Sunday 25 October 2020

Black Gaff

Black Gaff
Black Gaff

(Artist Submission)

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Sludge, Death/Doom, Noise Rock
For Fans Of: Su19b, Agents Of Satan, Thug, Cianide

If you're looking for 3 minutes of chaos, this might just be the tape for you. Not every submission kicks my ass as much as it stumps me in terms of finding comparisons, but this one certainly did. In this essay, I will try to tell you why this is great, and attempt to make comparisons to other artists, even though those comparisons won't really do it justice. 

Some background first: Black Gaff was started by union stagehands who also happened to skate and are/have been in some other bands you may or may not like (but it's a secret), and when COVID19 hit, they were put out of work, and dedicated time to making this project happen. And goddamn, did they make it happen. While this is only 3 tracks (or 2 tracks and an interlude if you want to be that person), clocking in at under 3 minutes, it's a perfect display of savage fury and gives a really interesting spin on microbursts of sludge, death/doom, and even some odd NY no wave style structures. The whole thing sounds very informed by 90s west coast power violence, Japanese doom/sludge, and the Bovine Records catalog, which should sell you right away. There isn't much that sounds exactly like this that comes to mind, which is pretty exciting, and makes it incredibly difficult to pigeonhole. But it's fucking good, and it's relentless. 

All I can say is that if you like music that sounds like getting your teeth knocked out, don't sleep on this. Also, if you like skateboarding, you should probably get into this too. 

1. Truss Failure
2. Deathride
3. Folded

Aqua-Eroticum - Burnt Carpet Stained Sheets

Burnt Carpet Stained Sheets

(Artist Submission)

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Industrial, Power Electronics, Noise
For Fans Of: The Sodality, Genocide Organ,  The Grey Wolves, Brighter Death Now

Releases like this remind me why the genre is called power electronics. No, not because it's powerful electronic music har har, but because it explores power and its effects/consequences/etc in a truly disturbing, yet poignant manner. This is the kind of power electronics release I hope to hear when someone submits to FBN, yet rarely do.

Burnt Carpet Stained Sheets was recorded in 2015 before Aqua-Eroticum took a hiatus (which they have recently announced is over), but wasn't released until 2019 by noise's shining boy Joe Frataxin's label Uninvited. The release runs the gamut of different sounds in the style, from harsh piercing screeches of 80s UK artists such as Un-Kommuniti and Ramleh, to low rumbling pulsing of 80s-90s German and Swedish artists such as G/O and BDN, and everything in between, all accompanied by frantic, manic vocals that send a chill down my spine. The subject matters are appalling, as is to be expected, but not done in such a way that brings to mind juvenile antics. One thing that sent this over the top for me was the cover of The Sodality, an artist who I feel are often criminally overlooked by many industrial fans, but are absolutely crucial as far as I'm concerned -- and yes, they nail the cover. The collaboration with Interracial Sex, another bright light of contemporary power electronics, is also fantastic, and a perfect way to close out this absolutely brutal exercise in pain tolerance. 

This release is essential listening for anyone invested in contemporary power electronics, and I can't wait to hear what Aqua-Eroticum has in store in the future. Listen or don't. 

1. Crack Rocks & Colt 45
2. Dead Or In Jail
3. Instant Release
4. Hot Rails!
5. Burnt Carpet Stained Sheets
6. Another Compulsion 
7. An Obvious Disease
8. Saturday Night Special
9. Catch The Whore (The Sodality)
10. Blisters (Feat. Interracial Sex)

Saturday 17 October 2020

Backslider - Bacterial Eye


Bacterial Eye

(Artist Submission)

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Fastcore, Power Violence, Hardcore
For Fans Of: Despise You, Column Of Heaven, Apartment 213, No Less

Back when I was going to shows in Philly on an incredibly regular basis (almost a decade ago at this point), Backslider was one of the staples whenever there was a fast band worth seeing coming to town. Their sets always blew me away, usually clocking 20-something songs in around 7 minutes, although their style evolved over the years, incorporating more groove, longer songs, and a lot of influence from 90s alt-metal (or at least that's how it sounded to me). However, with their most recent material on Silence Is Death, it seems Backslider has -- and please forgive me for doing this -- backslid, and is back to chaotic microbursts. 

