(Note: This article originally appeared, in an earlier form, at Souciant.com, here. It is reprinted with permission from the author.)
Manchester’s Warsaw changed their name in 1977 to Joy Division to avoid conflict with the punk band Warsaw Pakt. Coincidentally, that change served to mark the break between Joy Division’s punk phase and their later, better-known dark postpunk era. There is something important to this: Many bands at that time started as punk bands yet ended up becoming postpunk, deathrock, and gothic rock acts.
Although Warsaw’s output has its fans and diehard evangelists to this day, it’s the Joy Division material that garnered that band’s popularity. Easy Cure – a British punk band – became The Cure. Crisis became Death in June. The punk band The Outsiders became the postpunk band The Sound. And it goes on. But other bands have had the opposite problem: They are known for their punk material, but their later postpunk output remains neglected, or is seen (by purist punks, at least) as a kind of embarrassing deviation from punk purity, to be brushed under the rug. Rare are bands like Wire or Siouxsie and the Banshees, or Killing Joke — bands whose punk and postpunk material is accorded equal acclaim.
Well, here are five bands whose postpunk material merits reexamination. Audiophiles will be familiar with some of the releases. The material warrants broader exposure regardless.
i can’t front and i won’t front i fucking love when music is used as an weapon of protest & social justice! Philly’s COP PROBLEM bring straight politically charged aggression with their brand of D-BEAT that cuts at the throats corrupt pigs! Today CVLT Nation premieres COP PROBLEM debut video for their song Monuments taken from the band’s 2012 self-titled E.P. available on War Torn/Prejudice Me Records. This visual was put together by Photographer Dante Torrieri of Blow The Scene and Useless Rebel Imaging.While watching this thought proving video you will be forced to think about the ill we all face on a daily basis!…Press play and turn your rage into action!
All Pigs Must Die are at it again. Their follow up to the revered God is War, Nothing Violates This Nature is a continuation of the already heavy, already destructive tendencies of APMD. Heralded as a supergroup, APMD pushes the envelope of what is heavy, and explores the deepest reaches of pure, unadulterated decimation.
“Chaos Arise” – a blitzkrieg that aurally assaults the listener, opens up Nothing Violates This Nature. Seriously heavy riffing by Adam Wentworth encapsulates the atmosphere of pure bleakness — Ben Koller’s drumming is unrelentingly crushing, and the deep barking by Kevin Baker sets the mood straight away. It is a bludgeon over the head with a blunt instrument; APMD shows their strength from the opening note. It is difficult to pinpoint, exactly, how something so heavy could exist; perhaps it is the fastidious approach to instrumentalization that APMD employs. Perhaps it’s the water in Massachusetts. What-ever it may be, “Chaos Arise” is an opening track that completely destroys all in its wake. It is something to truly revel in; APMD has such a unique style that it is almost impossible to resist the urge to thrash around the room.
The first single from the album, “Silencer”, is demonstrably heavy. Picking up where “Chaos Arise” left off, APMD segues into “Silencer” perfectly. Blending together a style of crust and blackened hardcore, the track grooves along, pushing the pace at every step, a sound made from the ashes of bands Discharge and Entombed. This style of hardcore works so well for APMD; all tracks sound extremely clean through waves and waves of distortion. “Primitive Fear”, a constant sludge assault, breaks the convention of the two opening tracks. Having this sludge influence, APMD grooves to a repeating breakdown, using these deep, metallic guitars to assault slowly. “Of Suffering” is another track that follows the same pattern; these sludgy, dark tones wash over, painting the bleakest picture. There is all kinds of imagery in the music, something dark and full of suffering; drenched in the mire of the river Cocytus, and steeped in the deepest reaches of the nether. APMD can play assaulting, break-neck blackened hardcore, but these tracks that showcase this kind of sludge are not only breaks from the action, but rather their own entities that exist to give the whole album a full, experienced sound.
Anasazi: A little bit Virgin Prunes and a strong helping of Southern Death Cult — add in liberal amounts of Christian Death, nuke it all in a microwave for a few minutes, and the finished result might look something like this New York City cult-punk-cum-deathrock outfit. The brainchild of urban warrior/poet/necromancer Chi Orengo, Anasazi’s discography (two 7-inch releases, two demo cassettes, and one split cassette with the band Survival) and song titles like “Horror at the Mass,” “Desecration,” “Bone Collector,” and “Mausoleum” tell the tale of Anasazi’s gloomier sonic inclinations. Recently I interviewed Chi about the band’s output and what inspires it.
NYC, of course, has been a natural hotbed of dark music since the days of Velvet Underground. Follow that lineage through to the late 70s punk and no wave scenes that produced everyone from The Cramps, to The Mad, to Lydia Lunch, to DNA, to Klaus Nomi, on through to the 80s NYC deathrock and goth scene that included bands like the Naked and the Dead, Of a Mesh, and Scarecrow (all ably documented in the excellent Dark New York compilation I reviewed earlier for CVLT Nation here), on through to current bands like Rosenkopf, and Anasazi doesn’t seem so out of place. Anasazi’s latest release is a 7-song demo on Inflammable Material.
Interview conducted by Oliver in July, 2013.
Oliver: Chi, let’s some get some basic information out of the way first for readers. How long has Anasazi been around, and who is currently in the band?
Chi: Well, Mr. Oliver, Ansazi was started in 2010 originally with the darkest rain storms and the howling of many trees. It was with myself, current geetarist, and creator Keegan and our friend Mikkey C. on bass, and Eddie from Psychic TV on drums. We jammmed awhile but that didn’t work out due to bears eating them in Jellystone Park.
