Originally pressed in 1996 PROFANE EXISTENCE is bringing this quintessential anarcho punk masterpiece back in circulation.
In 1996 AUS-ROTTEN released their first LP “The System Works For Them” on an unsuspecting punk scene. It spread like wildfire in a pre internet era within a genre that mostly depended on tape trading. (at least is was pre internet for us penniless punks) “The System Works For Them” was the perfect mix of anger and intelligence that the scene needed at the time (and still does today). It was like a wake up call that opened the eyes and ears to many punks the world over. The messages where crystal clear and most us were hooked as soon as the beginning shouts of “Boycott” bellowed over the speakers. I don’t believe any of us ever expected their message to resonate so well within the scene, but even more surprising is how the songs are just as relevant today as on they the day they were written. Which is why PROFANE EXISTENCE has decided to repress this record. We feel that that messages that AUS-ROTTEN brought to the table are to powerful to ignore. We feel that this LP is important and therefore should be highly available and priced affordably.
PROFANE EXISTENCE has worked out every last detail of this release with the members of AUS-ROTTEN whom have been involved from step one. All tracks have been re-masted by Jay Matherson at the Jamroom studios. To be 100% honest we didn’t want to do a complete re-master of what we already considered a good recording. However when we opened the tracks on protools we noticed a few balance issues that required fixing. These fixes resulted in a tremendous upgrade to the overall quality of the tracks. We painstakingly scanned, puzzled, and photoshopped the original artwork to make sure that it was as close to authentic as it could possible be. We then went for broke by pressing in three different vinyl color combinations! Overall to say that we are pumped to release this would be an understatement, we are absolutely ecstatic to bring you this LP on PROFANE EXISTENCE!
To top this all off we worked with AUS-ROTTEN vocalist Dave Trenga on redrawing the classic “What Good Is Money, When There Is No One Left To Buy” design for a T-Shirt to concede with the albums release. This is a fresh take on an old image to create a new and original design.
Vinyl options are…
1. Standard black vinyl
2. “The Battlefield is Still Red” Bloodsplatter vinyl.
3. See through “Smoke”. – Available at SKULLFEST only
Silence are a highly active post-punk/peace-punk band from Pittsburgh, PA. “The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing” strives (and succeeds) to achieve the perfect balance between peace and post punk. By taking influences from The Mob, Bauhaus, Zounds, Killing Joke, Amebix, Crass, Conflict, Internal Autonomy and Joy Division SILENCE have created what can only be described a brilliant debut LP. At one moment this record is dark, heavy, and atmospheric and then the next moment it makes you want to dance and sing along. Lyrically SILENCE are much closer to the anarcho side of the previously listed influences. Lyrics focus on a variety of topics but often have a strong focus on the way punk and activist communities deal with political struggle in our current political climate.
“The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing” comes with a 16 page magazine size zine containing lyrics, personal writings and song explanations. Designed, printed and assembled by the band themselves in true D.I.Y. fashion.
Silence will be having a record release show in their hometown of Pittsburgh PA at the Rock Room Friday April 22nd with SHADOW AGE and SKELETON HANDS. Then later this month SILENCE will embark on a full United States tour to support “The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing”. Here is a list of dates. Be show to check in with the bands “bandcamp” or “Facebook” page for show updates.
When all that remains is a world in flames. Is that when they’ll say the wars are finally won? That wars are finally done?
They’re beating on the drums again, they’re fueling up the planes. The congressmen fall into line and sing the old refrain. In the name of peace they’ll burn the land and drop a thousand bombs.
Meanwhile we’ll just stay at home and go back to our sitcoms. It’s the same old song, we’ve heard it before. They’re beating the drums and they’re calling for war. What it’s supposed to accomplish, no one is sure But the victims are always the hungry and the poor.
Once the drums of war begin it’s hard to make them stop. The noise silences the dissidents once the bombs begin to drop. All those who call for peace will be mocked and pushed aside. In 10 years they’ll admit we were right after many thousands more have died.
Finally after many delays from the pressing plant the WARWOUND Demo’s LP “A Huge Black Cloud” is out and copies are moving fast!
Recorded in 1983, this record contains 15 songs from 3 sessions. With a few different takes you get a total of 25 blistering tracks. For those unfamiliar with WARWOUND, they are a UK band formed in 82. WARWOUND recorded 3 demos in 83 before disbanding and members went on to join THE VARUKERS and form SACRILEGE. These demos never received an official release… until now! Highly influenced by DISCHARGE, WARWOUND is one of the first bands ever to take D-Beat Punk to a raw and intense level. Recently reformed in 2015, original guitarist Damian is now joined by Ian Glasper on bass and Rat Varuker on vocals. After a few gigs in the UK word is spreading fast of the relentless onslaught of a live show these veterans put on. WARWOUND have also recently hit the studio to record for the first time in over 30 years. Needless to say WARWOUND is back with a vengeance!
