CVLT Nation’s Top 6
Crust Albums 2013
There have been some great new releases in 2013, as well as loads of great reissues in all genres of noisy music, but this is about the new, more crustier side of things. It has been a tough choice once again choosing a top six. As this year saw Profane Existence’s singles series as well as other bands I’d liked to have included, like Πανδημία, Morne, Conspiracy Of Denial, Corrupt Leaders, Last Legion Alive, Cancer Spreading and of course shitloads more. But this is my top six in no particular order, as they are all just as good.
Swordwielder – Grim Visions of Battle
Of course, the Axegrinder influence is very clear, but Swordwielder very much stand out from a lot of other crust bands as they go for that more slower, dark, eerie sound which bands like Axegrinder, Amebix and Morne do so well. With lyrics dealing with barren wastelands and war, I think you know what your in for – primitive and dark sounds which delve further into your soul. Releasing their first demo in 2012 as a limited CDR and cassette release on Boneyard Records, they have kept a very minimal internet presence which I think adds to the mystery of Swordwielder. All I know is that they are from Gothenburg, Sweden and that they only played their first gig in February of this year. Get it on vinyl while you still can on Cubo de Sangre Records.
Police Bastard – Confined
CVLT Nation streamed two tracks from this before it came out: ‘Curse of The Cross’ and ‘Sick Sick System’, which Iron Man Records released in November. Police Bastard are pretty infamous at this stage, so no need for any introductions with band member links to Doom, Sore Throat, Filthkick, Sensa Yuma etc. Their new album ‘Confined’ sticks to their cynical view of the world mixed with innovative guitar textures and driving industrial intensity. Thought-provoking monologues and confrontational lyrics bring you on a cold, doom-laden journey of perpetual war, psychological mind control, disillusionment and omnipresent bullshit. For a band that has been knocking about on and off for twenty years, they could be forgiven for reverting to the formulaic. However, they rethink and deliver a furious maelstrom of complex dark hardcore, best served cold.
Repression Attack – Altar of Destruction
Repression Attack from Ryazan, Russia have being playing guttural Deviated Instinct-styled crusty stenchcore since 2007. Their second release since their split with Pan Zlobek in 2009, “Altar of Destruction” was out in May of this year. Musically bleak and cold metallic crusty punk, which hits the nail on the head.
Vicious rasps and snarls with evil guitar screeches and heavy grousing guitar rhythms mutate into fine filthy crust. It is thrashed out and at times played at a slow and menacing gritty pace with heavy slow melodic parts scattered throughout, which really aids the music in being very visceral and harsh. The album is available for free streaming on their bandcamp page, for physical copies check their facebook page.
This is what I wrote about Okus on CVLT just before they released their debut: ‘Okus are a very new Irish band having only played their first gig in October of this year. But they are very much old hands music-wise with members having played in The Dagda, Bleeding Rectum, Fuckhammer, Sodb and more. They are to me like a hybrid between crusty death metal, grind and doom, with their music taking a real nihilistic and bleak look at the world based on religion in some way, through war, religion, economics etc.’
The album released on Underground Movement is discordant and disquieting, with vast shifts of pace. At times grinding and frantic, then the music shifts to pounding slow tempos and eerie feedback. Okus, musically I think, are akin to bands like Dystopia, Grief or other heavy bands that are just hard to pigeonhole.
Femacoffin – Demo
Consisting of members from well-known crust bands Stormcrow (Tony and Brian) and Sanctum (Nick), Femacoffin from Oakland, California keep the original heavy crusty death metal approach to their music like their previous bands. Through the doomy hecatomb, there are strains of bands like Bolt Thrower and Misery. The term ‘warcrust’ has been knocked about for this kind of Bolt Thrower-styled crust, which bands like Last Legion Alive, Warmaster and of course Stormcrow and Sanctum play so well. I personally don’t care what it’s called, I just love real heavy, well-played filthy musick, so I could listen to this on repeat all day. These are crusty punks playing death metal but with a political vent, which for me gives it an extra kick in the arse. The band themselves have tagged it on Bandcamp as “punk-crust-death metal-decay-sadness,” which I think describes the sound quite well.
Agrimonia – Rites Of Separation
Agrimonia‘s third LP released by Southern Lord is another outstanding release, with each song flowing perfectly into one another like some sort of classical piece. It is so refreshing to hear music like this, which I think happens when members of the band have been playing in various crust, hardcore and death metal bands for years. All those styles grow, mature, advance and metamorphosis into a more elaborate style of playing that invokes more of an emotional reaction. There is so much creativity and originality with Agrimonia that leaves us all to harbor high expectations for something very clever and epic.
Their last album, ‘Host Of The Winged,’ was incredible and certainly overplayed by most. So it is great to see that it was not rushed. It still has that brooding yet powerful heaviness that keeps your attention the whole way through. This is another masterpiece.