REDBAIT – Cages EP

A year on from Redbait’s debut EP ‘Red Tape’, their follow-up release ‘Cages’ presents the St. Louis hardcore band in an especially confronting mood. Given the state of the world at the time of release that’s hardly surprising, but even so, the EP’s opening number ‘Capital Gains’ is particularly sharp and aggressive even by their previous standards. In a seventy five second howl of rage, the band move through several aggressive styles, each one clearly showing a band that’s not to be messed with…and certainly not about to take things lying down. A huge buzz of bass feedback instantly signifies something great is afoot and within seconds, the track explodes into a slab of crust-punk fury with a message that’s particularly pointed as the band calls for a “working class liberation” for “all ages, all races, all genders and all wage earners”. This is hard to gauge without a trusty lyric sheet, of course, but between a furious vocal performance that mixes hardcore shouts and black metal inflections seamlessly, a brief instrumental breakdown leaning towards more of a metal sound and a huge climax featuring male and female voices absolutely screeching, this is a powerful opening statement for fans and first-timers alike.

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MAN-EATERS – Man-Eaters EP

Man-Eaters are a hardcore punk band bringing together ex-members of Culo and Bleeding Gums. As you might expect from that heritage, their debut cassette isn’t light and frothy, or yet another release by an identikit pop-punk/Ramonescore act. Throughout its half-dozen tracks, speed is of the essence; but more than that, this Chicago quartet brings a vast amount of musical power to their work, creating an EP of adrenaline charged ugliness that’ll almost definitely appeal to lovers of Motorhead, Speedealer and early Electric Frankenstein.

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SIGNAL – Signal EP

Not to be confused with the American AOR band fronted by Marcie Free in the late 80s, this twenty first century Signal play very ragged hardcore punk. The band’s rhythm section once comprised two thirds of the lo-fi garage punk combo The Meltaways and if you were ever a fan of that band, then Signal’s brash stance should very much appeal.

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SILVER SCREAMS – Alive In The Afterlife EP

With no concessions to pop-oriented choruses, metallic breakdowns or obvious 90s skate elements, Boston’s Silver Screams play classic punk with hardcore edges. Their 2018 EP ‘Alive In The Afterlife’ is built from tough riffs that often champion the old-school approach which, coupled with a natural vocal and a huge amount of speed, results in a potential DIY classic.

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NATTERERS – Head In Threatening Attitude

Lots of bands claim to play hardcore punk, but quite often that means hardcore spliced with bits of metal and other genres that dilute the overall feel. On their 2017 EP ‘Toxic Care‘, Natterers genuinely meant hardcore, with buzzsaw riffs played at breakneck speed. Their only concession to any different style came via a few surf punk riffs, but since those were derived from the Dead Kennedys debut, even those had a shrill and unrelenting attitude that could only come from a hardcore perspective. Like a smack to the jaw, that EP was easily the best punk release of the year.

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