Yes! Finally, after what turned out to be a gigantic task of moving the PROFANE EXISTENCE distro from Minneapolis to Denver, transferring tons of data, and rebuilding the web store, we are finally set to open back up. To access the new store follow one of the many links from profaneexistence.com or access it directly at http://profaneexistence.storenvy.com
The first official PROFANE EXISTENCE title of 2015 is out and ready for order! We are proud to bring you the RIFLE DIET – “NO SOLACE”LP
Rifle Diet’s No Solace is a 12in 45 that combines the Classic Minneapolis crust sound with Swedish hardcore, D-beat and Epic crust (think somewhere between Servitude and Wolfbirgade, with hints of Tragedy and Fall of Efrafa). The beautiful cover art by Hannah Benoche sets a bleak mood for the dark music within, plus a cover of His Hero is a Gone – Chain of Command (ex-members of InDefence and Garmonbozia) This LP is a joint release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and BLOOD OF THE YOUNG RECORDS
To honor both the opening of the new store and our first release of 2015, we are giving a free copy of the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp to everyone that spends more then $50 from Monday January 12th to Monday January 19th!!! This deal is for one week only. DO NOT MISS OUT!
*Note*Rifle Diet are playing a record release show 1/17/15 at the Dogplex in Minneapolis with Kontrasekt, Aziza, and Fucking. To coincide with that show all orders that contain the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp will be shipped out on Monday January 12th.
The next release in the works is the new full length lp from APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – “We Don’t Need Them”.
We Don’t Need Them is the second full-length record from West Virginia punx Appalachian Terror Unit. ATU have become known throughout the years as being one of the most politically charged bands in the current punk scene. This new record is an all out attack on today’s society that takes ATU to a new level of intensity both lyrically and musically. The combination of the beautiful and thought provoking gatefold cover art designed by Stivart along with the brilliant recording and mastering job by Jay Matheson at the Jam Room take this record even further. Song subjects include the horrors of war, police brutality, destruction of the environment, rape culture, consumerism and much more. Expect a very heavy and much angrier approach from a band that has been around the block and matured their sound. Seven raging new tunes including the epic fourteen and a half minute track “We Don’t Need Them”, a song that will one day be ranked among similar greats as the SUBHUMANS “From the Cradle to the Grave” and AUS ROTTEN “And Now Back to Our Programming”.
APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – We Don’t Need Them will be pressed in the United States on PROFANE EXISTENCE & in Europe on SKULD /RUIN NATION
WARWOUND – “A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983“
Another record we are very excited about is the upcoming WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983. Recorded in 1983, this record contains 15 songs from three sessions. With a few different takes you get a total of 25 blistering tracks. For those unfamiliar with WARWOUND they are a UK band formed in 82, and released 2 demos in 83. Members went on to join THE VARUKERS and form the almighty SACRILEGE. Warwound are one of the first bands to take the politics and d-beat influence from DISCHARGE and combine it with the blown out sound of CHAOS UK to achieve total destructive raw d-beat ear bleeding chaos!
WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983 will be a split release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and ORGANIZE AND ARISE.
It will be available in the spring of 2015.
Other records and projects we have in the works for 2015 …
VASTATION (pdx formally night nurse) vs WAR//PLAGUE Split EP
KRANG are a new band birthed from Chicago’s DIY punk underbelly. They play a brutally powerful brand of thrashy riff-laden crustcore and have an intense live presence. They have recently recorded for a few vinyl projects, including PE’s own 7″ singles series. Check ’em out!
Interviewed by Brian Poulin (NEGLIGENCE). All photos by Adam DeGross.
PE Who’s in the band and what does each of you do?
AUSTIN: guitars / backing vocals / song writing (synth & keyboard on 12″)
ADAM: bass / backing vocals / song writing
BRENDAN: lead vocals / lyrical content
DEVAN: drums & percussion / backing vocals
PE: What’s a brief history of the band and how did you guys form?
Austin: We started circa 2009. We had an additional guitarist: Louis C. He went on to start a blackened crust band called Welkin Dusk, based in Chicago that he plays drums & lead vocals for. We used to have an additional lead singer as well: Hannah B. Hannah was a part of our first two releases: the out of print “Onward Desolation” demo tape, and also the out of print “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″. Hannah is now the front-woman in a band called Despise, based out of Minneapolis. Our original drummer, Brett, is on the two recordings I mentioned before, as well as our “Sounds of Death” 12″. Brett now drums for a Chicago / northwest Indiana band called Asphixiate. Devan is now our permanent drummer and he will have his first appearance on the “Broken Waves” 7″, released by Profane Existence, which is coming out in June. Devan will also be on our next 12″: “Bad Moon”, which we are writing right now. I, as well as Krang, are totally stoked on Devan and really happy to have them. Devan is active outside of percussion as well with assisting in writing, assistance in lyrical content & structure, and the internet stuff. This line up has been solidified for over a year and is totally fucking Krang! It just works perfectly.
PE: You guys are based out of Chicago. What are your favorite parts of the scene there? What are your least favorite things about Chicago’s scene?
