CVLT NATION’S TOP 13 HARDCORE RELEASES OF 2018
ONE: CULT LEADER A Patient Man
I’m unsure what others seek when choosing their favorite annual album, for those taken with such trivialities, that is. As far my tastes go, as one who savors hardcore punk confections, I tend to repetitiously consume what I find heaviest in caloric breakdowns and sweet earnestness. Basic genre tenets, really. Every so many years, a wrench is thrown into my eating habits, breaking my teeth, my nose, my general face, before fissuring into my brain itself. Cult Leader has garnered that kind of reputation with me. They hew close to hardcore, sure, but they’re pretty crusty too, with even some sludge oozing in here and there. Each of their releases has distanced them from convention, further into elusive territory where bands deny classification in favor of crafting a truly unique sound. Be assured, A Patient Man will be Cult Leader’s defining album.
TWO: HARMSWAY POSTHUMAN
Posthuman marks the fourth full-length LP and Metal Blade Records debut for Chicago’s very own Harm’s Way. Taking inspiration from 2011’s Isolation and 2015’s Rust;Posthuman continues the band’s tradition of delivering utterly ruthless metallic hardcore. The record includes plenty of crunchy beat downs with extra touches of variety added to their mix. It keeps the adrenaline at an all-time high. The record’s first single, “Human Carrying Capacity,” is a strong example of what fans should expect from the album’s overall sound—pure blistering hardcore in all its glory.
Words via Metal Injection
THREE: CANDY Good To Feel
Despite the fact that Candy’s name is a Velvet Underground reference – a rare influence not usually found in the hardcore scene – the irony of their moniker should not be lost on the casual listener. Actual candy is supposed to be sweet and light-hearted, meant for children. But Candy from Richmond, Virginia, are none of these things. And it’s this juxtaposition of innocence and perversion that Candy uses to keep listeners squirming with unease and dread.
Drawing influence from Integrity and other bands of their ilk (Living Hell, VVegas, Blind To Faith), as well as bands of the Japanese Burning Spirit scene (Death Side, Judgement, GISM), Candy, with their new LP Good To Feel, has created one of the most jarring pieces of hardcore punk I’ve ever encountered.
Words via Punk News
FOUR: JESUS PIECE Only Self
There have been some superb hardcore releases so far this year. Vein’s newest release errorzone is an outstanding hardcore record. Canadian metallic-hardcore outfit SLUMLORD dropped their masterfully chaotic Preview of Hell earlier this year, too. However, with just under 5 months left in this calendar year, my undisputed hardcore record of 2018 has arrived, and it hasn’t come quietly.
Only Self is the long awaited debut LP from Philadelphia, PA–based metallic hardcore outfit JESUS PIECE and it is unflinchingly heavy. Seriously, this record is a nasty piece of business that boasts eleven tracks packed into 32 brain-beating minutes.
FIVE: portrayal of guilt Let Pain Be Your Guide
I won’t out the media outlet I came across that, merely a week into our eleventh month, foolishly teased their “Best Of 2018” list. As I write this, we’re a week away from an album set to drop that will render the over-eager lists null and void in grand, bleak fashion. Let Pain Be Your Guide by the Austin unit Portrayal Of Guilt (Matt King, James Beveridge, Rick Flores, Blake Given) is due out 11/16 via Gilead Media and Holy Roar Records and it’s a genre-bending stunner of extreme music mastery, truly November’s coming fire. On the back of last year’s S/T 3 song EP and the utterly essential singles “Nihilist” and “Chamber Of Misery (Pt. I),” the band have steadily steamrolled their way through both the States and Europe. Having seen them decimate Baltimore some months back, I can attest to the singular and unique fury with which they attack stages. They now find themselves armed with an album that builds both upon their sound and it’s alchemy of purgative bloodletting, a high point in a discography already littered with them. Let Pain Be Your Guide is a visceral and varied meditation on trauma in every sense and just might be the best album of 2018.
SIX: VEIN errorzone
There’s been chatter here and there of a “metalcore revival” of sorts. That would suggest the genre died at some point between 2006 and now. A sentiment entirely unfounded; metalcore was never gone and buried, but it certainly became boring as shit, with its most interesting post-mid aughts anecdotes best left to Lambgoat comment boards to die. This alleged revival stems from several stateside bands’ success in once again rendering the style with creativity after a decade of stagnant recycling. This feral crop on the rise has its share of rehashes, don’t get me wrong, but its appreciable, with nu-metal, metalcore, industrial and emo pureed into smooth, venomous concoctions.
