Review Roundup: Hoax, Dawn Of Humans, Anasazi, Kremlin, and Brain Fever
Hoax – 3rd 7”
By now, Hoax are pretty notorious for their blackened-weirdo-anthemic hardcore, or whatever you want to call it; probably even more so, for leaving showgoers bloodied after their performances. I’ve always thought that the punk community should be a haven for the freaks and weirdos of society, and this is exactly what Hoax projects through their music and demeanor. I know that this is a very idealistic vision, as there are many problems that go along with embracing everyone that’s part of the scene (and hardcore definitely has its issues, in this respect), but on a general level, the band consists of a bunch of weird guys playing angry music that projects their frustration with society and the world at large – something that anyone part of something like the punk scene can relate to.
With that said, on the third 7”, which is to be released on Painkiller Records, Hoax continue much in the same direction. The only thing that seems to really change with them, is that they somehow get heavier with every release, which is especially apparent with the re-recording of “Stuck”. It was initially released on their demo, and I didn’t think it was possible to make that song any heavier, but they somehow did it – then again, they did pretty much the same thing with “Suicide Pact” on the second 7”, so perhaps I underestimate them. Otherwise, “Discipline” is probably the standout track on this release, and I distinctly recall many boots and fists flying when they played it in Toronto, recently. I don’t think I need to remind anyone to see this band, buy their stuff, and so on, because if you’ve been paying any attention, you already know.
Dawn Of Humans – Blurst Of The Birdfish 7”
I don’t know if I can even come close to accurately describing how weird this band is, but one listen to this 7” should make that easily apparent. In the vein of bands like Crazy Spirit and School Jerks, Dawn Of Humans play really snotty and drugged out early 80s style hardcore punk – I especially thought of United Mutation with this release, as they did a lot of weird stuff in their time, and Dawn Of Humans is doing much the same now.
Toxic State has really been on the ball lately, but I think that this release blows anything they’ve done in a while out of the water. The definite standout track is the closer, “Free Fire”, which goes into a mid-song break of what sounds like vomiting, muttering, and reversed vocals, and then slowly speeds up into the most batshit insane barrage of riffs, drums, and manic screaming. It’s been a while since listening to a band actually terrified me, but this release was definitely successful in that, and I can’t imagine what it would be like seeing them live. I mean this all in the most endearing way possible, because sometimes fear and discomfort is what we look for in music, just like something else might make us think of rainbows and butterflies. The only time I could ever imagine rainbows and butterflies being in the same sentence as Dawn of Humans, however, is if there were lots of drugs and feces involved, so I think you get the idea now.
Anasazi – Anasazi 7”
I wasn’t kidding when I said Toxic State have released some great things, as this is yet another great 2012 punk release. The great thing about Anasazi is that there are very few bands doing the post-punk/goth rock/death rock thing well nowadays, let alone doing it at all. At least, there are few taking the Christian Death route like they are, and I mean, if I’m going to listen to death rock, I want it to sound evil and epic, right? Right.
Their demo from last year was great and showed a lot of potential, with tracks like “Loving You (With A Knife)” and “Burn Everything” demonstrating that they’re not shy of clocking in over 4-5 minutes on a track. I’m usually indifferent to longer punk songs (particularly, in the realm of hardcore punk), as shorter is usually better, but it’s nice when a band like this isn’t afraid of pushing a song farther. However, as good as the demo was, the 7” shows drastic improvement in nearly every other way; it’s tighter, creepier, and the richer production on the 7” gives the band a much fuller sound, which is something that works for them considering that they mess around a lot with noise, layers, and different effects. For instance, “Loving You” sounds drastically better with the re-recording, as the guitars aren’t thin like on the demo, and the drums came out a lot nicer as well. It’s also generally better from a creativity aspect, as can be seen by the riffing and vocals on “Bone Collector”, which sound a lot more interesting than most of the songs on the demo. Basically, if you want to listen to real post-punk, stop listening to all the bands ripping off Sonic Youth, and get on this.
Kremlin – Will You Feed Me? 7”
I saw Kremlin‘s first show, and it was pretty much expected for this band to rule, as they’re affiliated School Jerks and Terminal State. They also play raw old school d-beat, in the style of bands like Anti-Cimex, which is always a welcome addition with the exhausting number of crust d-beat bands (and generally, bands that everyone calls “d-beat”, when they really aren’t).
They continue doing pretty much the same thing they did on their last two demos here, as they stick to a pretty simple formula that they do very well – it’s fast, raw, and has inhuman amounts of reverb, nailing a particular aesthetic that they seem to be going for here. The songs on the Will You Feed Me 7” are mostly better than anything off the demos, with “Anti-Septic” really standing out as one of the best songs they’ve written yet. Don’t expect to hear anything tasteful with Kremlin, as if there’s anything these past three releases have shown, it’s that they’re capable of some of the grimiest and greatest punk of their day.
Brain Fever – La Luna
I’ve been following Brain Fever‘s output since they put out their first LP, and I have to say, I wasn’t that impressed with them at first. Sure, it didn’t have the bombastic production that their later material got, but it was a lot simpler, and just didn’t stick out enough to separate them from all the other bands doing more punk-oriented screamo. Because of this, I was pretty surprised when I heard the split with Discord Of A Forgotten Sketch (put out by the mighty A Mountain Far), because they did more than I ever imagined they would and completely changed my outlook of them. There was significant improvement in the production, but it mostly seems like something just clicked for them, and they started writing much more powerful music.
La Luna continues much in the same direction as the split material, as they got heavier, mathier, and weirder, except the songs are somehow even more powerful, as it’s been quite a while since I’ve heard something this emotionally-inspiring. There’s major black metal influence on this record, in the style of bands like Deathspell Omega, and kind of a subtle post-punk vibe that was apparent before, but even more so now. “Winter” is probably the perfect example of what makes this record so great, as it’s both beautiful and devastating, with the buildup to the entire band screaming “this winter isn’t cold enough”. From what I’ve gathered, this is a record that goes out to anyone who has felt desperation and anger, and suggests a conquering of it by making sure one’s voice is heard – it’s hard not to get goosebumps, as Vanessa Gloux sings the spoken section in “Destroy Everything You Love”, where she concludes with “all I know is, I can’t hide my anger anymore, and I’ll scream to the top of my lungs”, and the rest of the band joins in later while screaming the title. I’m not ashamed to admit that La Luna provided me with one of the most cathartic listening experiences I’ve had in awhile, at a point where I was having a pretty tough time with life. I guess, what I’m getting at is that if simply listening to this was so fulfilling for me, I can only imagine what writing it was like…this is definitely one you don’t want to miss.