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What Assails You #1

Image by Emily McCafferty
Image by Emily McCafferty

It’s officially 2017. The Moldy Fart Pumpkin has assumed office and it seems like every day has been a shit show. It’s probably got you down in some way or another, much of it has me foaming at the mouth. Upon the Moldy Fart Pumpkin’s election we found many Americans anticipating, rather joyously and belligerently, all the “great punk bands and songs we’ll get.” I could unpack how naive a statement that is, but instead let’s put focus on the bands doing that already.

2016 offered a wealth of excellent hardcore (metalcore, grindcore, crust, whatever suites your palette) that I didn’t get a chance to include in the usual self-serving, year-end top ten list. You may have already caught these artists. In all likelihood you have, and this is just a rehash. For the uninformed, below you’ll find releases schooled in bludgeoning your political woes, emotional unrest or general teeth-gnashing.

—Bruce Hardt


New York’s Krimewatch is the perfect soundtrack for marching on Washington, fists held high and ready to smash a fascist’s face. Screamed bilingually in Japanese and English, the demo’s five tracks are far-reaching and deep-cutting idealistic punk, launching a thorough assault in its seven minute span.

Hollow EarthDead Planet

Towering in both sound and scope, Hollow Earth’s first full-length, Dead Planet, is a metalcore masterwork. Equal parts melodic and heavy, tracks like the “The Harbinger of Existence” tear through dimensions all the while coating itself with an aura of finality; a tone that permeates and fits Dead Planet like a molten glove. They’re on tour soon with Greg Bennick.

Pure DisgustSelf-titled

D.C-style hardcore played classically, Pure Disgust mean to burn the flag and reforge it in the image of true freedom. Their self-titled album espouses hope in the face of opposition, tackling America’s horrid racial climate with molotov in hand. Easily among the most important punk releases to come out this decade.

Weekend NachosApology

It would be remiss to not include Apology, the final farewell of powerviolence beasts Weekend Nachos. With monstrous releases like Worthless and Still under their belts, this finale is everything you’ve come to know and then some. Rife with head-splitting energy, their signature tongue-in-cheek humor and calamitous breaks, there’s no apologizing here for the carnage left in its wake.

True LoveHeaven’s Too Good for Us

Michigan’s aptly named True Love made the record to break and mend all hearts last year. Straight-forward, straight edge and bursting with emotive flourish, True Love’s debut album, Heaven’s Too Good for Us, is hardcore for the downtrodden on their way up.

Primal RiteComplex Life of Passion

A punishing mix of hardcore and thrash, Complex Life of Passion is sweeping and brutal throughout its four tracks. Haunted by vocals that sneak and snarl behind the blitzing drums and threshing guitars, Primal Rite’s EP is an exercise in harnessed aural darkness.

OutletMemento Mori

Outlet’s first EP is fittingly an outpouring of rage and matching heaviness that few other similarly crafted 2016 releases can match. Memento Mori’s bleak tone calls back to the shadowy likes of Disembodied and Harvest, churning out riffs that rattle your very being.

It FollowsDemo

Tonally different from film of the same name, It Follows match their cinematic counterpart in spades when it comes to heart-stopping content. This three song release owes much to Blacklisted and their signature emotive style, but that’s not to say It Follows aren’t a band to well…follow.


You must know this one by now, they dominated our year-end lists in 2016. Oathbreaker has continually released music that juxtaposes elegance and ugliness with uncanny ease. Rheia is no exception, and is now the definition of their signature sound. Possessed with expanses of intoxicating beauty and drowning harshness embodied by black metal, hardcore and screamo, Rheia’s strength is the moments where those qualities come together into a seamless tapestry.

Relevant AngerHell Is Other People

Faithfully reproducing the punk of yore with modern twists, San Dimas, California’s Relevant Anger measure up to their namesake nicely. Hell Is Other People also measures up to its nihilistic title with its isolating production, where the vocals echo against a distant wall of hardcore wrath. Refreshing and unflinching, you’d be remiss to not give this one a go or three.

Eternal SleepThe Emptiness Of…

Following a trio of bone-crushing EPs, Pittsburgh’s Eternal Sleep unleashed their inaugural full-length last May. Churning out its ten tracks like a sonic carpet bombing, the scorched earth it leaves in its wake is a sight for sore eyes compared to the bloodletting these songs inspire in a live setting. Furious, serrated, flecked tastefully with nu-metal hooks and stuffed with metalcore’s finest tricks, The Emptiness Of… is a beast.

HomewreckerExtinction by Design

This band’s output has been among the most inspired metallic hardcore to grace this decade. On the heels of their two snarling LPs, this four song EP is a sweeping assault of thrashy hooks, hardcore pummeling and death metal surliness. Continually escalating their sound’s violent spirit, Extinction by Design is Homewrecker’s finest work yet.

Void of HeavenDemo 2016

Another gem ripping from 90s hardcore with brilliant results, Boston’s Void of Heaven’s four song offering breaks bones in sound while lyrically setting them afterwards. Tracks like “Eye of the Beholder” meld moments of crushing defeat with effective triumph, you hardly notice the fluidity with which these tracks build into each other. A fine work from a band I’ll be keeping tabs on, I suggest you do the same.

JudiciaryThe Axis of Equality

Bringing their gavel down as if it were a sledgehammer, Judiciary tear apart American traditions with this feral tetralogy. Socially conscious on both political and stylistic terms, this Texas outfit fill their work with kinetic fury, sharp melodicism and biting solos, The Axis of Equality tips the scales heavily in Judiciary’s favor.

Infernal CoilBurning Prayer of Infinite Hatred

Awash in a calamitous snare drum, Infernal Coil’s debut sounds off like a planetary-level death rattle. Soothingly cacophonous, this Boise deathgrind’s four tracks rend you limb from limb, doing so by means of calculated dismemberment or reckless aural slashing.

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