The lineup for this show will reportedly consist of frontman Scott “Stza” Sturgeon, bassist Alec Baillie, and drummer Skwert. They will be playing Crack Rock Steady, Squatta’s Paradise, and No Gods, No Managers in their entirety.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 12:16 PM (PST) by Carson Winter
I made the decision to get to the Know early. Like, really early. Doors were opening at eight pm, and there I was, breaking liquid bread with friends at six. I’m naturally punctual, but moreso, I wanted to eliminate the nightmare outcome: to miss the rarity that is Tragedy. So there I was, absurdly early, just to grab a seat.
The bar was empty except for my trio and the Die Kreuzen shirted bartender. I asked him about the show. He smiled broadly and I saw that the perks of his job were probably better than mine. “This’ll be the first time they’ve played in a year,” he said. I believed him.
I’m not a native Portlander. I moved here, just like every other twenty-something music fan with a dank-fade cum dank-undercut and beard to match. Even now, I don’t even live in the city limits, residing in the affordable and somewhat bustling suburb of Vancouver, WA. I am the bridge-and-tunneler of the Portland Metro Area. But, the reason I moved here is etched on those show fliers that turn streetlights into bloated papier mache monstrosities. The scene is vibrant here, the local band are world-class, and punk rock is ceaselessly happening. When I made the decision to move here, there was a shortlist of natives I wanted to see in action that grew as I became more entrenched in the community. Absent Minds was the first to be checked off the list. Then there was Broadway Calls and Toxic Kid. And of course, No Sleep darlings Lee Corey Oswald. But, every week, when I scoured the ol’ pc-pdx index of shows; searching for something that matched a spare weekend, I never saw Tragedy.
I’m not a huge crust guy. I like a lot of different punk rock, and most of it matches my black-rimmed glasses and slicked hair very well, thank-you-very-much. But, outside of soulful and beardy melodic punk, I’ve always been twisting my hands deeper and deeper in hardcore. There’s something purifying in the minimalism– rock ‘n roll taken to the absolute most basic and primal. When I found Tragedy, I found a bridge between melody and aggression. Whether you like the genre or not, you can hear the exceptionalism clearly across Tragedy’s body of work. They managed to take cues from genres that, almost by design, tend to sound largely the same, and then push them into new territory. Tragedy innovates. Tragedy crushes. Tragedy are the top of the game.
There was no question in my mind then, that when I saw the Portland crust legends had a show on the horizon, I had to go. It was Tragedy, after all, and after almost two years of keeping my ear to the ground, I finally had a chance to see punk rock’s most mysterious group. Further fueling my excitement, I saw it was going to be at the Know.
Now, that might not mean much to a lot of you, but if you’ve been to the Know, and know the rabidness of Tragedy’s fanbase, you know that this is a special show. The Know is tiny. It’s a bar with a small stage in a connecting room with a capacity of maybe a hundred people. What it lacks in size it makes up for in authenticity. It’s a true punk bar, with no affectations of hipness. Shows happen there just about every night of the week. The drinks are reasonably priced, as are the cover charges. The Know is good people.
So, it made sense to get their early– really early– just to be sure it would happen. We calmly sat and chatted as people filtered and by eight the place was starting to be decently filled. Knowing smiles flashed between strangers in vests as they drank Rainier and talked shit about the work week.
I got on the floor early enough to see the first band set up their banner. This was Hangmen Also Die, a local power trio that tread in the waters of D-Beat, hardcore, and crust. They took the stage and played a short set (my understanding was that they were a relatively recently formed band) made up of incredibly fast songs. Both drummer (a dude with white dreads that looked like one of the albino twins from the second Matrix movie) and bassist screamed, one doing higher, piercing vocals and the other doing wild-faced roars. The music itself was simple, the guitarist mostly played fast-as-hell chord progressions; the visuals of fingers forming those old and holy shapes gave me a sense of punk rock ancestry, a reminder that no matter how heavy or brutal you are, if you’re playing punk rock, you owe a little debt to the Ramones. They had energy to spare and came and went exactly as an opener should– leaving you wanting more.
