All photos Jason House
Dance-A-Tron (last show)
All photos Jason House
Dance-A-Tron (last show)
During a recent visit to old favorite Sorry State Records. I found myself gobbling up cassette demos to re-enforce my vinyl order. Upon receiving and listening to these outdated modems of music sharing. I found myself being introduced to some pretty awesome bands I had never before heard of. As I listened, I found myself jotting down thoughts and impressions on what I was hearing. The experience immediately brought me back to my fanzine days when I collected and traded tapes with people around the world. As cassettes and in particular, demo cassettes continue to make a comeback. I’ve decided to dedicate some time to sharing my thoughts while possibly connecting people to some new, under the radar bands you may or may not have heard of. So here we go. JD
To sample or purchase any of the following. Just click here.
Enamel – 2016 Demo Philly’s female fronted Enamel deliver eight songs of powerful, well structured songs that show off the bands sense for musicianship, as well as an ability to perfectly execute the nihilism and stripped down approach of Hardcore. Great production and packaging to boot. With each song failing to make the two-minute mark. I was impressed with how these songs made such a lasting impression.
S-21 – Demo Wow, talk about a departure. S-21 manage to make a lot of dirty noise with this four song thrasher. Gnarly blasts of filth and fury that scared the bejesus out of me. While Philadelphia’s S-21 also feature a female vocalist. All comparisons, resemblance and likeness end there. This is about as raw and forceful as they come. Coming in at 1:17. the demo’s fourth and final track, ‘Prisoner’ is by far my personal favorite.
Heavy Hands – 2016 Demo While I’m not quite sure why this Portland band reminds me of thrashier NYHC bands of the mid 80’s. I find myself stuck in that comparison. While I find the sped up sounding high pitch vocal screams to be a bit irritating. I find myself drawn to the Heavy Hands revved guitar assault and rapid fire percussion. In listening to these six songs. I found myself gaining a sense of respect and appreciation for Heavy Hands. However, I see a lot of room and hopefully time for improvement.
SWEATS – Demo ’16 “Hey Portland, what’s going on? Have you heard of this cool new band called SWEATS?” The bands heavy-handed and straightforward barked vocals immediately have me thinking of John Brannon’s Negative Approach and Choke’s short-lived, pre-Slapshot endeavour Negative FX. (Two classic early 80’s HXC bands I admittedly took years to appreciate.) Whether or not the members of SWEATs’ have any inkling of those aforementioned bands existence. It clearly shows itself on this demo.
Pure Pressure – Demo 2016 Fast, furious and loud as fuck. On this seven song leave little to the imagination. And while some might find similarities in early NYHC and thrash. I found this Toronto band to be a bit hard to digest. If you’re in to speedy, rough around the edges thrash or speed core. I’d recommend a listen. As for me. I found nothing redeeming about this one.
The Brood – October Dreams 2016 Demo Forgive my age for a second or two while I feel myself transcended to ‘Power of Expression‘ era BLAST. On their latest offering Philly’s The Brood have recorded an eight song banger that remind me more of a classic BLAST, Necros, Christ on Parade album than any stop gate cassette release. Bold, frenetic and essential. I would love nothing more than to hear more from The Brood and ultimately, see this pressed on a heavy slab of vinyl. Essential and absolutely necessary.
Rabid Minds – Demo 2016 When you open your set with a bass line as good as that on ‘Intro‘. You’re surely going to get people interested in what you have to offer.Featuring members of Permanent Ruin, Busted Outlook and Death First. The bi-coastal Rabid Minds let both their influences and experience loose on this five song banger. Powerful and impressive bass lines meet jagged guitar riffage and growled, yet easily digestible vocals to make what comes together as a rather impressive release. Get a hold on this and let it grab a hold of you.
Trash Knife – Trash Life While I haven’t been to an event in Philly since attending a house show at The Terror Dome many years ago. There seems to be a lot of good and diverse things happening in the city of brotherly love these days. Trash Knife may very well be the band that inspire another drive south on the Garden State. And while Trash Knife might comfortably find themselves on the bill as the likes of Enamel and S-21. Trash Knife might be better compared to acts such as Bikini Kill than any local Hardcore acts. Each of the five songs on ‘Trash Life‘ merit countless listens as well as praise. Stick that one in your hamstring buddy.
With a sound that can be likened to an autopsy at a bachelors party, or perhaps a riot at the Vatican. California’s Slobber goes for the jugular vein and proceeds to eat it before it goes straight for your heart. Five songs that scared the hell out of me in the way good Hardcore music is supposed to. If old schoolers Citizens Arrest met noise makers Rorschach at an Infest show. They would probably scheme to create something that sounds like Slobber. This is one hell of a ripper that didn’t just leave an impression. It left scars. With songs barely making the minute mark. There’s little room for bells and whistles. Lucky for us, this California band doesn’t need them. Quite good for all you bad ass motherfuckers. JD
Shimmers features six new songs from the Denville four piece Scary Stories. Recorded in April 2016 at Backroom studios and mixed by Scott Moriarity. Scary Stories sound is both vicious and savage. Featuring elements of hardcore, punk and screamo with an added metallic guitar sound the gives the bands overall sound the depth it otherwise lacks. A characteristic which gives them the EP some much-needed credence musically. With most of the songs sounding marginally similar. It was the sixth and final track ‘Diorama’ that left the best impression. Decent stuff, but nothing special or groundbreaking that would set it apart from the pack. ‘Shimmers’ is currently available for download on bandcamp Here and will soon be made available in cassette format from Forced Abandonment Records Here . JD
It’s been a long time. Over a year would be a generous understatement since I’ve heard anything from Maplewood’s Polyphony. To be honest. I recently found myself wondering if their time together had come to a quiet end. Thankfully, Polyphony doesn’t to do anything quietly.
While this split only features one offering from each band. Polyphony’s “Reason to Prevail” and “Roses are Subjective” by The Planet You. I find each of these songs to be infallible testaments to the power of a good split. While two very different bands with Polyphony’s mathematic, yet unwound madness and the technical melodies Montclair’s The Planet You offer. They share more similarities than one might give them credit for.
These two bands match up well on this split. A wake up call that old favorites Polyphony are still going strong. A reminder of how refreshing it is hearing and learning about bands to keep my eyes and ears on. JD
Having started Document Fanzine less than a year ago. We really haven’t gotten to the point where we’re getting a whole lot of submissions for reviews. (Something I sincerely hope changes in the near future.) Interesting how the ones we’ve received have either come from publicists peddling music we, or at least I, have no interest or intention of taking the time to review. Or, as in this case. Bands from far away with something more up our alley . On what I believe is the band’s debut 7 inch. Power Face get right to the point and up in your grill with a fast paced, raw Hardcore sound that’s sprinkled with elements of Speed Metal. (Most evident in the bands potent guitar assault.) With six of the seven songs coming in at under two minutes. There’s really little room for any break downs or mosh parts, which is fine. Not bad for what it is. Still, nothing that would really inspire more than a casual listen. On the down side. Power Face have some of the worst vocals I’ve seen in quite a while. Something I would have most likely missed if the actual lyrics weren’t included. “Come with me if you want to live. Walk the road of fire and sin.” Lead me to think this band is either in middle school or just don’t have a lot to really talk, or in this case, sing about. Not that I’m saying a Hardcore bands lyrics should change the world. Personally, I just prefer a little less role-playing in my Hardcore music. Not bad, but nothing special either. Proceed with caution. Power Face don’t really offer much in the information department on their social media pages. Regardless, I’m leaving a link to the bands music. This way, you can form your own opinions. JD