I should be clear, this material has way more going on than the typical fast/slow/stop/start fastcore that has become all too commonplace and formulaic in the bandcamp age. There is a healthy dose of influence from weirdos such as Gasp and Column Of Heaven -- that is to say, there is plenty of noise driven guitar work, electronics, samples, and oddly placed, yet perfectly integrated death metal licks -- resulting in a unique twist on the sound we all love so well. In addition, this material features Triac drummer, Jake Cregger, recording through a gopro to great effect. I wish more fastcore/grind/etc artists would use this approach to production, because it sounds absolutely massive and sheds that overproduced/overpolished sterile studio sound that most bands seem to be going for in the past 5 or so years. 

And here's the kicker: Silence Is Death is a benefit label, and will be donating all proceeds to Black Lives Matter activist groups/orgs, so if you can spare to buy a tape or digital download, know that it's going to a good cause. With this being their first release, I expect big things from this label, so keep your eyes peeled. Trust me, you'll listen to this 4 minute burst 3x in a row and still want to hear it again. 

1. Ataxia / Cyclops
2. Device
3. Lapse
4. Purgatory
5. Octopus

Sunday 9 August 2020


The Shits

(Artist submission)

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Noise Rock, Post-Punk
For Fans Of: Brainbombs, Rusted Shut, Drunk In Hell, The Homopolice

Let me make this easy for you -- this is one of the best noise rock records of 2020, and not much, other than Brainbombs and maybe a handful of others, comes close to the ferocity and abject filth that comes out of your speakers listening to this LP. When I say noise rock, I mean NOISE rock. I'm not talking about all those boring grunge wannabe bands who people hype up in a certain facebook group I'm a part of, I'm talking about the real, vile shit. And what better band for the real, vile shit than The Shits?

Many of you remember I reviewed their first tape, in addition to bands members have previously been a part of (No Form, Foot Hair, etc), and that I gave it all high praise. Well, this review is not going to be much different, in that it's got nothing but the highest praises. Every single track on this 40 minute monsterpiece is a dirge through a broken bottle littered hellscape, where, if you're dragged along for the ride, you have the misfortune of catching on every single piece of sticky, dirty glass that can possibly get stuck in you; so for your sake, I hope you like infected wounds. You can almost smell how repugnant this album is, taste how acerbic, and feel its fetid, revolting textures more and more as it plods along, uncaring about the destruction left in its wake. As I said, the highest of praises. Brown Sugar may have already taken the title "Get Mugged," but I would argue it's way more fitting for this band.

But don't take my word for it, listen for yourself. Experience the euphoria of being bludgeoned to death by killer riff after fucking riff, while being snarled at in a heavy Leeds accent. The Shits will drink your fucking blood.

1. Jackal
2. Witching Hour
3. Murder On My Mind
4. I Am The Street
5. The Boss
6. A Slow And Aching Pain
7. Whatever
8. Drink Your Blood

DOWNLOAD (or remain a coward)

Monday 27 April 2020

Brainbombs - Cold Case

Cold Case

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Noise Rock, Post-Punk, Psych
For Fans Of: The Stooges, Chrome, Paul Chain, No Trend

I know, I'm late on this review (life is weird), but I have been jamming this since it dropped a couple months ago. Brainbombs is a perfect band. That's all I should have to say, but there wouldn't be much fun in that, nor would it be very informative, so I guess I'll just have to type out a real review. I saw the members post about recording this on social media last year, and thought I would die from anticipation.

A lot of people have said this is a departure for Brainbombs, but anyone who is a fan of the band and has been following them (i.e. not listening exclusively to Obey) can easily tell this is right on course. The last two LPs, Souvenirs and Inferno, both saw the band exploring a higher quantity of haunting, melodic passages, but less bombastic tracks have always been a part of Brainbombs' repertoire. Those of you looking for the total bangers fear not, because this LP features some of the most memorable and explosive tracks the band has done to date. All around, Cold Case is in line with Brainbombs' trademark "what if The Stooges kept making music like Fun House, only way more evil" sound, and is far from a disappointment.

I doubt anything else will come out in 2020 that will get me more excited than this. Sometimes the veterans really do always know how to show up the fresh up and comers, and Brainbombs are probably the best in the game.

