I finally was able to narrow down my list of favorite EPs from this year, it's a Christmas miracle! As I said in part 1 of my favorite releases of 2014, this year has been way too good, thus making these lists so difficult. I'm not going to write a big preamble, so let's just get to it.
Part 2: EPs
This was probably my most listened to grind release this year and it's a total rager. Rapturous Grief really seems to have come into their own here, plowing through 10 songs of relentless, stripped down grindcore in under 7 minutes. This makes GridLink's final LP look like an overly polished corny power metal album (which it pretty much is) and the only 2014 grind release which I liked more than this one was the Full Of Hell & Merzbow collaboration.
Texas's kings of Whitehouse influenced hardcore punk have returned after a couple years of inactivity to bring us yet another adventure into the world of the perverse. While 2011's 'Prison Sweat' LP dealt with very personal issues, 'Looking For Love' brings the band back to songs about S&M and other related topics. The title track feels like something you'd hear on a Brainbombs release, but the other two display the dirty, gritty hardcore punk this band is famous for.
'Always Faithful' split
Jarhead Fertilizer (members of Full Of Hell, [this is not for you.]), start this split off with an absolutely gut-wrenching grindcore assault that doesn't let up until both their and Purge's songs are finished. The former feels like Discordance Axis if they were 10x heavier and the latter is just plain brutal. 8 songs, 6 minutes, no survivors.
Australia has been killing it lately and their noise rock game is no exception. If you like nasty and disgusting repetitive noise rock, then Gentlemen's s/t EP is definitely for you. I liked this release much more than their 'Sex Tape' demo, which was still pretty amazing.
Disciples Of Christ
After their split 12" with Triac, DoC left me craving more of their totally blown out, noise drenched, abrasive grindcore, and this one-sided 12" has only made my hunger grow even stronger (makes me sound like Galactus, hell yea). The first 5 songs clock in at just under 5 minutes, and the sixth song is a cover of Wire's 'Pink Flag' which is pulled off flawlessly. I need more.
NASA Space Universe
I was under the impression that this came out on a tape in 2013, but the 12" I got when I saw NSU said it came out this year, so I'm going to count it as a 2014 release. If you already know NSU, you know what to expect; although if you don't, get ready for a wild ride of weird, spacey hardcore punk with some of the fiercest vocals and ridiculous riffs around. This band gets better with every release.
'Wait For The End'
I heard Pleasure Cross's ripping deathgrind massacre of a demo tape last year and loved it and was thrilled to find out they'd be putting out a 12" on Iron Lung Records this year. Well, this 12" is just as pummeling as the demo. Turns out, this band is the new project of August Alston of Walls, although you'd never know just by listening to it. Brace yourself.
Blah blah members of Cult Ritual blah blah. This sounds nothing like Cult Ritual at all, instead of raw, horrifying hardcore punk, Cottaging has gone the route of spaced out noise rock. Of the two EPs they released this year, I liked this one more; the other felt as if the band had moved too far into post-punk revival territory, whereas this one rests at that perfect point between post-punk and noise rock.
You want d-beat/raw punk? You got it. Razorheads features members of a bunch of other bands -- most notably Bible Thumper -- and dishes out four ripping tracks on this killer EP. It's got the fast parts and the stomp parts and the riffs and the delayed vocals and everything you want from a d-beat/raw punk release.
I really wish there were more than two tracks on this EP, but I'll just have to wait until Balcanes releases more material. These two songs are heavy, dirging, and repetitive with delayed vocals and the overly simplistic instrumentation we've all come to expect from noise rock. While not pushing many boundaries, Balcanes really deliver with their take on the classic noise rock formula; the songs are perfectly executed.
-Warthog “Prison” (stompy hardcore punk)-The Coltranes “The Cat Of Nine Tails” (noise rock)
-UltraMantis Black “UltraMantis Black” (hardcore/fastcore, members of The Ultimate Warriors with a real wrestler)
-Blazing Eye “Blazing Eye” (hardcore punk)
-Iron Lung “Savagery” (powerviolence)
-Big Zit “Electric Zit Vol. 1” (freaky hardcore punk with vocals like H.R. from Bad Brains)
-Qualm “Passive” (blown out hardcore punk)
-Gnaw Their Tongues “Wir Essen Seelen In Dir Nacht” (death industrial/black metal)
-Gowl “Blurrr” (grindcore)
-Coffin Birth “Necrotic Liquefaction” (deathgrind)