written by Ellis Heasley
Here we are – the second edition of Please Sir, I Want Some Core. Once again, the focus here is to spotlight some of the finest records from across the whole ‘core’ spectrum which few people seem to be talking about. There’s a lot of seriously oppressive stuff this time round, but don’t worry if that’s not your bag as the list still covers a lot of bases. Let’s do it.
Deathtax – I Will Never Leave You/Are We Left No Other Choice
Released February 27th and May 1st 2021
Admittedly this might be cheating, but these two EPs from Deathtax were released barely two months apart and are available to buy as a single cassette on Bandcamp, so it seems fair to include them as one here. Both records are absolute ragers, evoking the gold-standard raucous hardcore of bands like Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die. They boast more shit-kicking riffs than you could care to count, as well as the odd hints of tortured screamo. It’s all brilliant, but “An Oil Ocean” and “Pitiful, Really” (both on Are We Left No Other Choice), stand out as two ferocious overall highlights.
Duhkha – Duhkha
Released May 12th 2021
Californian trio Duhkha specialise in a particularly punishing brand of mathcore that’s reminiscent of the likes of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Car Bomb and Frontierer. Their self-titled debut EP comprises just three tracks, all of which are utterly crushing and chaotic. Like the comparisons mentioned, there are definitely shades of tech metal in the trio’s complex riffing, while their vocalist’s spleen-splitting delivery would give Coalesce‘s Sean Ingram a run for his money. The record passes by in a flash, opening with the back-to-back onslaught of “Dead In Orbit” and “Ectotone”, followed by the longer and more dynamic closer “Stasis”.
xRisalex – As The Foundations Burn…
Released May 14th 2021
As the X’s at either end of their name indicate, Turkey’s xRisalex are a straight edge band. They’re also proudly political, opening their debut EP As The Foundations Burn… with a quote from the anti-capitalist philosopher Murray Bookchin. What follows are six tracks that walk a scorching line between the pioneering metalcore of a band like Earth Crisis, and the more emotional screamo of the likes of Orchid. Founder Ozan‘s vocals are pained and passionate throughout, with the music matching their fury every step of the way. All this results in a raw and urgent record from a trio brimming with fire and promise.
Bleachdrinker – Icon
Released May 27th 2021
Sweden’s Bleachdrinker are as savage as they come. The grindcore four-piece’s debut EP explores themes of war, gender dysphoria, capitalism and more. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this fuels a vicious and violent record that attacks its listeners with all the ferocity of a rabid dog. The band also show they’re capable of more than just breakneck grindcore, particularly with the experimental torture of fifth track “Guilt” and the hulking swagger of seventh track “Skin”. The lyrics are well worth a read too, not least as closer “Flags” encourages us to “Rise above/Burn the flags/Eat the rich/Hang them high”.
Wanderer – Liberation From A Brutalist Existence
Released June 18th 2021
More grindy violence you say? Don’t worry Minneapolis’ Wanderer have got you covered with their debut full-length, Liberation From A Brutalist Existence. It’s another merciless record, with death metal-esque guttural vocals and an always welcome dose of Converge worship. Brent Ericson’s guitar tone is utterly suffocating – the perfect vehicle for a stream of riffs that would make Kurt Ballou proud. Jack Carlson’s bass is equally sludgy and stifling, while drummer Mano Holgin ensures the band’s grinding freight train never runs out of steam. The album’s also no less oppressive when the quartet slow down, as proven by tracks like “Hellhole” and “Contented”.
Direct Threat – Direct Threat
Released June 30th 2021
There’s a lot on this list that would definitely infuriate the hardcore purists of the 1980s. Not Direct Threat though. To be honest, it’s hard to believe the Denver-based four-piece’s self-titled debut EP isn’t some recently uncovered gem from the genre’s heyday. There are no frills on this record, with the band tearing through all eight of its tracks in less than ten minutes. It also has a real raw and live feel, with a rough and ready production and no-nonsense song structures. Add to this an aggro ready to take on the world and you’ve got a pretty perfect classic hardcore throwback.
Second Wind – Virtual Sleep
Released July 2nd 2021
Imagine Knocked Loose but with the HM-2 worship turned up to 11. That’s the best way to describe Texas’ Second Wind, and the results are every bit as good as they sound. Virtual Sleep, the five-piece’s second EP, is an absolute monster. Its four tracks hit listeners with sledgehammer breakdown after sledgehammer breakdown, with the band peppering proceedings with the odd squealing guitar lead for good measure. The title track is surely the strongest, its distant cries of “I’m closer to death but its grip is loose/Virtual sleep with my head in the noose” setting up one of the record’s most pummelling breakdowns of all.
No Longer At Ease – No Longer At Ease
Released July 16th 2021
You won’t find many hardcore fans who don’t adore the 00s glory days of bands like Bane and Have Heart – and with good reason. North Carolina’s No Longer At Ease owe a lot to both those bands – and the wider 00s scene in general – so it’s no great surprise that their self-titled debut EP is as good as it is. Its four tracks tick all the right boxes, with defiant gang vocals, high-energy riffs, hints of melody, and an all round emotional intensity. Third track “What Will It Take” stands out in particular, its downbeat opening accentuating the passionate fury which follows.
Snap Out – Demo ’21
Released July 20th 2021
What’s the difference between a demo and an EP? In Snap Out’s case it doesn’t seem to matter. Demo ‘21 is the UK four-piece’s debut offering, and one that gets them off to a great start. Clocking in at just eight minutes, it’s a bracing, raging record with a decent metallic flair and a load of D-beat driven energy. It’s not all fast and furious either, as proven by moments of hefty headbanging swagger on tracks like “Idle” and the closing highlight of “Scorn”. With just a few shows under their belt so far, this band are definitely ones to watch going forward.
The Tooth – Cascade Effect
Released August 6th 2021
This year has already been great for utterly joyless metallic hardcore records, particularly with recent/upcoming releases from Burn In Hell and Mastiff. Cascade Effect by Oklahoma’s The Tooth sits right at home with such albums – a sludgy, squealing four-track EP intent on snuffing out even the dimmest light at the end of the tunnel. As well as your standard hardcore screams and shouts, the band’s inclusion of more guttural vocals take things to even further depths, especially on third track “Hatred’s Wing”. All in all, it makes for a horrible 14 minutes in the best possible way. Enjoy?