1. Cold Chase
2. I Am Cocaine
3. I Love You All
4. In Pain
5. Shadows
6. Trust
7. Return Of The Ripper
8. Lost In The Past
9. It Was Easy
10. Die, Dead, Death


Saturday 18 April 2020

Oil Spill - Ashlands

Oil Spill

(Artist Submission)

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Black metal
For Fans Of: Rhinocervs, Dispirit, Cirrhus, (early) Emperor

I'm going to be honest, I definitely have not been as into black metal (and metal in general) in the past few years as I once was, but this definitely piqued my interest. The complexities employed here, which often come across as subtle, definitely drive this sucker home. Don't mess with Texas, right?

On their debut tape, Ashlands, Oil Spill brings everything I want to hear from a black metal band to the table. The riffs are spacey and chilling, the songs are winding and tortuous, and occasionally they show a punky edge and even display an ear for noise. The noise is not just tape hiss and poor production, but reminds me of bands such as Black Dice (in their early days) in the way the songs become deconstructed and swell back up, includes atonal soloing akin to Black Flag and Void, and they incorporate some fantastic horror soundscaping and samples. And then of course there are the doomy parts on here which are just crushing and oddly mosh-worthy, which I wasn't expecting, but was a welcome surprise. Really, one of the most impressive things on this is the use of dynamic, building and collapsing song structures which have a truly ominous effect and actually feel organic/not contrived. There isn't a dull or wasted moment on this tape, which is certainly refreshing in a genre that often prides itself in self-indulgence.

It's hard to shoehorn comparisons, but I think the ones I listed are pretty good reference points. We're all quarantined, so what better time to listen to black metal (to be fair, I've been listening to mostly grind, art punk, and industrial/electronics, but I might get down this hole too)?

1. Great Black Pit
2. Bloodshed Obsession
3. Trepidation

Listen / Download (Bandcamp)

Thursday 5 September 2019


Infernal Legions Of Mordor
Incel Exterminator

(Artist Submission)

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Noisecore, Grindcore, Noisegrind
For Fans Of: Gore Beyond Necropsy, Anal Cunt, Limbs Bin, Seven Minutes Of Nausea

Infernal Legions Of Mordor is what happens when one person somehow winds up living in the middle of nowhere Texas, listening to garbage from all across the spectrum of metal/punk/noise, watching shitty movies and tv shows, being a memelord, actually caring about things that matter in the sociopolitical realm, and for whatever godforsaken reason decides to throw all of these things together into one manic sonic assault of ultrashit noisecore, presented in the most displeasurable way. And obviously, this is a good thing.

Do you like samples? I sure hope you do, because there are a lot of them. Mallrats, The Venture Bros (I wouldn't be surprised if the blast beats aren't just the built in beat H.E.L.P.eR. has sped up), and Twister all make appearances here, just to name a couple. I also would hope that you like obnoxious mixing, because the levels on this jump more than Drunks With Guns records from their first incarnations. This project is pure genius, and pulls off a tongue in cheek approach which most who attempt it fail. With the endless sea of boring and corny noisecore out there, ILOM is a beacon and a blessing we don't deserve, but got anyway.

If 34 songs in just over 6 minutes is your idea of a party, you better get ready to boogie down, fucker. If not, then I don't want to know you.

I'm not even going to bother typing this all out.


Monday 2 September 2019



(Artist Submission)

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Industrial, Power Electronics
For Fans Of: Deathpile, Grunt, Con-Dom, The Sodality

Power electronics has always been a minefield of boring edgelords, cryptofascist dickheads, pretentious art nerds, and forgettable amateurs, all surrounding the few brilliant lights who bring something interesting to the table, have something worth saying, and which are deserving of merit. New Jersey's self-proclaimed "cripple power electronics" unit Frataxin is part of the latter, and in the past couple of years has really begun to come into their own. This latest tape, released on No Rent Records, is some of the most ferocious material from the project to date, and serves as a sign that things are only getting better (or worse, depending on your point of view) from here on out.

From the first awkward few seconds of plug sounds through the final shutoff, this tape drags the listener helplessly along a desperate, hellish path. Each harsh tone cuts like a knife, forcing anyone within earshot to suffer. Lyrically, the project focuses heavily on disability, but does so from a place of experience, rather than as a conceptual exploration. Musical prowess aside, that fact is a big part of why I think Frataxin should be held in the highest regards -- it's not just some tryhard dork yelling about turn of the century individuals with deformities (or Boyd Rice talking about how he wants to kill those with disabilities), it's a genuine and poignant look at the pain and alienation which able-bodied/neurotypical people not only can't, but also don't even try to grasp. This is truly powerful shit, overflowing with seething hatred and spite, and only the most casual listeners can sit through it and remain unmoved.

