Written by Carcassbomb
Alright you dumpy fucks, Ellis had to go take a piss and so now I’m taking over and overdoing it. Find the kind of hardcore you like and go listen to it. Some real barn burners (Or perhaps Bridge Burners, eh?) in this mix with a line of lyric for flavour text where possible. Big albums you’re already familiar with among some hidden treasures I present to you like a cat presenting a dead bird or rat awaiting praise. Make sure you’re following our Hardcore+ 2021 playlist to get a good taste of the overall year and find even more bands! Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee and share this article? I found some really good stuff. So much that I’ll be posting a version of this with name your own price hardcore albums for my next Free Flush column over at Toilet Ov Hell in the coming weeks.
Knocked Loose – A Tear In The Fabric Of Life
IT’S A LESSON NEVER LEARNED, EVERYDAY IS GETTING WORSE. I pretty much started this whole article because of the new Knocked Loose releasing and it putting me in a very excited HxC mood, so what better place to start. Love them or hate them, they make an impact with their evolving sounds and boundless musical energy. I’m not going to bother to compare this to other albums, this EP is really just a treat for fans inside the genre and newcomers from the metal world alike. A little bit of intrigue to make the year a bit brighter. There’s moments I want to highlight but I don’t even know how to explain them. The cleaner but menacing as fuck guitar break down into the double tap then joined with hard as fuck vocals 18 seconds into “Return To Passion”? Just TRY not soy face when that shit comes on. Thematically the primary subject is about religion with emotions of both anger and despair. This whole article got delayed by hours because I left it on repeat for so long. People have been saying “this isn’t normally my thing” before making this album very much their thing this month. Believe the hype. There’s a cool video sort of doco that goes along with this EP of the same name.
BURN IN HELL – DISAVOWAL OF THE CREATOR GOD
LICK THE LEATHER. BOOT TO NECK. FORCE OF THE STATE. BLUE BLOOD, WHITE HOOD. The best Australian hardcore release this year. Not only are the anarchist, feminist and indigenous themes refreshing for this shithole country but it also whips from beginning to end with a very real sense of wrath. I haven’t heard anything quite like it since Dispossessed released Warpath Never Ended in 2018. I tried to do a full review of this album earlier in the year and I just ended up with a manifesto about the current Australian government and it’s attachment to religion, and the general discrimination and bigotry which is at the heart of this country and it’s founding origins. Some of what I said might technically counted as a crime. So you can expect some vicious words across this record that do not take into consideration the feelings of pigs and masters. It’s very much metallic hardcore that has a strong focus on grinding riffage combined with low gutturals. It’s left a hell of an impression on me considering the fifteen minute runtime but hey, that’s a long time when you’re getting repeatedly kicked in the stomach until your mouth starts bleeding. Way more people should have heard this one by now but it’s hard making music in Australia, so tell your friends about this one.
Wanderer – Liberation From A Brutalist Existence
EVERY SUNSET I SEE A LIGHT THE SAME AS YOUR EYES BURNING. GONE FROM LIFE IN AN INSTANT. Thunder punk? False-grind? Neocrust? these are just some of the tags this band has given themselves along with chaotic hardcore, d-beat and metalcore. This album is fucking MUNTED. I cannot even begin to describe what is going on here because I am a fucking moron. It looks beautiful and sounds incredible. What the fuuuuuuck, how did I miss this in June? It’s easily one the hardest and coolest and weirdly poetic albums I’ve heard all year. There’s four vocal contributions on four of the tracks and a few other credits, it’s clearly an album with a lot of thought and effort put into it, touched in the right places by the right people. As we say in Australia: these cunts are on one.
Bridge Burner – Disempath
EVEN IN THE GOLDEN HOURS. THE VOICES NEVER STILL. EVERY BREATH A TRANSGRESSION. EVERY SECOND A WEAKENING OF THE WILL. Gnarly blackened metallic hardcore from New Zealand. It’s vicious and perhaps one of the best new albums of this kind to come out so far. It does not let up the entire time and it’s so dark and heavy that you could be forgiven for thinking “Is this just blackened death metal?”. Largely because there are very strong death elements and respect from both metal and hardcore. The vision is pretty simple, to make something heavy as fuck that is both a response to self-loathing and a distaste for the despicable world we live in. It’s an unfiltered spewing of the toxicity we tend to hide from others but free to run amuck in an equally abrasive soundscape. The song “Dull Knives to Deaf Ears” has a huge opening with spitting gremlin-like vocals that rule. The vocal variety is fantastic but always dark and harsh with very few exceptions, like in the middle of “Flaying Gods Children” where some low spoken word breaks out into a fevered skramzy style.
