage to avoid the other pitfall of aggressive hardcore political punk albums, where they can becomes repetitive through the unrelenting barrage. Each track on A Sickness Of The Mind has it’s own character and there are influences from other genre’s in there, most notably a ska influence on a number of tracks, especially on Uganda Calling and the closing track, Painter Man, a furious cover of a track written by The Creation and made famous by Boney M. The Restarts have honed their righteous anger at inequality and political corruption to a razor sharp point and this album is coherent energetic political statement.

This is one of the best hardcore albums I’ve heard, yes they are best experienced live but that is reflection on just how good they are in the flesh rather than a negative comment on this album. A Sickness Of The Mind is twelve tracks of uncompromising political commentary and if you aren’t familiar with The Restarts you need to rectify this situation, and this album would be a damn fine place to start.

North West calling 2016

North West Calling 2016

The Ritz, Manchester, England

4th June 2016

Rating: 4.5/5




It seems appropriate that on the 40th anniversary of The Sex Pistols playing the Manchester Free Trade Hall, a concert that changed everything for Manchester’s music scene and inspired many of this town’s most beloved bands to form, the annual North West Calling festival is taking place. Now in it’s third year it showcases the diversity of the punk scene and always boasts a generation spanning line up. Sadly both The Ruts DC and The Anti Nowhere League had to pull out of this years event but there are always bands willing to step into the breach.

By noon a healthy queue has already formed outside The Ritz, on what is an unexpectedly warm sunny Saturday in Manchester,  whilst other less dedicated souls have ensconced themselves in the bars opposite the venue and are enjoying some early alcoholic refreshment. As people are still filtering into the venue Criminal Mind take the stage, the opening slot is always a difficult one as you’re playing to a sparse and sober crowd, despite this they take the stage and play like they’re headlining, their gurning acrobatic guitarist provides a visual keypoint and they play an intense set of politically informed hardcore tinged punk rock that blows away the cobwebs and provides as good a start to the day as you could wish for.

Spunk Volcano And The Eruptions are a different kettle of fish, their singer is a vision in his Captain America briefs, army boots and fluffy mohican topped balaclava They play hard edged pop punk songs that reminisce about the obscure items from the past and unrequited love. Their sing-a-long choruses and banter with the burgeoning crowd builds on the fine work by opening act Criminal Mind and by now things are starting to warm up in The Ritz, both metaphorically and physically.

Crashed Out are next and play a brutal set of street punk, I’m unsure whether its the fact that it’s now approaching melting point or because the first two bands provided such an incredible start to proceedings but the crowd seems to thin out. However, the dedicated fans of this band seem to enjoy themselves and they end their set with rousing cover of punk legends The Clash which is, as you’d expect, well received.

The Restarts take the stage and this trio deliver what for me was the best set of the day, this is a return to hardcore influenced punk and they wake the crowd back up with a  politically charged set, this is the first band of the day to get a frantic mosh pit going, amongst those in the pit is Criminal Mind‘s hyperactive guitarist. This is a band I am keen to hear a lot more of and a review of their last album will be forthcoming shortly.

The first of the old school bands, Vice Squad, are next to take the stage and have the unenviable task of following the incredible set by The Restarts. Beki Bondage has obvious stage presence and given she’s been a stalwart of the punk scene since the 1970’s I can only assume there is a truly awful picture of her in an attic somewhere as she doesn’t appear to have aged. They deliver a crowd pleasing set of highlights from their extensive back catalogue.