The tape is now sold out, but you can still listen to it. Honestly, not much has caught my ear this year, but this is definitely worth a listen.

1. Piss Dimple
2. Body Temperature
3. Credo
4. Morning Wound


Monday 25 March 2019


Erectile Dysfunction Unit
Erectile Dysfunction Unit

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Noisegrind, Noisecore, Grindcore, Power Electronics, Industrial, Noise
For Fans Of: Fear Of God, Mental Abortion, Traci Lords Loves Noise, Scab Addict

Uninvited Records puts out some fantastic releases (and I'm not just saying that because Joe did a reissue of the first Bloated Subhumans tape), and this tape by Swedish noisecore project, Erectile Dysfunction Unit, is no exception. Clocking in a little under 9 minutes, this 68 track glimpse into sexual dysfunction straight from hell kicked my ass, and it'll kick yours too.

When I saw this release on Uninvited's bandcamp page, my first thought was "With a name that good, they better not fuck it up," and fortunately they did not. Like most good noisecore, the material on this release feels like one long track, with each part continuing where the last left off in an abrupt and abrasive pattern of sloppy stop/starts, feedback, drum stick counting, flurries blasts beats, and indecipherable riffs in a seemingly endless progression until it all falls apart and the tape is over. So, obviously, it's a winner.

This is one of my favorite things I've heard this year so far. I got a copy in a trade (for some things from my label Estranged Communications), and I highly recommend grabbing a copy quickly since it's a run of 50.

1. 68 Tracks


Wednesday 21 November 2018


Deep Blood
City Hunter

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Horror Punk, Hardcore Punk Blackened Punk
For Fans Of: Misfits (bear with me here), YDI, Septic Death, Beherit

I'm sure this has been all over everyone's radars, but considering the fact that it's one of maybe 5 or so hardcore punk releases from 2018 that I've felt was worth my time (one of the others I released on my label), I actually feel compelled to do that thing where I tell you why it's worth your time too. City Hunter's first two tapes were fantastic, but this long awaited LP blows them the fuck away which is a move that is incredibly rare for both contemporary hardcore punk as well as for third installments in slasher series.

Deep Blood is the most relentless and brutal hardcore punk LP I've heard in quite some time, and I can't get enough of it. There is no pretense of political significance or corny tough guy bullshit or failed attempts at being "weird," there is only a vicious assault of cutting riffs, driven by pummeling drumming (these musicians are clearly metal musicians and it definitely pays off big time), and pierced by pitch shifted roars and howls from the mouth of fear itself. Musically, City Hunter draws heavily from 80s US hardcore punk bands who are known for being outrageously ripping such as YDI and Septic Death, combines that with hints of black and death metal akin to bands such as Beherit and Shub Niggurath, and then filters it all through a lens crafted by a band who you may have heard of called Misfits with their ruthless, thrashing, and truly criminally underrated (arguably one of the most underrated hardcore punk records of all time) Earth A.D. / Wolfs Blood LP -- go ahead and click the link and tell me that shit doesn't make Discharge sound like Buzzcocks (which funnily enough is how they got their sound in the first place). But I digress.

City Hunter's new LP is horror punk at its finest, and anyone who denies that is just afraid to admit how amazing horror punk can actually be. This will scare the pants off of you and remind you why you got into hardcore punk in the first place.

1. Watching Blood Darken
2. Living Nightmare
3. Bind Torture Kill
4. Beyond Recognition
5. Crimson Streets
6. Dark Descent
7. Open Season
8. Silhouette Of Death
9. Dying Out
10. Stab And Repeat
11. Slow Death
12. Hollow
13. Schizo
14. One By One


Monday 16 July 2018


Primary Pulse

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Industrial, Power Electronics, Death Industrial, Noise
For Fans Of:  Factrix, Gilles Des Rais, (early) Clair Obscur, Haus Arafna

This was (not surprisingly) my most anticipated release this year. And (also not surprisingly) it's fucking phenomenal. Konagaya Jun is truly an unstoppable force when it comes to well-crafted industrial, and even after over three decades, he has yet to put out a single dud under the Grim moniker, or with any other project (White Hospital, his solo work, etc).