Mindfield – Seclusion Of Sanity
FALLEN CITIES, BROKEN HOMES. LEFT WITH NOTHING. Fucking incredible crossover thrash with a bunch of technical elements, particularly on the guitar which makes a lot of cool noises to accentuate the riffs. More than your average pick scrapes and pinch harmonics. There’s really sick parts where lower shouts will do a line of lyric and then there will be a short high pitch scream of the next, other sick parts where lyrics are followed with a URGH grunt.. Honestly, if I were to describe everything on this album we would be here all day and you’d have nothing left to discover. It’s a full piece of work that stays interesting and hectic. Super underrated. Seriously, they have 4k streams on one song and 1k on a bunch of others and I don’t know how this hasn’t spread like wildfire. Possibly due to a lack of Bandcamp and appropriate label support which is a real shame.
God Complex – To Decay In A Deathless World
CRAWL THROUGH THE DIRT WHERE YOU FEED OFF EXECUTION. Such a sick album, Zax actually reviewed it in full at the same time I wrote this so it must be good. I mean look at it, it’s beautiful. Really? You still need me to describe it? Fine. It’s metallic hardcore that brings a lot of gloomy atmosphere and a handful of fucking noise, but also some cleaner vocals and whispers that don’t suck. If you adored the original sounds of Code Orange KIDS then you may find some comfort in quite a few of these songs with some super heavy grooves. I adore tracks like Forbidden Love and Gathering dark which showcase an enthralling combination of mood and feedback, sometimes with breaking post hardcore vocals. It’s similar in structure to the Full Of Hell atmospheric tracks, but make it drone and misery. God Complex has a very metal aesthetic, more so than I find a lot of metallic hardcore bands actually do. The final track is an ending to end all ends… AND AS I WALK AWAY THE GROUND BENEATH ME FALLS
WORLD PEACE – Come And See
MAN, THE MOST DEPRAVED. NOTHING TO BE SAVED. 20 tracks of bite sized pieces of GET FUCKED. An absolute pummelling from the bass and drum synergy let alone the thick shouts that sound like they’re coming from someone right on the edge of something. The stop and start nature of it is very satisfying and makes for adrenaline fuelled moments that will have you practice your boxing, hopefully not on the drywall but against god itself (this is another god themed album). You ever go to the beach on a day where the waves are just fucking unusually monstrous? This album is like when you’re dunked by one of those waves, it’s a short violent experience that will have you emerging in confusion and bewilderment. I don’t know the details of how they achieve this sound with a minimalist approach, but there’s no guitars on here and absolutely no fucking around.
Under The Pier – An Exercise In Discontent
I’LL FIND MY PLACE IN THE FUCKING END. We’ve got a live one folks, this dang thing is packing heat. It hits a nice spot between two of my favourite post hardcore kind of styles, and that’s the eccentric ways of Horse The Band and the noisy mathy bullshit like Frontierer. It’s a full on experience that shows the band is growing at an alarming pace with huge improvements over their Puff Pieces release last year. This is one of the better highly chaotic and technical core releases of the year, especially if you enjoy the frantic early 00s brand of math and metalcore like Heavy Heavy Low Low and The Number Twelve. Noodley guitars for days and a vocalist who can both scream and express tone very well to present key lyrical moments. I will be spending a lot more time with this one myself as it’s precisely what I enjoy as a slowly but surely aging hardcore kid.
Caliban – Zeitgeister
DEIN SCHEIN NICHT HEILIG – NICHTS IST FUR IMMER. I have no idea what they are saying with that lyric or any of the album as they are German, and this is my first experience with this band despite how long they have been active and how big they are. The experience shows as it’s a AAA quality metalcore album. If you want something with a huge production budget and an equal mix between metalcore uncleans and cleans then you’re in good hands. It’s perhaps a bit djenty too? Overall they have great control of their sound.
