Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 TOP TEN: JAPANESE HARDCORE

ATTACK SS - NO NUKES 7" (Distort Reality)
Reagan SS, Hitler SS, Tampere SS, Veuve SS, Attack SS, Heroin SS - I still can't understand, why so many punk bands use "SS" for their bandname? Its neither provocative, nor funny, it's just pretty stupid. But apart from the bandname, this 7" is really good. Frantic fast, noisy hardcore comparable to other current Japanese bands like D-Clone, System Fucker, Folkeiis or Framtid. It's heavy distorted and noisy, but at the time the recording captures the energy of the songs and you can still make out the song structures. There's also some d-beat mixed in for good measure. Great stuff! (Listen to it here)

D-CLONE - CREATION AND DESTROYS LP (540)
After a bunch of 7" releases, this is finally D-Clone's first full lenght. Among the plenty of noise bands in the world of hardcore, they are without any doubt one of the best. What's sets them apart from most other bands, is their high-grade noisy, but super powerful recording. It sounds like a mess of noise and sheer hardcore power and it's seems to be marginal, what D-Clone actually play, because everything will turn into something great, if you have this kind of production. Certainly that's of course not the only explanations of D-Clone's intensity: they also write good songs, combining the best parts of Scandinavian and Japanese Discharge influenced music with traditional hardcorepunk of their home country. (Listen to it here)   

FOLKEIIS - DESTROY AGONY 7" (Hardcore Survives)
This is Folkeiis second 7" after their much thought after "Hell Kaaos Night" 7" from 2009. While their older recordings were a complete worship of classic Finish hardcore (including lyrics in Finish language), Folkeiis have now developed heir very own unique style of d-beat driven hardcore. The influence of classic Finish hardcore from bands like Kaaos, Appendix or Riistetyt is still obvious, but they've combined it with current d-beat noise of their native country and a very dark sound. It's made with heavy distortion, but it's not too noisy and not too fast. (Listen to it here)  

FORWARD - WAR NUKE AND DEATH SENTENCE LP (Prank)
Forward are back after a eight year lasting release hiatus. Along with bands like Crude, Paintbox, Crow and Judgement they were one of the most important japcore bands in the late '90s / early '00s. Their third lenght combines catchy,rockish and melodic parts with intense hardcorepunk and heavy throated vocals. For my taste a few songs are way too melodic, but alltogether this is again a great hardcore record, made by people with know-how (former members of Deathside and Systematic Death). Great powerful production (obvious for a Japanese band), mastered by Jack Control. (Listen to it here) 
  
ISTERISMO - FOLIA VERSO L'INTERNO LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)
I've I had to choose only one favourite hardcore of 2012, it would be this one. Isterismo are a bunch of Japanese maniacs, singing in Italian language and doing some kind of Wretched style hardcore with a wall of distortion and feedbacks. This is the most extreme production of a hardcore record I've heart since Exclaim (remember their "critical exploder" LP). You can allmost hear no drums, just a sick distorted bass and overloaded squeaky guitars. But within this mess of distortion the recording captures the sheer power of hardcore in it's most primal way. This record is essential! (Listen to it here)

NEMESIS - DOU-KOKU 7" (Solar Funeral)
Most current Japanese bands are either into d-beat noise or into '82 UK style. So it's very exciting to listen to Nemesis' debut 7", because it features 4 tracks of classic 80s Japanese hardcore in the tradition of bands like The Comes, Gudon, Masturbation, Systematic Death or Execute. Based on straight pounding drums, simple but energetic guitar riffs, short fucked up guitar solos and this kind of vocals, that are so typical for Japense hardcore (=insane). Plus a brilliant old-fashioned, clear production. (Listen to it here
 
VENDETTA - S/T 7" (Imminent Destruction)
The debut release by Tokyo's Vendetta features five tracks of classic '82 UK style hardcorepunk. It's definitely more punk than hardcore, filled with melodic hooks and catchy guitar lines and vocals, but at the same time they keep it raw, raging and powerful. And they have a brilliant old-fashioned production. If your digging The Varukuers, Chaos UK, One Way System or other current Japanese bands like Zetu and Skizophrenia, you will definitely also dig this 7". They've already released a second 7" on Hardcore Survives. Should be great too. (Listen to it here)

VA - RAW PUNKZ 7" (Vox Populi)
I love 7" compilations! While most LP compilations are filled with to many average bands, it seems to be so much easier, to find a few great bands and put their best songs on a 7". This "Raw Punkz" compilation is a good example: No filler, all killer. The title already says it: all bands are into raw punk and hardcore. Raw Distractions from Tokyo crank out a great anti-police anthem with hints of 'UK 82 and Scandinavian hardcore. First vinyl release after their great demo tape. Persevere are well known from their several 7" releases on Blood Sucker Records. Great blasting catchy hardcorepunk. Solpaatos is a total finnish hc worship influenced by Lama, Appendix or Kaaos. Vendetta is probably this year's best new band from Japan. Aweseome '82 UK style hardcorepunk. Skizophrenia are another current Japanese band influenced by UK hardcore from the early 80s. As good as their amazing "This Fucking Skizophrenia! Still A Raped Ass" 7" from 2011. This compilation is a must have, if you like Japanese hardcore!


ZETU - NINJA ATTACK 7" (Hardcore Survives)
Over the past years Hardcore Survives has developed to one of the most important labels from Japan. The great thing is: they only put out tapes and 7"s, which are in my opinion still the best formats for hardcore releases. Zetu's debut 7" features four tracks of driving hardcorepunk, combining traditional Japanese hardcore with '82 UK style. They strike a good balance between catchy, melodic riffs and the raging, primal power of hardcore. Comparable to other current bands from Japan like Vendetta or Skizophrenia. Artwork looks great as well. (Listen to it here)

ZYANOSE - ISOLATION 7" (Distort Reality)
Awful drawing on the frontcover, but the music rules: Great mix of Gai / Confuse worship and Crazy Fucked Up Daily Life like Crust. A lot better than the tons of other bands, trying to imitate the originals, because Zyanose are probably the most extreme among them. The guitar sound is super overtuned and full distorted. It's just one big swoosh, far away from what a guitar usually sounds like. In addition to this mess of noise, you get fast straight drum beats, insane, throaty vocals and super short fucked up guitar solos. This is just throughout sick music. Great! (Listen to it here)