Another day, another edition of Harvesting. This time I venture into well-known territory and drag you along with me. I’ve been doing a podcast-series about Swedish Punk and Hardcore, which solemnly died and this is what rose from the ashes of it. The difference between this edition and the podcast is that I’ll be including foreign hardcore and punk-bands into this. So this time around you’ll get to know the following bands a little bit better, whether it’s a review or an interview: Prowler, Grueling Sentence, Hassler, Christer Pettersson and Phoebus Beat Clan. The last two of these bands will also be interviewed in this edition, which will be in two parts. So you can look forward to Christer Pettersson and Phoebus Beat Clan being interviewed in this part of it. Enjoy this Part of the deal and I hope you’ll enjoy the second part of it too. The second part will be released tomorrow.
Prowler – Prowler EP
I rarely find any hardcore in the regions of New Zealand and Australia, but this band comes from the NZ area and surprised me a lot. The first track “Choker” sounds a lot like the older hardcore-sound of America, specifically bands like Poison Idea and the likes of it. It’s got the banging sound of early hardcore and everything seems to be in place. Even though the tempo could be a little bit faster at times, it’s a basic and pretty repetitive formula but with their own touch added to it like it should be. So in the end, it can be a little bit frustrating, but the song isn’t that long to begin with and it ends with a burst of riffs and fades into oblivion. However, the second track “H.R.D” is more of a melodic punk song.
With much more weight added onto the melodic parts of it and the less up-tempo feeling of it. A higher feeling of joy and a lighter feeling of the punk-oriented sound of yesteryear. The only thing that sets them off is the basic formula that they’ve employed with this EP, but since it’s one of their first, I can understand why. I also believe that there’s been a lot of things that have sounded the same, but I think Prowler distinguish themselves from that category by having such a variation in songs and the structure is easier to bang your head to than other bands that just do the same over and over again. So at least that part of it is intact and I’m looking forward to other releases from this band, but it seems like they’ve been quite inactive since they released this EP in the beginning of 2012.
You can buy their EP over at their bandcamp if you want to, but it’s a digital-only download release this time around. There’s also a possibility to download it for free, but I think you should give the guys some cash for what they’ve managed to put out there with this release.
Grueling Sentence – Metaphysical Decomposition
Time for some of the first grindcore in these series. One of the more interesting releases in that category this year. Beginning with the track “Bodies Subscribe“, the Moog does that it does best. There’s a lot going on here and I feel myself headbanging to this piece of crossover hardcore. A good combination of hardcore in the down-tempo parts, serving as a breakdown kind of thing. Even though the third song “Bloodless” only lasts for some seconds, it’s one of my favorite songs of the album. Almost as if you’d put some powerviolence on a grindcore record. I don’t know how well it matches, but it sure as hell lets off some well-deserved steam. I could keep going for hours, whilst listening to that single song. One of the later songs, titled “Immersed“, is also one of my favorites. I like everything about this record, but some tracks are better than others.
There might be a lot of variation in one single track, as they sometimes go from pure metal to hardcore and then directly force themselves into the hardcore category. But I think it’s great that bands like these get some light shining upon them, because they’re hopping from genre to genre and they do it good. Another song that is one of my favorites on this album would be the song “Destructive Purpose“, blastbeating the fuck out of me and leaving me with my jaw close to the floor. I try to keep up with the tempo, but they’ve surpassed me five times already. Even though it’s such a heinous tempo, they still manage to keep it controlled to a good degree at least. The riffs are insane and the drumming is out of this world, I don’t really care to much for the growling, but it serves the purpose of the sound-scape as a whole and is a good catalyst to the speedy tempo.
Either you buy it and download it for 5 dollars from their bandcamp. Or, you could add 5 more dollars and get the 10 dollar physical CD in your hand. I don’t think it’s limited, but I think you should get it just to listen through it physically and not via the player.
Hassler – s/t 7¨
If you like bone-breaking hardcore, you will like this. It’s fucking crazy, but at the same time catchy. Starting off with the first track “Asphyxiate“, which makes the whole world rumble beneath my feet. Inviting me to a darker world than what I know of, moshing around in my head until I fall down and puke on myself. With crazy riffs, catchy vocals and a murky sound-scape which could be described as raw-fi. I think I should begin to promote the use of that word in situations like this. I like the straight-forwardness of the song and it just takes me by surprise as it storms into my living room and occupies it. The ultimate setting for something like Hassler, with everything developing into a controlled mayhem with undertones of sweet old-school crust. Or maybe it’s just me being confused thanks to the sound-scape, because it sounds crustier. Next song that I like very much from this album is “Beatdown“, which is straight-up hardcore with rock-oriented rhythms and crazy riffing.
