With My Friends International Vol. 2
Posted: by The Editor
Brain Corrosion/Ripped to Shreds – (Taipei, Taiwan)
Exhumed From Eastern Tombs – 8/28/20
You’re probably already familiar with Ripped to Shreds, the ascending Taiwanese-American band from California and the other half of this split, but I’m here to firmly state that the Brain Corrosion side is equally deserving of your attention. Brain Corrosion formed in Taiwan in 2007 and have slowly and steadily built an impressive resume. They play a brutal brand of gore grind with guttural death metal vocals, punishing blast beats and doomy guitars jockeying for space in the mix. “Legal Innocence” is a rerecorded version of their 2017 track, and shows the band’s new vision: the mix is much darker, the trilling guitar riffs buried deeper down in the sludge, the drums pushed to the front, less abrasive than the more traditional grind production, but much heavier. As hardcore globally pulls more from death metal, especially when it comes to vocal delivery, Brain Corrosion has retooled their sound to remind us that their grind has always been derived from death metal. The Ripped to Shreds side goes hard as all hell, obviously, but you’ve heard about them. I’m here to tell you that you should flip that record over because the other side is equally as good. And also to remind you that if you want to get a record, you probably have a small window before this shit sells out and starts getting flipped for double on Discogs. Vinyl is available through Wise Grind Records; CDs are for sale on HGPD’s Bandcamp.
Creepout (Tokyo, Japan)
Svvines and Heretics – 8/31/20
If the song “Lilith” sounds a bit like Integrity, it’s because a good portion of Integrity is on the track: Dwid Hellion and Dom Romeo lent their vocals and riffs, respectively, for the first single off their friends’ new album. The song is a huge ripper, but what really stands out is how the subsequent songs experience no dip in quality or intensity. They share Integrity’s impulse to blend death metal into their hardcore—there’s shades of Entombed on this record—but it’s not some Humanity Is The Devil knockoff. It’s a testament to the heights that Creepout are reaching that featuring members of Integrity feels like a natural collaboration. Creepout is only on their third album but they feel like a legacy band in the making. Recorded by Mr. Takahashi at Rinky Dink Kichijoji, mixed by Akira Inada at m4II Studio, and mastered by Arthur Rizk (Sumerlands, Cold World). The full album drops on August 31 via Dead Sky Recordings.
Life (Tokyo, Japan)
Ossification of Coral – 8/4/20
Tokyo crustpunk outfit Life is back with their third full length which, as the title implies, has heavy environmentalist overtones, directly addressing how the warming oceans are killing off coral, and the ramifications that reverberate all through the ecosystem. The band states they stand for “raising political awareness in a time where censorship is law and silence is maintained through fear,” and the album broadens its scope from the purely environmental to ideas about a lifestyle of resistance—to political oppression, to human violence, and to indoctrination and fear. And I should say that it also fully rips. It’s a huge, well-produced crust record with mid-tempo frustration-rock interspersing the gnarly maelstrom. The full album is available at Not Enough from Sweden. Highly recommended.
Hell Freezes Over (Tokyo, Japan)
Hellraiser – 8/26/20
Hell yeah. It’s full on speed metal with some thrash influence: a band where everyone is committed to The Hair. They’re young but they sound ripped directly from the 80s canon, and while it can come off more like a good-spirited pastiche than a modern take on speed metal, Hellraiser succeeds on the merits of the band’s commitment to the vibe. There may be a little goof to it, but the band has leaned in the point where it no longer matters. The vocals and guitars wail, harmonies abound, the songs gallop with conviction. Long live Hell Freezes Over, may they whip their tremendous manes into the darkness of eternity.
Broken Shaft (Lanzhou, China)
“处境 (Plight)” – 8/25/20
Broken Shaft refer to themselves as “the only hardcore band in Northwest China Mainland,” and if thats’s not true, it’s not far off: there’s plenty of this kind of hardcore in China, but I’ve never heard it coming out Lanzhou before. The new song is NYHC-inflected beatdown with punchy guitars and barked vocals. They’re doing Hatebreed proud out in Lanzhou. The band has only a few views on their homemade YouTube video that they put out this week, which speaks to the relative lack of attention music from northwest China gets compared to the larger eastern cities. Go check it out: they clearly love this kind of hardcore and it holds up against anything beatdown bands in the U.S. are doing right now.
