Halshug
Blodets Bånd

Some metal reviews require expanded length, detailed analysis and thoughtful examination.  Other metal reviews demand brevity, tough talk and all hyperbole checked at the door.  In the case of Denmark, Copenhagen’s Halshug and their Southern Lord debut Blodets Bånd I won’t be pushing the boundaries of the written word.  Simply put, this is crust punk up your ass leaning towards the metal side of the tracks.  These guys bring gun at your head, last meal before the execution intensity in the vein of Nails, Black Breath, Wolfbrigade and Selfish.  They’ve probably spent ample time studying seminal Discharge and Doom recordings as well.  You get 8 tracks in less than 20 minutes, so you know what’s happening here.

Most folks that have crossed paths with me know that I’m a big crust punk fan.  I used to go to all the shows, because not only would you get the awesome circle pit squatter punk bands, chances are you’d get to catch some great death and grind outfits on the same bill.  It would literally be an onslaught of killer live sets and boxes full of killer CDs, tapes and LPs to shop through.  Halshug’s gatling gun spray of metallic punk rock brings me back to those memories of a glorious past, and before I start reminiscing more than an old football player recalling his high school/college heyday and how he won the “big game,” let me touchdown for a review.

The word halshug translates to “behead,” and that’s what this band does…they behead you with riff after riff of anti-societal crust.  There is not even an ounce of care displayed for the listener’s well-being.  Opening statement, “Gudsforladt” is textbook d-beat with a shout-a-long chorus that makes the song’s title known, riffs that sound like chainsaws tearing down thick oak trees, hypertension fills across the snares/toms, low-end licks that strike like a thousand vipers and simple yet shredding 6-string solos.  They throw you into a mosh from the very first riff and never let you lift your head out of the bucket to come up for air.

“Afmagt” lets the bass lead the charge, the guitars sometimes dropping into sheer feedback to allow the rhythm section to work out some classic d-beat runs where you hear nothing but tom drums and chunking, brown note plucking.  Riff-wise it’s metal overdrive with an emphasis on 3-chord crust goodness while the vocalist screams his bloody head off in a sandpaper pleasant, mid-range growl.  Solos crack the back like a 200 degree sunburn and the track ends before you even have a solid grip on what just happened.  Really this album has two speeds, fast and faster with just a few haggard, blown-out midtempo shakedowns found in cuts like, the title track and  “Kvælende Frygt,” where tunes such as “Inferno,” “Total Destruktion” and “Yderste Rand” push the speed limit to the boiling point.  Despite the scalding aggression the arrangements, riffing and songwriting stays catchy and memorable throughout.  I also found myself shadow screaming with the lead vocal barks, even if I can’t claim to understand all of the words.  Those are telltale signs of whether a record is working for you or not.

I could try to make some brilliant declaration in this closing paragraph about this band and album, but I’m just going to sound like a dipshit.  This is unhinged, unruly crust punk at its very violent and very primal best.  It’ll make you want to run around your house wielding an axe and chopping up all of your shit just for kicks.  If you like the harder, heavier side of punk there’s no reason you should ignore this album; damn good stuff from start to finish that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
March 24th, 2015

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