Devan: Chicago’s an interesting place. I feel like the pros and cons are often directly related to one-another. For example, the mere size of the city. There are so many people – new to here, young, old, whatever – that there is basically always something going on and a handful of solid DIY spaces at all times, regardless of whether people leave or places get busted or whatever. The downside is that the physical structure of the city makes it difficult and/or terribly time-consuming to navigate. Especially if you don’t have a car. And even if you do, parking sucks. Anyway, as a result of the city being as segregated as it is, people are often inclined to just stick to what’s going on in their neighborhood and it results in a lack of exposure or attention paid to some really cool things. It’s unfortunate. But then there are some events like the annual Black and Brown Punk Show (shout-out to Monika!) or other fest-type shows where the attendance is crazy and bullshit is minimal. It’s rad.
Austin: I used to live in CHI. I reside in northwest Indiana (NWI). It’s really close. You can compare it to how close Jersey is to NYC. The rest of the band does live in CHI. My favorite things about Chicago is the “don’t take shit” attitude that at least me and the scene we’re involved with has. We’ll kick you out if your a piece of shit human or kick your ass if we have to. I also like The Void Haus in NWI for gigs. My personal least favorite things are cliques, hype, division, etc… the things that you see in every rather large city, I suppose.
Adam: I love Chicago’s unspoken rule of everyone being down to get down when shit hits the fan and nobody lets bogus comments or derogatory gestures fly. My complaint for the longest time was how there is the same hierarchy that we all hate in daily life at a lot of the gigs. It seems like those “in crowd” wanks have come and gone though, or maybe I just don’t surround myself with such fools anymore. My main complaint, and I know I am sounding super negative, but for such a large city there is a lack of bands playing what I am into personally. There are a lot of great bands doing great things…but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am into them musically. Haha! I have a particular taste and its not being fulfilled. I usually go to shows to hang out and have a good time and just show support but its rare that I actually shit over a band that I see locally. I do really, really get down to Population though. White boy can’t dance but when I see this band I start doing shit I didn’t know I was capable of.
Brendan: Chicago is simultaneously the best & worst place to live; which I’d imagine is a critique most other big-city dwellers share. There is no shortage of great folks, bands, eats, cool nerd-haunts (comic & record collectors rejoice!), and beautiful neighborhoods/communities in which to live. The same is true for all of the awful yuppies, gold cost bourgeois, & assholes who get your friends hooked on hard drugs. A lot of the time I wish that I lived in a vast expanse of lush nature with no human presence save myself. When I’m not wishing for seclusion, I’m loving how hard of a time I have sorting out which of the 5 awesome punk shows I get to go see any given night. Chicago has everything I love & hate at once; most of the time its worth it.
PE: Musically what are you guys going for?
Devan: I’d say sincerity, first and foremost. In sound, words, and delivery. And the connections we can and have made with people based on that. My musician’s answer would be just to write the best songs we can and perform them at the highest level at all times.
Austin: I just want to stick out and be a little different sounding. I still want to have that essential formula for great punk. I personally believe we found the introduction to our sound with the “Sounds of Death” 12″. We have two formulas: triumphant, galloping crust metal and simplified, pissed off, to-the-point stuff.
Brendan: Initially we formed with the idea of writing over the top odes to crust circa late 80’s/early 90’s; stuff you could flail your overgrown dreadlocks around to. We all fell into a groove with each other over time, where we don’t really need to define what we’re gonna write before we do. We approach releases with general outlines (theme,length, format etc.), but when writing songs I’d say we aim for mean, earnest & impactful.
Adam: I think naturally all being into different types of musical backgrounds, our finished product ends up being a thing of its own, but we all have similar enough interests to where we end up with the result that we initially were trying to go for. I personally am really into trying to sound like the bands I am into. It doesn’t end up exactly that way which is good but I love when bands obsess over old school sounds/bands/records and try to make their contemporary music sound as authentic as possible whether it be tone or style or whatever. At the end of the day we are trying to sound pissed, like we worship the 80s and have our music sound anarchy as fuck!
PE: What bands inspire you the most?
Austin: I listen to EVERYTHING. I don’t know where to begin but musically, keeping personal interest aside, I think we’re inspired by 80’s UK crust and a lot of Japanese stuff as far as writing collectively. This is something me and you will have to nerd out on when we’re in Boston next. Haha!
Adam: For Krang, bands that influence the writing process for me are Masskontroll, Deathraid, Sacrilege, Hellshock, Deviated Instinct, Sodom, Axegrinder and Amebix as well as Instinct of Survival. Personally I am all over the water but my all time 2 favorite punk bands have always and will always be Discharge and the Dead Boys.
Devan: I could go on a long rant about every band I’ve ever loved and how they’ve all stuck with and influence me to this day and blah blah blah, but I’ll spare you the cost of ink and just say Sacrilege, Crude, Amebix and Discharge. That said, we are quite the eclectic bunch.
Brendan: Musically, anything running the gamut from Paintbox to Elliot Smith. I enjoy a lot of soaring Japanese hardcore with that Burning Spirits feel, 90’s screamo, early black metal & hip hop. Any band that has a way with words gets me going, but mostly I enjoy music that you can’t help but feel.
