One of my favourite parts of the holidays is reflecting on all the great new music that came out during the year. Sometimes there's releases that we can hardly believe came out this year. Everyone at Emissions is getting their own post to talk about their favourites from 2023. The posts will be spread out over the week so you have cool lists and releases to check out while you (hopefully) have some time off to listen to stuff you may have missed this year. Here's Bee's stuff. (foreword by Dave)
Bee's "Best of 2023"
ENZYME - Golden Dystopian Age (Hardcore Victim, Crust War)
HEAVY DISCIPLINE - Your Scapegoat (Painkiller Records)
KOMMAND - Death Age (20 Buck Spin)
MALCRÍA - Fantasías Histéricas (Iron Lung Records)
PHYSIQUE - Again (Iron Lung Records)
RAT CAGE - Savage Visions (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos)
SALVAJE PUNK - Self-titled (Toxic State Records, Burning Paradise)
SKOURGE - Torrential Torment (Lockin’ Out Records)
SPIRITO DI LUPO - Vedo La Tua Faccia Nei Giorni Di Pioggia (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos, Iron Lung Records)
STIGMATISM - Ignorance in Power (Toxic State)
If you have the opportunity to see ENZYME live, do– noisy buzzing guitar, head-bopping bass tethered down with hard-hitting vocals and drumming, this record was definitely heightened for me by the absolute privilege to see them play a bunch of times and quickly worked its way into regular rotation. Sometimes “for fans of” and “members of” is bullshit dickriding, but sometimes you’ve come to trust musicians because they keep delivering, like with the newest HEAVY DISCIPLINE release from some of my favourite contributors to no-nonsense hardcore. Death metal by people who cut their teeth in hardcore is just… better; KOMMAND’s Death Age is perfect, no skips, and the beat drop at 2:24 in Chimera Soldiers is so incredibly satisfying. I’m majorly cheating by including MALCRÍA’s new record while only 2 tracks are available to listen to online until the record drops later this month, but I’m just getting in early, and I had the honour of seeing them and I’m calling it now–with the mania of 80s Italian hardcore and real musicianship and some of the most impressive drumming I’ve seen. PHYSIQUE’s Again is another perfect release, amazing guitar tone, perfectly blown out vocals, and drumming that mesmerise you and then slap you back with a fill. RAT CAGE’s LP seamlessly blends influences, sometimes in vain of CRUCIFIX, sometimes a little more rock n’ roll, hearing lots of early UKHC, but always driving and relentless. SALVAJE PUNK’s self-titled are ten pummeling hardcore punk tracks that actually feel manic in the same way that a good horror movie elicits a real emotional response. Out of my selections, I’ve probably spent the most time listening to SKOURGE - Torrential Torment; it functions really well as an album in terms of cohesiveness, and scratches so many itches for me when it comes to heavy music. SPIRITO DI LUPO calls back to anarcho punk sounds, but in a way that sounds, to me, distinctly modern. To close off, is STIGMATISM’s Ignorance in Power, straight-forward tracks with catchy hooks and catchy breakdowns.
