SPECIAL ROUND-UP – North-Borneo DIY Attack! featuring DISGUSTING, RESTART, DEADWORM & MENTAL SYNDROME
HAPPY NEW YEAR, PEOPLE!
I had a great time hanging out in Sabah for 12 days, some of which spent testing out traditional Tapai encased in a “tajau” and swimming in the cool river of Bunsit (thanks to the very nice bunch of punks in Keningau). More of that coming soon.
Meanwhile, I picked up some Borneo releases off the merch tables when I went to see the Proletar’s show in Kota Kinabalu recently. Since I don’t have a tape-player at the moment, here’s my thoughts on the CD-Rs first.
Salahkah Aku? Demo CD-R
Apparently a young band which has been around for two years now – initially formed in Kota Kinabalu but since relocated and active in Kuching, Sarawak. This unassuming CD-R comes with a badly photostated sleeve and a lyrics insert featuring simple atypical rants against back-stabbing friends, politicians and war.
Musically it’s a rip-roaring fastcore trip with obvious youth-crew references, that said it’s sloppy and fun with enough snotty hardcore-punk crammed-up and delivered in songs rarely going over the 45-second rule.
The recording is uneven, maybe the songs were recorded at different times, and I have a nagging suspicion that this is more like a home-recording than anything else. But that means a proper recording would push this band up the excite-o-meter! Can’t wait!
Lets Say NO to War Now! by Disgusting
Available for RM2 for one or RM15 for 10 copies.
Demo Aksi Bersama 2008 CD-R
According to the band’s myspace page, RESTART is an old band revitalised and different from their previous style. What was the old sound? I don’t know but this new incarnation is pretty raw blistering stuff. It’s a mix of old-style hardcore riffage with a more relentless hardcore-punk rage and reckless speed. Some tunes featured growling bits and even heavy breakdowns.
Coming in from the currently very active PJ HC crew (Petra Jaya, Kuching, Sarawak NOT Petaling Jaya!), RESTART is on a good route that eschews traditional HC for a rather fresh output. Not quite I Shot Cyrus, nor it is Limpwrist but the dirty fastcore attempt is there in the rather muddled mix.
On the whole, the guitarist may need to tune his guitar properly next time but this 8-song CD-R features a promising abrasive singer and a good band waiting to be driven further.
Aksi Bersama by Restart
I bought this for RM6 and it comes with a full-colour sleeve, unlike some other copies on the merch tables which were photostated.
Hardcore Is Back Demo CD-R
(Real Sight Records)
Another Petra Jaya HC band but this time with a considerable growling grindcore twist to their thrashing hardcore sound. Featuring two members who also play with RESTART and KURASAKUASA, DEADWORM is a result of hardcore kids slamming into the scuzzier end of hardcore punk.
Their attempt at mixing the elements doesn’t really work at times but it is a commendable effort. The first five tracks are mostly grindcore exercises but the rest features a more fastcore dirt (such as Mosh Anthem). There is also one I SHOT CYRUS cover (From Thrash To Thrash) and I think the Brazilian band must have played a big role in getting the speedier dirt into these kids’ consciousness.
Mosh Anthem by Deadworm
Mental Syndrome Demo CD-R
The guitar sound is pretty weak here nevertheless it’s a decent 4-tracker from this Sabahan hardcore band. According to some gig flyers on their myspace site, MENTAL SYNDROME is from Ranau and I’m kicking myself for not contacting these guys earlier. I was in the small town for a few hours last Saturday, walked around, had lunch and visited the local “tamu” (pasar minggu).
Mental Syndrome sounds like they are just starting out here. It’s apparent that the band would need more time and a better grip on what they want to present before we all can be suitably impressed. That said, after being in Ranau for a few hours, I must say that I’m quite surprised to know that there’s a small scene there. Dang! I could have hung out with these guys and get to know more.
Muzik Menyatukan Kita by Mental Syndrome