OFF!’s self titled debut album is a punk essential. On that record, the hardcore supergroup – then featuring ex-Black Flag/Circle Jerks vocalist Keith Morris, Redd Kross bassist Steven McDonald and Burning Brides guitarist Dimitri Coates – captured a pure sound that served up the energy of Circle Jerks’ ‘Group Sex’ LP mixed with a mounting anger, packing seventeen songs into as many minutes. Hardcore was alive and well in 2012, and Morris, especially, showed how he’d lost absolutely none of the fury that powered his formative years, despite later Circle Jerks albums suggesting otherwise. That album’s follow up, 2014’s ‘Wasted Years’ stretched the formula to allow for a few extended instrumental sections without sacrificing any of the band’s genuine fire, further proving that OFF! were one of the greatest hardcore bands of their era, before they seemed to disappear. It’s unsurprising, really; a band honestly can’t present themselves so intensely for long without reaching burnout.
When members of Rentokiller and Burst joined forces for a side project purely aiming to make some noise, it was pretty much a guarantee that the results would be uncompromising, but this debut from Industrial Puke is more impressive than first impressions would suggest. Their choice of name and logo appear rooted in the extreme – suggesting a blend of death metal, grindcore and gore-themed noise – but the reality is far preferable. Their music adopts more of a hardcore persuasion and the EP’s four hefty workouts bring early 90s hardcore and crust punk influences into the twenty first century with an almighty wallop.
Formed during the first Coronavirus lockdown of 2020, Toronto’s Imploders crank out classic sounding hardcore in a very early 80s style. In just five songs, their debut release is hard, fast and brutal, and often far better than your average DIY thrash-punk. Despite an unfussy approach, there’s nothing about the material that seems cheap or wantonly trashy. Quite the opposite, in fact; it’s almost as if every note has been put together with the underlying thought of how Keith Morris, Ian MacKaye and John Doe might’ve approached things. In short, this debut delivers six minutes of the most perfect hardcore; a sharp set of sounds that are absolutely guaranteed to thrill lovers of the style.
It’s brave move to open a release with a spoken word passage, especially for a band who are barely out of the starting blocks in terms of their career, but Scum come in with such confidence on their second EP – and a semi-pretentiousness – that it makes the listener wonder what else they’ve got up their collective sleeve. “The primal scream of the modern team”, sneers a very natural sounding voice, before being particularly scathing of modern TV and its watchers who “do not see what they need”. It all sounds very jaded for a band whom, at the time of recording, appear to have a combined age that’s less than a third of Jello Biafra’s own.
In February 2020, Al Pacinos Sister (no punctuation) released ‘Trained In Karate’, a no-frills, no holds barred hardcore punk EP that valued speed and noise over almost everything else. The result was like experiencing a raw garage band tapping into the earliest wares from the Dischord label. Obviously, what the songs lacked in finesse they made up for with sheer balls, leaving behind the kind of lightning fast punky blast that seemed almost timeless.