Album Review: Gunka – Nothing Left To Say

Old-school hardcore punk from an unlikely Devon village. FFO: Fugazi and Dag Nasty.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

I live in a small, unremarkable Devon town called Chudleigh. It’s relatively quaint, relatively quiet and relatively pleasant.

The most remarkable moment in Chudleigh’s very long history was in 1807 when two thirds of the town burned down in a fire. The only casualty was a pig. Nowadays the residents take to Facebook in righteous indignation over bad parking, minor vandalism and sometimes, on a lighter note, to find a decent plumber!

Chudeligh is not, however, a punk rock haven. I have long suspected that I am the only lover of our beloved form of musical anarchy in our sleepy town. That is until a couple of weeks ago when I got a message from the husband of a friend of my wife to tell me about his band. I was intrigued but, I have to admit, not entirely hopeful. This is Chudleigh after all. I did not expect much. I certainly didn’t expect to be blown away. Continue reading “Album Review: Gunka – Nothing Left To Say”

Album Review: Casual Nausea – Demons

Casual Nausea show that punk is far from dead on their album ‘Demons’, out now TNSrecords. FFO: Crass, Subhumans, The Casualties, The Distillers.

Written by Ollie Stygall.

When I was at university many years ago, at the end of each academic year we had a Summer Ball. This involved us all dressing up smart and having a massive party. Beforehand we would pretend to be civilised and all go for a nice meal together… the calm before the storm, as it were.

One time, whilst walking back to college from the meal, my mate strolled away from the group towards the edge of the pavement. He then proceeded, without missing a step, to vomit into the gutter. He then, still without missing a step, and without getting any on himself, pulled a hanky from his pocket, dabbed his mouth and re-joined the group to continue the conversation where he had left off moments before. This is, and will always remain, the finest example of casual nausea I have ever witnessed.

Ipswich’s Casual Nausea, allegedly named after co-vocalist Zoe Barrow’s pre-gig nerves, are certainly now up there with the above story in my top 10 list of casual nauseae… and I never realised I had such a top 10 list!

This Casual Nausea play punk rock and keep it old school, which is exactly how I like it.

Apart from the updated production values, Casual Nausea wouldn’t have been entirely out of place on the Crass Records roster 35 years ago, as they blast out fast, edgy, politicised punk rock complete with male and female lead vocals and a shit ton of snotty melody. It brings to mind Crass, The Subhumans, The Casualties, Minor Threat, The Distillers, etc. Pop punk this ain’t! Continue reading “Album Review: Casual Nausea – Demons”

Album Review: Pizzatramp – Grand Relapse

Finally, there is something exiting to come out of Wales, other than the M4. Pizzatramp’s 12” picture disc on TNSrecords is a win. FFO: 80’s hardcore thrash crossover and swearing.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

Pizzatramp are from Wales so let’s start with some facts about Wales.

Wales is the largest county in England. It is only accessible by a bridge and they make you pay to enter Wales, presumably to discourage you from bothering. Wales is owned by Prince Charles, but he doesn’t live there. The Welsh have their own language but you need an overactive saliva gland to speak it, but that’s OK because 99% of Welsh people don’t understand it.

Wales is full of castles because they’re extremely unpopular and got attacked a lot… they even attacked themselves, because they don’t like each other either! Wales is full of mountains, because even the landscape dislikes the Welsh and has tried to make itself as uninhabitable as possible. Wales has a seaside resort called Barry, like the boring Brummie character from Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Wales has nothing at all to do with the mighty and majestic sea creatures that its name sounds like. Catherine Zeta Jones is Welsh – and hot – but she’d rather shag an American pensioner than Welsh blokes.

However, there is now something exiting to come out of Wales, other than the M4. A musical behemoth that does go some way towards righting the wrongs done by The Manic Street Preachers: and that is Pizzatramp.

