This is Part 2 of my hardcore highlights for 2014. Part 1 focused on 5 ferociously good bands, and in this instalment I want to concentrate on yet another 5 releases that you should definitely check out.

Haymaker – Let Them Rot

Haymaker

Short and brutal, this is a mere four minutes long, but still manages to make an indelible boot-shaped mark in your forehead. The band power through these short songs with aggressive enthusiasm and a desire to burn and pillage. There’s a primal rage and discontent bubbling up from these songs, overflowing into energetic hardcore brutality. ‘Let Them Rot’ may be short, but it packs a lot of power.

Martyrdöd – Elddop

Martyrdod

Ohh, but this album’s a sneaky one. I initially thought, “meh, it’s okay, nothing special”; but I nonetheless found myself returning to it again and again over time. It seems to have somehow gotten under my skin and stayed there. D-beat hardcore is not always my thing, so it’s especially surprising in this context. Regardless of my initial hesitation in embracing it, Martyrdöd have built up a well-deserved reputation for themselves over the years, and ‘Elddop’ cements this.

Nesseria – Fractures

Nesseria

France strikes once again, this time with hardcore that has an added metallic streak. As heavy as a stack of bricks and as devastating as having said bricks dropped on you, Nesseria are a ferocious and violent proposition and ‘Fractures’ sees them full of rage and intensity. With blasting savagery offset with sludge influences, ‘Fractures’ is a force to be reckoned with. The band aren’t completely without subtlety or nuance, however, and this aspect of their sound further elevates them above a lot of their peers.

Obliterations – Poison Everything

Obliterations

This album just gets me going. It rages and tears along with such high energy and gusto it’s enough to take the breath away on occasion. In some ways Obliterations seem to just embody the spirit of hardcore, and ‘Poison Everything’ is an album that I can’t help but keep returning to again and again. Punk riffs and scathing venom are infused with the band’s trademark energy, and this is almost 30 minutes of top-notch angry hardcore.

Protestant – In Thy Name

Protestant

We end with a nasty piece of work. Protestant play blackened hardcore that mixes elements from these two strains into something quite poisonous and dark. Blackened punk is somewhat of an acquired taste for some, yet on the other hand the two genres mix quite well together. This album is an exemplar of the style, with furious rage and heavy darkness rolling off the songs like a miasma of corruption. ‘In Thy Name’ is something special.

That’s it for this edition. Stay tuned for more as we next plunge into the hardcore delights that 2013 gave us…

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