Most people’s introduction to hardcore speedpunks Zeke was the ‘Super Speed Racing’ LP back in the mid 90s. It was an album that did exactly what it said on the tin: by packing in over twenty tracks in almost as many minutes, it wasn’t so much a long player as a sonic thrill ride set to shake teeth and bowels loose, all with a knowing grin. Zeke continued to bash out similar albums and sought after 7”s much to the delight of fans over the next decade, before bowing out with a final album ‘Til The Living End’ in 2004. A handful of retrospective tracks crawled out after that, but it seemed we’d heard the last of Zeke…but, to be fair, it’s impossible to keep up such a pace without reaching burnout. Thinking about it, it’s amazing they lasted as long as they did.
When people talk about US hardcore punk, they invariably talk about Black Flag, Agnostic Front, Minor Threat and the earliest days of Bad Religion.
Nevada’s 7Seconds – formed by brothers Kevin Seconds and Steve Youth – were an equally important component of the scene’s formation. Via albums like ‘The Crew’ (1984), ‘New Wind’ (1986) they influenced a generation of fledgling musicians. Whilst later albums took a more melodic route, the band never lost their knack for delivering a potent message.
Self confessed “manic punk” duo The Wirms hail from the Ozark region of the US. To the outsider, that might not seem like the very epicentre of punk, but back in the 90s, the Ozarks spawned it’s own underground scene. [The DIY nature of punk always allows for scenes to spring up anywhere. Aberdeen, WA is in the middle of nowhere…and just look what happened there!]
Hailing from Toronto (via St. Johns, Newfoundland), Brutal Youth have shared stages with Sick of It All, Descendents and old-school UK shouters Cock Sparrer. This third release – mixed by the legendary Mass Giorgini – captures their aggressive and insanely focused sound on a studio disc without losing too much of the intensity you’d expect from a great live set. With a sound that fuses hardcore roots with a touch of skate punk, then combines that with a distinctly Canadian edge – as per Propagandhi and Ste. Catherines – ‘Sanguine’ is one hell of a punk record.
Hardcore punk has existed in many forms over the years, from the straight edge to the crusty to having deep roots in subgenres like grindcore. Despite variations, it’s often at its best when played absolutely straight. For lovers of traditional hardcore, this debut EP from Natterers immediately sets the band out as one to watch. Although only their first proper release, this EP shows a huge professionalism, not only in the way the songs are crafted, but also the way they’ve recorded. This EP retains a DIY ethic without sounding like it has been recorded in a shed.