INDUSTRIAL PUKE – Born Into The Twisting Rope

On their debut EP ‘Where Life Crisis Starts’, Industrial Puke made a tightly wound noise that took the guts of Propagandhi circa ‘Supporting Caste’ and fused that with elements of classic Discharge and a pinch of Earth Crisis for hardcore goodness. Although brutal, the EP had a little more melody than those influences would immediately suggest, and thanks to a couple of smart arrangements, it was clear that the band were a cut above your average extreme music acts, or any of crust punk’s low budget heroes.

Part of the EP’s appeal came from its direct approach, but part of it came from its brevity. The four tracks played like a speed driven machine – a short sharp shock that proved that old influences need not sound stale. With talk already in place of a full length release, it would be interesting to see where the band would go in future, especially since the idea of pulling such extreme volumes and tempi over a longer period could dilute their intensity.

They’d obviously thought of that, since their full length debut clocks in at under 25 minutes. That’s long enough to get your eardrums mutilated in the best possible way, but not too long for the rot to set in. In addition, they’ve had the good sense to recycle all four tracks from the EP, so there’s also a handy recap for anyone who missed that.

The second time around, their self-titled track still plays like the ultimate in grindcore with a crust punk crust, and it’s great to discover that when heard among other unfamiliar tracks, that the massive hardcore breakdowns in tracks like ‘Mental Taxation’ and ‘Constant Pressure’ still sound immense. However, those are actually outshone by a couple of bigger sounding numbers elsewhere. ‘Hell In Hello’, in particular puts an even bigger accent on the band’s hardcore punk heart by throwing out a lightning fast grinding riff via the guitar and underscoring that with the kind of drumming that would make Sick of It All’s Armand Majidi proud. Perhaps more importantly, this track really highlights the band’s crossover sound in a more confident way, since the opening riff takes on a thrash metal gallop, before several lead guitar parts show they aren’t exactly shy in exploring a sharp edged eighties sound that calls back to Exodus. With a slower, heavier breakdown to finish, with hints of Earth Crisis at their slowest and Living Sacrifice at their heaviest, this is a strong and varied two and a half minutes that feels so much longer…in a good way.

Opening with a slow and doomy riff, ‘Necrosexist Motherfucker’ introduces one of Industrial Puke’s heaviest riffs to date, but it isn’t long before they revert to type, and hammer through a classic hardcore riff that sounds like its been dragged from the 90s and crunched up considerably. To ensure this doesn’t sound like easy repetition of what’s gone before, a brilliant dual vocal is employed and Linus Jagerskog’s Lou Koller-ish roar is joined by a scratchy counterpart, courtesy of guest performer Hanna Stjernalof whose tones and delivery bring the band much closer to Capra. Even with more of a focus on the voices, the music doesn’t suffer, and it’s great to hear guitarist Marko Partinen neck deep in yet another sledgehammer arrangement. Elsewhere, ‘Reactionary Warfare’ retreats to the crusty hardcore sound of ‘Mental Taxation’ and, likewise, it’s impossible not to liken its mix of brutal vocals and sledgehammer riffs to those from Propagandhi’s uncharacteristically angry ‘Supporting Caste’ LP, and ‘General Gluttony’ takes Industrial Puke’s already established tones and applies them to something a little more metal oriented. It’s clear that even when they aren’t hammering through riffs at top speed, the riff is still king, and across these three minutes, the marriage of guitar tones and vocal anger is near perfect. It’s little more melodic in places, but never loses any of the band’s sheer force.

Opting for something far more direct, ‘Cleaning (And Awaiting Death)’ fills just over a minute with an extreme take on a crust punk sound, on an arrangement where the early d-beat of Discharge meets New York Hardcore square on. In doing so, it gives the drums a fast and very mechanical workout, leaving some dirty sounding guitars to do most of the interesting work. Their tone here is brilliant, somewhere between a brutal chop and a speed oriented grinding. Creating the musical equivalent of a concrete mixer, the band take no prisoners whilst still maintaining just enough melody for a classic hardcore vocal where shouting is key, especially once everything crashes head first into a massive hook loaded with gang vocals. You might expect a track called ‘Innards On The Outside’ to explore a traditional grindcore sound, but Industrial Puke have better ideas. First up, they deliver a riff where brighter guitars dominate a hardcore punk riff with a lopsided melody that adds something that sounds like a hardcore take on carnival music, before dropping into a verse that borrows heavily from classic Sick of It All, then arriving at a chorus hook where slower riffs marry a sizeable musical breakdown with another gang shouted refrain. By repeating the whole sequence, it gives the track a really full feeling, and at the point where everything tails off into feedback, there’s been something very satisfying about the whole experience.

This is brilliant. Hardcore as it should be played: absolutely brutal, yet keeping a focus on some really great arrangements. ‘Born Into The Twisting Rope’ is massively noisy, but never inaccessible, and across its ten numbers, Industrial Puke really make their mark on the hardcore punk scene. For those who’ve spent years exploring the more interesting elements of the early Earache catalogue or the harder stuff shared by Revelation Records, this is a release not to be missed. It won’t necessarily make you hear hardcore in a new way, but in terms of showcasing talent and an appreciation for a classic style, you won’t find too many better records.

March 2023