SEVEN: Regional Justice Center World of Inconvenience
Background is everything. Behind all great art lies a beating heart, a fractured rhythm, and a story. Beneath the pummelling powerviolence and grizzled sludge of Regional Justice Center’s World Of Inconvenience sits a 12 minute treatise on the myriad ways the justice system continues to fail and marginalize those crossing it’s thresholds. Ian Shelton, the braintrust at the center of RJC’s vicious takedown of the Prison-Industrial Complex, is informed by and in response to circumstance. The album finds him grappling with his brother Max’s incarceration and, lest I tell the tale of another, it hits me in the deepest of places. It’s an uncomfortable listen, perhaps due to the fact that it’s confrontational, combative nature is authentic. Having lost my brother a couple of years back, I’ve had access to seeing how both the revived “War On Drugs” and the justice system is a failure of such grotesque magnitude that it demands disassemblage.
EIGHT: BAPTISTS Beacon of Faith
Despite this mistake you check your spam folder only to find that you somehow managed to get a hold of Baptists’ new album Beacon Of Faith. Preferably, you’ll need to find some nice things to say about it other than the cliche “it fucking rips faces off” type of statements so many heavy music blogs and websites cling to in a desperate attempt for clicks. For starters, I think its worth noting that lyrically, Baptists throat man Andrew Drury channeled a lot of daily frustrations from working in social services to dealing with asshole neighbors on this album. Beacon Of Faith is not just another metallic-hardcore record where the vocals act as another instrument or sound in the mix, it is a refreshingly compassionate take on the harrowing ways in which humans care for society’s most vulnerable accompanied by ferocious riffs, drum fills, and bass lines.
Read full review here
NINE: HELL TO PAY BLISS
With all of the fucked up shit going on in the world, I am firm believer that music can be used as a weapon of MASS CHANGE! Philadelphia-based HELL TO PAY have not only created one of my favorite hardcore records of 2018 called Bliss, but the message they are conveying lyrically is something I can relate to. What also makes this collection of blistering tunes so awesome is the way the music pairs with the thought-provoking words to paint a portrait of reality that we all need to look examine carefully. Bliss should be played LOUD and listened to on repeat so that it gets into your bones and braincells.
TEN:GULCH Burning Desire to Draw Last Breath
GULCH is a band you will be hearing more and more about, because they are the FUCKING BOMB!!! I really don’t think they are going to stay unsigned for long – just let the world know that you heard them first on CVLT Nation. I am so fucking addicted to their tape Burning Desire to Draw Last Breath I have had it on repeat all day. Now I want you give it a listen and see how it effects you. They create the kind of songs that prove this genre will never die.
ELEVEN: TRAGEDY Fury
Fury is their latest EP, and as any fan would expect, it wasn’t expected and it doesn’t disappoint. It contains six tracks and lasts about seventeen minutes, and to my ears is a hunkering down on the band’s more hardcore roots, while stepping away from the doomier aspects of Darker Days Ahead. The title is an apt one. While there are some prototypical Tragedy melodies (like the brooding bass on opener “Leviathan”), this is pure, unbridled rage. When the dirge like melody recedes and the thrashing begins, the first words of the album bark like a wild animal: “Keel, keel over!” “Leviathan” is classic Tragedy—as bleak and ruthless as ever.
Words via Dying Scene
TWELVE: THIRTY NIGHTS OF VIOLENCE To Die In Your Portrait
THIRTY NIGHTS OF VIOLENCE lives up to their name, and this 4 track EP of punishing metallic hardcore comes at you like you’re taking a beating 30 nights in a row! Unbeaten Records will be unleashing their To Die In Your Portrait EP this Friday, and today we’re excited to be sharing a full album stream with you! Pre-order To Die In Your Portrait right here, and right now you can hit play and be crushed by THIRTY NIGHTS OF VIOLENCE!
THIRTEEN: SECTION H8 Phase One
SECTION H8’s new record Phase One has been on repeat since I heard it just the other day. What I love about their music is that you can hear that thy have lived life with all of the up and downs it has to offer. They have injected all of their pains, passions and victories into this new SECTION H8 album. Nothing about Phase One is contrived, which is why I can’t get enough of it! Don’t even get me started on how they use samples as the glue that holds their sonic madness together. I could tell you about all of the awesome bands that each member has been in, but why, because this feature is all about my new favorite hardcore band SECTION H8!