What sets Primary Pulse apart from most of Grim's more recent releases is that it's somewhat of a return to form which calls back to the harsher synth/electronics driven material on the earlier releases such as Folk Music, Amaterasu, and Vital 1983-86. Sure, the project's core sound has stayed the same throughout the years, but with time there has been some movement away from the primarily harsh, primitive synth and electronics driven compositions which were prevalent throughout his 80s output. Each track on this tape is an overwhelming nightmare of bleak soundscapes, obscured samples, terrifying screams and howls, abrasive arcs of screeching noise, and pulsing repetition. And, of course, all of this is juxtaposed with uncomfortably serene melodies which are just as (if not arguably more) haunting than the crushing cacophonies which they sit in between. Like all of Grim's work, the uncomfortable silence following the final track hangs heavy in the air around the listener, and that moment is as beautiful as it is unnerving, which is the very essence of Grim.

Do not sleep on this, it is some of the most sublime and wretched noise you'll hear this year.
Trapdoor Tapes still has copies left, so get a copy while you still can!

1. Hermit
2. Volcano Flower
3. Assassin's Room
4. Melting Man
5. G.T.R.


Sunday 29 April 2018


Directo #1

Artist Submission

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Noise Rock, Post-Punk, Industrial
For Fans Of: Skullflower, Will To Live, The Ex, Swans

I've been vocal about my love for Balcanes since their first 7" in 2014, and everything I love about them is amplified on their newest release which happens to be a live recording. In anything noise related, live documentations are crucial because of the unpredictable nature of performance, and a studio recording can never accurately capture the energy and intensity of an artist's performance.

Those who know Balcanes already are in for a treat (as are those who don't). They are a heavy and filthy band, and those aspects of their music is only highlighted by their performance on this tape. The whole thing just sounds like a dilapidated machine lurching forward through a post-industrial wasteland, struggling to keep itself together, fixing one piece at a time not able to keep up with its imminent collapse. This is accomplished with nasty and wretched tones, death howls, and a mastery of build and release. The bands mentioned up top should give you a pretty good idea, so if that's what you're about, you gotta get on this screaming metal death trap.

As far as the setlist, Balcanes plays through everything they've put out, which clocks in around 40mins (much longer than any of their studio releases). Get ready to get steamrolled.

1. Pánico / Combustible / Rójo Máquina
2. Decrépita
3. Masada
4. Desorden
5. Decadencia / Plataforma / Autopista 2


Sunday 22 April 2018


Of Final

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Deathrock, Industrial, Post-Punk, Power Electronics, Death Industrial, Goth, Noise
For Fans Of: Mannequin Neurose, Grim, The Dead Relatives, Clair Obscur

Okay, so you're probably thinking "holy shit, that's a lot of genres, what could this even sound like?" so just sit tight and I'll do my best to explain. There are four tracks, two of them are industrial/noise tracks; and they are sandwiched in the middle of two deathrock tracks, which act as bookends of a sort. Each track is absolutely punishing, twisted, and truly dark in a different way, yet all four still form a whole.

Datsustora was the project of Elle (a.k.a. Achy) from LSD, the legendary Japanese hardcore punk band of ADK Records fame, and the less well known industrial project Criminal Party. This project, however, does not have nearly the level of notoriety of LSD, but I'd argue it's much better (and certainly much weirder and multifaceted). The rest of the lineup remains a mystery as far as I can tell -- aside from a brief run with Yoshimura Hideki, also of LSD fame, on guitar -- and was most likely a revolving door, quite possibly as multifarious as the music itself. Musically, this flexi is as I described (half deathrock, half industrial), but the varied nature of each track -- starting with bouncy dark punk, transitioning into two tracks of unsettling ambient, heavy electronics, and rhythmic industrial, and then closing with a track which feels like the joyful embracing of despondency through post-punk -- really adds to how strange this thing is. It's one of my favorites and there's a good reason for that.

This is a wild ride from start to finish, and I feel it should be essential listening for both industrial and post-punk fuckers. Highly, highly recommended.

1. Untitled (apparently there is a title, but it's in characters nobody can read)
2. Datsustora
3. Of Final
4. 幻夢円舞曲


P.S. If anyone has a link to the split with Criminal Party and/or the Kyo-On compilation 7", please get in contact because I've been dying to hear those for a long time. And while I'm asking, if anyone has the Criminal Party split with Grim, please please get in contact with me.