BLACK DOG - Overthrow EP (RoachLeg Records)
DELCO MF’S - The March of the MF’s (MF Records)
GRAND SCHEME - Numbers Game (11PM Records)
KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE - The True Disaster (self released)
LITTLE ANGELS - Psycho Summer (11PM Records)
PEOPLE’S TEMPLE - I’m With the People’s Temple (RoachLeg Records)
PHANTASM - Conflict Reality (Hardcore Victim)
SECRETORS - Comparing Missile Size Vol. 1 (RoachLeg Records)
SUSPECT - Urge to Extinguish (Collective Memory)
TOTAL NADA - Self Titled (11PM Records)
Halifax’s BLACK DOG have been among my favourite current bands since their inception, and their new ep delivers more of the same with amazing art by Matt Morgantini. Ben’s drumming is incredible, and every time there’s a pause, vocals, and then music comes back in I want to put my head through a brick wall or jump off a building. DELCO MF give us 6 fast, short and sweet proper hardcore punk songs. GRAND SCHEME some “no frills” “meat and potatoes” hardcore for old and young heads alike; I just wish the cover had a mosher drawn by Spoiler on it. KINETIC ORBITAL STRIKE are another current band that I cannot rave about enough, this record gets an obscene amount of play, they are amazing live, masterfully recorded by Trish, and with Daniel going absolutely nutty on drums, they’re one of my favourite bands in this vain of the last decade. LITTLE ANGELS recordings are lo-fi and blown out in a way that lends well to their sound–no direct “sounds like” comparison for you, but it reminds me of a song you’d hear on an obscure compilation record and wish you could hear more from. When I started making my list without even looking at labels or my shelf to remind myself what came out, I put PEOPLE’S TEMPLE at the top of the list; truly one of the best hardcore punk 7’s to come out in this year or many other, I think it sounds like it was uncovered from the 80s and reminds me of a Mystic release. PHANTASM from Australia have a sound maybe akin to ANTI-CIMEX with fierce and busy vocal delivery, and I love the drumming in the track “Bad Dreams.” RoagLeg’s ‘house band’ SECRETORS 7” is ripping with a MOBS influence, and some GISM-eque guitar particularly in “Comparing Missile Size.” I played with Germany’s SUSPECT on tour, and they dropped their record I believe a few days later; a great release for fans of early 2010s Boston hardcore. Finally, Montreal’s TOTAL NADA dropped a new release of bopping punk tracks with some of the best vocal delivery.
BALLISTIC AX - Ballistic Acts of Terror (Designated Moshers Unit)
BLOODY FLAG - Self titled (Bunker Punks Discs & Tapes)
COLLATERAL - Demo #1 (Fortress Records)
CROSS - No Beginning, No End (RoachLeg Records)
EVIL SPIRIT - Black Cross (RoachLeg Records)
MOCK EXECUTION - Rebels Without A Cause (Unlawful Assembly)
MOPAR STARS - Shoot the Moon (self released)
NECRON 9 - Peace By a Rope Demo (Unlawful Assembly)
Honourable mention to Demo II also on Unlawful Assembly.
SIN OFFERING - Charnel House (Sound Grotesca)
STATE MANUFACTURED TERROR - Demo (Self Released)
Designated Moshers Unit, as a label, came onto the scene this year with exclusively great releases, so I just picked my favourite; BALLISTIC AX with fast songs, most clocking under a minute but still fitting in a slow mosh part. Recorded by Trish, made by Ulsh–BLOODY FLAG is just done right DISCLOSE-type hardcore. COLLATERAL scratches that same “meat and potatoes” hardcore itch, maybe a little like OUTBURST at times. Heavily anticipated was CROSS’ first tape after everyone saw damn near their entire first set via social media–a band that’s worth the hype; incredible live with ripping guitar riffs and furious vocals. EVIL SPIRIT was one of my top tapes of the year, almost inaudibly recorded, almost sounds like Sakevi secretly demo’d some tracks in an outhouse that were later uncovered. MOCK EXECUTION blessed us with more tracks this year including the rocking title track of this tape followed by some more raw punk with beautiful treble-y guitar tone that are really fun. Originally just released digitally, but with a run of physical tapes made several months later is something much different than everything else on my list but something I listened to an almost sickening amount, if you’ve seen me in the last year I’ve probably recommended it to you, or run into you walking home from work blasting it on repeat, MOPAR STARS is indie rock power pop perfection adjacent to (with members of) the punk world. Unlawful Assembly introduced a new project this year with gruff vocals, raging riffs, and drumming by one of my favourite hardcore punk drummers and amateur recording engineers. SIN OFFERING is a nice change of pace from most of my list, something like CHRISTIAN DEATH but heavier, like death rock with more metal sensibilities and absolutely beautiful lyrics and dark and sexy vocal delivery. STATE MANUFACTURED TERROR demo is top tier filthy crust/stench, lovely stuff.