In an astoundingly potent year for hardcore that is seeing beautiful and passionate efforts from so many bands from Gel to Fiddlehead to the upcoming Filth Is Eternal release, the return of Connecticut hardcore band With Honor is still a cause to celebrate.
The third album under the moniker of ONI from Canada’s Jake Oni continues the adept blend of commercial and cutting-edge progressive metalcore elements paired with big hooks and the odd curveball or three that helped explode ONI out of seemingly nowhere almost a decade ago. Enthusiasm bleeds from every measure, section after section building energy to satisfying conclusions.
Mighty Girlschool returns for their fourteenth-long burner and first music in nearly ten years. The title track refers to longevity. The way they deliver to the max on a record steeped in themes of doing your best, road doggin’ it, and standing true to your friends shows why they have lasted so long. It is a seize your own destiny type of album that connects in a big way and works wonders on the spirit the way the best rock n’ roll should.
Saint Agnes, from the UK, spark the fires of aggression with Alt. Nu-groove album Bloodsuckers (Spinefarm Records). The band fits within the label’s ranks with ease alongside acts that have their own vision,but crossover appeal such as Sleep Token, Atreyu, and Killing Joke. Add in a Mimi Barks cameo (the short and ferocious ‘Body Bag’) and a Sean Bevan production boost on the semi-glossy ‘Follow You’ and this record has the potential to be a Summer ’23 pit starter.
Evergreen (Hopeless Records) is a very ambitious album and frankly by far the most thematically well-rounded and best effort from Pvris yet. Lyndsey Gerd Gunnulfsen has seamlessly planted a flag on the moon here, showing it was her that made this project special all along. Not only a queer champion, Gunnulfsen is a top-notch creator and performer who can back it up with grade-A material with startling philosophical depth amidst the beats and hooks.
Beltfed Weapon has often felt like a fun but sort of long-running vanity (but nonetheless valid) project for Seattle’s talented Frank Hetzel, many years between quite short releases featuring a who’s who of underground metal players guesting in support of a slightly odd discography. It is strange to me that there aren’t a series of full-lengths after so much time spent between releases, but every shorter thing Frank has released still has moments to enjoy for the casual thrash, death, and (at times) power metal fan.
Punk icons GBH entertained several generations of fans at the accomadating and fun Garden Grove, CA-based open-air Garden Amp venue on Friday night. In tow were several up-and-coming or established younger acts to keep an eye on and to help the Birmingham baddies celebrate the City Babys Revenge 40th Anniversary US Tour in style. The all-ages event was an almost pitch-perfect celebration of punk’s forever appeal and staying power.
Coming off the buzzed about ‘Nowherer’, it was interesting to speculate where Portland’s Victory Over the Sun would go next. Vivian Tylinska may have just “a girl who makes noise” on her Bandcamp bio, but that deeply undersells the scope of her enthralling work as a composer, thinker, and multi-instrumentalist.
Existential dread, class war, and alienation? Seems like a great time for some new American Nightmare. The storm clouds of tomorrow loom over this fantastic new EP from the beloved hardcore (with post-punk sprinkles) institution on their latest release Dedicated To The Next World (Heartworm Press).
River Of Diamonds, the 2023 return album from the sensational and highly regarded Liv Kristine, is one of the most meaningful and sweeping rock releases of the year. Planting her feet and owning her space in the scene with both tell-tale sincerity and a firm yet graceful demeanor, Liv deserves nothing but respect for her talent and dedication to the arts and the years of musical enchantment she has gifted fans. It was wonderful to discuss her new record and how to spot the lights in the dark. Continue reading →