Terminal Bliss – Brute Err/Ata
That is from their bandcamp and aren’t lyrics because I would best describe these vocals as something resembling Taz from Looney Tunes losing their fucking mind and murdering everyone else. Which makes this the perfect environment as it’s instrumentally a punk grind fest that will scrape the skin off your knees and knock the wax out of your ears. A massive fuck you to capitalism. A grotesque reflection of the shitshow we participate in every day. An inner monologue of tortured screams and spite. Succinctly tied up with a noise filled finisher track that leaves you uneasy.
SNAFU – Exile // Banishment
NOW MY SHIP IS LOST AT SEA AND I AM EVERYTHING I NEVER WANT TO BE. High octane aggressive as all fuck crossover with the production of your most modern metal bands. I’m not sure how closely they worked with Nuclear Blast to make the record, I’m assuming it’s a distribution thing, but it is somehow their best kept secret. It’s super riffy. I guess it’s like… crossover speed thrash with gang vocals? You could show this to most metalheads and they probably wouldn’t even identify the core elements, it’s pretty seamless most of the time. My only real gripes are the overdone production and the fact the song writing is predictable. Tracks like “The Pear Of Anguish”, “Wake Of Vultures” and “Amazing Waste” go well on a playlist. I can always appreciate this in that bite sized kind of way. SNAFU is a good choice if you like blast beats and menacing death thrash. It’s not too surprising to find they worked with producers and mastering who primarily work on thrashy metal like Cannabis Corpse and Toxic Holocaust. The artwork really drew me to this one initially.
Burial Dance – Structures
Emotional and heavy, as skramz should be. A short but sweet EP that is hopefully the beginning of a lot of new music because there isn’t enough of this stuff coming out for my liking. If you’re into the more poetic stylings of Birds In Row then you will be pleased here with the approach. The final track “Nostromo” leaves a lasting impression with dual vocals filled with passion finishing each others lyrics, a real solid back and forth. The guitars either come crashing down with the screaming or break out into nice post rock kind of melodies.
Nicolas Cage Fighter – Cast You Out
REASSURANCE IS AN ABSENT-MINDED PIPE DREAM. THERES NO ALTERNATIVE WAY, MY VICES BECKON ME. SHIT! The Australian band with the funny name but very serious sound, it’s very on brand for us. Nicolas Cage Fighter recently found success signing to Metal Blade records which is a big deal for an AU hardcore band. It’s a thrashy modern hardcore sound with some very catchy riffs. Have a gander at what the hype is about. Vocally there’s some very enjoyable unclean gymnastics going on here which makes me very excited and curious for a full length follow up. I suspect the next one will be them more honed in on the parts of their sound that
Deathtax – Are We Left No Other Choice
BACK TO THE DIRT, WE ARE ONE WITH IT. A CHILD IS BORN INTO THIS WORLD OF SHIT. Time for something with a bit more atmosphere, finally. Deathtax bring us an uneasy journey through five tracks varying between metalcore and post hardcore with math elements. I love these vocals, they remind me of my favourite hardcore vocalist Jon Mess with the pacing and strain sound. The opening track starts with ambience and a foreboding sample about wolves. The atmosphere returns with “Feral Hoosier Blood” which spends the first 90 seconds whirling in noise and electronics before the music crashes in. The end of this track is satisfying with how it reuses the beginning to great effect. “Then They Came For Me” brings the most emotion on the album with the screams closer resembling elongated cries over a slower riff that leads into the inevitable grinding of the “hectic bits”. It’s all over the place but in a way I genuinely enjoyed. I hope they have their lineup all sorted and will continue to make music.
Smile a Velociraptor – Code Raptor
I WAS FUCKED UP, CREATING NONSENSE. Weirdo mathcore/deathcore that likes to play a lot of audio tricks and make the odd joke… but is it really a joke? There’s talk of dinosaurs and outer space wrapped neatly in memey track titles but it’s largely focused around those things in the lens of societal collapse and the destruction of the earth. What buried the dinosaurs will bury us and we must depart this hell. The title track is a standout, mostly because of the bit where they actually calmed down for a few quieter seconds featuring unexpected cleans. It’s very technical and really will not shut the fuck up. There’s quite a bit of a djent element as well as some brutal death but do not let the djent dissuade you. Impressive work from a couple of young Russian dudes.
