Kollapse gives us their top 5 scandinavian hardcore records!
The danish band Kollapse is releasing their second album "Sult", the first on Fysisk Format, today/the 25th of july. The album consists of bleak and chilling post-hardcore, so we wanted to hear what their top 5 scandinavian hardcore records are! Thomas from the band gives us the answer.
So, assembling and choosing a top 5 list of Scandinavian hardcore is a pretty horrible task.
SO much music over a lifetime of listening, researching and digging deeper into the Scandinavian sounds that have connected and sometimes defined periods and even decades of living and how to boil that down into 5 albums?
I have chosen to focus on albums that have inspired me and that continue to do so in one way or another. Many albums have been influential only to not hold up as the years went by, so the list reflects my feelings about them past and present. They are albums that still get me excited as of writing.
I could easily have gone into amazing albums in jazz, punk, rock n roll, noise rock, pop, death metal and so on, but the emphasis here is hardcore (however that is defined).
5. Hårda Tider – ”Gatan Kaller”.
Okay, this is probably one of the most obvious hardcore albums ever released in Sweden, but everything is done so well and with obvious conviction that I simply had to surrender to it. I got acquianted with this band on a trip to Malmø. I was going skateboarding and attending “Vert Attack 6” at Bryggeriet Skatepark where I got to meet Steve Caballero, Christian Hosoi and other heroes. The afterparty was at Inkonst on a Saturday night and we were all pretty much hammered from skating and drinking all night at the hotel (which had been absolutely overtaken by skaters that weekend). Now I have always been into raw, old school hardcore, but Hårda Tider blew my mind that night. Call it a perfect alignment of time and place if you will but I couldn’t believe how nasty the band sounded. It was full on aggression and attitude and the energy level was nuts. I remember thinking that there was a certain dangerous feel in the air surrounding the band and the album compliments this perfectly. I have had a lot of hardcore albums on the shelves over the years, but 90 percent have amounted to nothing much beyond preaching unity or chest pounding. This album still sounds as fucking lethal in my 40 + suburban life as they did back then. Something about it reaches into my chest and tears at the shitty, destructive punk from my teens.
4. Cult of Luna – “The Beyond”.
Listening to this on headphones when it had just been released was a flooring experience. This type of heavy post hardcore or whatever was still a relative new thing and on this album COL managed to shoot a perfect black diamond straight into my forehead. This was massive, pitch black and monolithic without a second of wasted space on the entire thing. The production has a very industrial feel and the vocals are just out of this world. “The Beyond”, for me, was one of those albums that kept giving and as a result I listened to it for days at a time. I have kept up to date with the band and as a result seen them live several times. I personally prefer the old records but Cult of Luna are one of a few bands that have managed to keep an amazing work rate and quality in their craftmanship over their entire career and that demands respect.
3. Lack: “Blues Moderne”/”Saturate Every Atom”.
Two albums from a band that I have seen live many times. A band who has reinvented their sound but not their attitude. A band whose energy has always been off the charts infectious. Listening to “Blues…” when it came out my mind was completely blown. It was volatile, vulnerable and so aggressive. The band was tight, songwriting was detailed and stripped of all fat. It was noisy as hell and made me salivate for more home soil bands able to hang with the German wave of violent h/c from Bremen and beyond. When Lack released the first single from their swansong “Saturate” I wasn’t immediately in love. They introduced a more post hardcore feel on the second album, but I was not expecting anything like what I heard. At the time I had given up on a ton of hardcore bands going “post” like the Refused/Lyxzen/International Noise Conspiracy shtick and fell victim to an unfair kneejerk response. I saw Lack on their following tour and it started clicking. The dry Albini/Bob Weston aesthetic and the elegant, tight and efficient (one could almost call it “economic”) songwriting eventually won me over and the album has proven to remain one of my favorites ever.
2. Abandon – “In Reality We Suffer”.
I have to admit it - Abandon turned into a full on obsession at one time in my life. Struggling with chronic depression all my adult life, this album hit me like a bullet to the chest. Sometimes unbearably so. It was beyond sounding dark, beyond trying to be extreme. It didn’t emit loss, it reeked of it. Very much like a musical equivalent to a gaping chest wound. I have chosen this album over “The Dead End” which is perhaps an odd choice (both albums are equally amazing) but because of the monolithic sonic qualities of “In Reality” it gets my vote. The vocals are as crusty as they are heart wrenching and I have to be in a certain mood to be able to take it all. I cannot really do this any written justice other than to say that Abandon could very well have the final say on “doom metal”.
1. Breach – “Venom”.
Yes, huge surprise. Its Breach, haha.
I could have chosen any of their albums from “It’s Me God” and onwards. Venom is the album of theirs that I feel balances their many facets the best. I hardly know how to start as Breach are one of the most important and life changing bands for me. None of the albums mentioned have lost an ounce of their intensity and relevance to me. I started listening to them in the nineties and I still stop whatever I am doing and just sit whenever I put a Breach album on the turntable. They came up on Burning Heart Records which always seemed out of place to me. Nothing on the roster (or anything else) sounded like them. I remember hearing “Replenish The Empty” on a sampler cd and I just lost it. Breach had a similar demanding presence to Swans, the brutal gnar of mid period Unsane and the refined angularity of The Dazzling Killmen. I couldn’t believe my ears. Deep beneath the fire and fury they felt real, human, flawed. This lesson learned has integrated itself deep into my psyche and I strive to make music that touches a similar human nerve. Communicating emotions like anger, resentment, hopelessness, love and hate is difficult to do in any meaningful way and being an irrational human animal on a small rock in an endlessly expanding cosmos is sometimes not a warm feeling. Breach do this.
I saw Tomas Liljedahl play a set with the German experimental metal band The Ocean where some Breach tracks had been woven into the set. That is the closest I have been to experiencing Breach live. Some day I hope this will happen as it would be a literal dream come true.
Thank you for listening.
Header photo: Søren Drastrup