Next up was Gasmask Terror, a French crust band with a lot of passion. The lead vocalist wasn’t hindered by any instrument and therefore was able to focus a lot of energy into his performance. The fretwork was superb, with lots of sweet, almost classically rock ‘n roll solos. Bends and hammer-ons, up and down the fretboard as the band blasted through a strong and angry setlist. As a francophile, I was stoked to see French punk rock representin’. I thanked the guitarist for playing, satisfying my need to know they were really French. He couldn’t have made me happier when he responded: It wahz a pleajzure, dude. I ended up buying a shirt.
The Know ends shows pretty strictly at eleven, which is kind of a blessing if you ever feel like bands are playing too long of sets and that just once it’d be nice to get some sleep before you work. There were only three bands on the bill, and everyone knew it was the Big One up next. Bathroom breaks were taken, beers were bought. I’ve never seen more people crowded into the Know’s venue space before. Tragedy took their time setting up as the audience stood expectantly, anticipating.
I instantly recognized the first song from its intense and melodic riff. It was the closest thing Tragedy has to a hit single– one of those songs that transcend the dissonance and rough edges of a genre and worm their way into the ears of the not-yet-believers. It was “The Day After,” and I knew all of this because my very not crusty girlfriend recognized it immediately. There were shouts and headbanging and there I was, packed tight in the crowd watching a cult band command the room. For not playing in a long while, they sounded tight as ever, loud as ever, squeezing the best sound I’ve heard out of the Know’s small space.
Todd Burdette didn’t scream so much as expel venom, like every word was another drop of poison and his music was his body rejecting it, one word at a time. A small but intimate mosh pit broke out over the course of the set, a rarity at the Know, as it is usually a more beer-in-hand crowd. But, that’s what Tragedy brings out in their audience.
The music was relentlessly heavy, and I felt the joy in unironically being able to flash metal hands for the first time. They finished up six minutes before eleven and left the stage. There was no encore. No flash, no bullshit, no proselytizing, no merch, no stage gimmicks; they played their music and soon they were with the rest of us; chatting and smiling, shaking hands and drinking beer.
Seeing Tragedy is seeing the pinnacle of a genre. There’s something magical about seeing a band at the top of their game. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few bands like that. There was Against Me! and Bomb the Music Industry!, the Taxpayers and Hot Water Music, and now there is Tragedy. There’s a whole lot of different sounds possible at the fretting hand of rebellious and independent rock music, but when a band nails it, no matter how they nail it, it’s the same catharsis. This particular brand is the radiation scarred and limbless, downtrodden outcasts of a deserted world. They’re the most extreme version of ourselves, our darkest moments painted in the blackest black. And we wander as they wander; crushing chords and dark melodies dancing between our ears.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 4:54 PM (PST) by AnarchoPunk
AnarchoPunk royalty Leftöver Crack has been pretty quiet on the album front since releasing their ska-core masterpiece, Fuck World Trade back in 2004. The lack of output may have something to do with their controversial and well documented break up with heavyweight label, Epitaph Records or maybe it’s more of a quality over quantity thing. But now, it seems they may have a new and rejuvenated outlook after signing with Fat Wreck Chords following a few years of courting by Fat Mike. This fresh outlook is evident on this, their third full length studio album. From the quality of the sound mixing and production value, down to even the cover art (LoC album cover in color!?!) everything seems to be a slight step up from prior offerings. While it is assuredly more of a polished, “produced” sound, it seems more like a natural progression and less like it’s being forced. The absence of former band mate Ezra Kire can be felt, but it doesn’t detract from the quality of the album. So, while the sound is still familiar this seems to be a turning point for the band. Overall, the thirteen track LP validates the old saying, “Good things come to those who wait” as almost every song will resonate with fans of these crust core elites. Sidenote: Does anyone else find it slightly amusing that this is being released on the day most associated with consumerism/capitalism?