PE: What are most of your songs about? What inspires the lyrics?
Brendan: Lemme preface by saying that Discharge is rad & “The More I See…” could be the soundtrack to my daily tedium… but i think punk rock has much more potential than to rehash our dogmatic & oftentimes simplistic politics. Having been a few places where the punk scene eats itself inside out with depression, addiction, & apathy towards the struggles of those around us, I think its real important to allow ourselves to be more open in the way we express all of the things exploding in our minds. I am not blowing my own horn, or any horn for that matter, but I really enjoy taking the personal route when it comes to writing & am constantly attempting to better address the common threads that run through all of our lives. Our first wave of songs covered some of our political leanings in regards to vivisection, arms manufacturing, rape culture & the willful destruction of our Earth. The “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″ reflects on the weight of stagnation on the “politically motivated”. “Sounds of Death” is the result of an obsession with death and a years worth of hurt; friends making irreversible decisions in regards to their lives & some of us falling into those spirals ourselves. There is absolution in acceptance though & I think a glint of hope in such dark subject matter. Our upcoming 7″ deals with cycles of change in our lives, moments of mania & madness; a counterpoint to our last 7″. The songs we are writing & playing now are an extension of that, focusing on moments of change in our lives, wanderlust & really just form one big, loud, pissed love letter to the DIY community, punk rock & time spent on the road. Inspiration comes from any human I’ve met that has dared to be open, honest & shameless about it.
Devan: Passion in all its forms and extremities is what inspires us. Totally.
PE: You guys have done a few extensive tours. What’s your favorite city you guys haveplayed in? What’s your least favorite?
Austin: I love Boston. Detroit, New Orleans, and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis) are up there too. I don’t really have a least favorite. We have had some bad experiences, though. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and not mention them. Hopefully things will be better when we return.
Devan: New Orleans is my favorite city ever, and our most recent gig in Boston totally ruled. I’d have to say, though, that many of my favorite shows have been in non-major cities. Birmingham AL was awesome, Asheville NC, Cincinatti OH, Grand Rapids MI…basically anywhere with a really tight-knit but wide-ranging DIY scene in terms of age, music, spaces, projects, etc. It’s always super encouraging to see.
Brendan: I’ll echo the others in saying that NOLA, Asheville, Cincy, Birmingham, Boston & Baltimore all kick ass. I’m usually super appreciative of all the towns we’ve been lucky enough to play in, though of course we’ve played in towns that seemed to embrace the anti-PC attitude/sense of humor that I am so fucking sick of. Some cities are really 50/50 because you’ll either play an amazing show with bad-ass folks & have the time of your life, or you might end up wanting to eviscerate some fuckhead who only listens to GG Allin & doesn’t get why a confederate flag hanging at a show space might ruffle some feathers.
Austin: We as a band aren’t about making sure we are politically correct all the time, but we definitely are hellbent on showing one another respect and are willing to give respect back to those who are legit. No single city is bad. Like I said before, sometimes there are some bad experiences. Fuckheads are everywhere.
Adam: Yes, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Boston, but most of all NOLA and Minneapolis. New Orleans and Minneapolis…no other city can live up to the debauchery that is expected to happen when we arrive in these two places. We need a week of recovery after being in either place for just a day. Also I love playing Madison a lot. Fuck, I love touring. So many amazing friends are being missed right now as we speak.
PE: What are some of your favorite bands you guys have played with?
Lord Krang: Scum from Detroit, Appalachian Terror Unit, Antisect, In Defense, Nu-kle-ar Blast Suntan, Kontrasekt, Cognitive Dissonance, The Skuds, Coelacanth, WrathCobra, Wartorn, Negligence, In Ruins, and definitely D-Clone; but honestly, it’s great to play with anyone and everyone who aren’t assholes and give a shit about “punk rock”.
PE: What are some of your favorite local bands from Chicago?
Lord Krang: Asphyxiate, Decay After Death (Decay A.D.), Cemetery (RIP), Culo, Die Time, Slag, Escalofrio, Sex Bunker (RIP), Birth Deformities, Gas Rag, Welkin Dusk, Daylight Robbery, Dirty Surgeon Insurgency, The Breathing Light, La Armada, Black September, Kontaminat, Ooze, Tensions, The Busy Sugnals, Population, More that we’re forgetting to mention….
PE: What does the future hold for Krang?
Devan: As Austin mentioned earlier, we have our “Broken Waves” 7″ being released in June, at which point we’ll be doing a small tour with Coelacanth. Also, as previously stated, we are well along in the writing process for our next full-length LP. Look for us around the Mid-west this summer and keep up-to-date and get in touch via the following:
crustardpunx[AT]gmail.com – krangcrustards.bandcamp.com – krangcrustards.blogspot.com
Austin: More touring, more albums, more blood spit nights, more everything! We’ll do a more extensive tour when the new LP comes out.