Tuesday 6 March 2018


Blue Faced Lust
Master/Slave Relationship

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Industrial, Power Electronics, Noise
For Fans Of: Negativland, Justine & Juliette, Nervous Gender, Hunting Lodge

I was asked for this specifically, but it's also something I've wanted to review for a while anyway. Master/Slave Relationship is one of my favorite industrial projects, and Blue Faced Lust in particular is my favorite thing put out under that moniker, as well as one of my favorite industrial releases in general. So here we go.

One thing you'll notice about M/SR is the heavy BDSM influence (shocker) which shows up in different ways, namely the heavy and imposing sexual motifs. Power electronics has always been about explorations of power, and M/SR does so through the lens of a domme (i.e. an inversion of the dynamic inherent in heteronormative sex*) to a great effect. The vocals mock you, taunt you, tease you, and hang over your head. The electronics work in tandem, presenting uncomfortable soundscapes which mirror the lyrics; M/SR beautifully -- and brutally -- juxtaposes soft and hard, ambient and harsh, rhythmic and chaotic, soothing and jarring sounds in a tumultuous fashion, which makes for a turbulent and frightening listen.

Go get'em, tiger.

1. Nothing To Love
2. The Dream
3. Some Dry Hopeless Mess
4. People Where They Ought To Be
5. Wait
6. Avoidance
7. Take Over
8. Blue Faced Lust
9. Nothing Happens In This World
10. Inconclusive Thoughts


*Even in BDSM, role reversal does not completely erase the structural and institutional dynamics of power, blah blah there's way too much to get into that I don't have the time/energy for, and so much has been written on this topic that you can just look it up.

Wednesday 17 January 2018


Drink Your Blood
The Shits

Review by Joey

Genre/s: Noise Rock, Sludge, Post-Punk
For Fans Of: Thug, Drunk In Hell, Rectal Hygienics, Gentlemen

Welcome to the new year, fuckers. I hope you're ready because I'm gonna start it off right with some true scum produced by members of No Form and others who I'm not sure of. This bad boy is absolutely slamming. Hell, it's so good that it had me opening up a new post on blogger within 5 minutes (less, really).

I clicked play and was hit with a wall of feedback which gives way to a riff (still with feedback of course) after 30+ seconds, and you bet it started kicking my ass; and when the opening track on something like this is almost 7 minutes, you know you're in for some shit. The level of degeneracy and filth that The Shits wade through and pour over you with their debut tape is -- in the immortal words of Bill -- "most egregious." This shit (by The Shits) is as crushing as it is pugnacious as all hell. The sludge-leaning dirges go on and on and on and on, testing your endurance -- 3/4 tracks are around (and over) 6 minutes of the same pummeling riff -- undoubtedly weeding out the posers. Leeds, UK is really pumping out some fantastic degeneracy, it's amazing. Good to know that 2018 is off to a great fucking start.

Get in on this or don't (and miss out on all the fun sin).

1. Whatever
2. I Know
3. Alone
4. It's All The Time


Monday 1 January 2018

I changed my mind, so here you go: THE 2017 FBN YEAR-END ROUNDUP MEGAPOST

I was going to do a handful of smaller posts, but I felt that would be tedious (and also, I've been super busy with a lot of shit), and I like the dramatic flair of putting up something like this on the actual end of the year (fuck the nerds who publish lists in November when there's a whole month left). I cut  back a little from last year so as to only include releases I revisited a lot (ie there's more I liked, but these were my absolute favorites) and because I don't want to overthink it. So, it'll be 15 total instead of 15 per category (also no categories because like no rules, dude); but the drill is the same as before --  all releases have download links and are in no particular order blah blah blah -- so let's skip all that needless exposition and get right the fuck to it. Off the top of my head, here's what I liked this year.

Brainbombs Inferno
Obviously this is at the top (even though in general, these are in no particular order). Instead of writing a whole new review, however, the link leads to the one I already wrote when it came out. Short version: Brainbombs are always at the top of the food chain, and in the tradition of each of their releases having a distinct flair, this one relies on buildups rather than the spontaneous combustion which people usually (wrongly) associate with them. Have fun with your paranoia.

FFO: The Stooges, Chrome

Grim Discharge Mountain
I also reviewed this previously, so the link will go to that; but short version: it's fucking perfect industrial. Grim always manages to bring so many layers together and blend them into the most frightening pieces. It's funny, my two most anticipated releases this year were both from old pros showing everyone how it's fucking done.