Diversity is probably the most applicable word to use when describing Leftöver Crack Volume III: Constructs of the State. Like with 90’s rap artists, LoC is known to bring in guest musicians and vocalists to collaborate on tracks, they are after all, anarchists. This album isn’t any different and if anything, goes a step further than it’s predecessors, in that almost every song features a supporting artist. This creates a unique musical conglomeration as each track tends to take on a slightly contrasting sound based on the contributing artist. Speaking of those guest artists, there’s a virtual rogue’s gallery, from members of anarcho legends, CRASS and The Dead Milkmen to more contemporary acts like Chewing on Tinfoil and The Riverboat Gamblers. The one thing that doesn’t change and most likely will never change is the quartet’s abrasive attitude and the message they deliver. As always the lyrics are overtly political, fiercely anti-religious and anti-authoritarian. The best thing about the album in my opinion, was trying to figure out who contributed on which tracks, a feat which I still haven’t completed.
The opening track “Archaic Subjugation” is one of the few songs that maintains it’s natural LoC sound. The recognizable guitar distortion and feedback, wailing like an alarm over top of blistering fast drums right before the gravelly, labored vocals of Sturgeon kick in. Standard fare for the initiated but from there on, things get a little less familiar. “Loneliness & Heartache” is the most noticeable deviation from the their regular sound, at least from the first half of the LP. It’s more upbeat and has a pop tone to it. The early highlight is the track that was released a few weeks back as a teaser to the album release, “System Fucked” which features Jesse Michael of Op Ivy. As expected, it’s very heavily ska influenced, with simple repetitive guitar riffs before getting back to the faster, street hardened sound. While this type of mix isn’t foreign to the band, there is a definite delineation from their typical ska-core sound. Included, along with the eleven new tracks are two cover songs. “Last Legs” written by folk troupe Blackbird Raum gets a hardcore makeover, diverging greatly from the alpha version which may be the folkiest(?) folk song I’ve ever heard.
The second half of the album has just as many gems as the first half. Some of the best are “Poliamor Fiesta Crack!” which is a sarcastic,snide criticism of societal misogyny and my personal favorite, “Vicious Constructs” from which the album gets it’s name. “Lie of Luck” previously released as a single on Fat Music Volume 8, might be the other strong contender for best track. The only real miss here is “Amenecer de los Muertos”. I don’t know what it is about this song, but it just seems out of place and almost included as an afterthought. I guess the message is about over-commercialization but it just doesn’t land and could’ve been packaged better, in my opinion. Wrapping up the LP and on the opposite end of the cover song spectrum, we have “The War at Home” originally written and performed by SoCal, poli-punkers, Intro5pect. Whereas “Last Legs” is a wholly different musical interpretation, this cover sounds almost exactly like the original, released back in 2007, which featured STZA (confused yet?) and is by far the most out of place sounding track on the album with heavy synthesizers and an electronica sound. That being said, it’s still a great anthem that has a perfect, catchy chorus line and some razor sharp guitars. It’s a good fit even if it is just a carbon copy of the original.
After over a decade of waiting, this album meets almost every expectation. While it does differ from previous albums, it maintains the fundamental sound, delivery and core themes. Leftover Crack seems to be back on track (Alliteration!!!) after a long hiatus of releasing new material. Now, with the backing of the well connected and respected team at Fat Wreck Chords they can hopefully sustain this momentum and continue to cultivate their creativity on a more consistent basis to further solidify their place in the punk community as the amplifier for the proletariat.
Friday, October 16, 2015 at 5:26 PM (PST) by Gina Skidz
Cult Leader is heading out on a month-long tour tomorrow, and you can also find those dates below.
Monday, October 12, 2015 at 7:17 PM (PST) by Supermartinguy
Salt Lake City crust rockers, Cult Leader, just released a stream of their new album “Great I Am”. The album contains eleven harsh and jagged songs that sound like they were dragged straight from hell, and you can check it out below.
“Great I Am” is being released through Deathwish Inc, and marks the bands first full release since last year’s “Nothing For Us Here”. Also, check out the beaming review for their recent EP “Useless Animal”, from Dying Scene’s own Torchbearer; here.
