New, well not really that new but latest, from Bad Teeth Recordings is the first volume of their Wake Up Dead Compilation series. This record compiles some of the best current fastcore/powerviolence style hardcore bands. It seems that for the most part, with the exception of the powerviolence/grindcore/fastcore scenes, the punk vinyl compilation has gone away. I find it refreshing when a good compilation comes out because it reminds me of getting into punk at a time where it wasn't quite as easy to find new bands online and I would seek out compilations, in order to hear as many new bands as possible. I do hope that John continues this series and I look forward to seeing it grow. With that being said on to the review....
The record opens with the wonderful Curmudgeon, a boston powerviolence outfit who have 2 previous 7"s under their belt. Curmudgeon manage to cram a lot into a song that barely lasts longer than a minute. The song is full of tempo changes and hardly repeats anything more than once or twice. Krystina's vocals are probably my favorite aspect of the band. Her voice definitely brings to mind the style of Infest and Crossed Out without sounding like another replicant/rehasing. Their is a uniqueness to Curmudgeon, who tackle a genre without really evolving from it. Often the bands I come to respect and like the most are bands that know exactly what kind of style they want to play, and rather than try to revolutionize it they tackle it straight on. This is something Curmudgeon does extremely well. You can criticize them for playing fairly straightforward powerviolence if that isn't your thing, but I believe it is undeniably well written and enjoyable music.
The second track is from To The Point, a band that until being asked to review this record I was unfamiliar with. Immediately I felt that the band had a similar vibe to Lack of Interest, and rightfully so I found out, after a bit of research, that To The Point does in fact share members with LOI. To The Point's name is a good precursor to the band's sound, they play a succinct and "to the point" style of hardcore. Overall the song "I Woke Up Dead", is a good hardcore song but tends to be oddly repetitive for its short (1:26) length. With that being said To The Point sound like a promising band and I would like to check out their two releases on Deep Six Records soon.
The next track was by a band that I had heard of previously but only by name. Listening to their contribution to the compilation was my first real experience with their music. I have to say that the first part of the song did not really catch my attention. It seemed fairly generic, however the song really comes into its own around the forty second mark, and from that point on I really enjoy the song. The most noticeable attribute of Sex Prisoner is their bass tone, Which I still can't decide if I love or hate. The bass sounds disgusting, it is loud and super distorted. At times it causes me to stop paying attention everything else, and other times blends super well into the mix.
Ok it has become apparent that I just don't really keep up with bands like I should. The fourth track, by Sucked Dry, is pretty fucking awesome and up until this point I have completely missed out on. I can remember seeing Sucked Dry 7"s in tons of distros but I never managed to grab one, I probably will now. This track is unique and definitely stands out among the rest. Sucked Dry play a discordant and spastic style of hardcore that rips. I really love this track. I have to say that the "talky-breakdown", which lasts a whole 5-10 seconds is probably the only part of the song that I am unsure of. Part of me is taken out of the track because of it, but the other part of me loves it because it just sounds so goofy. Either way this is an awesome song.
Yet again, I am disappointed in myself; how haven't I heard of Thick Skin? Currently with a demo and 7" split under their belt Thick Skin play a style of hardcore that seems to blend US Hardcore with Japanese Thrash/Noise Punk. I am not sure if this is what they are going for but to me their seems to be a total Japanese hardcore worship in their sound, that for me, is absolutely key to my interest in the track. Thick Skin's ability to kind of morph the great qualities of a few awesome sub-genres successfully into coherent style is honorable. Can't wait to hear more by these DC punks.
Ah Yes, we are now at the final track of the EP, a glorious song by the Ropes (Ex-Repos). What can you say about this band that hasn't already been said? The Ropes are just killer straight forward Hardcore, no hooks, nothing melodic (even the solo is somewhat discordant sounding), nothing but abrasive and in your face punk. I love it and it is pretty much perfect as is and I won't bore you with anymore hyperbole.
It is easy to talk about the positive and negative qualities of all the bands but what isn't so apparent is how well put together the record is. The first half of the record is leans heavy on the powerviolence end of things, and the second side is far more chaotic and unstructured. Every song on this short record is enjoyable, it flows well and ultimately ends before you are ready for it to. Go out and pick up a copy before it sells out.