Monday, May 11, 2020

HARD STRIKE – THE CONFLICT (2020, Backbite Records) REVIEW

I haven't wrote reviews in a while, but I will always review the actual record sent to me like guys from Hard Strike did and thanks for that one more time!

Hard Strike is a hardcore punk band with members from Germany and USA and The Conflict is their first release in a form of 7˝ EP released by Backbite Records from Karlsruhe, Germany that was released earlier this year. Hard Strike was formed at the beginning of 2019 between long time friends Martin Schultz (Blank, Null Art) on vocals and Markus Münch (Baffdecks, Bone Idles) on guitar and soon after they wrote few songs, Markus contacted his old band mate Maurice Müller (Bone Idles) for the drums and Martin his friend Dan Africa (Punch, I Recover) for the bass. Soon after that, Martin contacted Ken Olden (Battery, Better Than A Thousand, Face The Enemy) with whom he had become friends in recent years.

The EP is on a clear vinyl and mine is 109 our of 300 for all the collector nerds out there. The cover is silk-screened and it looks pretty cool with a lyrics sheet inside. There is also a patch and stickers by the band, that's what I got at least. I'm not sure how and where the band have rehearsals but the records was recorded at 79 Sound studio in Cologne, Germany where the German part of the band is based.

There are four songs on the EP in 8 minutes of what I would describe as 90's influenced hardcore. The songs are mid tempo with mostly shouting vocals including group singalongs that are sometimes sang not just shouted which is interesting and reminds me a little bit of Nations Of Fire. There are also some Dag Nasty-ish guitar melodies here and there but I wouldn't say that the band wants to imitate any certain band.

The lyrics are written from personal and critical point of view of an individual who strive for a better world. At least that's how I've perceived them. The record started to grow on me after a few listens and it's on my playlist for a few weeks now. The first song Time for a Change is may favorite because it's the most direct and it's the fastest song on the record. I wonder in what direction will Hard Strike go with their next record (possibly an album).

So, if you are into 90's sounding hardcore punk influenced by both European and USA hardcore punk bands from that era, check out Hard Strike!

You can listen the band's record on their bandcamp page or order a 7˝ EP directly from the band or from the distros that carry this 7˝ EP.

Gajo von IOSC aka The Snake

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Music top 10/20/50/whatever lists are kind of silly when you think about it. Don't get me wrong, I love making top lists of my favorite bands and records because basically they're fun to do. In my lifetime I've done and written countless top lists of records and bands that I like and I'm probably gonna continue to do more in the future. So, this is definitely not anti top lists column. But, I want to say some things about this topic, so hear me out.

If you are music fan and you are doing music top lists for your own sake and the merit of these lists is your own personal musical taste, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I or anyone else don't have to agree with your list but it's your personal taste and opinion, so who really gives a fuck, after all you are doing it for fun. But, the problem I have with are those journalist quasi official top lists in magazines, newspapers and on web portals and shit. You know those „The most important 20 punk rock records of all time“ lists and similar crap. These kind of lists are usually not judged by merit of quality of the band's music/record or how influential is the band, it's mostly based on a hype around some bands, being that some old so called legendary bands or some newest hype bands. People who make these lists are not doing 'em because of the love and appreciation for the music of the bands but because the editor told them to write this kind of article, that's basically it. So, these kind of lists are pointless, dumb and something to laugh at while eating breakfast.

There are sometimes lists done by a music fans that are written in that similar hype-rock-me-baby style and I find these kind of lists to be quite odd. One good example is recent list/article called „100 Best Punk & Emo Albums of the 2010's on: This list is written by a dude called Andrew Sacher, I don't know who's this dude, so I don't wanna drag his name here. I'm sure he's a fan of all these bands he listed here, but this list is from the very beginning completely wrong. If the title was: „Best post punk albums of 2010's“, that would be more appropriate then saying all of these 100 albums are falling into punk genre which is kind of ridiculous. I could go on and on about lots of bands from this list that don't have anything to do with punk and why is that but the topic of this column is not about that. But, I'm gonna add that bands like Paramore in no way can be called a punk band, even their early records, they were from the beginning just a pop band, nothing more. So, this list is pretty weird and doesn't really have much to do with punk music even though it's presented like that. Also, to label bands or records „emo“ as a music genre in this day of age is also kind of silly, just saying.

Let me explain more reasons why I think sometimes these kind of lists doesn't make sense and are kind of pointless. I will say again, if you're doing the list for fun, more power to you, have fun and make your own the most ridiculous music list in the universe. But, if you are trying to make a point with your list and you are writing more serious article about it, then maybe it's not bad to make some rules and limits, because if it's called top 10 (or more) best records/bands, then the list should justify that. For example, maybe not doing the best 100 records of some period, you can rather make a list of all the music you've listened in some period because that's basically it what you are doing, you just named it „the best 100 records of my ass“ list. Because if you are gonna name every record you liked from some period, you don't have to make the best 50 or 100 list, that's just pointless.