FFO: Nails Øv Christ, Test Dept.
No Faith Forced Subservience
So-called contemporary "power violence" is, for the most part, a boring cesspool of wannabes playing formulaic tough guy garbage through through HM-2 pedals. Enter No Faith: another perfect example of old pros showing us all how to do something right. All you really need to know is that Dave Witte of Discordance Axis, Black Army Jacket, Exit-13, Burnt By The Sun, Human Remains, etc drums on this, and he sounds like his old self. Add layers of power electronics, an element of true unpredictability, and some unrelenting rage, and you've got a winner.

FFO: Man Is The Bastard/Noise (yes, really), Crossed Out
Blank Spell Miasma
Look, Blank Spell is one of the best bands on the planet, period. Their manic, brooding approach which combines nods to frantic 80s italian hardcore punk with elements of deathrock (and a slew of other things) is unmatched -- they really are the perfect punk band. I wrote a whole thing about it on Cvlt Nation (which you can read here) so I won't go wild in this post, but I will say that if you sleep on this band, you're a total fool and a tasteless ass.

FFO: Bedboys, Declino

Devil Master Inhabit The Corpse
And while I'm on the subject of top tier dark punk bands (who use a lot of purple and also happen to share members), Devil Master's new tape also kicks ass which should come as no surprise. I reviewed this over at Cvlt Nation (here), but short version: if you like thrashing metalpunk influenced by some of the classics from Japan, and with a true devotion to the spooky, you're gonna eat this shit up.

FFO:  集団自殺 (Syudan Jisatsu), Sex Messiah

Gasp Ghost In Scow Out
Okay, but do you know how excited I was when I found out Gasp is back? In so many words, I flipped the fuck out. Gasp is one of those bands who I've always felt deserved so much more attention and credit for how genuinely weird and intense their music is, but people who are "so into powerviolence, bro" don't even know who they are. Well, this new material sounds like Gasp -- it's the trippy spaced out psych noise violence I've always loved, but the grindy elements take more of a backseat this time. I interviewed them this year which was an incredibly fun experience (read it here), and I'm so excited to see what they've got coming next.

FFO: Suffering Luna, Dome
Plastic Plastic
Not all of these are releases I previously reviewed, I promise, but I did definitely do this one when it came out, too. Short version: Plastic is such an incredible band, and play with synthpunk in a way nobody else really is -- the industrial influence certainly puts them above most, and the overall execution is genuinely unnerving in a way no "mutant freak weirdo" bullshit ever can. This tape is just a miserable, bleak trudge through a synthy wasteland, and it's fantastic.

FFO: Nervous Gender, Flipper

Drunk In Hell Drunk In Hell
I've been waiting for this one for a while, and sweet christ it does not disappoint. Drunk In Hell are a band who perfectly represent the smut, filth, and degeneracy we've all come to expect from this style of noise rock; and this LP is a disgusting and beautiful display of depravity. Fantastic riff after fantastic riff (but only one per song, obviously), the band drudges on through the musical mire they've dumped onto the world, leaving the listener to wade along in their nauseous wake. This LP doesn't get old, and I would say it should be considered a modern classic of the style.

FFO: Rusted Shut, Drunks With Guns

Roht Roht
I love when bands who I meet perfect bands through FBN. Roht submitted their demo in 2016 and I absolutely loved it (even if I forgot to post a review of it), and I was so excited to see that they were going to have a 7" on Iron Lung Records (aka the dream label). The 7" -- which was released last year digitally, but taken down shortly after it was put up because it was picked up by ILR -- slams harder than the already amazing demo. Roht's dark, winding riffs are blanketed in harsh electronics; the band stomps forward relentlessly like a tank rolling over a mountain of skulls.. And what part of that doesn't sound awesome?

FFO: Rudimentary Peni, Skullflower
Triumvir Foul Spiritual Bloodshed
There's been a lot of cavedweller death metal in the past few years, and I gotta say the field is getting pretty crowded. Not every band can be as good as Impetuous Ritual or Antediluvian (most aren't). Triumvir Foul (along with other Vrasubatlat projects) take a different approach to the style than most of their contemporaries -- an approach which involves the inclusion of power electronics as an additional element to the already crushing and tormented sounds which come along with the cavernous death metal package. And yes, there are sickass divebombs.

