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What Assails You: New Year, New Fear

Image by Emily McCafferty
Image by Emily McCafferty

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to list and blab about my recent favorite hardcore releases. My year-end list topped off at a good 40 releases, half which were cut for the sake of not wanting to bore everyone to death. There was an immense pile of wholesome, jaw-cracking hardcore, metalcore, or otherwise that was released throughout 2017. While there’s a slim chance you may have missed out on a few, I’ve included five such gems below for the stragglers.

Also, given last year’s output, it is of zero surprise that only a quarter into 2018 there’s already a near dozen solid releases to consume (if not more). Like the 2017 selections, these five cuts I’ve included are brutal, furious, and above all, impassioned. Don’t sleep on these.

— Bruce Hardt-Valenzuela

2017 Releases

Concealed Blade — S/T

Released in January 2017, Concealed Blade’s debut album is old-school meets new-school without the clichés. Describing the album’s 11 tracks as “fast” and “mean” only does the album some justice, as they’re also monstrously fun — a quality missing from so many newer punk bands.

xGnapenstobx — Release of Pain

Released on Christmas, Austin’s Gnapenstob’s Release of Pain EP is a five-song beating of emotive vegan straight-edge metal. Preening their sound from the best aspects of late 1990s metalcore (see Morning Again et al.), the Release of Pain EP is their first release since 2015’s Life Goes, Unfortunately, On, and certainly their best yet.

Magnitude — Era of Attrition
Quaking into existence (sorry) this past October, Charlotte-based outfit Magnitude released the pummeling, refreshing Era of Attrition on the heels of April’s self-titled debut. You’d think one year couldn’t handle two releases by this exceptional band, but here we are, waiting for more straight-edge glory.

SeeYouSpaceCowboy — Fashion Statements for the Socially Aware
I’ve been kicking myself for sleeping on this band. Like, kicking myself in the face until my teeth pop out. San Diego’s SeeYouSpaceCowboy released their debut EP last June, and while the Cowboy Bebop-inspired name is a nice touch, it’s the spastic, relentless tunes that are the star. Queercore played in the vein of old-school Converge meets Arsonists Get All the Girls, SeeYouSpaceCowboy is metalcore without restraint. This is even further demonstrated on their 2018 split with Second Grade Knife Fight.

Trust IssuesFinding Peace in the Darkness
Portland-based Trust Issues are one of the meanest bands out there right now. Just listen to any one of the four tracks off their debut album Finding Peace in the Darkness and you’ll get a decent idea at what they’re capable of. This is another piece, released last May, that I slept on, but glad I woke up to.

2018 Releases

Chamber — Hatred Softly Spoken

The first of our 2018 releases is fresh off the fryer, released only at the beginning of March. Chamber’s debut is an absolute beast comprising five tracks of dark, unyielding metalcore. Crushing with every panicked riff and megaton breakdown, I can’t wait to see what this Nashville monster has in store next.

Crossfire — Demo

Hailing from Tucson, Crossfire debuted this three-song, old-school delight in February. A concise, biting takedown of police brutality and establishment, Crossfire’s demo is a loaded helping of crossover-leaning hardcore punk that you’d be wise to take notice of now, lest you punish yourself later.

Nine Eyes – Exhibition 2018

Nine Eyes is nothing new, having pushed out release after release since their 2015 debut, but this small but filling course of metalcore is the most solid reminder of their existence to date. At a mere two songs, this Louisville-based outfit’s newest demo is stuffed with machine gun breakdowns, bombastic riffs, Blade Runner samples and shit-ton for any heavy music fan to chew on.

Seed of Pain — Demo

The best kind of Ringworm-worship from south Florida, Seed of Pain dropped this nuke at the beginning of March, and I find myself unable to turn it off. As with much of the music coming out of their area, I look forward to what this band and its members have in store next, but this four song beating of towering riffage and savage intentions will do just fine for now.

Watchdogs — Sanguinary

One of this year’s first heavy hitters, Sanguinary is the third release from this Richmond, Virginia brute squad. Brooding in the best possible way, Watchdogs doles out their brand of heaviness with calculated malice not often seen. This is real deal, mean-as-fuck stuff.

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