Brendan: “Bad Moon” 12″ – Skull Fest – Split(s?) – Self-Destruction With A Gusto
Lord Krang: Record labels that are interested in helping us with our next 12″ (which is more than half way written) get in touch with us!!! It will be even more galloping, pist, and triumphant than our still available “Sounds of Death” 12″!
Ah…another fine bit of music sent to me from Christopher. Before I get into the sounds, just take a look at the cover art. Black, grey and white, simple yet powerful and there’s a cat on the back. A lot of people think that dogs are punk, but we all know the truth. All Cats Are Beautiful. Anyway, this little gem, instead of being doomy blackened crust, goes the direction of high energy hardcore that would not have been altogether out of place playing with some of the more aggressive hc bands back in the 80s and can easily demolish much of today’s hardcore. The lyrics are less political and more like personal reflections of the hardcore scene and the darker side of emotions. CONCRETE STEPS gives props to the bands that write and play because they love it instead of being concerned with getting props and also address the current state of over-saturation of bands with recycled riffs and lyrics. One track appears to come from the angle of someone who deals with stress by cutting themselves and another song is about getting ripped off in Paris. Great delivery with great vocals! Supporting the lyrics are furious(yet tastefully played)beats with solid time changes that carry the all out onslaught of guitar and bass. I’m a huge fan of their tone. Besides the writing being top shelf, the production is crazy good. And to think that these guys do their own mixing and mastering and release their own albums! D.I.fuckingY.!!! This 7″ goes perfectly with both coffee and beer. I can’t recommend this enough. Cheers! (Jake)
As soon as the needle drops, this 7″ is so fucking heavy! Starting with the song Crowd Control, short, to the point lyrics about the absurdity of organized religion, is engulfed by thick guitar tone. The tempo is at perfect head nod pace with bursts of blast beats peppered in to keep the listener on their toes. Short, but definitely not so sweet. Then gliding into Cursed Veins, which gets a little longer. Just enough time to really get lost in the haunting melodies that sound like they might have been influenced by TRAGEDY, MAYHEM and early EMPEROR. In fact, all six tracks are delightfully dark, brooding, blackened crust with lyrics that are equally as dark. And to be completely honest, some are even a bit disturbing. For example, Etruscan War is nothing less than a violent and hateful rant, threatening to burn a city to the ground, killing everyone and everything an pissing on their crown. Then there’s Drowning in Circles, which lyrically comes across like a suicide note moaned over the soundtrack of sorrow and despair. It’s been a few years since I’ve heard one of Chris’s bands and this is everything I had hoped it would be. The only bad thing I can say is that I wish this was a full length, because I want more. If you aren’t able to get your hands on a physical copy of this totally DIY slab o’ wax, you can get a digital version on Spotify, Tidal, Bandcamp and iTunes. Well, done folks! (jake)
Like a swirl of flame, Burnchurch’s sound makes you aware. Makes you strong and unscarred by the wounds that have humbled some. It has that real uplifting aggression that has a pulse-beat. You’d know it is a sound that has developed over time. The members of the band have played for years in many other underground DIY bands such as Easpa Measa, Rats Blood and Silence.
They have a real nice dual-guitar sound with constant harmonies yet throughout retain that haunting melancholic baritone. There is melodic strength derived from the bass riffs too, like the riff accompanying on “God Eaters”, where it loops around and around bringing all the elements together. The main vocal at times are like if you took an intake of breath and let it out again screaming until you have to gasp for a breath. Very hard to do and get right I’d imagine, the result makes it more hostile. It all is held tightly together by a drum beat, specifically fast but all parts uniquely distinct.
Their sound is best described perhaps as that hard edged introspective dark hardcore with a sombre presence. Lyrically my favourite on this is “Curses”. It invokes an ancient Irish curse. They say with such a curse the person who invokes it, must be deeply injured and deprived of justice. The curse is always quite definite and declared loud. Of course within this darkness there is hope and optimism too. This sound is purely their own, looking forward to seeing them live again.
From the sewers of a city boiling over. We have Rats Blood ferocious as ever in a haze of fast-paced power chords and pummeling bass. I’m guessing when not playing music in their band room they are listening to classic Finnish hardcore punk. I don’t mean that they are rehashing it. I mean they play musick that is stripped down and and straight to the point. Isn’t that what punk was meant to be, pure raw aggressive energy.
Lyrically it is dark social commentary dealing with the decay of our existence, force-fed culture, and grey visionless cities. Rat Blood’s strength I think is the simplicity and sheer energy driving their music. No guitar solos, short songs mainly under the two minute mark and angry as fuck.