What I'm trying to say is that these top lists usually work the best if they are limited to a certain period, town, country, label, music genre or something else for that matter. For example if I'm gonna do top 10 of 80's hardcore punk records from Boston USA, this is quite easy because I narrowed the list to a certain town, music genre and a time period. And  there were lots of great Boston hardcore punk records in the 80's (especially in 1982-1985 period), so it's quite easy to make your own top 10 list of the best Boston 80's hc/punk records. But if you are doing the best 100 hc/punk records from some time period, that's already all over the place and the lists that are sized to less are mostly more fun because you have to give a more thought to choose your favorite top 10 bands/records of a certain period or whatever.

Every few years just for fun I do for myself a list of top 20 best hc/punk records from the 80's just to see if anything changed in my opinion. While few records are different every few years, there are those that will never leave this list like first D. R. I. record, first Circle Jerks 12˝, first Adolescents album, first T. S. O. L. album, Youth Of Today and you get the picture.

So, if you wanna do your crazy top lists for your own sake, go for it! If you are writing more serious article and making a list, think about why you think that certain band or record is important to you and why do you think that other people should listen to it. And fuck the hipster hype lists, I don't wanna hear it!

I am the Snake and I'm Deadly_138

Saturday, December 21, 2019



Hey Yo!

Here's my end of the year post, about how I spent the 2019 and some personal stuff. While 2018 was pretty intense and filled with some personal dramas (but also filled with lots of great moments) 2019 was more laid back for me but it seems that this year passed faster than the first D. R. I. EP! And while nothing much extraordinary happened, some cool stuff still happened so let's talk about that.

Mirror selfie at wagen platz, Hamburg, July 2019


Let's begin with RULES. This October it was four years how the band started and all I can say that we are not done yet and we still want to accomplish some things so we are ready for more new shows, tours and songs. The beginning of the year, actually whole past Winter was quiet and nothing much was happening with the band. Well, we managed to do a few new songs that we are very satisfied with and often when we play local shows after some time, we usually change our set a bit, so we don't play the same set for years. At the moment we play only one song from our first tape because as I've said we don't want to play the same set for five years and that first material we did, we really played a bunch that set for the first two years of the band. 

Anyway, in March and April we played two shows in Zagreb, first in Attack and the other in Surogat, both clubs inside of the Medika complex. The show in March was a promotion of a re-release of our first tape again on a tape, haha and that confused a lot of people because some of them thought that's our new material which we released few months later on a 7˝ EP. So, after a long time we finally released new material. The before mentioned tape is a much better quality tape with our first recording from 2016 that we released that same year by ourselves on a tape. This re-release was released by Destroy It Yourself Records and Mad Schnauzer Records. DIY Records is run by our good friend Boris from Lisbon, Portugal and behind Mad Schnauzer are Rules guitarist and two guys from The Truth. Our seven inch EP on vinyl was finally done this Summer, it's called Was It Six Or Five Shots? It has 6 rocking hardcore punk songs and it's released by four DIY hc/punk labels: Mad Schnauzer Records (Serbia/Croatia), Hardcore For The Losers (Vienna, Austria), DHP&AK47 (Zagreb, Croatia) and No Spirit Fanzine (Hamburg, Germany). All the people behind these label are our friends and if you can, please support their hard working DIY labels and distros. We are quite satisfied with the EP and the reviews for both tape and the 7˝ EP in various fanzines and online portals were all nothing but positive. 

In Summer we did a two weeks long tour with my other band THE TRUTH and this time from 13th to 25th July we played 12 shows in Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Germany. Overall it was a cool tour and we played in some cities and places that we never played before including Vilnius, Lithuania which was our farthest destination on this tour and that was also a great show. This time we didn't have any day offs but we managed to show up late and not play one show in Uherský Brod, Czech Republic which never happened before to us. At least our friend Honza fed us, gave us place to sleep and even gave us the money from the show which he wasn't obliged to do because it wasn't his fault that we were late, but that's just the guy Honza is, a true friend and a great host. It was nice to hang out at his place and catch up about stuff. While most of the shows were pretty cool on this tour, we talked a lot on this tour about how it's getting harder to book the tour during Summer especially in central part of the Europe and especially in July. Lots of bands tour Europe at that time of a year and it's getting harder and harder to catch the most hype places, dates  and cities to play a fucking DIY hc/punk show. We came to conclusion that maybe we could skip Summer tour the next year, but that's something we still need to talk about more as bands and see what we'll do next year. But this topic is definitely something that I think we need to address more between the bands and show organizers because I personally don't want to be a part of some popularity hype competition and that's not why I play in hc/punk bands and tour. I almost forgot one bad thing that happened to me during this tour. During The Truth set in Warsaw, somehow I hit myself in the right eye with a drum stick and it was pretty bad. For the rest of the tour my eye was quite fucked up and I could't see properly on the right eye. After the tour my eye recovered so you won't get rid of me for quite some time, haha! By the way, thanks again to everyone who helped us with the Summer 2019 tour, we truly appreciate it.


