INDUSTRIAL PUKE – Where Life Crisis Starts EP

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.

The opening number ‘Mental Taxation’ begins with a brief burst of multi-layered guitar sounds before launching itself into a brilliant hardcore breakdown where metal edged riffs set some solid groundwork. Fans of older hardcore might hear traces of bands like Earth Crisis, but it isn’t too long before the speed is cranked to classic levels drawing from the 80s hardcore pioneers and the real intensities of Industrial Puke are unleashed. Obviously, an increase in tempo allows the drums to work up a genuine frenzy and for the vocals to drop into some brilliantly shouty refrains, and in seemingly no time the band latch onto an impressive sound that manages to be both heavy and speed driven. By combining timeless sounding breakdowns with sloganeering lyrics, it quickly sets everything in place for an underground classic. By taking Industrial Puke into the realms of Shift and Sick of It All, there’s something timeless about their hardcore, but a dirtier sound drawing from crust punk sources often suggests the band aren’t keen to settle for easy recycling. And true enough, by the time ‘Banished’ kicks in with a mid tempo riff and enormous crunch, there’s even more contemporary heaviness applied to the riffs, before dropping into some blistering hardcore that takes the guts of Burn and Orange 9mm and applies them to the sheer drive of Revelation signings Where Fear And Weapons Meet. As before, the production sound brings out a massive bottom end, but where a lot of hardcore bands would choose to convey that through a deep bass rattle, IP’s preferred weight is supplied from a really dirty guitar work. The twin assault of Jens Ekelin and Marko Partanen really captures a sledgehammer sound with ease, and their combined command of a riff is brilliant throughout. If anything makes this track stand in the long term, though, its a feeling that Industrial Puke are greater than the sum of their parts, and its the way those riffs collide with a superb drum part and furious vocals that creates such a captivating sound, despite working with some tried and tested influences.

‘Constant Pressure’ increases the crust punk influences and also a sheer sense of drive by cranking the bass against a wall of guitars that sound a little muddier than before. Not only do the band appear to tap into the speed and ferocity of bands like Three Inches of Blood, but by increasing the bass intensities, there’s also a collective hat defiantly tipped to Propagandhi circa ‘Supporting Caste’. In a little over two minutes, it’s the perfect capsule of Industrial Puke’s intense approach, and with a few classic hardcore vocals en route, there’s plenty for genre fans to enjoy, before their title track goes all out with a proper death metal rhythm section. Once pneumatic drums take the lead over a sheet of white noise and an extra layer of guitars and brutal neck-wringed bass work add those all important hardcore elements, there’s a feeling that Industrial Puke have peaked. Almost over as soon as it has begun, this track presents the quintet at full pelt, never considering the need for slower breakdowns or anything to temper their brutalist riffs. It’s good – great, even, assuming you’re only seeking something to clear the cobwebs – but, as has already been proved, there’s often far more at stake on this release.

In terms of riffs, this is a sure fire winner, and from the perspective of conveyed anger, it makes a few other hardcore pioneers seem insular. Never before has approximately six minutes’ worth of hardcore felt to oppressive, but here it is – for sheer musical weightiness, Industrial Puke are hard to beat. Those who get this recording will love it; it’s the sound of an unrelenting machine with a voice, a message, and a whole world of disdain. Look past the cheap looking sleeve, the pseudo death metal logo and terrible name and you won’t be sorry – Industrial Puke bring some genuine excitement to an often predictable hardcore punk scene with classic sounds that certainly hold up with some of crust/hardcore’s very best.

September 2022