1) D-Clone- Creation and Destroy
I got to see this band in London recently and they blew my head off. This LP is more of the same, pulverising d-beat/noise punk, deserving of excitement and undoubtedly their best release so far. Artwork is brilliant, the production is spot-on, lyrics (the translations at least) are great and they even throw in a weird mid-paced song halfway through.
I never really bothered with Merchandise before this album, mainly because I’m an idiot. This was on fairly constant rotation over the time that I was writing my undergrad dissertation, I wouldn’t say anything corny like it ‘got me through’ anything, but it made writing stuff a bit more enjoyable. It might sound like it could be the soundtrack to an 80's movie that I probably wouldn't like, but it's nevertheless excellent.
3) Glam- Veneno en sus Flechas
This only came out a few days before Christmas but my initial impressions are that it's great, as I've listened to it almost constantly over the last few days. One of my most anticipated records of the year and it's been a long wait, but the fact that it's not disappointed probably means it's decent. Also, the artwork is brilliant but for completely different reasons to the D-Clone record.
4) No- S/T
The best UK punk record in a year in which there was a lot of good stuff released over here. Reminds me of the weirder side of 80’s US hardcore, and the songs seem constantly on the verge of collapse, which brings to mind NEGAZIONE at their shambolic best.
5) NASA Space Universe- NSU (Tour 12")
6) Atentado- Dias De Raba
I read that someone described this as Discharge riffs with Sacrilege vocals. Not much more needs to be said then… yet another killer band from Barcelona.
7) Thawed Out- S/T
Another great UK release, even though there are only 4 new songs on here, alongside the tracks from their demo released last year. The new songs keep the general VOID vibe of the demo but amp up the Ginn style guitar solos and there’s an increased influence from stuff like UNITED MUTATION and a more mid-paced DIE KREUZEN which really pushes the quality up a notch.
8) Column of Heaven- Mission From God
The idea of an album based around a specific concept isn't as mind-blowing as some would have you believe and I also find it equally ridiculous to pretend that this is the only current band capable of adding a few unique touches to a powerviolence record. However, this is still the best, most 'exciting' record of that nature I’ve listened to this year. It’s depressingly true that like a lot of genres, powerviolence is clogged with piss poor imitators that end up getting 'hyped' by certain fools, which means it’s considered rare that a band is capable of writing about topics intelligently, or creating a certain atmosphere, but this record serves as a reminder than it can be done and there's no point in settling for less.
9) Ilegal- El Aire Libre Feura De Los Dientes Del Monstruo Tirano Y Canibal
Wasn’t that fussed on the previous ILEGAL stuff I heard and this LP took a few listens to click, but since then it has been a regular feature on my record player. Great Spanish style hardcore from Canada which reminds me of ANTI/DOGMATIKKS more than current bands that I’m aware of, but obviously that’s no bad thing.
10) Creem- S/T
11) Stripmines- Crimes of Dispassion
Listening to this LP feels like having your head kicked in for 25 minutes which for some reason is appealing to me. Manages to mix classic US stuff like NEGATIVE APPROACH with riffy Swedish hardcore like TOTALITAR in a way which makes it sound fairly unique, aided by beefy production and ridiculously pissed vocals. One of my favourites earlier on this year that didn’t seem to get the recognition I think it deserves.
12) Prisoner Abuse- S/T
People from Boston in other great bands doing stripped back ‘82 hardcore much better than most and obviously better than the reformations of any bands from that era.
13) Mauser- Isolation
14) Shipwrecked- The Last Pagans
This seemed to be the ‘cool guy’ alternative to Boston Strangler (which isn’t on this list as most people featured it in their 2011 list instead). It ended up sounding a lot closer to the (pretty much peerless) X-Claim records despite coming out of Scandinavia.
15) Walls- The Future Is Wide Open
The last record from one of the most consistently excellent US hardcore bands. A horrible, depressing record and therefore an entirely fitting end.
There should be another post featuring the and splits and 7"s that I liked this year, whenever I get around to finishing it.