Crass has such an established legacy within punk, anarchist, artistic, and radical circles that it seems somewhat absurd for me to keep asking questions about them. Yet, whenever I think I have a firm grasp upon the thoughts, actions, and art of the people involved in Crass, my grip is weakened by their defiance of expectations, nuance of complexity in their continuing work, and their adamant refusal of labels. Perhaps this is their greatest gift to us, i.e. their constant shaping of straight lines into question marks and their insistence on holding up a non-forgiving mirror not only to themselves but also to all of us. In some ways, Crass therefore has a philosophical position not too dissimilar from Socrates, that is, they are somewhat like sand in that the firmer a grasp you think you have on them and their thoughts and art, the more they slip through your fingers. The very debate surrounding the re-mastering and re-issuing of the six Crass LPs is a case in point on the open discussion they continue to inspire. Whether you are a purist expecting these artists to live up to your idea of anarchy and not “sell out” or a sympathetic consumer hopeful the re-masters will somehow reach new audiences that other formats might not, they have at the very least evicted a reaction from the mainstream and punk rockers alike (inspiring love and adoration from anarcho/crust followers who will never again have as inspirational an example as Crass, as well as visceral dislike, criticism, or even hatred from the likes of the Exploited and Special Duties).
And so, we can continue to discuss and debate what Crass is and was. Central to this is the question, what did Crass write? Did they perform poetry? Punk rock? Noise/free jazz? Pop songs? Political manifestos? One thing seems certain, that Crass wrote, performed, and recorded what they wanted to, regardless of whether it would meet punks’ approval, or have the slightest measure of convention, accessibility, and least of all marketability. Yet, there is a relatable aura of authenticity surrounding Crass that punk audiences did (and continue to) relate to, even when they themselves were the target of Crass critique. At one point, they were outselling the top acts in Britain, all from their country home, utilizing only independent and D.I.Y. networks. And if you doubt it, you were (and still are) welcome to write or visit to discuss with the actual artists. They have nothing to hide, for they live according to their principles and pleasures.
If we take them at their word, and in this case I believe we should, Crass wrote love songs, though as aesthetically far from the doo-wop and bubblegum sounds that label is so often associated with. In their first experiment in long-form free-jazz/punk Yes Sir, I Will, Crass addresses the precise question of what they are and what they sing about. Outraged by the question of “why don’t you write love songs,” Libertine shouts, “Everything we write is a love song.” In other words, on a record focused on anti-war messages, love for the lives destroyed by war and love for those who might be saved by peace is the guiding inspiration. Ultimately the anger and passion contained within their art was done out of love for the people and goodness within the world, as well as the hopeful love of a future world and a pure freedom. This love, however, must be unconditional, and the aphorism from Penny’s print (from Exitstencil Press) of “Love is All or Love is Not at All” was clearly the guiding light for the 2014 version of Yes Sir.
On the centennial year of World War I, Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine assembled a group of diversely talented musicians to perform Penny’s revision of the “Yes Sir” poem. This was only to be performed once (as are all improvisations), at the annual Rebellion festival in Blackpool. Though Crass itself never performed in commercial venues, this ensemble performed at the largest punk festival in Britain (and one of the largest in the world). Of course such a large performance carries certain risks regarding sound as well as audience reception. To heighten expectations and excitement, this performance inaugurated this year’s Rebellion festival, as it had the opening slot in the Empress Ballroom on Thursday afternoon. The performers walked out onto a solemnly lit stage to the sound of your typical applause, heckling, and hoots-n-hollers. Penny grasped his microphone and said, “We’d like to dedicate this set to all those who have died, are dying, and will continue to die in the killing fields of political and corporate madness. And blessings to the people of Gaza.” Immediately following this dedication, much to my (and I suspect others’) surprise, the band launched into the opening chords of the Who’s “My Generation,” setting the stage for a recollection and rumination on the punk generation or so-called ‘punk movement.’ This would prove to not be the last of their musical departures from the three-chord, fast-paced accepted punk formula.
This version of Yes Sir, I Will was not a simple rehashing of the 1983 Crass record. No, this was both a re-writing and a re-imagining in word and sound. Some of the original “Yes Sir” shined through, such as Penny’s beautiful and Beatlesesque “what did you know, what did you care?” though sung in this live performance in a lower register than the original record, providing a melodic, almost lullaby-like reprieve from the sonic tidal wave that was occupying the ballroom. Eve Libertine also brought in the classic Crass “Fight war not wars,” “everything we write is a love song,” “if there were no butchers, what would people eat?” sections originating not only in the 1983 Yes Sir but also from Crass material spanning their entire recording career. Pen’s “Acts of Love” also shined in at times, most especially in the opening verses. Yet, despite these aspects of original, older work, the Rebellion performance definitely added components of 21st century culture and technology.
For instance, a particularly poignant moment in the performance was when Penny declared that while people are starving in the world, too many of us are “tapping tittle tattle texts” and “sending selfies to ever-absent friends” at which point the music ceased and the performers all took phones out of their pockets. “Hello? Where are you? Hello? No, I can’t talk now.” This was a brilliant display of the distracting, self-absorbed, and rude qualities that mobile technologies have disseminated. There were also moments of reflection upon Pen’s lifetime, ranging from references to the Beatles, to engagement with punk rock, to critiques of Hollywood, media, and war.
