Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Blowing-Up Kali was the Ultimate Sacrilege

Starting a record with birds tweeting is never a good sign. It’s always a premonition that something really hard and heavy is going to smash your poor face. Kali doesn’t fail the expectations and drills your ears with five songs (plus the tweeting intro) of pure, old school unrelenting powerviolence. Music wise they focus on the contrast between their three souls : blistering speed, breath-taking groovy parts and knee crushing slow tempos. You can draw the influences to the good ol’ times and if you close your eyes you can shift the band hometown from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada to Berkeley, California, USA. They are rad, fast and love to switch from one speed to the other, giving a lot of fresh air to their songs, which can be listened a lot of times in a row without growing old at all. There’s the speed of bands like Capitali$ Casualties and the primal rage of Neanderthal, while Kali demonstrates to have learned to lesson given by Man Is The Bastard in their early days : if you go slow you can hit as hard as if you go fast. Yes, I know, Kali focuses mainly on high speed, but when they slow down are really intense and can grip their hands on your weak neck very, very easily. Speaking of more modern bands, I can draw a comparison to early The Endless Blockade or, more easily, to Life Iron Lung Death by Iron Lung. Vocals are also very cool, but this is a steady factor on both sides. The main style is a pissed off ultra high pitched shriek, not so far from the fast screaming of Charles Bronson fame (even if someone will also say it sounds like Gronibard!), while there some classic lower barks here and there that come directly from the common hardcore background all the mentioned bands have. Lyrics wise they talk about everyday negativity raised by mindless people, numb religion fanatics and so on. Even if the subjects are everything but new, their writing style is very good and makes these topics fresh and interesting. Well, this band is REALLY good and I think I’ll also grab their self titled full EP, because what I’ve heard here is not enough to satisfy my Kali hunger!

I think I could be surprised to find an hardcore/powerviolence band from Turkey, but after Mondo Gecko and {{{D9}}} from Israel, Coffee Rage and Gawj from New Zealand and, well, Sakatat from Turkey, I won’t be surprised by anything. Ultimate Blowup had already won the award for one of the best cover art of the last times with their self titled EP, so they started their career with the right foot and this split EP with Kali makes their reputation even stronger. Their style is more straight forward, more classic if you want, dealing more with extremely pissed off hardcore fueled with some tempo changes, like the last part of Disillusioned and Cast Out. I can’t complain about music. I really love hardcore when it gets REALLY fast and starts to be distorted, dissonant and overall pissed off like every band members’ car has been removed by cops (stupid example, but that’s the true story of my last weekend). There’s a very cool bass sound going on here and in the rare moments when it gets loose it’s really entertaing. Being honest, everything turns out to be very cool on this record, with a lot of tempo changes, very fast and brutal sonic assault, spoken words, ultra-effective drum lines and, above all, vocals. Yes, vocals are surely the best parts of this side of this split EP, with the two singers, Can -also on guitar- and Bariş -also on bass-, making a wide range of vocals creating a very cool Spazz effect. High tones, lower tones, mid ones, fast barking, slower growling and so on. The vocal lines reminds me a lot of a mix of Lack Of Interest and No Comment, making them really near to the Low Threat Profile’s records. Well, even on this side there’s a high level of quality, so I expect to see Ultimate Blowup raging around a lot in the next months!

Thanks to Mat/Idoneum Bello (who has released this one with Spastic Fantastic, 7 Degrees Records, Incursion Records and #1 Dad) for the record!

Gawj are not enough far away from Japan for not seeing it

Ok, this record should be bought even just for the title. So Far Away From Giving A Fuck That We Can’t Be Seen. Holy shit, THAT’S a title. Gawj hails from New Zealand and I’ve already said How much I’m amused to listen to a band from such an uncommon country. While Coffee Rage focuses on the powerviolence/grindcore spectrum of the core music, Gawj deepn their roots in the mid 80′s hardcore/metalpunk/protogrind scene, making their way with chaos and dissonance. I think everyone knows GISM (I REALLY hope so) and how they changed the meaning of the acronym of their monicker on each record, well Gawj starts the list of things that reminds me of that era changing the way Gawj is spelled on the layout for at least foure times : Gawj, G-awj, Gäwj and G-äwj. Yeah, I know, It’s a very tiny thing, but I was immediarely caught by it and got stuck in my mind. Gawj focuses on a chaotic bland of mid 80′s hardcore, mainly in its Japanese version, with the classic frantic and blistering fast drum lines covered in a dissonant and fuzzy wave of guitar riffs. Feedbacks are used quite often, while a good bunch of facemelting solos can be enjoyed throught the record. Vocals are delivered in a ultra classic and old school sleazy barking, which sounds a lot like Chronos singing on a Repulsion cover made by Gai. Gai, GISM, Gastunk, Gauze (Gauze and Gawj…mmmm…just a coincidence?) are some of the names that I can use for describing the sound of Gawj, even if the NZ’s band follows a somewhat more aggressive path, like all those bands combined and reloaded after twenty years of extreme music.Sometimes they lean to a more grindcore environment, even if they are not touching it, because feet are steady on an hardcore ground. Thrash metal, expecially its more contaminated version, is also recognizable here, with a little bit of the early efforts of bands like Sodom or Kreator popping here and there. Lyrics wise you can figure out what to expect just to read the bands I’ve quoted above and than looking at the cover art. They mix an apocalyptic and often dramatic view on society and humanity, sometimes filtered with a nice dose of black humour. This record can sound a little bit too derivative and, well, I think it is, but it’s indeed enjoyable and even if it may sound like the billionth time you’re listening to this stuff I think it’s a kind of music that can never grow old. I want to reccomend it to all the classic Japanese hardcore (I KNOW I don’t have to call it Japcore, I know) fans, who can find twelve minutes of good old school fun, for the newbies of the genre I think they can have more fun with the classics before switching to Gawj.

As all of the Idoneum Bello releases expect a very good packaging, with full color artwork, a booklet with lyrics and the always appreciated obi strip that seals the package. Also for this one, huge thanks to Mat!

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