Monday, September 14, 2015 at 9:10 PM (PST) by Supermartinguy
Boulder’s metallic crust punks, Call Of The Void, have just announced a new set of tour dates, which will see them hopping back and forth across the United States. Throughout the tour they’ll also be joined by Syracuse outfit Bleak. Check out the dates below.
This tour comes off the band’s recent completeion of their upcoming EP “Are You Fucking Kidding Me”, which will be released via Relapse Records sometime in the near future.
Sunday, August 16, 2015 at 6:09 AM (PST) by VillainHKR
Regina, SK, Canadian based label Harvest King Records has just announced the release of “Forward Into Extinction”, the debut EP from Ballot Burner. The band is made up of long time veterans of the community, and according to Harvest King this album represents some of the most raw underground punk/d-beat that the Canadian prairies has to offer.
You can stream “Forward Into Extinction” below.
Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 9:20 AM (PST) by The Torchbearer
Cult Leader is heavy. I’m gonna say it again, Cult Leader is heavy. I say it again because after you have listened to their newest EP Useless Animal, you’ll find one ‘heavy’ just doesn’t cut it. This release sees the progressive crust band take that progressive moniker to all new levels of chaos, distortion, and fury.
This frenetic onslaught lasts about three minutes over the first two songs of the three song EP. “Useless Animal” charges right out of the gate with the band immediately in full form. Guitars are tuned low, played loud and sound evil. The bass has a sinister tone to it, and the drums switch from fast to really fast throughout. All this backing what I imagine is an actual demon screaming and growling his hatred of humanity through the microphone. That first song shows Cult Leader reaching for new levels of heaviness and complexity, but this is pushed over the edge with the next song “Gutter Gods.” It starts off with just a bass line, but once everything else kicks in, there is no telling where the band is going to go with it. The guitar riffs are quick and angular, while the drummer is making use out of his whole kit as often as possible, while still keeping everything on (blast) beat. The vocals match perfectly with the madness being created by the instruments. It sounds like a different singer than the one from the first song. That one was low and thunderous, while this one is more high pitched and gravelly. When the two come together toward the end of “Gutter Gods,” it sounds like the band may be about to take my soul. This three minute onslaught feels a lot longer and is a fun ride. If you like heavy music just for the sake of being heavy, this will delight you immensely.
The band then does a complete 180 for the third song of the EP, a cover of “You Are Not My Blood” by Mark Kozelek & Desertshore. The song gradually eases the listener back down from the heights they took you in the first two songs with spacey guitar and slow, pulsating drums. This continues pretty much throughout the whole song as the band adds other trippy and creepy effects. The vocals are still low and dark, but without the screaming and growling.
Cult Leader has put out something very interesting with Useless Animal. Its first half pushes heaviness to its extreme, while the second half seems to acknowledge that the listeners ears might spontaneously start to bleed, and offers a way to come down from that. The best part about this is how the seemingly total opposites end up working so well together. I feel that while the three songs differ in levels of distortion and such, they still all have the same dark vibe. Useless Animal is a good and addicting listen that I’ll be sure to pull out for a fun ride in the future.
Death Engine are a 4 piece band from Lorient, France who play heavy music that neither fits or fails labels like ‘metal’ or ‘crust’ or ‘post-hardcore’ or whatever other pigeon holes we can offer up. It’s simply heavy, intense and BIG. The vocals are harsh and distorted when yelled or screamed and unless parlez vous francais? Yeh …nah…i cant understand a damn word. This is the full length debut from the band who previously released an insanely good Ep titled ‘Amen’ .. also through Throatruiner.
7 tracks spanning about half n hour of just massive guitars..huge drums and other noises. Musically there’s a lot in common with artists like Envy, Botch, Isis, Chariot, Old Man Gloom etc. Everything sounds completely raw and live but a keen ear will distinguish the small and subtle production elements that pull feedback in, let the room ring out or seamlessly introduce a synth or even acoustic guitar. They’ve clearly spent time on this and the proof is in the end result.
