Stenchcore??? Evidently, that’s the name du jour for the mix of d-beat, crust punk, hardcore, grindcore, and metal that bands like Atakke and Hellbastard peddle. I won’t get into the subgenre soup that surrounds this stuff (stenchcore vs. crustcore vs. mincecore vs. grindcore, etc.). My general impression is “when crusties (hence the “stench,” perhaps) go metal.” This isn’t new — see In Battle There Is No Law. But Bolt Thrower have long been full-on death metal, so it’s great to see (if not smell) others carry on that crusty vibe.

Mass Grave – Only Your Mind Makes You Free
Stormcrow – Poisoned Minds

Vancouver’s Mass Grave and Oakland’s Stormcrow have concocted a split (Selfmadegod/Agipunk/Mangled Ankle) that’s more than just a genre exercise. (It came out last year, but only recently made its way to US distros.) Mass Grave plow through nine tracks in 12 minutes. They are downtuned, burly, and raw. The meat-and-potatoes riffing lopes slightly behind the beat, a classic d-beat trait. Of note is the drummer, who sports ammo belts of d-beats, blastbeats, and thrash beats. This stuff must kill live.

Stormcrow slow things down, to massive effect. They are the mushroom cloud after Mass Grave’s explosion. Raspy vocals and ringing strings announce impending doom. Doom does come: a nine-minute death march as smoke from downed tanks smears the sun. Sure, we know the talk — anti-corporations, anti-new world order, anti-so on and so forth. But now the walk backs it up. This is not disposable punk merch that claims to be anti-consumerist. This is metal; it has muscles. The size matches the scope.

– Cosmo Lee

Relapse (CD)
Selfmadegod (CD)
Interpunk (LP)
Enucleation (LP)