Tag Archives: punk

Sliver – No Idols/No Icons

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The way I choose what to review is pretty easy: if it’s national, I’ll most likely write about it and if it’s an international one whose previous album I liked, they’ll probably also be featured on here. There are of course a couple of exceptions but that’s the, albeit slightly unfair, modus operandi. Well, with that said: Sliver are definitely a band that impressed me with their 2012 endeavor Disobey Giants, and they’re about to release the follow-up, called No Idols/No Icons. So here’s my two cents on it!

Essentially, the Belgo-Franco-Luxembourgish potpourri plays punk, but of a very experimental kind, where you can find screamo elements, as well as some hardcore (punk) ingredients, which all come together nicely and thus provide an enjoyable listening experience. While I do feel that the quartet has found its definitive sound this time around, thus being more concise in its execution, there is still enough variety to go around for everyone.

Returning listeners be assured: many “trademark” aspects from their previous records have found their way into these eleven songs, so the megaphone screams and socio-critical themes will still provide you entertainment and/or food for thought. The greatest improvement to me, however, is the more straight-forward songwriting, because it makes the different songs a lot more memorable. I also feel like the production has become cleaner, making it easier to distinguish the individual instruments…but that might just be my imagination.

The thirty-seven minutes also feel like they pack a tad more groove, and therefore danceability (read: moshability) plays a big part too. The vocal performance has remained at its previous high level and, even though the singer jokingly berated me that it was impossible when I mentioned it in my previous review, the lovely Frenglish accent is also still present. Add to that the truly fitting quoted interludes, and you have a well-rounded package.

All in all, not only have Sliver proven to me that getting into their music a while ago was definitely worth my time, but also that sticking to them was the right choice. NI/NI is a fairly diverse work of art with a lot of strong messages, and a fitting musical backdrop as its medium. So, do yourself a favor and listen to the song below and head over to the guys’ Facebook page if you want to keep up with their future! Last but not least, as you’re reading this, the entire album will be available on Bandcamp, so head on over and give it a proper listen!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNcYAyyWs18&]

Communicaution – Unfixed

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Fact: there are some extraordinarily talented musicians and songwriters that have countless song ideas and the necessary motivation to use that gift, unfortunately for every single one of those individuals, there are at least ten that churn out the same boring and uninspired crap year after year. Luckily for all of us, Eric Rosenfeld, lead singer and guitarist of Versus You, is part of the former category which is why he decided to start the solo project Communicaution in 2012. Initially, it was just him and his acoustic guitar but for his second full-length Unfixed, he has recorded some other instruments himself as well as gotten the instrumental help of Charel Stoltz.

According to the opening lyrics of the record, Eric comes up with about a hundred songs a year, which I don’t even doubt, but for this one he picked twelve special ones that make a great ensemble. The evolution from Revenge! Revenge! Revenge! is quite obvious from the get-go: all the songs, except three, feature full instrumentation, including drums, bass and electric guitar as well as the occasional keyboards. However, the core of each song is still made up of the acoustic guitar and the vocals, which is something I appreciate, because it’s still a different enough sound when compared to his other project.

Also worth a mention is the fact that the drums are kept very basic, in order to not distract in any way from the rest but rather add an additional layer to the sound spectrum. As a matter of fact, most of the songwriting is rather simple, usually following a clear verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus structure, but despite (or possibly because of?) that, each and every single second of these thirty minutes goes down like butter and clogs up your coronary arteries just as much…except that in this case it’s good for you!

Let’s cut to the chase: the heart of Communicaution are the, in my opinion, one-of-a-kind vocals as well as the very unique lyrics of Eric. I didn’t really talk about his voice in my previous review, but I’ll do so this time around: if you’ve ever heard him sing, I guarantee you that you will be able to tell his voice apart from at least a thousand other singers. The ever-present raspiness adds so much charisma to his performance that it’s hard not to listen to him. Additionally, there is a short but sweet guest spot by Martine Becker on Come Clean, which adds an extra little something to the melancholic song…more of that please!