So.. think big chord progressions that feel hopeful and emotive…and then they strike these ‘off’ notes that almost jar the listener out of that zone. The drums drive the rhythm section with a solid performance that never complicates things, in fact sometimes it’s the only thing the ear can latch onto for some sense of where the hell it’s all going! Dynamically this record offers a range of quieter moments and interludes, feedback and drone-inspired sections.. but when it gets heavy, boy of boy is it great!
As with most Throatruiner records the album is made available for free download via/ the label prior to the vinyl shipping out so feel free to give it a spin and see if it’s something you’re into. If you dig it as much as myself..you’ll be hitting the ‘order’ button before too long because it’s a haunting record that has a lot of replay value.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 6:34 AM (PST) by villagebrown
France based hardcore/crust outfit Death Engine are streaming their new full length Mud. This is the band’s debut album, which they spent most of 2014 working on. In addition to the release of their album, which you can pre-order a hard copy of, they will also be embarking on a European tour to support the new release. You can check out the dates and stream the full album below.
Mud is out via Throatruiner Records and Apocaplexy Records. Itwill serve as a follow-up to the group’s 2013 EP Amen.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 1:45 PM (PST) by milhouse
Boulder, Colorado metallic crust punks Call Of The Void has just made their upcoming album, “Ageless”, available to stream in its entirety.
Call Of The Void last released “Dragged Down A Dead End Path” back in 2013.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 11:53 AM (PST) by The Torchbearer
Boulder, Colorado metallic crust punks Call Of The Void have recently announced their signing to Relapse Records. The label will be handling the release of the bands newest album, Ageless, which is set to be released on February 10th. Additionally, the band has announced some February tour dates with like-minded group Enabler.
You can stream a new song, “Cold Hands,” off the upcoming album below. While your there, you can also check out the full rundown of tour dates.
Call Of The Void last released Dragged Down A Dead End Path last year.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 1:01 PM (PST) by milhouse
Polish/German crust punk/metal duo Mind is back, are you ready?
After more than 10 years of silence, the band is back on the radar with “Save Yourself From Hell”, their third and newest full-length album, just released through Selfmadegod Records.
The album is available to stream in its entirety below, so check it out below and get your ears ravaged.
Mind was originally formed in Berlin in 1995 and have been active in the European metal scene ever since.
The group has a few shows lined up to launch the release. You can check out the dates and locations of the shows below.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 11:48 AM (PST) by Carson Winter
Some Things Must Be Endured is a pulverizing EP filled with blast beats, cacophonous screams, and dark, mammoth riffs. It’s music that oozes brutality, amplifying all of punk’s most abrasive tendencies as if it were a personal challenge from artist to audience. As shameful as it is, I must admit that I wasn’t sold on Guide from description alone, but after hearing their skin-filleting take on crust, hardcore, and powerviolence, I had to reassess my position.
Musically, I would compare Guide to a nastier His Hero Is Gone. A scuzzed out tribute to crust and powerviolence more concerned with raw volatility than classical songwriting. It sounds like a detrimental statement, but in a way I think it alludes to a higher artistic ideal. Extreme genres, with their rejection of a lot of the core tenets of what makes ‘good music,’ is kind of an avant garde sentiment. Some Things Must Be Endured brings forth rage in its purest musical form.
“Best Friends” opens with a big bassy riff that sounds like the end of the world. The song, much like every song on Some Things Must Be Endured, doesn’t make it past the two minute mark. The brevity is welcome though, making every song feel like a riotous explosion. With only six songs, Some Things Must Be Endured is like a musical revolver, supplying blast after blast of violent noise with the listener left with a face full of smoke and ringing ears.
This isn’t music for everyone. Some people will go crazy for the lumbering beginnings of a song like “Clown,” and then crazier for the chaotic run it takes them on. Its hardly populist, but for those with hardened ears and a taste for violent, salivating expression– Guide is worth enduring.