One of the biggest surprises at the end of the year came in the form of the release of the long awaited full length LP from Winnipeg hardcore band Withdrawal. After several awesome EP's and split releases that highlighted the band's intense take on the crushing metallic hardcore sound that bands like All Out War, Integrity, and Ringworm brought to the forefront in the 90's. The wait was indeed worth it, as Never shows Withdrawal in top form and this stands as their best material to date.
Fans of the aforementioned bands and the metallic hardcore they crafted will certainly appreciate not only the vitriol and energy that Withdrawal bring to the table with these 10 songs,, but also their excellent use of atmosphere and dynamics. Their vicious brand of hardcore is spaced out with gloomy melodic passages and build ups that always keep things interesting and always transition perfectly back into heavier sections. A blistering listen from start to finish, Never is filled to the brim with memorable riffs and crushing sections that you'll want to come back to again and again.
Never is an excellent LP that both pays respect to the Cleveland metallic hardcore bands that influenced Withdrawal as well as pushing forward with a new high watermark for the band. It's definitely worth a listen immediately if you're into any of the aforementioned bands and heavy hardcore in general. Check below for a stream of the entire album via the Escapist Records bandcamp, as well as a link to purchase a physical copy of the record via their webstore.
Nmbrs are a new punk/hardcore band from Tampa/St.Petersburg Florida. This trio harkens back to the days of the late 80's/early 90's punk hardcore stalwars such as Wire, Swizz, and Mission Of Burma. This demo has 5 angular and simple and anthemic songs on it, catchy riffs and dual shouted vocals. Given the band has members of Florida punk bands I'm An Intestine, Permanent Makeup and Fevers among others, it's no surprise that this is some quality stuff that any fans of the aforementioned bands or the golden era Dischord sound of the 80's and 90's should definitely take a listen to. Stream the record below and check out their bandcamp for information on getting a physical copy.
In my personal opinion, 2016 was an incredible year for music releases in general. Instead of the typical top 10 list I usually drop for the blog every year, I decided to write a short paragraph for my favorite 5 hardcore/punk releases of the year. Releases are listed in no particular order. I would throw in honorable mentions but there are honestly too many to begin. So here are my favorite/most listened to punk releases of the year:
Without a doubt my most listened to album of the year in any genre period, Culture Abuse's first proper full length is by far one of the catchiest punk releases I can recall in the past decade or even more. A record filled to the brim with both disdain for modern society and a surprising amount of positive energy in rejecting those notions, the grip this album can easily take in your headspace cannot be denied. Coupled with an incredible live show, all eyes are set on the band for their next move in 2017.
EVERY TIME I DIE-LOW TEENS
It's hard to decide what's more impressive, the fact that Low Teens is chaotic metalcore band Every Time I Die's 8th full length record or the fact that it arguably stands as the finest material the band has releases to date. Featuring both the catchiest and most devastatingly heavy material the band has released to date, Low Teens has been in constant rotation for me since release and will stay that way throughout the year ahead.
DANGERS-THE BEND IN THE BREAK
After years of fevered anticipation, California hardcore band Dangers finally released their third full length LP, and the wait was beyond worth it. Keeping the anthemic and breakneck energy that made the band so endearing in the first place while injecting a heavy dose of new musical influences and maturity in the mix, the album stands tall as the band's greatest effort to date.An incredible live band, here is to hoping some touring will follow this release in the year to come.
NOTHING-TIRED OF TOMORROW
Another highly anticipated release to drop this year that did not disappoint was Nothing's follow up to Guilty Of Everything, Tired Of Tomorrow. Displaying the same mesmerizing shoegaze laced crunch that made the band such an addictive listen in the first place while adding a large 90's alternative rock influence, they delivered an incredibly catchy album that was built for repeated listens.
NAILS-YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US
All memes regarding the title of their album aside, it's hard to deny that metallic hardcore powerhouse Nails released one of the most insanely heavy albums of 2016 in any genre. Packed to the brim with headbang/mosh worthy riffs and pure vitriol, the band seemed to stop their momentum entirely by announcing an indefinite hiatus only to return at the end of the year with an excellent split with fellow extreme music champions Full Of Hell as well as a full US tour that stretches into the beginning months of 2017. It's a fitting mode of operation for one of the most intense heavy bands currently around, and through it all, despite all good and bad press, their third full length stood on it's own merit and the crushing music spoke for itself.
Again, it was almost impossible to narrow my choices down to just 5 releases. Incredible LP's such as the Full Of Hell/The Body collaboration and Fury-Paramount make a strong case for being on this list as well, but at the end of the day, these are the 5 that really stuck with me throughout the year. Looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store, and thanks for reading.
Florida metallic hardcore band Axis and Memphis post-metal/post punk/post everything trio Seraph The Light (formerly Seraphim) are both standout bands in both their respective genres as well as the current heavy music landscape in general. The former band released their long awaited LP Show Your Greed via Good Fight Records last year, and cemented themselves as one of the best and most forward thinking heavy hardcore bands around. Meanwhile, Seraph The Light followed their now arguably seminal album The Light And The Distance with a self released LP and EP that pushed outside of their respective genre's confines more than ever before. Earlier this year, the two bands toured together and inbetween their shows, they merged together as one band to craft songs that they would play later at said shows. After the tour, the bands came together again to record the songs they created on the road together, resulting in this crushing 4 song collaboration EP that stands as one of the biggest surprises of the year.
While both commanding artists by themselves, this collaboration shows these two bands in an entirely new light, as these 4 lengthy songs bring to mind the crushing heaviness and ethereal and trance-like atmosphere of Times Of Grace/Through Silver In Blood era Neurosis, while piling on the sheer density and weight of both band's own sonic qualities. The result is impressive, and finds the bands both reaching outside of their respective comfort zones while seamlessly blending together. For the spontaneous nature of the creation of these 4 songs, this EP always feels like a very focused and expertly crafted effort. It brings to mind the best of both bands while also bringing something new to the table entirely. This EP is something you will definitely want to check out immediately if you are a fan of heavy music and an essential listen for fans of either band as well as post metal heavy weights such as Knut, Isis and Neurosis. You can stream the release via Good Fight Records below, also below you will find a link to pre order the record on vinyl, and at an extremely limited 300 copies I would get on that asap. Finally, below you will also find the tour dates for their current run as a collaborative unit, so make sure to check it out if it's hitting your neck of the woods.