premiere: brazilian hardcore band lumière take over the streets in visual for their powerful resistance anthem

Based in São Paulo, Lumière is a vibrant heavy rock band using rage music to fuel resistance to the daily BS of anti-blackness, prejudice, consumerism, ugliness, judgment, phobias, etc. So naturally, their latest video, “Escolhas” is a literal protest anthem shot in the streets of the city by director Lucas Candido and edited by Moah and Rodrigo Locaut, the community behind them. Rock out and enjoy:

meet the band keeping the south african hardcore scene alive: life below

By Bob Perfect / Bubblegumclub*, AFROPUNK Contributor

Nobody Told Life Below That South African Hardcore is Dead

South African hardcore is pretty fucking dead. There are a few bands, a few shows, and a few people keeping the genre, in some variation or the other, “alive”, but it’s a far cry from the glory days of spin kicking your friends in the face and running around in a circle to indiscernible noise with a couple hundred people.

The old hardcore scene has grown up and largely moved on to jobs that are the antithesis to the music they grew up listening to… or just other things. The current crop of impressionable youths who, once, might have thrown down to Go! Go! Bronco, now get psychedelic with the likes of Black Math. Things change, you know?

I think somebody forgot to tell that to Life Below.

Life Below are four dudes who grew up in the Durban hardcore scene and have become one of the last living reminders that it ever existed. Mitch Harper (vox), James Strachan, (guitar/vox)  Steven Ilbury (bass) and Brendan Meintjes (drums) all got involved in their community of stage dives and high fives when they were teenagers. I remember sharing many a moshpit in churches and dive bars with each of them.

If I remember the story correctly, Mitch, Brendan and Steve started a death metal band when they were 15, but they never played any shows. Brendan and James later formed We Were Archers, who managed to gain a few fans, but suffered from not sounding like the local bands who were cool at the time.

Then the scene kinda dissolved around them despite all of Steve’s efforts with Noisefix – a blog turned production/promotion company that focuses on bringing over international hardcore and metal bands. All the bigger bands broke up, nobody really filled their place, and the scene moved on to pop-punk and popping pills to EDM. So, naturally, in 2014, in twilight of the once flourishing Durban hardcore scene, the 4 of them got together to start Life Below.

Since then, they’ve put out a solid first offering with their ‘I’ EP and earned a reputation for having one of the most passionate and energetic live shows in the country. Much wailing, gnashing of teeth and things of that nature. But that’s not why we’re gathered here today, dearly beloved.

We are gathered here because last week they put out, for my money, the second best hardcore release to come out of the country after Conqueror’s ‘Life on Repeat’.

Grim Reality is ferocious, fierce and fucking phenomenal. It kicks off at breakneck speed with ‘Idle Hands’ and only slows down (barely) for the odd break-down and for track 4, ‘Heavy Chains’, the noticeably slowest track on the 7 and a half minute, 5 track long EP. Life Below don’t mince words and they don’t waste time.

They know how to fill a short space of time with a hell of a lot of noise, whilst still giving you a bit of space every now and then to catch your breath. It’s chaos and disorder woven into melody. Grim Reality is the culmination of 4 cats growing up on metal and hardcore making the music they want to hear. The death metal influence still shows with their love of blast beats and furious riffage but they mix it deftly with punchy break-downs and Mitch’s vocals are distinctly pissed-off hardcore.

Grim Reality is like a punch to a Nazi’s face, violent yet satisfyingly so.

It hits hard and quick, but leaves you feeling cathartic. While hardcore may be “dead”, it doesn’t really matter. Life Below have put out one of the best hardcore releases in South African history, regardless of what’s popular now, which, at the end of the day, embodies the spirit of what hardcore is meant to be.

Life Below will be launching Grim Reality this Friday at The Winston Pub in Durban. They’re joined by Scrapyard Bones, Codes and Violence. Here’s the Facebook event.

Below is a taste of Grim Reality. Give it a listen.

Grim Reality by Life Below

*This post originally appeared on Bubblegumclub

hardcore legends burn rewrite the book on their long-awaited full length album, ‘do or die’

NYC hardcore veterans Burn would have been legends if all they ever did was drop their 4 song self-titled EP in 1990. Though the initial line-up split in 92, the core of singer Chaka Malik and guitarist Gavin Van Vlack never officially called it quits. They re-emerge in 2001 with a new rhythm section and renewed energy, before quieting down again for another decade. Burn takes their goddamn time. Now, nearly 30 years after first getting together, Burn is back with their debut full length album, Do Or Die. It’s been worth the wait.
Do or Die by Burn
Enlisting Converge’s Kurt Ballou behind the boards, the band shows they haven’t lost an ounce of power from their heyday. The songs burst at the seams with explosive energy. From the skipping dissonance that opens “Fate,” Burn wastes no time. Their songs change up on a dime, from breakneck tempos to heavy breakdowns, refusing any easy choices. Ballou mostly stays out of the way, letting the band do what they do best. The few moments of studio manipulation add a little variation, like on the tweaked drums on the impressive “Flame.” But mostly, Do Or Die simply showcases one of the best hardcore bands in history being one of the best hardcore bands in history.