FFO: Dagger Lust, Order From Chaos

Bad Breeding Divide
The integration of industrial/electronics into just about everything has made a big surge (or resurgence, really) in the past couple years. The bands who do it well do it incredibly well (and those who don't are so bad that I wouldn't bother with them anyway), and Bad Breeding is among those who deliver the goods. Divide is an LP which had me hooked instantly and doesn't get dull for a single second; Bad Breeding wears their influences pretty clearly on their sleeves, but they combine those influences with a finesse and weirdness which makes them a truly exciting band. Words won't do it justice, so take a listen for yourself.

FFO: Icons Of Filth, SPK
Full Of Hell Trumpeting Ecstasy
This is probably on just about every year-end list (as it should be) so it's not too hard to find or whatever, but I still needed to include it because of how killer it is, and because of the way it feels like the LP Full Of Hell have always been moving towards -- something they brought up in the interview I did with them this year (here). Trumpeting Ecstasy is deliberate and unrelenting -- as punk/noise/metal should be. The attention to detail and thought put into crafting it really shows in the final product, and as always, Full Of Hell leaves me excited for material to come. Plus, that industrial track fucking slams.

FFO: Discordance Axis, Multiplex

Balcanes Decrépita / Decadencia
Well, this is another (and the last on this list) I reviewed already reviewed (here), but short version: Balcanes delivers two more tracks of steamrollingly heavy post-punk on this new 7" which pick up right where last year's Carne Nueva LP left off. Waves of feedback screech over lurching dirges which pound the listener over the head repeatedly as they swell until they fall apart and end. Another winner for contemporary noise rock.

FFO: Will To Live, The Ex

Disciples Of Christ Parched Dredge
One of the greatest contemporary grind bands returned with two releases this year: a split 7" with Gas Chamber, and this 7" on ILR; both are fantastic (obviously), but this was the stronger of the two for me. DOC's brand of noise damaged grind is instantly recognizable, and just gets more vicious with each new release they unleash upon us. Parched Dredge features tracks which were on the 2015 Demo tape (now with titles) along with some brand new ones which are just as relentless and disgusting as I've come to expect from this band. DOC's breakneck bursts of dilapidated thrashing destruction will never be not exciting.

FFO: Ulcerous Phlegm, Excruciating Terror
Bone Awl The Lowest Road
Fucking finally, the Bone Awl release we were promised by NWN a year or two ago is seeing the light of day. But, until that does finally happen. Bone Awl has given us a little preview of what's to come. And's Bone Awl, alright. The repetitive and tortuous riffs played through a trashcan they're famous for are dished out one after another on this tape, and (as always), they're all rippers. Do I really need to say anything else about this?

FFO: Ildjarn, Seviss

Mutant Video Vanity Of Life
Unfortunately, the horror movie soundtrack via industrial outfit known as Mutant Video is done, but they did manage to release one final LP of their dying gasp. I looked forward to this all year, and when it dropped I was all over it. Vanity Of Life differs somewhat from their previous efforts, however -- the Cronenberg elements take more of a backseat to more of an old school death industrial and industrial punk sound --  it's heavier, harsher, and more overtly aggressive than what people have come to expect from Mutant Video; but don't worry, it's still rife with the paranoia inducing subtlety that they have excelled at in the past.

FFO: Minimal Man, IRM
Gowl On Our Feet Or On Our Knees
Promo copies of this were released in 2016, but nobody ripped it so it went mostly unheard until the band put it up on their bandcamp a month ago. Gowl is another one of the top tier contemporary grind bands (even if they don't receive the same notoriety as DOC, Full Of Hell, Triac, Sete Star Sept, et al), and this release is so ruthless and ferocious that I needed to listen to it a handful of times for it to really sink in -- it's a fucking monster. From the pounding industrial at the onset of this assault to the final cut out at its end, there is not a single moment of reprieve from the punishing intensity via a flurry of riffs, hyperspeed blasts, unpredictable changes, and raw, blown out fury. This was probably left off a lot of lists because of dipshits who publish year-end lists in fucking November (with a whole month left in the year), but if you sleep on this you're missing out big time.

FFO: Suppression, Warsore

As I said at the start, there was a lot more that I liked in 2017, but a certain brevity felt fitting for this. I've got some posts which I'm part way through writing, so I'll drop those soon. 2017 was definitely a rut kind of year for me -- even if I did drop two tapes (one was an overdue dub of Execution 2 the other was a new recording of a set I played this year in Richmond, VA released as Execution 3) and was contacted by a label to release an LP -- but 2018 looks promising and exciting (and not just because I have a 12" coming out). Anyway, sorry again about the absence.

All music is bad.