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CVLT Nation’s 2015 Top Six POST PUNK Releases


The Belgian hardcore scene has spanned a number of great acts throughout the ’00s, with very diverse sounds and undertaking quite different paths. So when you find out that there is a collaboration going on with members of Rise and Fall and Oathbreaker, it is really intriguing to try and guess what the end result will be. With Partisan, Cedric Goetgebuer and Ivo Bebrabandere along with Thijs Goethais step away from their hardcore roots and into the domain of post-punk. However, as is the case with the hardcore quality of the Belgian scene going a bit on the darker side of the genre, so is the case with Partisan’s post-punk. The music of the band takes on a number of different attributes of the post-punk scene, including the noise input of The Jesus and Mary Chain, the cold bleakness of Killing Joke, the stark detachment of Joy Division and the drive of The Wipers, which are just some of the aspects that are presented in this self-titled EP.

The main of Partisan‘s focus is on this dark post-punk vibe, which is spread out across the whole EP. The veil of darkness that Partisan can cover their music with becomes apparent from the opening track, as the band acquires the new wave structure, but still placing it in a state of blissful bleakness. “Unhappy People” shares that quality, with a more mysterious aura being brought forth at times, giving the music a more dim perspective.

Read the full review HERE!



Ok, first I want to say sorry to Institute that we did not review this record this year, but hey, it did make our end of the year list! I love this band because they are able to make me dance to the sound of CHAOS! Institute’s Catharsis LP is a modern day post punk classic, and live this band is the BOMB!!!



From the first song – the entrancing, seductive, and deliberately-paced “Any War” – the new LP comes across as a more focused, even sophisticated, affair than their two previous efforts, the 2013 “Altars” EP and the 2012 demo. The earlier Rule of Thirds material had a grittier sound – it harkened back to the early 80s L.A. deathrock of the Superheroines, 45 Grave and Voodoo Church. This new 9 song LP, however, feels more British – more in line with the nuanced early gothic rock of Skeletal Family and Juju-era Siouxsie and the Banshees. This is a band, after all, that told Zero Tolerance zine in 2013, “We’re much more Joy Division, Skeletal Family, or Christian Death than, say, Killing Joke, Amebix, or The Mob” (I ask the band about this quote in the interview below). In all, this self-titled LP is as good as contemporary dark postpunk gets; it’s an essential document of modern dark music. The interview below allowed me the chance to ask about the band’s sonic evolution as well as their upcoming US shows.

One thing that immediately jumps out at you is how thick Rule of Thirds’ self-titled 2015 LP is on atmosphere and mood. Freya’s vocals provide the dark center to Rule of Third’s sonic conjurings: She’s a strong singer – but not overpowering – and her vocals have a slightly witchy feel; you feel like she might start speaking incantations in Latin, or more likely in a heathen and non-Christian language, at any moment. Celeste and Ben’s guitars take their postpunk-y cues from Stan Greenwood (Skeletal Family) and John McGeoch. And although Rule of Thirds, like their colleagues in Lost Tribe, are a sextet, their sound is amazingly restrained and meticulous; you would never suspect there are six humans playing here. Their gloominess is the result of a meticulous building of sonic tension and not from the blunt bashing out of power chords. Dieter’s bass and Tom’s drums provide the skeletal scaffolding around which the rest of the band weave sometimes-slashing-and-dissonant, sometimes spidery-and-melodic, guitar and synthesizer lines.

Read the full review HERE!



You might have noticed that my job at CVLT Nation is to make sense of what happens when post-punk or goth collides with other genres. I would not have it any other way, as the one qualifying factor all music must have for me to like it is darkness. It doesn’t matter if it’s metal, punk or just some avant garde noise rock, all of which seems to be colliding on this album from Haust. The band’s primary sound is dissonance, which in turn creates their darkness. They have been labelled as hardcore, a term seriously brought into question by the guitar’s 60s garage rock warble that offsets the more malicious metal edge of the vocals that are not too far off from being black metal. I would say they are more firmly planted in punk than what we think of as “hardcore.” The layered vocals on the chorus of “Days” are no more hardcore than anything from Darkthrone’s black ‘n roll days. The chaotically blurred genre lines aside, they capture some mesmerizing sound and take it down some unexpected dark alleys. They have a rowdy metal attack that jumps out from behind the corner. They abandon the sleeker songwriting of the first two songs on “Body Melt,” which carries a more rabid bite. This song also carries the most punk snarl the album has seen up until this point, though the guitar carries more of wild jangle.

Read the full review HERE!

Label: Fysisk Format


TWO – LUNCH Let Us Have Madness Openly

“Let Us Have Madness Openly” opens with the track “Marble Foyer,” a classic moody, mid-tempo postpunk rocker that actually sounds like it could be from the Spectres 2010 Last Days recording sessions. Prometheus Wolf’s vocals sound like Spectres’ singer Brian‘s disaffected style; in turn, Brian’s style reminded of the vocals used in early Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry, so I guess there’s a comparison there, too. But I don’t want to overstate the comparison; LUNCH are not a Spectres clone band or anything remotely like that. They have a unique spin on the genre that sets them apart from the other Pacific Northwest bands that are otherwise in the same musical milieu.

The guitar work is especially impressive – at turns bright and chiming, sometimes jangly, distorted in just the right, slightly-gritty-and-dirty way that I think would have made someone like Greg Sage cream his pants. Track 7, “Pouring Light,” saunters forth with an ambient sax and unexpectedly conjures up the ghost of Rowland S. Howard; or imagine if The Sound and Gun Club had had a jam session together – you might get something like this song. There’s some good old fashioned reverberating American twang in there. Kudos to guitarist DJ Barnes for nailing the sleazy, noir surf sound that Mr. Pierce and company developed into a science (it’s no secret that the Gun Club casts a strong and influential shadow over LUNCH; their Johnny Pineapple EP features one of the best Gun Club covers ever made. And see the interview below, too).

Read the full review HERE!



The soundtrack to autumn should reflect the mood of the dropping temperature and growing darkness. Portland’s Soft Kill provides a fitting prelude to this season with their new album Heresy. They are not as steeped in Halloween as a “goth” band would be, but are a moody enough flavor of indie rock to accompany this transition. Their sound holds just enough emptiness to give the hollow post-punk coldness. The first two tracks have a stark and downtrodden indie rock feel. The vocals are sung more than stuck in a frantic baritone narrative like so many of their peers.  On “Hit the Floor,” the mood dims down into a more melancholy place with a more Cure-like ambiance sweeping in with the guitar melodies draped around the pulsing drums and bass. They guitars are layered in hypnotic swathes of sonic tension. If you are alone at 4 a.m. trying to fight off a nervous breakdown, this would work well.

Even a casual listen might detect hints of the Jesus and the Mary Chain, which I would certainly give these guys props for, since it is a rather unique influence that you do not find often in the younger generation’s take on post-punk, and I hunt down at least a dozen of these bands a week. This sound this is most evident on “Selfish Love.” The vocals drop into a hushed baritone and the song lets up its foot on the gas to create frantic tension. “Current” takes another step back, allowing the guitar melody to weep out from the song while maintaining the attitude of punk’s early days, when genre lines were blurred and not so hard and fast, with many of the bands we consider the forerunners of goth being considered “punk.”

Read the full review HERE!


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