In front of Café na půl cesty, Prague, Czech Republic

RULES & THE TRUTH w/Karsten from No Spirit Fanzine/Records in Hamburg, Germany

 Hanging out in Vilnius, Lithuania, before the show

Somewhere in Poland

 RULES boys in Vilnius, Lithuania

RULES show at Café na půl cesty, Prague, Czech Republic

After the Summer tour, Rules had a few quiet months until October when we played a weekend at Podrum in Rijeka and at Nigdjezemska in Zadar (both in Croatia), two DIY places that are still going strong and that you should definitely check 'em out if you are playing or just visiting Croatia. Those both shows were great and it was nice to see some friends and familiar people after long time. In November Rules and The Truth played two festivals, first was Anti Fa Festival at Monte Paradiso Club in Pula, Croatia and the other was Making Punk A Threat Again at Venster 99 Club in Vienna, Austria. Playing at both of those fests was great, we played with some awesome bands and of course, got to see some friends and hang out. At the end of December, Rules will play a show at Mala Scena in Karlovac, Croatia with bunch of bands, so this will be a nice ending of this year from our part. 

All in all, not a bad year concerning records we released and shows, festivals and one tour. We plan to record soon new songs, probably in January 2020 which are so far only bands concrete plans for the near future. See ya next year at some show or somewhere...


It was no less interesting year for THE TRUTH. While the winter was quiet for the band, in Spring we did a Balkan tour with our friends from Barcelona, Spain and their band Addenda which is a great hardcore punk band mixing styles from fastcore to catchy hc/punk. Addenda guys flew direct to Skopje, Macedonia where was our first show of the tour. Dominik and I drove with his car, the day before our first show from Zagreb (Croatia) to Kraljevo (Serbia) where we met with the rest of the The Truth crew. We had rehearsal that evening and the next day we headed to Skopje with a rented van and later in Skopje we met with Addenda guys. From April 27th to May 5th, we played 7 shows in Skoplje - Macedonia, Thessaloniki - Greece, Ankara - Turkey, Istanbul – Turkey, Sofia – Bulgaria, Kraljevo – Serbia and Belgrade – Serbia. We had two days off, the first day off we chose for crossing the Turkish border and travelling to Ankara from Thessaloniki because that was a really long distance, about 850 kilometers. On our second day off we hanged out in Istanbul. 

THE TRUTH in Kraljevo, Serbia, before taking the road

THE TRUTH in Skopje, Macedonia

THE TRUTH & ADDENDA on Balkan tour, April 2019

As for choosing going all the way to Turkey especially because all of the political situation that is going on there lately, it was something that we wanted to do for a long time. We (The Truth) already played once in Istanbul in 2015 and it was a positive experience for us, it was great to meet punx from that part of the world and see that there's also a small but dedicated DIY hardcore punk scene concentrated mostly around Wargasm Collective who are a record label and DIY punk booking from Istanbul. So, just to be clear, we don't support Turkish government (like pretty much any other government) and we went to Turkey to meet and connect with other punx, that's it. 

Resting in Ankara, Turkey after a whole night drive

THE TRUTH in Istanbul, Turkey

Anyway, this was quiet an interesting tour altogether. It was kind of hard to book more shows in Greece at the time because of the Easter holidays but we managed to complete a nice and (very long) route. Most of the shows were cool and for me, personally it was great to watch Addenda guys fooling around on stage and delivering energetic hc/punk every night. Also, it was cool that we got even more close with Addenda guys, we share lots of the same ideas about DIY hc/punk and we had some quite interesting talks during the long drives and between sound checks. Also, finding out that those three dudes are total movies/series fans was a great thing and we couldn't stop talking about some silly sitcoms, classic movies and lots of the trash movies too. This was the first time that we toured with some band outside of Balkan and it was really great to get to know more Joseph, Fran and Iñaki who are genuinely nice guys. During the tour we had some problems with the van and travelling from Istanbul to Sofia was extremely dreadful but we managed to overcome all the obstacles and play a great show in Sofia. It's still fascinating to me how we are ready to travel long distances to play 25 minutes of pissed off hardcore punk and learn about DIY hc/punk in places we've never been before. Thanks to everyone who helped us in any way with this tour, we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts. The proper tour diary of this tour will appear in IOSC zine and probably on The Truth blog, but written in Croatian (well, for those who can't understand it, there's always a google translate, haha!).