 NWC Beki Bondage  NWC GBH  NWC Restarts

Belfast’s The Defects are next, they have been ploughing the punk furrow since 1978 and provide an uncompromising set of old school punk rock that warm the audience up nicely for Dirt Box Disco, who have become a fixture of North West Calling and have been rising steadily up the billing as word of mouth about their antics has spread. Unsurprisingly the crowd has swelled by the time they take the stage and they bring North West Calling to life and energise the sweaty crowd. They are a visual spectacle to behold and their anthemic hard edged pop punk has the audience respond and when My Life Is Shit is played they almost blow the roof off The Ritz. Their set was eagerly anticipated and they haven’t disappointed.                                                 

The UK82 legends GBH playa pummelling set but this doesn’t seem to hit the heights I’ve seem them reach in previous years and they are followed by The Angelic Upstarts. Along with Dirt Box Disco these have become a perennial feature of North West Calling. Lead singer Mensi prowls the stag with an aura of restrained fury, it’s clear they have lost none of their original anger at societies inequalites and they deliver a charged set. I’m glad to see that they have already been added to the bill for North West Calling 2017.

The Cockney Rejects and the Sham 69 close out what has been a memorable and sweaty day. The latter have reformed with three quarters of the original line up for today’s show. They play a greatest hits set to round out the day, it’s good to see Jimmy Pursey, Dave Parsons and Dave Tregunna back together. They play a well received set  but but given the energy, creativity and commitment on display earlier their set seems to fall a bit flat.

 I can’t help feeling that the up and coming bands have stolen the thunder from the old guard and I can’t think of a better indication of how the punk scene has remained fresh and vibrant, in particular Criminal Minds and The Restarts made a distinct and lasting impression on me. On the basis of this year’s North West Calling it seems to me that tomorrow belongs to the next generation of bands, the passion and commitment on display indicates the punk scene is alive, well and relevant after it all started in Manchester forty years ago to the day.

Photography by Dean Unsworth (left to right Vice Squad, GBH and The Restarts)

Dysnea Boys FHTR

Dysnea Boys

Forgot How To Read

Take It Back Records / Glunk Records

Rating: 3.5/5




The Dysnea Boys are a Berlin based punk quartet, vocalist Jason Honea originally hails from San Francisco and some of you will probably recognise the name, and his vocal style, from his work with Social Unrest, the line up is completed by former members of Spitfires, Black Halos and Radio Berlin. This is old school punk rock, it’s the kind of music that came from the days when hardcore was just a gleam in punk’s eye, that possesses the kind of authentic attitude that was perpetrated by the likes of like Black Flag, DOA and Circle Jerks. Whether you like this album will depend greatly on whether you are a fan of those bands.

This is an album that has been recorded as it oughta be with rumbling bass, distorted guitar and relentless drums. The overall sound is like they’ve recorded it in a suburban garage and are trying to finish the album before someone complains and the plug is pulled. Forgot How To Read is a Lo-Fi recording that keeps true to it’s origins as it sounds live and urgent, yes the production is primitive and raw but an album like this wouldn’t work with polished production. The whole album is unsurprisingly comprised of all the elements that made the early American punk scene such an exciting and creative period. I can’t decide whether this is something to be treasured or if I’ve heard it all before, but as I haven’t stop listening to it I guess you’d have your answer.

This is authentic punk rock from the dawn of time, finding a record like this surfacing in 2016 is the equivalent of finding a dinosaur grazing in your back garden, certainly unexpected but once you’ve got over the shock you want to tell your friends.

You can purchase Forgot How To Read here

The Nucken Futs Stream New Album

Nucken FutsBoston, MA punk band The Nucken Futs are giving away their new album, Santa Only Gives to Rich Kids.

Listen to a full stream and download for free on the band’s bandcamp page.

Video: Wake The Dead – Sword Fighting

France’s melodic hardcore band Wake The Dead has just released a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Sword Fighting.”

Watch the video below.

Read More…


True Love Joins Mayfly Records

The Michigan native hardcore band True Love has joined the ranks of Mayfly Records, and will print their debut, A Floral Note, later this summer on 7″ vinyl.  It is currently streaming (and also available for download) on Bandcamp

The band features current and former members of Face Reality, Damages, and Freedom, and should appeal to fans of American Nightmare, The Hope Conspiracy, and Carry On.