Highlights like “Dead Identity” and “Unfuck Yourself” find Malik and Van Vlack reveling in their chemistry. Malik may be more famous for Orange 9mm, but there’s a fire when teamed up with Van Vlack that’s just fucking magical. The most surprising contributions to the record are the updated takes on “Last Great Sea” and “New Morality,” two old songs that had circulated as demos for years, and popped up on the band’s Last Great Sea EP on Equal Vision back in 2002. It’s a pretty common story that veteran acts struggle to recapture the magic from their early days on later records. But here, a veteran act busts out 2 songs from their early days and while they’re welcome contributions, they’re eclipsed by the new shit. (Again: “Dead Identity.”) Though it’s a fucked up statement on the state of the world that the political messages on “New Morality” could easily have been written in 2017. Everything old is new again, or something.

Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait 30 years for another full length record. But if we do: I have no doubt that burn in 2047 will be just as heavy, and just as essential.

hardcore legends burn indict selling out for fame in frenzied new anthem “dead identity”

It ain’t over til it’s over, and for NY-based legends to be, Burn, it never will be.

First forming in ’89, the hardcore group has since concreted their name on the scene, and are back with a bang with the release of their latest single “Dead Identity”. Preparing for the release of their fifth studio album Do or Die–a 10-track “melding of infectious melody, hook laden groove, and raw hardcore emotion”–the musicians offer a sneak peek worth following, exciting fans everywhere.

The track itself revs up from start to finish, keeping listeners energized and carrying out the style they’ve shaped over the past two decades. A crowd-pleaser with an infectious choral-like chorus, Burn’s familiar thrash vocals are fused with non-traditional chord progression and melody. “Dead Identity” forces audiences to rock and sway to a hardcore anthem with a vintage spin.

This track is far from blind, and the musicality is tangible as the studied artists do what they do best. Dripping with underlying consciousness and exciting composition, each switch-up draws us deeper into the track, so that by the 2:31 mark, we’re left on the edge, with no choice but to reflect and digest.

Whether you’re in the mood to mosh or experience a riveting contemplation, Burn’s “Dead Identity” is the answer to your craving–check it out below! And look out for the upcoming full-length Do or Die set to drop September 8th.

new york post-hardcore legends burn return with the first single off new album, “ill together”

If you’re not already a Burn obsessive, I’m not really sure how to talk to you. The long-running band, fronted by Orange 9mm’s Chaka Malik, pretty much wrote the book on post-hardcore. Since getting together in 1989, they’ve released a handful EPs; each of them essential. Despite being a going concern on and off for 28 years, the band has communicated exclusively in EPs and blistering live shows. Not anymore.

Their “debut” full length (I don’t even know what that phrase even means when we’re talking about a band this influential, but whatever) drops this fall. The first taste off Do Or Die is the single “Ill Together” and it is everything you could possibly hope for from a Burn track produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou. Beneath the band’s bombast is an emotional vulnerability to the lyrics that calls back to the glory days of post-hardcore. It’s the rare band that 28 years in can create something that belongs on equal footing with their early releases, but then Burn has never been like other bands.

Do Or Die drops September 8th via Deathwish. Pre-order it, here.

And check them out at AFROPUNK Fest 2017 in Brooklyn.

uk punk band nekra’s 5 song demo is fierce and raw feminist hardcore

When a band quotes bell hooks and describes their songs as being about “Gringos, people sucking the life out of you, Terry Richardson… you, know the usual stuff that brings a brown girl down” you know you’re in for some real shit. Nekra’s 5 song demo is stripped back tight hardcore that takes no prisoners and has no time for bullshit. Lead singer Spooky has that kind of raw passionate voice that legends are made of, particularly on standout “Expatriate.” Make no mistake: this time next year Nekra is going to be tearing walls down and headlining shit. Check out their demo on the band’s bandcamp.
DEMO 2017 by NEKRA

premiere: brooklyn-based emo/post-hardcore band stay inside takes on racism in emotional new single “daily news”

Readying the release of their debut EP As You Were (April 21st), Brooklyn-based band Stay Inside shows the world why we should pay attention in their latest single “Daily News”, an urgent reflection on life and racism showcasing their unique emo/post-hardcore sound. Comprised of four transplants, Bartees Cox, Jr. (guitar, vox) of Yukon, OK, Chris Johns (guitar, vox) of Hockessin, DE, Vishnu Anantha (drums) of Wayne, PE and Bryn Nieboer (bass, vox) of Los Angeles, CA, Stay Inside is on a mission to tell stories about fighting back against oppression and for inclusivity.

“(Stay Inside wants) to show folks all over that whether it’s about significant others, family, cops, misogyny, racism, or anything else, they have four friends in Brooklyn yelling and screaming for them,” Bartees Cox Jr. explains. “‘Daily News’ starts out as a song about folks I know in my neighborhood who were given up on or fell through the cracks. Throughout the song we sort of chart some key experiences I’ve had with these folks from getting to know them, to forming bonds and becoming friends with them, and finally, to how some of their lives end, on the Daily News. This song was made in light of the police shootings across the country.”

Take a listen below!:

Recorded by Nick Rapley
Mastered by T.J. Lipple
Guitar and Vocals, Bartees Cox,Jr
Guitar, Chris Johns
Bass, Bryn Nieboer
Drums, Vishnu Anantha

Stay Inside tour dates:

4/14 – The Fat House – Philadelphia, PA
4/20 – The Gateway – Brooklyn, NY

As You Were tracklist:

01: Radio Silence
02: Daily News
03: Blockbussa

Follow Stay Inside: Soundcloud