In Spring The Truth released a live tape called Drive, Play, Sleep, Repeat! The tape is released on Mad Schnauzer Records and it contains our live set from the show we played in Kraljevo, Serbia in December 2018 with bunch of old hc/punk bands from Kraljevo. The sound is what you could expect from a live hc/punk recording, a bit raw in places but still energetic enough to blow your asses off. 

Our second tour this year was the European Summer tour with Rules that I've already wrote about earlier when I was going through Rules part of the 2019 so, I don't need to repeat myself about that tour. The last two shows The Truth played in 2019 were in November, both with Rules that I've already mentioned before: Anti Fa Festival at Monte Paradiso Club in Pula, Croatia and the other was Making Punk A Threat Again at Venster 99 Club in Vienna. Those were pretty cool shows to close this year for The Truth.

I won't say much about our album that we are working on but it's still in the process and we did few new songs during November of this year, so more about that when we finish all songs for the album. The future of The Truth for 2020 is kind of blurred at the moment because the bands vocalist is going to work in Africa next Spring, but we are not breaking up or giving up, so stay tuned. 


Every Zine issue that I put out in the last ten years

Let's talk a bit about the zines that I'm doing. This year I haven't put out any issue although I've been doing the International Old School Conspiracy # 20 from the second half of 2018. That is pretty long time even for me, because I usually put out at least one issue per year, but I guess I don't write as much as I've used to. That still doesn't mean that I don't write a lot (because I do), it's just that my involvement with dogs occupy most of my time and it's not always easy getting in the mood for the zine work. I planned to put out new zine called Deadly that is written in English for last Spring but some people didn't answered to my questions that I've send them which demotivated me about the said zine and then for the rest of the year I was mostly doing IOSC. I thought that new IOSC issue would be finished last Fall, but there's still so much more that I want to put into this issue because after all, it's a # 20 issue and I want to make it right and not doing a half ass job with this issue. So, I hope, IOSC # 20 will be finished this Winter, that's all I can say so far about it.

As for the Croatian tiny zine world, there are few new interesting zines that were put out this year, so let's hope that those zines will inspire others to put out some cool new zines. I still think that Croatian hardcore punk community could be so much more and that if people were more into doing and reading zines and if people were more interested in digging about hardcore punk in  general, everything here would be totally different and the main concience about DIY hc/punk would be more deep and passionate than it is now. I stand behind this 100 %, so remember, yes to zines and fuck drugs. 


This time I don't want to write about negative things concerning Croatian hc/punk because there are always things I could write about on and on that I think are fucked up inside the „scene“, but I've done my share of critics for my zine, so I want to say that there are also some more positive stuff going on then for example two years ago. There are more younger people involved with some interesting stuff like squatting and doing other usual but necessary stuff like playing in bands, doing shows, etc. At the moment Croatia has quite a few DIY places including some long running squats which wasn't the case before when rare squats that were going on wouldn't last long. So, if you're touring this part of the world, you can play a dozen cities in Croatia at the moment that have pretty cool running places for shows and other subversive gatherings. There are also lots of active hc/punk bands at the moment that are quite good and some bands are touring on regular basis which also wasn't a case before or at least very few Croatian hc/punk bands would tour or even play outside of Balkan. Again, I refuse to pretend how everything is great here but, let's end this time about this topic with some positive thoughts. 


Actually not much to say about myself and my state of mind during 2019. I was alright. Some minor financial problems here and there, but that's nothing I'm not used to already. Most of the year I was living alone (well, me and the dogs) and that was cool.


Rolex aka Roli

Anis aka Larry 

Also in 2019 not only I walked and pet sited bunch of cool dogs, eight dogs who were temporary in my home during the past year founded permanent homes (and one is currently with me looking for a home) which is pretty awesome. So, I guess this is something worth mentioning since I already write about myself but sometimes I feel a little bit awkward mentioning my involvement with foster dogs because the last thing I wanna do is to brag about it. Dogs are great beings and I will continue doing my part if I can to help those who needs a home.


Hercules aka Herki


So, basically a lot of my time this year was spent with dogs, I wasn't going to too many shows and only travelling that I did was with my bands and we definitely visited some pretty cool places this year.

Koka aka Nera



So, I'm cool, dogs are cool, the bands are cool, although the world is falling apart, well that's nothing new. 

Every record that my bands released in the last ten years


As I've said in previous post (if anyone even read that, haha!), I will try to write more for the blog in the way like I was in the beginning of the blog so expect lots of my rant about some of my favorite bands and records. So, read ya in 2020.

Gajo the Snake