The Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze II Compilation
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I used to get in arguments with older metal fans about the boundaries between punk rock and heavy metal. The debate would inevitably go something like this:
Me: Band X is one of my favorite active metal bands.
Older metal fan: That’s a hardcore band, not a metal band.
Me: What are you talking about? They have blastbeats and guitar harmonies and tremolo picking. They’re playing metal.
Older metal fan: It’s not about that. It’s about attitude and roots. They have a hardcore-style aesthetic and a hardcore attitude, so regardless of what riffs they pick up on, they’re fundamentally a hardcore band.
Me: That’s absurd. Metal and punk rock have been crossing over since the first Motörhead album. The two styles have always influenced each other. It doesn’t make sense to think about them as rigidly distinct.
Older metal fan: Rabble rabble rabble!
Me: Rabble rabble rabble!
You get the idea. I still stand by most of my reasoning, but I can understand where my elders are coming from now. If you grew up during the ’70s or ’80s, the boundaries between punk and metal were very real. Even as each genre influenced the other, the cultural divide between the two remained broad. There’s a reason that the “heavy metal rules, all that punk shit sucks” interview from Heavy Metal Parking Lot is so indelible. (And not just because of the speaker’s insane outfit.)
But by the time the Oakland-based label Tankcrimes was founded in 2002, the firm barrier from decades past had largely collapsed. Metal went bleak and DIY like hardcore; hardcore went beefy and complicated like metal. Today, Tankcrimes is a monument to the ongoing conversation between the styles. Neither its catalog nor most of the bands that constitute it discriminate.
Tankcrimes are now in the business of periodically booking festivals. Their upcoming Brainsqueeze II, which will take place on April 18-20, is as genre-agnostic as the label that organized it. It features some punk bands (Fucked Up, Negative Approach, Final Conflict), some metal bands (Ghoul, Cannabis Corpse, Impaled), and some bands that don’t fall clearly into either category (Brainoil, The Shrine, Municipal Waste). Punkers will headbang and heshers will gang-shout.
On top of organizing the festival, Tankcrimes has put together a free compilation of songs by each band on the bill. Unlike most recent comps, it’s a reasonable length — sixteen short songs. I consider most of these songs worth listening to in their own right, but some of them are rarer finds — an exclusive re-recording of a sardonic Muncipal Waste song called “Insurance Fraud” from their split with Crucial Unit, along with songs from upcoming short-format releases by Fucked Up and The Shrine. There’s also a bonus cut by Obsessor, who don’t appear on the fest’s lineup, and a secret bonus cut that you’ll have to download the comp to hear.
You can stream the comp below (aside from that secret cut) or download it for free. Tickets for the festival are on sale here. The day-by-day lineup and a goofy commercial for the fest can be had as well.
Ghoul – “Spill Your Guts”
Final Conflict – “Crucifixion”
Municipal Waste – “Insurance Fraud”
The Shrine – “Destroyers”
Negative Approach – “Pressure”
BAT – “Code Rude”
Fucked Up – “I Wanna Be A Yank” (Cardboard Brains cover)
Kicker – “Not You”
Iron Reagan – “Mini Lights”
Brainoil – “Death of this Dry Season”
Fucktard – “Ladder of Pigs”
Impaled – “You Are the Dead”
Conquest For Death – “Sand Storms”
Cannabis Corpse – “Shatter Their Bongs”
Connoisseur – “I Am The Weed”
Obsessor – “Aftershock”
+A SECRET TRACK
TANKCRIMES BRAINSQUEEZE 2
April 18-20 2014 – Oakland, CA
Friday 4/18 – Oakland Metro – all ages, bar w/ ID
Saturday 4/19 – Oakland Metro – all ages, bar w/ ID
Conquest for Death
Sunday 4/20 – Eli’s Mile High Club – 21+
Deny the Cross
+ wild and unpredictable guests
BBQ + Andrei Bouzikov art showing