Arctic Flowers - Reveries (Inimical Records)
Arctic Flowers from PDX released their debut lp further fleshing out their early 80's peace punk style a-la Crass Records but with slicker song writing and melodic female vocals. The guitar riffs/leads are tasteful and catchy without being an over the top noodle fest. There are a few faster songs, but the mid-paced ones steal the show. A great punk record.
Brain Killer - Every Actual State Is Corrupt (Deranged Records)
Here is a band from Boston that doesn't play anything that resembles the classic Boston hardcore sound at all. Instead what we have here is raw d-beat hardcore with lots of over the top feedback and screaming. The vocals are a bit different compared to previous releases and I feel it's for the better. I'm also feeling the earnest spoken intro and ending tracks in this 11 track lp. Awesome gate-fold packaging to boot.
Dead Language - LP (Iron Lung Records)
Full on blasting PV played by the most seasoned veterans of the genre make up the group on this awesome lp. Side 2 slows things down to a crawl and it's some of the most powerful music I've heard all year. Nothing genre reinventing, but just 20 minutes of straight up brutality. Easily my favorite record on the year for this style. Slick packaging.
Kim Phuc - Copsucker (Iron Lung Records)
Here is a band I've seen records of but never checked out until I got a hold of this lp. I didn't know what to expect but what I got was an awesome lp of discordant, moody, and melodic punk/post-punk style that warranted repeated listens ever since I've had the record. It's not brutal or fast... it's just FUCKING GOOD!
Nazi Dust - Wretched Hour (Vinyl Rites)
Nazi Dust are back with a 1-sided 12" and improve on their nasty take on straight forward, fast, raw hardcore taking strong elements from Siege and Deep Wound. Awesome vocal delivery with the minimalist negative/artsy lyrics that everyone loves.
Omegas - Blasts Of Lunacy (Parts Unknown Records)
Killer mid-80s NYHC inspired hardcore from Monteral that has just enough speed and plenty of mosh to keep my interest. Omegas vocalist has plenty of personality in his vocal delivery that makes the band stand out above other bands trying to play this style. 12 tracks of pure "slam skank".
Vacant State - Fill The Void (Deranged Records)
I've followed this band since their previous 7"s liking the style but feeling just so-so about the songs. However, Vacant State's debut lp pretty much destroys the previous material releasing a great fast, no-frills early 80's USHC inspired lp. Vacant State isn't rewriting the style at all, and this is exactly what I want to hear. Pure hardcore for the hardcore.
Warning//Warning - There's Nothing Left (Solar Funeral)
Warning//Warning released one of the most over the top Japanese inspired NOISEhardcore tapes last year that went to the top of my favorite list. This French band released this lp just before doing a short tour in the US back in November, and continues down the path of audio destruction as in the past. The production seems a bit more tidy compared to the tape, but when you play this insane, nothing can save you. The lyric sheet goes out a bit further than normal with song explanations, and although it can be redundant, it's something I can get behind here.