Archive for March, 2013

Review: Swordwielder

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on March 30, 2013 by Magadh

Swordwielder Demo

Demo -12 on cd cover artThere’s nothing like impending irrelevance to get a person motivated. A friend sent me a copy of the demo by Gothenburg, Sweden’s Swordwielder last year sometime. I’ve been meaning to knock out a review for some time now. I’ve finally gotten my act together, mostly because I serendipitously discovered a) that they signed to a label from Hawaii called Cubo de Sangre (, and b) they’re supposed to have a full album come out at some point this spring. So it’s probably for the best that I get this thing posted while it still matters, to the extent that it mattered in the first place.

The vast majority of Swedish music that is listened to around the bunker falls into two distinct categories: either d-beat/crust on the one hand, or post-Entombed death metal on the other. Swordwielder do not fit into either of those categories. Their style runs along more crusty/stench lines, with a bit of doom thrown in for good measure. This is deep, guttural stuff. It’s the sort of thing that makes you feel like the apocalypse is just around the corner, or that you’ve just not listened to that Prophecy of Doom/Axegrinder split enough times. A lot of this variety of music simply degenerates into chord after chord with some very depressed fellow screaming disconsolately over top of an impenetrable, churning mass. Swordwielder, by contrast, have a slightly more rocking approach. At times they even verge on melodicism, maybe not quite in the way that a band like Morgion did it, but still in a way that adds a bet of variety to what they’re doing. This is a lesson for other acts in this field. Sure, you can hold down tuned chords until the black sun sets, but unless the bulk of your audience is on heavy sopors that’s just not going to cut it in the long term. Swordwielder’s demo is about as pleasant a romp through these black fields as it’s possible to have. Sure, they have their moments of crushing power, but they also have elements that will bring forth the subtle head bob of enjoyment even from so jaded a listener as yours truly. Their demo is available on Bandcamp. I await the full LP with expectation.


Review: Ramlord

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 27, 2013 by Magadh

Ramlord Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom HYPÆTHRAL Records

Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom cover artRamlord are from New Hampshire. They put out a demo last year or maybe the year before. If memory serves, it was d-beat of a kind of low-fi variety. Very good. If you’re going to do something like that, this is one valid approach. Anyway, they’ve got a new record out as of the end of last year and they have clearly been spending their time in profitable ways. In contrast to the relatively straightforward approach of their demo, Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom has a lot more variety. They still have plenty of d-beat type action, but they’ve added a lot in terms of varying their song structures. They’ve also changed a bit from a stylistic perspective. Their sound is more metal now, with melodies that recall black metal without really entering that territory for real. There’s a lot more single string technique employed, which would indicate a black metalesque approach, but interesting there are also elements of power violence and straight hardcore. In a lot of respects they sound like a more punk and scruffy version of Downfall of Gaia. There is not quite as much atmosphere, but a lot of aggro to keep the listener interested.

This is a very hard rocking release. While they have moved to an approach that features more technical flashes, they retain a compellingly scruffy dimension that adds up to a sound that, if not entirely unique, is certainly all their own. They’ve put this out on a label from Toronto called HYPÆTHRAL. This is the first that I’ve heard of them, but I’m going to look into the other parts of their catalog, since this is pretty promising first example.


Review: Sahn Maru

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on March 24, 2013 by Magadh

Picture of Sahn Maru

Sahn Maru Never Too Late Inimical Records

I’m basically just working through a backlog of stuff, so apologies if you see reviews of stuff that came out a while ago. Then again, why am I apologizing to you? Read it or don’t.

Sahn Maru - Poisoned BloodSahn Maru is a Bay Area crusty h.c. act featuring two former members of the Blown to Bits. There is a certain amount of Scandinavian influence here, but it doesn’t sound like the legions of Skitsystem imitators out there. The ten songs included here do feature a lot of that peculiar d-beat picking cadence, but with a specifically West Coast sort of feel to it. They manage to sound dark and angry without too much down tuning, and the vocals are gruff without being completely incomprehensible. I’ve seen them compared to bands like Totalitär, but their song structures are kind of different and don’t quite have that straight ahead feel that characterized Ni Maste Bort. They actually remind me of Clown Alley, but with less of a metallic approach and without CA’s quirky song structures.

The subject matter here is to a great degree environmental. This carries over into the imagery included in their artwork, which really gives the impression of a planet having the very life sucked out of it. Musically this is a really furious release; punk rock with very little metal alloy but plenty of rage and aggression. The perfect background music for witnessing the decay of all life.