Rekklus (Tangerang, Indonesia)
Self Titled EP – 8/8/20
The first full minute of Rekklus’s debut EP is a storm of dive bombs, and although the band has a definite thrash metal influence, the dramatic wail of the album’s intro belies the raw punk barrage that awaits. The blown out recording is mixed really well—the gnashing guitars are distinct and clear; the vocals echo out of the depths of the song but the Indonesian lyrics are still discernible. This one holds up particularly well on a second listen: it’s a well-constructed and well-executed record.
Also, Rekklus took the time to email their album to me, which is kind and appreciated. As always: if you’re in a band in Asia, or if you run an Asian record label or distro, I’d love to hear your music. My email address is at the bottom of this column. My favorite part of these columns is the international connections. From the band: “2020 has been a dystopian year … [This band] is more than just a creative or emotional outlet … this band act[s] as the media for us to express how we see the ‘looking okay’ world.” I can tell you from listening to the EP: the world doesn’t look okay to Rekklus.
Busuk (Depok, Indonesia)
“Among the storm” – 8/20/20
The grindcore giants have existed only in the forms of split releases, both local and international, since their current iteration took shape in 2009. It’s been six years since we had new music from Busuk, but they have abruptly returned with “Among the storm,” the first single off their upcoming debut full length. It’s predictably brief, but the band finds room for multiple movements in their galloping grind tinged with atmospheric metal. A huge banger.
Jayabaya – (Kediri, Indonesia)
Anathema – 8/5/20
Jayabaya is a full-on progressive power metal band. There are guttural growls and theatrical howls. The drums are a wonder of athletic achievement, frequently erupting into a blast beat that goes on longer than seems humanly possible. There’s a lot of singing, and it’s hella glam. The solos are technical and impressive, which feels completely expected in the context of the album. However, they manage to be a lot more vital than the wankery that becomes wallpaper in the hands of a lesser power metal band, and the heavy parts are genuinely heavy. An off-the-wall mix that works in spite of itself.
Tigerwork (Tasikmalaya, Indonesia)
Resistensi – 8/8/20
Sure, there’s the obvious NYHC parallels: I hear a little bit of Sheer Terror right down to the barked vocals. But Tigerwork’s chuggy hardcore has a metallic edge and an abiding grooviness that feels much more forward thinking than many similar 90s-minded acts. It has all the trappings of beatdown, but feels both crisper and looser, somehow. The riffs have so much swagger they sound downright Southern in spots, and the mosh parts are staggering behemoths. They have a firm control on their sound that escapes being a NYHC retread or generic moshcore by virtue of genuinely interesting riffs.
SASAU! (Penang, Malaysia)
Demo – 2/16/20
SASAU!’s demo clatters to life on the first song “Nightrow” as a square, stomping hardcore number, but the song quickly becomes more and more frantic, vocals devolving from a sardonic howl to spastic vocalizations that are less lyrics than onomatopoeia, syllables tumbling forth. The album is—as the only descriptor on Bandcamp indicates—a “Raw demo,” but it’s well worth a listen. The vocals are unhinged in the best way, and the band veers between punk and hardcore like a car weaving through lanes on the highway, doing 90 with no one at the wheel. This record is from February but I listened to it again this month and had to include it. It’s a record that deserves more attention than it has gotten.
Demo 2020 – 7/4/20
Malaysia loves its D-beat. Humanoid’s take on the genre is pretty crusty: you get the feeling from the vocals and the heaviness of the riffs that they could easily edge toward grind if they were so inclined. It’s fast and fun and, like I said, the vocals carry a lot of authority. The lyrics are in Mandarin, which is sick as hell, even if my Mandarin is still far too shaky to make out a word of it through the chaos.
Void to Exist (Patan, Nepal)
“Reality Illusion” – 8/21/20
Void to Exist is a hard band to find much info about. They’re a new addition to Nepal’s diverse hardcore scene, and a quick Google search doesn’t turns up much besides a fair number of Turnstile covers (and some sick-ass live sets). The band has a definite Step 2 Rhythm thing happening, although the vocals are much more gruff. The band’s targets are, in their own words, “broken systems, polluted bureaucracy and cheap politics,” and the music feels charged with a sincere energy. This is the first song they’ve released off their upcoming EP, and it has me sufficiently pumped about what’s to come.
Keegan Bradford | @franziamom | keeganjbradford(at)gmail.com
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