What can I say? Is Unfixed a good record? Totally! Does it have enough replay value to remain in your CD player for more than ten playthroughs? You betcha! Is it for everyone? I wouldn’t say so, no. If you’re looking to wear your dancing shoes, this probably isn’t for you…but if you like to sink into the happy sad world that is Communicaution‘s sound, you will find everything and more than you need. Be sure to check out one of my favorite songs below and visit the Facebook page if you want to be kept up to date. Last but not least, move your bum to Kulturfabrik on December 12th if you like what you hear, where the official release party will be held!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFWFpozXJWw]

Astpai – Burden Calls

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Let me start by saying that today’s band flabbergasted me for various reasons, because if in the past you would have asked me to name music from Austria I would come up with Mozart and, sadly, DJ Ötzi. However, the four guys from Astpai have nothing in common with the two mentioned above…and that’s just as well. Their fourth full-length Burden Calls is going to be released on August 22nd and I’m happy to share my thoughts on it with you now already.

The punk-rock quartet definitely knows their stuff and recorded a really eclectic and fun-to-listen-to album, which didn’t leave my ear buds for quite some time. The major selling point for me was a certain sense of nostalgia that I got when I listened to their songs: I felt like being a young teenager again, playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for hours on end, because many of their songs would have fit perfectly into the game’s soundtrack.

Let me elaborate: the majority of the thirteen songs is an explosion of power chords and driving melodies that is bound to make you bounce around and bop your head. The interplay of the drummer and the bassist, who you can distinguish at all times, is top notch and provides a strong base for the guitars to go wild, when appropriate, or to take it easy when necessary. The songwriting isn’t going to rival the earlier-mentioned composer’s works, but it’s so well put together that you’ll say “fuck you Amadeus” in no time. The strong, yet real-sounding, production is just the icing on that delicious cake.

Then there’s the singer, who delivers an astounding performance, with his quite unique voice. I would say that he isn’t a virtuoso when it comes to vocals, but he takes everything out of the cards he’s been dealt and his slightly raspy voice will be stuck in your head before long. And as a little easter egg there’s a little detail on the song Emotion In The Way that lifts it to a whole new level, in my opinion: a female vocal track that is almost inaudible but very well used and gives the last track of these thirty-five minutes that extra something.

All in all, Astpai managed to put out a truly great punk record that should be checked out by every fan of the genre and newbie alike. Plus, they’ve won my (early) award for best outro of a song with the third track Out, but you’ll have to listen to that for yourselves when it comes out. On top of all that, having seen them live recently, I can only recommend going to one of their shows because they will (punk) rock you! To keep up with the band and their touring schedule, head over to Facebook and be sure to check the video below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CEkMiAp5C4]

Nerveguns – Nerveguns

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To clear one thing up right away: punk is not dead! Not in the music scene, nor here on El Gore, because today I’m going to whet your appetite for Nervegunsself-titled debut album.

The punk rock quartet hailing from Heinsberg, in Germany, is one of the many bands that do everything to keep the genre alive and I salute them for that. Punk is nowhere near as popular as it used to be but the mentality of friendship and good times is still prevalent in the scene. But enough gobbledygook, onto the record itself!

The ten songs are mostly of the traditional, fast-paced kind with simple but effective chords and basic drumming which focuses on supporting the stringed instruments instead of standing out too much; a concept that has worked in the past and still does in my opinion. A good punk record usually features at least one “ballad” and such is the case on here as well since there are actually two, one of which features a bit of keyboard.

So far so good, but what about the, arguably, carrying piece of a punk ensemble: the vocals? Well, they are not without their flaws but they come across as honest and raw, which is what music should be about in the first place!

To sum things up, I’d say that while Nerveguns won’t change your entire perception of the genre and of life, it’s a fun way to spend thirty minutes on a road trip or at home. So, whether you’re into the genre or not, give the song below a listen and visit the band’s Facebook page.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tws3TTlF0lU]

Weekend Nachos – Still

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Tower of Rome once stated “We put the fun in funeral”. Guess this could be the best description for the biggest surprise coming from Illinois, best known for its catchy and original name Weekend Nachos and their newest gem Still. Just like putting fun into funeral; this band manages a difficult duty unlike any other; which is to sound serious and tough like the toughest hardcore act ever without losing focus on fun and not taking themselves too seriously; which is simply amazing and a fresh breeze for the tired listener’s ears.

Describing the musical style with genres is bullshit in this case; this is more than powerviolence. Take old school hardcore, mix it with a punk attitude (duuuh), give it some crust and grind influences, add a lot of anger (20 tons of pissed emotions are just fine) and voila, there you go.

The opener Sickened No More is the most amazing track to start a brand new listening experience. It knocks one out from the first second to the last, giving you not enough time to breathe or to realize what is going on. So does No Idols And No Heroes, guitars on 11 out of 10 and drumsets on the verge of destruction. This goes on for 12 tracks straight, a total 21 minutes of madness and anger.