To those who were there, it should come as no surprise that Pen would describe the sound as inspired by a “Zappa meets Coltrane” space. There were no breaks here in the long-form improvisation. And in addition to the typical rock instrumentation of drums, bass, and guitar (though I don’t mean to belittle these musicians as typical, as they were far beyond that), there was also a wonderful jazz sensibility and complexity added by saxophone and cello. Sonic registers typically associated with punk spaces? No!…and therefore all the more shocking and powerful. Also incredibly important to the success of this performance was the visual aspect. The contrast between Penny moving, jumping, and marching around the stage and Eve solemn entrapment at the microphone provided a visual stimulus that nicely complemented the sonic aesthetic.
Behind the musicians flickered brilliant images by Gee Vaucher, fluctuating seamlessly between beauty and innocence, to death and violence. These images nicely complemented Penny’s and Eve’s cries for us to take responsibility, for us to look beyond mere negative blaming and start looking toward positive action. Pen later told me that when you point your finger to blame someone/anyone, you should really be looking into a mirror, “the responsibility is ours.” I therefore like to think of Yes Sir, I Will in its new incarnation as an invitation to self-reflect, both for punks and everyone else. We are invited into a discussion about what authority means, who is deserving of blame, and what we want to do. After roughly 45 minutes, the jam came to an end, and the performers left the stage to loud applause. We had all been on a journey of sound and ideas quite unlike anything else that would grace the stage at Rebellion for the rest of the weekend.
Is this punk rock? In that it defies expectations of a listening audience, yes. In that there is a radical political message prompting not complacent agreement but active engagement, yes. In that it was performed by three members of punk’s most important band, yes. However, the most encompassing answer I can offer (and one that I would like to think Pen, Bronwyn, and Gee would agree with) to the question of ‘is this punk rock’ is who cares. Why is it important that we classify art and thought? It simply is, and if that means that some punk rockers may not accept it, so be it for it shall be their lost opportunity at reflection, experience, and perhaps even love. They have challenged us to embrace the “fuck you” to institutions of power and murder, but also to eventually move beyond this visceral anger towards a state of universal, unconditional love. I know the new script will be widely disseminated eventually, and I hope we are all open enough to encounter it and truly grapple with the ideas and invitation therein.
Every release Greece’s Hellstorm have done are complete blinders. I play their split with Last Legion Alive on a regular basis. This their forth release is equally as good. Greece certainly has produced spectacular dark hardcore/crust bands throughout the years, most namely Hibernation, Negative Stance, Forgotten Prophecy, Chaotic End, Ρήγμα and now more recent bands like Conspiracy Of Denial, Sarabante and Hellstorm.
This 7″ released by 7inch Distro in Greece consists of two tracks. The first track ‘Encaged in Darkness’ has that gravel growl, roaring over downtuned d-beat riffs and is just seething with hatred. The second track ‘Future Ruins’ after about a minute into it has a fantastic crusty type palm muting rhythm which bands like Hellshock do so well, all accompanied by death metal style pickings. If you have a love of dark apocalyptic crusty musick with death metal aesthetics this is a pure anthem.
Now this is a really decent split tape release by two South American bands, Ruinas from Buenos Aires and Avitacion 101 from Uruguay. First off Ruinas have come on in leaps and bounds since their five song demo in 2013. They have a new singer Rocio and now also have a much bigger but more refined sound. There is a big influence in their sound from bands such as Agrimonia, Morne, Stormcrow etc. They plod along at a nice bass heavy pace that keeps the tension raised. The guitarist Seba was good enough to translate the lyrics for me which I think are very clever and express the bleak advances of industrial society, but still remain very imaginative and poetic. Definitely a band to check out.
Avitacion 101 from Uruguay started in 2010. And in the same year released an eight song demo tape, helped by some labels from South America. Since then they have released a split tape with Wild Dogs from Spain, another split with Zat from Argentina, some songs for a prisoners benefit compilation. And in 2013, a split with Beatriz Carnicero from Uruguay. Avitacion 101 play stop start jolty type of riffs reminiscent to me of bands like Spitboy or maybe Fugazi. Not that the band sound like either of those bands really but apply those more adventurous song structures, along with that combination of passionate catchy melodies with angry guitar-led hardcore, very intense.
Anarcho-punk is still alive and well. But this is no nostalgia trip down memory lane though, this is a more of a kick in the teeth at the state of the world today. I’m sure there is no need no introduce or say much about either band if your reading this on Profane Existence, as Anthrax have been back again for a while. And haven’t dulled or turned into some sort of housebroken mild older version. They still sound as menacing and political as ever.
Burnt Cross certainly own a few Conflict albums, as you can hear the influence throughout. And the spiralling riff in ‘Anathema (Wings Of Fear)’ is reminiscent of Rudimentary Peni. But in saying all that Burnt Cross hold their own ground and certainly hold great convictions. I also really like the new dual/back and forth vocal style happening. It is music like this that makes you get up off your knees and wreak havoc, but in a clever way.
Okay, shut it down – the year is officially over. We have the record of the year here, and it’s only April. War//Plague, the best modern crust band in the midwest (if not all of America), have brought forth what is easily their finest work to date. “Temperaments Of War” is their latest release, and is an absolute masterpiece. Without giving too much away, this is a concept record (without the prog-rock pretentions of the term, thankfully!), comparing the Four Humors to mankind’s obsession with war. This is a unique thematic approach, which hasn’t been explored through extreme music before. A much more interesting take on war and war culture than the countless dis-clone “war is bad/bodies burning” lyrics which have become a sad cliche these days.