Reminds me of a lot of Swedish bands, but they keep the American sound intact at least. Could be compared to a noisier version of Damage morphed into something in between with Misantropic, but without the sharp sound-scape and overtly bass-ridden songs. The hooks in these songs are fucking amazing too and leave me even more surprised. I was thinking, at first, that this was just one of the basic and straight-forward releases but nothing more than that. Fortunately for me, I was wrong about that and these guys serve as an example, at least when it comes to the synchronization and harmony in between the instruments. The way they manage to manipulate the instruments into sounding so damn crazy is above me and beyond. One of the greater records this year, in the hardcore category, for sure. Canada, you haven’t disappointed me this time around.
Support this band with all the money you have and buy a copy of their record over at Schizophrenic Records.
Christer Pettersson – Play Fast
Are we spoiled in Sweden? Yes, we are. We have Christer Pettersson. It’s a combination of Swedish and English fastcore/power-violence. I’ve been awaiting that day and I found them some time ago. They pull it off with such excellence that it almost feels bad for me to review this gem. The first track “(We are) Christer Pettersson” blows my mind and it’s one of those fastcore gems that you can’t stop listening to. With some hints of Bruce Banner and the good old (real) powerviolence, swedish style! Second song “Våldsmonopol” is very much about trying to be even faster than in the first song. And I believe that it’s the point of this record, the fucking drums are insane and I stomp along with it just to annoy my neighbors. They’ll be power violence-enthusiasts by the end of this week alone. One of the best songs on this album is the song “Don’t Stop” which sounds like something in between Uzi Suicide and Charles Bronson (thy legendary pv-band) and that’s not something bad.
The obligatory sampling and the fucking nutty riffs, almost as if there’s no point to the song when it comes to vocals or sampling. A point I get though is the: “…and hardcore”, which is being swarmed afterwards with a ridiculous amount of in-your-face attitude and also one obligatory “mmhh… dee-rop“. I feel that there are a lot of wonderful power-violence and fastcore anecdotes on this album, the only thing I missed was a “let’s fucking go” or “go!“. Hopefully this band have inspired loads of metalcore bands from Sweden to put down their guitars and go for some crazy power-violence instead. Another great song, which is only great for its beginning intermezzo between guitars and drums, is the song “Simulation of Reality” which brings a real hardcore and fastcore fusion to the table, just to shove it down your throat. Great shit!
Buy their shit or download it for free from their bandcamp, but I’d suggest that you give these poor men some money so they can record some more power violence. Hopefully they’ll pinpoint all the other anecdotes that are worthy of revolving a song around.
I asked Tor from the band Christer Pettersson some well deserved questions that needed to be answered immediately. He accomplished it.
Why did you pick the name Christer Pettersson, how did it once start up and have you played in any other band before this one?
– Me and Jakob played together in a thrash metal band called Oppression a couple of years ago and had been jamming every now and then since Oppression folded. Around 2011 we started to talk about playing some fast hardcore since we’ve been crazy about Scholastic Deth and bands like that for a couple years. We wrote some songs and asked Frank from Undergång to handle the bass. The name was mostly a joke from the beginning but kinda grew on us.
Christer Pettersson is an iconic name and stands for so many things. The class structure, drug abuse, the way that you’re easily judged in the eyes of media and the public, no matter what the law says. The artist Hop Louie got the question why he’s been putting the face of Christer Pettersson in his art and replied that he felt a closer connection to the likes of Christer Pettersson than the swedish king or something like that. That’s an interesting way of looking at it and I, we, could relate to that. Plus, Christer Pettersson ends up right next to Charles Bronson in iTunes.
So you’ve released a fastcore/powerviolence record in Swedish and English, but where have you gotten your influences from?
– A bunch of japanese bands like BREAKfAST, Lie, Exclaim, Jellyroll Rockheads and so on. A bunch of american bands like Spazz, Infest, Lack of interest. A few Swedish bands: Bruce Banner, I Quit and E.T.A.. There are so many bands out there and I can gladly hook you up with a huge list, just say the word.
What was the general thought behind your first album, what were you trying to accomplish and did you have any message you wanted to put out?
– High energy hardcore. Fast thrash. We wanted it to be intense and interesting. The lyrics are mostly dealing with the fucked up structures of society. Alot of people consider Sweden to be a free country but we still live within a capitalist hegemony. If you’re not productive then you’re useless and basically doomed. It’s more important to get homeless people out of the downtown area of Stockholm than to make sure they don’t starve. It’s more important to make sure that homeless people are thrown of the subway trains than to make sure they have a home to go to. There are cases of power abuse from the police every single day, there are kids being beat up by security for drawing a beard on a billboard. I would say that society at large have got their priorities wrong.