This might be Weekend Nachos strongest point, speed and roughness. Just like a bastard child from Slayer and Terror that’s got this “childish” punk attitude that couldn’t make one happier. It’s just too hard to catalog or describe this band’s sound; one has to hear it in order to understand the extent aggressiveness and I just leave it right here with this video clip. Happy listening.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3PFaZtif_8]

Toxkäpp! – 15 Joër Toxkäpp! 09.10.2010 Live An Der Kufa!

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Today I’m reviewing a rather unusual album…unusual because I’ve never written about a live CD, but here goes! The Luxembourgish punk veterans Toxkäpp! have recently celebrated their eighteen year existence and have therefor released a live recording of their fifteen year anniversary which was recorded in our local Kulturfabrik. So let’s dive into 15 Joër Toxkäpp! 09.10.2010 Live An Der Kufa!

The octet started off as punk rock but has branched out into a more ska punk orientated direction. That’s why the sixteen song record comprises half and half of both styles; a nice concept which prevents repetition and allows old school fans to enjoy the classics that they might have grown up with as well as the newer stuff.

Performance-wise the band does not leave much to wish for, since each member is on their best behavior and the sound is actually surprisingly clear for a live concert. The one or the other reprise like the iconic Paint It Black also adds a certain flair to these forty-one minutes.

The songs are all sung in Luxembourgish which is something I commend, since not many bands (nowadays?) do that…however it does prevent them of reaching a broader audience. Especially since the lyrics are highly satirical and social-critical and managed to put a smile on my face more than once.

In conclusion, there is only one negative aspect that struck me…which is not even the band’s fault: the crowd is rather silent and resulting in the fact that the live atmosphere is not quite as dense as I would have liked it to be. Whether that is due to the fact that the crowd was actually lame or simply that nobody remembered to put a mic above them is something I can’t tell you. Be sure to check out the band’s Facebook page and listen to a few songs below. If you like what you hear, be sure to go see them live!

Weakonstruction – Reinventing Ourselves

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As I mentioned in my review of their debut EP, the Luxembourgish punk ensemble Weakonstruction are releasing their first full length Reinventing Ourselves on October 19th and I’m proud to present you with yet another pre-release review. So let’s dive right in!

The general formula of the eleven songs remains unchanged from their known style, but you can notice a clear improvement in its execution. The first thing that struck was the way better production, which simply helps to deliver the different parts more effectively. It’s not over-produced whatsoever and still sounds like everything you’re looking for in a punk record, leading to a by far more enjoyable listening experience.

On the instrumental side, the general consensus is vastly more fast-paced than on the predecessor, with only one acoustic song this time around, and I can totally picture an old-school pogo going on at shows…so I’m looking forward to that! The guitar work is a mix between pop-punk and classic punk and they even added a couple of solos to spice things up nicely, resulting in an interesting blend which is bound to keep you listening to these twenty-five minutes.

The drums are pretty straight-forward and, positively, basic thus avoiding a distraction from the rest but still nicely keeping it together. I also feel like the singer has put in quite a bit of work into his vocals, both clean and screamed ones. While he can not be described as the most technical or versatile singer, you simply buy what he sings since it just sounds so natural. The semi-cliché, semi-funny lyrics underline what Weakonstruction is all about: fun! My personal highlight is the slightly alcohol-inspired song Ech wees et nik, which is sung in the band’s mother tongue, since it features funny lyrics and a super catchy chorus: I could absolutely imagine this one being played on the radio!

All in all, Reinventing Ourselves is a fairly solid punk record which should be given a shot by any fan of the genre and people who want to reinvent their musical taste (see what I did there?). Visit the band’s Facebook page for updates as well as a preview of the song Opinion and if you like what you hear, come to Soul Kitchen in Luxembourg this Saturday for the release show of the album! See you there!

Skincrack – …and Here Comes The Steamroller!

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In fact the steamroller comes a little slowly, but those machines aren’t really known for being race cars but for their power. Power is the quality Skincrack want to broadcast with their debut album, although the opener seems to have a few problems, being a more punkish song compared to the coming outbursts that float somewhere between punk, metal and stoner rock. Walk Away’s refrain melody nevertheless is pretty catchy before a harder riff disrupts it and leaves us with the way darker New. Sombre vocals (I guess there are two singers sharing the vocal parts on the LP) guide trough a solid rock song that doesn’t fear to combine metal-like screams with melodic parts.