Pizzatramp make out that they’re a shambolic, pissed up mess. They’re not. Well, they may well be to be honest, but that doesn’t stop them being a fucking incredible band. Continue reading “Album Review: Pizzatramp – Grand Relapse”

Album Review: Hardkore Dokument UK #1 7”

This split from Pizzatramp, Grand Collapse, The Domestics, Guilt Police, Wolfbeast Destroyer and Rash Decisions proves that the UK hardcore scene is still very much alive, well and kicking the shit out of music with its size 12 boots.

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.

Continue reading “Album Review: Hardkore Dokument UK #1 7””

Review: Haest – EP #2

“Haest sound like they’ll drink all your cider and shit in your bathtub.” FFO: Amebix, Axegrinder, Discharge

Review by Ollie Stygall.

Let me ask you a question. What is punk rock?

Is it the aggressive take on hard rock first put forward by bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Damned? Is it the metallic rush of bands such as Discharge and The Exploited? Is it the hyperspeed grind of hardcore bands such as Ripcord or Heresy? Is it the melodic, pop-tinged sounds of The Offspring? Is it the off-kilter, angular, dub-infused sounds of Fugazi? The answer is, it’s all of this… and more.

Haest from Hastings (see what they did there?) is punk but don’t easily fit into a convenient punk-rock pigeon hole. To my grizzled, ancient ears they sound like the modern day bedfellows of 80’s crust bands such as Amebix and Axegrinder as they throw a touch of sludge into their grimy grind. Continue reading “Review: Haest – EP #2”

Album Review: Mudhoney – Digital Garbage

“Digital Garbage throws the Mudhoney right back to the raw days of Superfuzz Bigmuff with a sense of vitriol and big, fuzzy guitars.” FFO: FUCKING MUDHONEY!!!!

Review by Ollie Stygall.

What’s this? Mudhoney on a punk website? Fuck yeah it is!!!! Mudhoney were certainly seen as one of the pioneers of the grunge movement but at their heart they are a punk rock band. They always eschewed the more metallic leanings of bands such as Alice In Chains and Soundgarden and the stadium rock of Pearl Jam and ploughed a furrow that was as informed by old school punk rock as it was psychedelic garage rock. A quick look at some of the bands they’ve covered in their career gives a real clue as to there the band is truly coming from, The Dicks, Angry Samoans, The Damned, The Adolescents, Fang, Black Flag, Void and The Crucifucks to name but a few. Make no mistake my friends, Mudhoney are a punk rock band.

The band’s punk credentials are fully apparent on this new album, their 10th studio offering in 30 years. Recent albums have seen some of the rougher edges shaved off of the band’s sound but Digital Garbage throws the band right back to the raw days of Superfuzz Bigmuff with a sense of vitriol and big, fuzzy guitars that made the band’s name in the first place.

Continue reading “Album Review: Mudhoney – Digital Garbage”

Album Review: Mean Caesar – Self Titled

Mean Caesar’s 6 track, self-titled EP is a sharp collection of brash yet melodic punk rock, FFO: Hot Water Music, Leatherface and Samiam.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

The Caesars, the emperors of Rome, were by and large a pretty horrible lot. Venerated as gods they frequently abused their power to indulge their sexual and sadistic whims. So it begs a question, if a Caesar is mean, how much of an utter bastard must he really be?

Fortunately South London’s Mean Caesar are not a scary proposition. Fearsome, yes, but certainly something to be embraced in the punk scene. Mean Caesar have been an active gigging band since early 2018 but prior to that they spent two years holed up in the rehearsal space, honing their song writing and sound before hitting the ground running as a fully formed and functional outfit. This time spent and attention to their craft and presentation has clearly paid off in the first recorded fruits of their labours.

This 6 track, self-titled EP is a sharp collection of brash yet melodic punk rock that draws influence from Hot Water Music and the much beloved Leatherface. Each track is packed with more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box and more drive than an episode of Top Gear, all capped off by vocalist Danny Lester’s impassioned, gruff bark. Vocally Lester will definitely draw comparisons to Chuck Ragan and Frankie Stubbs as he combines a rough gargle with a keen sense of melody. Continue reading “Album Review: Mean Caesar – Self Titled”