2011 came around and we got new members. I got the talented Bread Barrely on drums, Jasper on bass, and Christian on synth — members of The Hunt. This began our journey. It was a perfect fit, like OJ’s glove. We started playing shows in summer 2011. Magic moons and whisps of violent ways were in hand, potions were boiled and 420 smoke in basements were in full effect. I KID! We recorded our self-titled demo in the famous weird night basement where the ghost of a lil’ girl roamed. Then Jasper and Christian passed on. RIP. Then the wonderful Haydne from Dream Affair stepped in on bass, then stepped off a ledge. Also RIP. Now we have the great Jess from Survival on bass, who is a delight and a awesome friend. AND DAT IS DE LINE UP NOW! (“SHHH” — MY MOM.)
Unholy horns of everything awesome! Have you ever heard a record that has all of your brain cells spazzing out like a motherfucker head banging themselves against your skull and stage diving out of your ears? This happens to me every time I put on the new DEAF KIDS from Brazil, who happen to be one 20-year-old dude named Douglas. These eight new aggro tunes are for their new limited edition tape “I am the Sickness” that is coming out on Boue Records (PRE ORDER HERE)! If you follow CVLT Nation, you know that the last DEAF KIDS record, their 6 Heretic Anthems For The Deaf EP, ended up on our last year’s Top Albums of the Year list, and I’m thinking this year they will repeat it! Damn, once I heard the the intro to “Christianity Standards,” I knew Douglas had done it again – this track knocks your teeth out once the drums kick in. DEAF KIDS are an ultra extreme mix of everything I dig, and I could blast this band all day long without getting bored. Imagine if Lemmy fathered Discharge, who went on to have a hellspawn named Darkthrone – this would come sort of close to the rawness of DEAF KIDS. Douglas is a genius in my book, because he knows how to lace all of his compositions with a blackened punk voodoo groove that creates electricity. Take “Man/Machine” for instance: it starts off with a dirty baseline before turning into serpent’s tongue riffs that make you want to be bitten with the drums’ rancid rage. Douglas’ vocals bleed with the oppressed people of his country coming through in every word. Something that’s very interesting is the way he uses melody, almost as another vocal. When you listen closely, you can hear these really awesome call and response things happening in the songs that only add to the drama of DEAF KIDS songs. It gets sicker – there is a spot-on cover of CRUCIFIX’s song “How, When and Where” that kicks ass! DEAF KIDS is one of those groups that inspires us to do what we do at CVLT Nation – I really hope you enjoy the stream below! I’m glad that I have my hearing, so I can hear how stellar the DEAF KIDS are…rock on Douglas!
Florida act Centuries are ripping up the East Coast. Their debut LP, Taedium Vitae, a darkened hardcore shellshock of an album, fits right at home on Southern Lord. The sound delivered from this LP is caustic, volatile, and overtly heavy; Centuries tears through nine tracks in nineteen minutes (!). Taedium Vitae proves to be an absolute wrecking ball – a downright raw album that Centuries pushes the limits of their creative efforts on.
Opening with a jarring one minute, twenty second wave of fuzz and jangling guitar chords, Centuries drops the listener right in with “Caeruleus.” The guitars are punchy – crunchy, if you will; thick walls of sound crash through the gates. The vocal style is abrasive – loud screams pave the way for the album, a tour de force emotional ride that hinges on the very fabric of the bands capability. “Caeruleus” is a track that builds upon itself. As the next track, “Gelu,” takes shape, the drums rage, pounding away a menacing beat as the guitars crank out deep, powerful chords. A slower track than the former, Centuries brings an emotional wave to “Gelu”; all this blackened anger comes to the forefront – the vocals expel such venom.
Atlanta, Georgia crust grinders Dead in the Dirt have released an album that can be classified as an utter destructive force. The Blind Hole, their first full length, is a sludgy grindcore fest, packed to the brim with blast beats and deep riffing. The trio are releasing this monster on Southern Lord, the new breeding ground for fast, aggressive music. To put it simply, this album is a ripper; twenty two tracks of decimating brutality.
“Suffer” drops the listener off in a war-torn environment, the drums beating down like bombs dropping — the thunderous rage in full swing as Dead in the Dirt starts off their LP, blitzing the listener with a barrage of grinding crust. The speed from this track does not let up, as it continues over into “The Blaring Eye”. These two tracks, back to back, induce whiplash; Dead in the Dirt moves at such a quick pace and with such intensity that one is blindsided by the sheer ferocity.
Unholy fuck and triple pope face punch – CVLT Nation has the honor of streaming one of most raging releases of this year! I’m talking about the soon to be released record from OCCULTIST entitled Death Sigils. This piece of righteous audio filth is made up of 8 songs that will put you in a head lock and never let go. OCCULTIST have made an album that will win them new fans for sure. In my book, this band should be heard by everyone who likes their riffs dipped in fury. They are fucking wizards at creating huge walls of crust-laden grooves that will have the hairs on the back of your neck head banging!!! You can pre-order Death Sigils from Primitive Ways right now, just go HERE! Do me a favour and spread the word about OCCULTIST…I AM FUCKING ADDICTED TO THIS BAND!! HAIL Death Sigils!
CVLT Nation is calling all our Vancouver readers to come out and support on July 19th at The Rickshaw! We have a killer lineup – Witch Mountain (Profound Lore), Eight Bells (Seventh Rule), OSS, Life Against Death and Hopeleus – and Nothing is Heavy is giving away a rad prize package to one lucky reader! Just head over to the event page, hit “going” and you’ll be entered into the draw for Thursday the 18th. You’ll win a pair of tickets, a Witch Mountain LP, an Eight Bells CD and an OSS 7″ and t-shirt, all to be picked up at the show! Below find a wicked video essay of live footage from the bands that will destroy the stage on the 19th…