One feeling that won’t vanish throughout …and Here Comes The Steamroller! concerns the impression of having heard lots of those parts already in the 90s. Cut Into Pieces then very clearly opens the metal stage for the listeners, and in the beginning you may think that a different band is screaming at you right now. Before coming to a slow end, the song is very straight, making it the strongest of all the coming outbursts in which one often gets the impression of a band trying too hard instead of just mercilessly jumping trough the wall.

The fact that even the feeling of good old grunge arises sometimes just confirms the 90s spirit mentioned above. The vocal style of the “main” vocalist (correct me if I’m wrong) unfortunately takes a lot of power away, being a roughly barking dog that would perfectly fit into an aggressive punk band.

The songs off the second half sometimes offer an impression of crudeness or portliness, which often destroys the flow of the first songs. Celebrity may be considered as an exception, displaying a similar directness as in Cut Into Pieces. The heaviness doesn’t disappear, mission “power” is at least accomplished. Skincrack seem to still be looking for their own style and there surely is much to improve considering song composition and creativity. But you can give these guys a chance in those minutes you just want to be crushed by a steamroller or something.

Weakonstruction – 18 Minute Revolution

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After missing Weakonstruction at Rock de Stéier, I felt like I had to make it up to the guys so I bought their CD, for only 2 bucks, and decided to give it a go. So here you are: it’s time for an 18 Minute Revolution.

First things first: the guys play traditional punk, with no compromises. While it’s not the most technical genre there is, the music certainly manages to capture your attention with the simple but effective melodies. The instruments are well played and well produced, but there is no real highlight, like solos, which aren’t necessary but it could have spiced things up a little.

The clean vocals are generally quite enjoyable but the shouts could sometimes be a bit more powerful, the will is there anyhow. I should note that backing vocals are provided by Eric Rosenfeld of Versus You on a couple of the seven tracks. There is one song that particularly stands out to me though, the fourth one: Dicke Bertha, which is an ode to a, I hope, fictional groupie of the voluptuous kind with quite funny lyrics.

That pretty much sums it up, I’m sorry for not being able to provide you with more insight but I have to admit that punk isn’t exactly the genre I feel completely at home, so I’d recommend that you simply give these guys a listen and see if you like it. If not, go check out one of their shows, as I’m pretty sure that the live experience beats the CD experience. I’ll leave you with three things: first of all, Weakonstruction are releasing their new album Reinventing Ourselves this year, secondly you can check out their Facebook page to keep up with the band and last but not least, go check out their pretty amazing video below!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQOIeGpEwCM]

BUTE – Crustatomic

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Crustcore/Punk, Powerviolence have re-gained a lot of „popularity“ over the last years and like every time something gets popular, cool and trendy the market becomes congested and newbies find it difficult to distinguish and to pick up the best stuff (although this is subjective most of the time). If you are an amateur when it comes to Crust, you absolutely have to check out pioneer bands like Amebix, Doom, Crass, Discharge and co. If you are into the genre I don’t tell you something new but instead have something “different” for you: BUTE

The French duo was formed in late 2012 and they released their first Ep In Trust We Crust in October and it really hit me. Soon after, I discovered that they would record a second Ep in March and I decided to make some publicity for the newest 9 song output, Crustatomic.
To make it simple, BUTE play modern and violent Crust/Powerviolence. The music is dirty, the tempo is fast, the voice consists of aggressive shrieks and shouts and everything is over in +/-16 min. Whereas the In Trust We Crust record was more Grindcore/extreme metal orientated the band took a different, a more punk-ish approach on Crustatomic, which gets quite obvious in songs like Fils de Bute, Die 4 Diy and Scorebute. In the end all you hear is some honest music with a lot of humour embedded in a DIY Punk corset. BUTE certainly did not invent a new genre or play something completely new but they somehow managed to create a unique sound, which may be due to the drum computer the band uses. Talking about the drum computer, I have my first (and only) complaint. Personally, the drum machine is not a bad idea at all but I also think that with a real drummer the music would gain momentum. As mentioned before, Crust is a  dirty and raw extreme subgenre where a perfectly timed drum machine seems to be an overkill sometimes.

Give these guys a chance! Listen to the Ep on their bandcamp. Share the music and support DIY Punk!