Trapped Nerve

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Well so much for making this a monthly column huh? September got kinda busy and digging out new music for you people was temporarily displaced by dragging my own tired arse back on stage. That didn’t turn out so great so I’ll stick to what I’m good at and that’s digging out fresh core from the depths of the internet for you all to enjoy.

First up is the two track demo from Jersey Shore space wizards The Wilds. Anyone remotely familiar with the previous works of vocalist Brett James (Get Real, Born Annoying) won’t be at all surprised with how this band gets down. Definitely more riff heavy than the snotty straight edge aggro of Get Real or Born Annoying’s skate rat mayhem, The Wilds share more sensibilities with contemporary rock influenced hardcore acts like Higher Power or Dublin’s Niburu. Brett’s gonzo vocals remind me of Lord Ezec’s on the early Crown Of Thornz stuff. The lyrics are suitably whacked out shore mysticism and upon listening I immediately wanted to run out and chin a guido and scoff a big old slice of pizza pie. Recommended for anyone who wants to enjoy a great life.

Shifting gears a little we have the debut recordings from South Wales boyo’s Enouement. Here we find former members of Ark Of The Covenant dropping the big attitude and getting all introspective and melancholy. When I was a young man in the mid 90’s I hated this sort of lame shit. Elliot and Split Lip turned up with their fucking tank tops and poignant lyrics and hardcore went proper naff for a bit. In 2018 however my feelings on the matter of ‘soft grunge’ have mellowed to the point that I can dig it in small doses. Enouement have got some great hooks, a singer that can actually hold a note and a scholars ear for the genre they are peddling. It’s not just a load of soft riffs and sad words stitched together like a shut-in’s comfort blanket, no no there’s actual SONGS here. I get big Texas Is The Reason feelings from these two and I would definitely go inside the venue and watch three, maybe four songs of this band if they play near my house.

Enoument are not the only chancers rummaging around in Revelation Records dirty knicker basket for influence. London sensitives Stages of Faith follow up their Forgiving Man 7” with a new EP on Quality Control entitled Same Craic/Floodlights. They’ve succeeded in collecting the fluff found in the grooves on the first couple of Farside and Gameface records and extracting the DNA from it to to create their own perfect melodic monster.  Still punk, still fast but with the kinda raspy vocals and smart melodic riffing that should appeal to punks that can get down with Big Drill Car, Shades Apart and all that caper. I realise every band I referenced there is proper old but I have no idea if anyone else is mining this particular vein right now.

Once upon time Belgium was the gold standard for hardcore on the mainland with a bold scene that produced a steady stream of interesting and exciting bands. Things seem to have cooled off in recent years or maybe I’ve just not been paying attention but I’m always interested in hearing what some of the OG’s are up to. Chain Reaction is the latest vessel for veteran vocalist Bjorn Dossche (Rise & Fall) to vent his considerable ire. Let me assure you that recent EP Hangman is the realest of deals, seven tracks of proper hardcore taking cues from Raw Deal, Outburst, and mid period Breakdown. For a slightly more contemporary reference think the first couple of Blacklisted records. The whole EP is a barrage of bared teeth and snarling aggression with no concessions to unnecessary frills of melody or mercy. Not a bad piece of work for a people that insist upon putting mayonnaise on their chips.

Closing things out we got the new ripper from South Florida’s Envision. This is Lennox from Ecostrike’s side slice. I am aware this young brother has many side slices but Envision is the one I’m fucking with hard right now. Envision leaves the taste of 90’s West Coast/North West straight edge flavours tingling on my tongue. When it comes to the riffs and structures it’s fast breaks descending into chunky build up ‘em up/break’em down sections. Envision are reminiscent of Burden or the first two Strife 7”s in that they got that anthemic/vaguely melancholic vibe. It’s a vibe that convinces mentally impaired fantasists like myself, that being straight edge is kinda the same as being a ronin in feudal Japan. You won’t understand and that’s fine, I know what I mean.  I don’t know who the singer for this band is but he sounds so much like John Coyle from Outspoken it’s spooky. His phrasing and voice are EXACTLY the same. Recommended for people who ordered a Turning Point long sleeve from New Age Records in 1996 and are still waiting on that shit to arrive.

More reviews next month. Bye. Nathan Bean

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