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 Upon receiving and listening to these outdated modems of music sharing.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
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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.