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Album art for 'Hatred' by Friendship.

It seems like only several months have passed since we all had our ear canals ripped out by Friendship, Japan’s up-and-coming grind enigma. Wait… that’s because it has. Well, you’ll get no complaints from me — and if you were a fan of the double-EP ‘I/II,’ which released earlier this year, you won’t be complaining either. Their debut album, ‘Hatred,’ which released through Daymare Recordings in June, is now getting the vinyl treatment through Southern Lord. If you’ve heard it already, it’s worth another listen. And if you haven’t, well… buckle up.

‘Hatred’ is every bit as punishing and unrelenting as what you already know and love from Friendship.

Let’s start with the familiar — you’ve already heard cuts like Compton and El Chapo from ‘I/II.’ Although those tracks boast some of the more memorable parts on ‘Hatred,’ the new stuff is every bit as punishing and unrelenting as what you already know and love. Friendship fluidly varies the tempo and pace of their songs, even in those with durations under two minutes; songs that start as primordial blastbeat beatdowns often slow to a sludgy, knuckle-dragging lurch — and vice versa — all while the vocals spew like acid spit.

We’ve been blessed with heaps of excellent grind/blackened hardcore this year, and Friendship’s ‘Hatred’ is a welcome addition. Not all folks may be fretting over where to place it on their year-end lists when the time comes, but for those who like no-frills, godforsaken noise, this one will be hard to top.

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Eric Seal Eric Seal is the head writer at He used to think 'Hellbilly Deluxe’ was a scary album, but he's proud to say he listens to much scarier music now.