For those not in the know, War//Plague build upon an impressive legacy of American crust, and bring to mind the glory days of the ’90s anarcho/crust scene, but without becoming another rehashed nostalgia band. The passion is there in every note, which you can feel from the minute the needle hits the record. War//Plague are the new standard-bearers of the crust movement.
I have never written a show review before. This show was incredible, one of the best I have been to in a while. I know the review is a bit late, but I still wanted to post this cause the show was so good it deserved a review. Victoria has an amazing scene going on these days which has grown in some very positive ways over the years. I am glad to be here and be part of it.
I was feeling pretty anxious before the show, and if I hadn’t told a few friends I was going I might have skipped out. It has been a while since I enjoyed a show this much. These days I often get a lot of anxiety and so I end up skipping a show or just feeling really unsettled the entire time and unable to enjoy the music.
The show took place at the Rat Shack a local DIY venue, and it was packed. I missed the very beginning; I heard they started by talking about the Sinixt people and their struggle, and why it is important to support. I came in about half way through NotⒶCost’s set. They are one of Victoria’s newest bands, and this was their second show. They were well practiced, and definitely don’t sound like any other bands around here. A very unique sound – although not really my thing personally. Still their performance was impressive just in how together they are considering their all pretty young as a band, and for some this is their first real band. I know a few of these folks personally as well and know they are good people who are political, active, and in this for all the right reasons, so I look forward to seeing where they go as a band and as individuals as they develop more.
AHNA played next. I really love this band, if you haven’t seen them yet I highly recommend them as they are a real treat. Their set sounded like a wall of fucking noise hitting you, as it filled the room. Noisy, crusty, heavy as hell, AHNA is also quite unique though and seem to take influence from the noise genre as well as crust, sludge, and grind. Between songs there was still so much noise that it gave them a consistency that felt different from all the rest of the bands, and from most I have seen. AHNA is one of those bands that when I first saw them I could barely stand them, but the next time I saw them was about 2 years later in Calgary and I was completely blown away. I am extremely glad I gave them a second chance as they have become one of the few bands I look forward to seeing.
Storm Of Sedition came up next and picked up the tempo a bit with something a little closer to traditional crusty punk. They are a newer local band, formed of long time seasoned musicians who have played in numerous of my favorite bands over the years; and it really shows. With members who have played in Mechanical Separation, Leper, Mutiny, as well as a couple current members of ISKRA. Storm of Sedition is tight, and well practiced, they have great crusty riffs With back and forth vocals, female and male, and with that driving sound I love that usually only d-beat bands can satiate; but they were a little bit more complex than the average generic d-beat band. Aside from the music one thing I really liked about Storm of Sedition is that between songs when they stopped to introduce the next song, they made sure there wasn’t a bunch of feedback or anyone playing while they were talking – so you could actually hear what the songs were about. This is especially important with bands that have dirty sounding screaming vocals over heavy music. SoS had an anarchist-primitivist influence; even having a song about the connections between the culture of mass shootings and it’s connection to our alienation from nature. I fucking loved it. I loved their set, and look forward to their recordings. Every town needs a good straight up punk as fuck band.
ISKRA closed the show with a performance that would be near impossible to follow. They seem to be known for doing that. I have seen ISKRA play in vic since the first week I moved here in 2005 and I never get sick of hearing them. Few bands can bring what they do. Fast intense guitars and complex fast drumming with blackened riffs, incredible vocals, heavy as fuck and again great politics –over the years ISKRA has only become heavier, tighter, and more intense. They started off their set by reading a long piece written by a friend who lives and organizes on Sinixt territories, explaining about the history, the resistance, and about the connections between the traditional ways the Sinixt have always lived and many aspects of anarchist philosophy; everyone listened respectfully as Wolf read it out. After which they began their set. Like always ISKRA didn’t disappoint. They played some of their best stuff, a mix of newer and older. People were stoked when they introduced Acceptance Not Tolerance and dedicated it to all the queers and trans people; using it as a jumping off point to talk about how protections under law will never really liberate us because a few yrs later as we have seen in the US now and elsewhere – those laws can be changed again and repressive laws brought back in. They ended their set with UAV, a song of theirs about drones. When the guitars started it felt like the room was so full of sound the walls wouldn’t hold up. It was an incredible way to end, as UVA is an incredible song and they
played it to perfection. I think people were done after that, it was a lot to take in, as few people tried for an encore but the shouts and chants were a little less than usual. None the less ISKRA accommodated by playing one final song, a cover of Amebix to close the night. The punks in the room found it within themselves to get pumped for one last explosion of energy, and then the night came to an end.
I don’t know how much was raised in the end for the Sinixt, but I know they did decent. This is a great example of what real meaningful solidarity can look like. I was glad I could be there for it.