Are you going to release anything new before the year is over or are you planning to do anything else?
– Hopefully we will put out the Play Fast recording on wax, time will tell. Other than that we’re gonna focus on doing some shows and maybe do a tour next summer.
Thank you for this interview! Final words?
– Stay in school and play fast as fuck.
I asked some questions for Nicke Svensson from the band Phoebus Beat Clan and he gladly answered them with long sentences.
Who are you guys and what would you say separates Phoebus Beat Clan from other bands?
– Ok, hi. The first time we rehearsed we didn’t really play instruments, we drank heavily and burned some weed, then we decided to build a 9 mm Submachine Gun from a really detailed drawing that Odd, our singer had brought with him. And since I do a lot of machine work in my spare time it just felt so natural that we all agreed to be a band from now on, that’s not really something that would separate us from other bands though I guess, but let me put it this way; some time back in here in Stockholm our Minister for foreign affairs Anna Lindh, was murdered by a person named Mijailo Mijailovic. That took place at a local mall inside the city called NK, then just the week after that another person violently drove a car in the extremely narrow streets of Gamla Stan (Old Town) causing several deaths of pedestrians.
Both Mijailo and the driver’s first words to the police after they were caught was that they had no memory what so ever of what happened or why they did it, only that they had this voice inside their heads repeatedly telling them to complete these horrible acts. Thing is this, right between these locations are the studio, it’s named The Dustward – this is where we rehearse and record, so if you look at a map and mark the local mall NK, the street in Gamla Stan where the driver finally stopped and The Dustward studio located in the ‘Phoebus Block’ in Gamla Stan you’ll get a perfect triangle. Make no mistake, this was a mind control attempt from the Swedish Royal Family, who also has their Castle building real close to this triangle, Bermuda had nothing to do with it, neither had Roky. We’re still trying to find out what our exact part in this blood curdling scenario is, but until we do I can’t really give you a good answer what it is that separates us from other bands, but it is something for sure – the voices inside our heads are growing louder by the hour, I guess you just have to stay tuned on that one.
How did it feel to record material for your first release and how did you go about it when recording?
– It felt great, human observers have two eyes and two ears but they only count as one, that’s a reassuring fact to feel while creating music, it cuts down the pressure to 50%. I mean the only thing we wanted to do here was to raise a great chromatic web the size of a spinnaker and then filter peoples minds through it, make them understand the importance of this virgin path of spiritual communication. We didn’t have any of the songs done before we recorded them – all we had was shitty iPhone recordings that always seemed to be somewhere else when we needed them the most. And our singer was deep inside the jungles of Borneo for like 5 weeks writing lyrics.
So when he got home we pretty much got together like we always do, got some good times going, feeling the inspiration and just jammed out the songs one by one at the time, then we had like two weeks of Sitar tuning, laying down some Wurlitzer, glockenspiel along with some other various medieval string instruments, this recording sounds pretty medieval, I mean in a sixties way, we feel it’s very sixties with medieval music – and we’re not even a sixties band, that’s how medieval we are.
Could you motivate why people should buy your upcoming release Reincarnation Of The Circle Melts The Wheel?
– Valentino Liberace’s feet. It’s actually quite simple, the world followed and admired Liberace’s fingers but it was his feet that got him to the piano, and that’s how we feel about it – elementarily, we are Liberace’s feet. Apart from that, just the good times, getting in contact with whatever you wanna call it, actually I could not tell you since I’ve never been in your shoes if you know what I mean, just ride the spectral transitions of electrical soundscapes and try to stay away from the dark side of Eden, eat all the apples you want to – fuck the serpent, get your kicks before the teddybear turns into a cloud.
So, whats happening in the near future for you guys? Thank you for your presence! Could you recommend anything here in the end?
– We’re rehearsing at the moment trying to get a good live set going, we’re almost there so I’d say we’ll be performing live in no time. About the recommendations; Be aware, stay in contact, live your life to decode the lies inside the heart of rock ‘n roll, – one of the most famous Jerry Lee Lewis quotes of all times must be I am right, Im always right, once I thought I was wrong, I checked it out I was right. – So, he was wrong. He was wrong about being wrong and that is being wrong none the less and that’s one of the reasons that we don’t believe in rock ‘n roll, but we love Jerry Lee. Thank you.