Review by Ollie Stygall.
Growing up as a kid in the ’80s was a great thing. It was very much the golden era of hardcore and saw the D.I.Y. ethic, that had grown up around punk in the late ’70s, expand into interesting areas, particularly the rise of the split release.
Split releases allowed bands and labels to co-operate on co-releases that spread costs while also introducing bands to each other’s fan bases. Some of these split releases have become legendary artefacts of the scene at the time: the Chaos UK/Extreme Noise Terror Earslaughter release still remains, for many, the best document for each band. Split releases, such as the Heresy/Concrete Sox release, paved the way for Earache Records and, perhaps a harder to find and more esoteric release was the 4-way Japanese hardcore beast that combined Outo, Gauze, Lipcream and Systematic Death.
Hardkore Dokument UK #1 pulls together six fine examples of current UK hardcore bands, each with their own distinct vibe to contribute and presents them in classic 80’s style; complete with crap black and white cover. It’s a release that takes me back to my youth, whilst reminding me that the UK hardcore scene is still very much alive, well and kicking the shit out of music with its size 12 boots.
First up The Domestics weigh in with the no frills, fast as fuck hardcore of “Cherry Blossom Life”. It’s simplistic but highly effective, vicious, thrashing punk rock. The chorus – the title ranted over and over again – is surprisingly catchy in the way Discharge managed to hammer their point home through repetititon.
Pizzatramp may be a more familiar name and their offering, The Only Good Tribute Band Is A Fucking Dead One is a scathing, humorous blast of punk rock that evokes The Stupids at their most irreverent. Pizzatramp blast through 1 minute 49 seconds of US-style hardcore that benefits from a nice chunky breakdown in the mid-section. Let’s face it, no-one can fault their lyrical inspiration here.
Grand Collapse deliver the epic, 2 minutes 25 seconds Dock, the longest track on this release. This is another slice of manic, barely controlled, relentless speed punk with harsh, histrionic vocals. The guitars here are a little messier, being closer in tone to the Dead Kennedys than some of the fuzzy, more metallic tones associated with hardcore, but this all adds to the frantic intensity.
Wolfbeast Destroyer may sound like they should be some sort of death metal band… but they’re not! Carved Into Bone is a meaty (no pun intended) slice of Discharge-esque, D-beat hardcore with some vague metal tendencies; a reasonably adept guitar solo for starters. Of all the bands here they probably benefit from the thickest sound.
Rash Decision is a very familiar name to me having already reviewed their fantastic Karoshi album, and being practically local boys from Cornwall. Their track The Shaman demonstrates their innate knack for metallic hardcore with razor blade sharp thrash riffs and breakdowns. The use of multiple vocalists adds another intriguing dimension.
Guilt Police close proceedings with It’s A Dirty Church But We All Love Filth. This is by far the messiest track on offer, backed up by a lowest of the lo-fi production that is heavy on the distorted bass. Of all the tracks this is the one that harks back the most to the halcyon days of the 80s both in terms of production and musically proving that sometimes less is definitely more. This is a nasty assault on the senses, in a great way.
As a quick and dirty introduction to the UK hardcore scene, this 7” is a good as it gets. There are no stand-out tracks and certainly no filler or shite. Hardcore may deliver a short, sharp and stupidly fast shock, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for individuality within that framework as each band here proves.
Hardkore Dokument UK #1 was released via TNS Records (UK), Kibou Records (UK), Amok Records (DE), Sick World Records (NZ) and Mangel Wax Records (SWE) on 1 February 2019. A true collector’s item, it’s available on both red and black wax and it’s already out of stock at quite a few outlets. Crate dig and ye shall find, dear friends.