Fever Strike – Spin
YOU LIGHT THE FLAME AND ILL CARRY THE TORCH. This will be a rare gift in this article because it’s one of the few hardcore bands in 2021 singing about having fun and… overcoming obstacles?… and living life to the fullest? Certainly a break from the harsh miserable nature of much of today’s picks. Musically they cite Turnstile as a big influence and I can definitely hear that. It has a similar pop punkiness to it and brightness to the tones but it remains anchored in a stricter older hardcore style. I dig this tag of “progressive hardcore” and will be exploring more of it, Fever Strike are a great underground alternative for people who want more of THAT sound. Regardless of the more light heartedness of the band, they can certainly throw down some heavy. “Mezzaluna” is a standout track, super catchy punky, it reminds me a lot of Bane with the rhythm and melodic yelling style. “Snake Oil” takes the cake though as a track nearer to the end that also brings the heaviest sounds on the album yet. I think they had a specific vision for this band and they very much achieved it!
Witness Chamber – Paradise Awaits
EYES LOCKED ON CONSUMING SHADOWS. BED SHEETS AROUND MY NECK. Witness Chamber is dark, raw, old school and heavy as all fuck. Something of a super group in that they were members of different bands (Grave Titan, State of Suffering, Natural Evil) that came together to fulfil this harrowing vision of prison murder, solitary confinement and other states of human suffering in the uncaring hands of the state. It’s perfectly muddy, lending a sonic thickness to each palm mute and screamed vocal. More than fitting to cassette, of which the first pressings are still available. Harrowing shit, one of those random super underground finds that immediately hits you with it’s violent stench. Considering the very real nature of the subject matter of incarceration, torture and suicide, some may want to understandably avoid said stench, I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Redemptus – blackhearted
GRASP THE SCAR JUST TO FEEL THE WOUND. SOME PAIN HAS NO RELIEF. REACH YOUR INSIDES.WORDS CAN BREAK. NOTHING MUCH FOR ME TO TAKE. Redemptus make a moody blend of hardcore styles that I would ultimately say is melodic hardcore with some extra flair here and there. It’s a very good album lyrically and the vocal deliveries lean into that aspect of the music really well, emphasising moments to add electricity to them. It’s doomy with some really eccentric influences which comes through in little extra tidbits of sound. There’s definitely some music nerd shit going on here, it’s more sophisticated than your average chaos fuelled band, there’s a specific rhythm to it all. A full and tightly packaged album.
Cruelty – There Is No God Where I Am
Hardcore in 2021 is clearly very angry about religion and fixated on god, Cruelty is no exception but they do it with some righteous tunes. I love the song title “If There Is A God, He Doesn’t Believe In Me” and it’s a fine track too showcasing their love for mathy nonsense and even tremolo picking which is too few and far between in this genre but it adds a lot of intensity. It’s the kind of metallic hardcore that isn’t afraid to lunge into dark post hardcore territory with more atmospheric elements and some very emotional vocal performances to go along with the hectic gutturals. Across the board a spectacular release, everything is on point. This is like the 6th album on here touched by Brad Boatright what a machine.
Blue Ox – Holy Vore
BBABABJFJGFBABABJDSBFD GAAAAAAAAAAAH. The vocals on this are UNHINGED, I have no idea what is being said, yet again, wow what a fucking great plan the whole lyric format was. The vocals actually have a sweet flow to them thanks to the way they elongate notes and link together phrases in moistened shrieking. Instrumentally it’s not very innovative but it is consistent in a way that allows the vocalist to tear it up, it’s a constant moving force of noise and chaos. The tones are massive with a lot of menacing thudding. A bunch of competently written metallic hardcore songs with a talented vocalist at the helm, check it out.
Torture Garden – Fever Dreams & Guillotines
WE DONT CALL THE COPS is a song title on this thrilling new release from Torture Garden that I can best describe as a shouty hardcore punk throttling. It’s pretty straight forward and aggressive, very true to the roots of the genre. I’ve been writing this article for days now and I’m becoming delirious but I’ll take my outspoken antifascist punk music where I can get it after some of the weird backwards shit I’ve heard during this hardcore exploration (And obviously didn’t cover).
No Coffin – All Life Must End
CITY ON LOCK AND THE EARTHS GETTING HOT. THIS WAS THE YEAR YOUR GUTS BEGAN TO ROT. Full disclosure: I worked with this band earlier in the year. I enjoy their music and want to include them. I won’t try to convince you outside of saying they are crossover thrash and they have a sludgy cover of a Portishead song.
Well that was fucking exhausting