Dropkick Murphys Dropkick Bonehead

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , on March 22, 2013 by Magadh

The folks at Wartime Collective hipped us to this footage. The Dropkick Murphys, during their 3.13.13 show, serve notice that Nazis aren’t welcome at their shows. Enjoy!


– Captain of Games

Iron Maiden’s Trooper Beer

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , on March 21, 2013 by Magadh

We are big Maiden fans in the bunker (RIP Clive). so it was with great anticipation we learned that Bruce Dickinson was joined forces with Robinson’s brewery to create “Trooper – A Hand Crafted Ale”. They write:

Trooper is a premium British beer inspired by Iron Maiden and handcrafted at Robinsons brewery. Being a real ale enthusiast, vocalist Bruce Dickinson has developed a beer which has true depth of character. Malt flavours and citric notes from a unique blend of Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon.

The Charge Of The Light Brigade, which inspired the Iron Maiden song The Trooper, took place at the Battle Of Balaclava (1854) during the Crimean War when 6—British cavalry courageously charged the massed Russian artillery. This gallant but foolhardy assault resulted in a massive loss of life and came about due to a misunderstanding of an order given by the commanding officer, Lord Raglan.

Iron Maiden, with drummer Clive Burr

Learn more about this fantastic development here.

Confronting Hate

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , , on March 12, 2013 by Magadh

While this blog is primarily dedicated to music we do attempt to promote new and novel ways to challenge the fascists and bigots among us. Michl Hartney’s partner, Turtle, was called a “faggot” by a passer by. Turtle confronted the bigot and filmed the encounter. The video is below, to read the account of what transpired pop over to Mr. Hartny’s blog here.

– Captain of Games

Nomads/Treacherouskin Split “Violent Fucking World”

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on March 10, 2013 by Magadh


Violent Fucking World

Melotov Records

The Nomads demo got a lot of play in the bunker and we’ve been more than a little curious to hear the 7″. We’re proud to report Violent Fucking World finds both bands at their best.


Nomads offer up 4 tracks of blistering d-beat with a generous helping of power violence. By way of a reference I hear plenty of WolfbrigadeNails and Totalitär without the band veering into overt tribute territory. The opening track, “Swine Flu” tackles the topic of police oppression (something near and dear to Mike’s heart; check out Wartime Collective or the ACAB tattoo over his left eye) over a punishing d-beat onslaught and some righteous guitar work. “Viking Funeral” and “Thank God” are both heavily influenced by Dis-bands. “Bullshit Propaganda” is a ripper which conjurers up images of the best of Swedish crust. Nomads continue to impress and I hope to hear more from them in the future.

Treacherouskin are a more straight forward hardcore band. Think Sick of It AllNegative Approach,Mouthpiece and Champion with some Helmet, Prong and Pantera tossed in for good measure. “Father of Lies” is a punishing metal core anthem with some tasty breakdowns. “Oblitus” is the standout track from Treacherouskin, sludgey riffs give way to some Meantime era Helmet.

All and all this is a solid release. We’ll be listening to this one for some time.

-Captain of Games

Review: Trauma

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 5, 2013 by Magadh



Bulkhead Records

I am writing this with a heavy heart. I learned this afternoon from friends that Jeff Paul, Trauma’s vocalist, was killed last night in a motorcycle crash in north Portland. In addition to his work in Trauma, Jeff will be remembered by those familiar with the Portland scene as the singer of Final Warning, one of the most awesome bands of the early 1980’s scene in Portland. I only ever met him a couple of times, but he was tight with a number of my friends back there. By all accounts he was a right guy. The world is poorer for his loss.

We reviewed the full Trauma LP here a little while ago. We had actually sort of been dragging our feet about getting a copy, and we’d done so for so long that I actually considered putting up a review of their demo cassette that came out a couple of years ago. It struck me as kind of a goof, especially given the amount hassle that I had to go through to actually find a cassette player on which to listen to it. Now this problem has been resolved by the good people at Bulkhead who have done the world the service of releasing Trauma’s demo (plus one extra song) on a 10 cut 7”. I got this a couple of days ago and it hasn’t left my turntable since. I think that this has actually been remastered, as it sounds a bit clearer than it did on the cassette. In any case, this is ripping, angry thrash as those familiar with the Portland scene have come to expect. Trauma’s stock in trade is straight 80s style hardcore without a hint of metal: short blasts of mid-to-high speed punk with committed political lyrics, played in a style that recalls the heyday of hardcore in the Rose City.

You should go out and get a copy of the 7”, not as a memoriam to Jeff Paul, but because it illustrates the continued vibrancy of the punk scene in Portland and because it is some of the most raging h.c. around. But as you listen to it, remember the massive contribution that Jeff made over his lifetime to the d.i.y. punk scene.