Oddczar – New Album Available For Download

    Hardcore act Oddczar (Charlotte, NC) have released their debut album One Word, available now on 12″, and for one week only, on Bandcamp for a “name your price” download.  The album is a release between both Bitter Melody Records and Self Aware records, and is limited to 300 copies, printed on random colour vinyl.

    There are also a few tour dates in support of the latest release, listed below.

Read More…

Tours: La Armada

Fresh off a week of shows with Strung Out, La Armada (Chicago, IL) will embark on an 18-day tour of the East Coast beginning today. The band is supporting its latest Self-Titled full-length, which was issued earlier this year on vinyl and digital formats by Memphis-based punk label, Fat Sandwich Records (twothirtyeight, Pezz, The Fourth Estate).

During the early part of its career, La Armada established itself as one of the most influential punk bands in its native Dominican Republic, releasing two albums and playing countless shows. The outfit relocated to Chicago in 2007, immersing itself in the city’s infamous music scene, not to mention distinct sub-genres such as grindcore, powerviolence, crust-punk and traditional hardcore and metal. These new influences, fused with the quintet’s native tendencies towards intricate percussion present in Latin music, evolved into its first proper release: an 11-song Self-Titled album delivering crushing bursts of what the band has affectionately coined “Latino Hardcore Fury.” Successfully embodying he brutality and energy that bleeds out of La Armada’s live shows night after night, the record will cause you to raise both eyebrows and fists with its aggressive riffs, intricate song structures, piercing vocals and driving rhythm section.

Listen to “Lucha de Clases” (free mp3). You can also stream the record in its entirety at La Armada’s Bandcamp page.

As always, if you’d like to attend a show or speak with the band, drop me a line here. Stay tuned for more news about future tours and recordings from La Armada, and be sure to follow the band on Facebook for daily updates. Dates below.

Read More…

Zombie Fight – Broke For Tomorrow Volume 1

As a big Walking Dead fan, I endorse the name Zombie Fight as a band name.  Zombie Dead plays a classic NYC hardcore punk sound heavy on aggression, relentless drumming, featuring a few melodic guitar bridges that help modernize the effort.  Check out their debut EP Broke For Tomorrow for a better idea.

Zombie FightBroke For Tomorrow Volume 1

Download the Album From Bandcamp

Sheer Contempt – Non Compos Mentis

Here’s a tough as nails dose of Philly hardcore with the well suited name Sheer Contempt.  Plenty of belted vocals and vicious drumming.  Fans of 80’s hardcore will lap this stuff up.  Downloadable in Mp3 or AIF.

Sheer ContemptNon Compos Mentis

Download The Album From The Band

Don’t Give A Fuck – A Girl Burning And Dying

Well, it’s not one of the most originally titled pieces of work, Don’t Give A Fuck‘s free five song EP is certainly as hard edged as its cold hearted title would imply.  For an EP titled A Girl Burning And Dying, it’s actually pretty emotionally intense.

Don’t Give A FuckA Girl Burning And Dying

Download the Album From Bandcamp

Plagues – Plagues EP 2011

Ever feel like you’re literally on fire?  Igniting in flames to become a smoldering pillar of ash?  Well, if not, it’s something I imagine Massachusetts hardcore act Plagues knows a little something about.  These guys sound like they’re completely engulfed in some sort of blazing inferno, frantically playing their instruments and screaming out hastily in hopes that some passing soul may hear their cries.  There’s a good reason for the buzz around this malevolent hardcore quintet, so check them out with their aptly titled Plagues EP 2011.

PlaguesPlagues EP 2011

Download the Album From Bandcamp

Judges – Lonely Kids In Dead End Homes

Pennsylvania’s Judges make a firm ruling in their latest full length, Lonely Kids In Dead Homes.  The album features ten tracks of belted hardcore and crashing crescendos interrupted by brief moments of tranquility – like a storm deceptively parting for a few rays of sunlight.  It’s not something I’d seek out normally, but I reckon it’s a great match for the hardcore crowd.

JudgesLonely Kids In Dead End Homes

Download the Album From Bandcamp (Mediafire Link In Description)