Do you know the feeling? That feeling when a mowing limb of a fellow mosher strikes your face while another guy/girl is diving feet-first over your head into a sweat/beer-drenched packed venue and an awesome band that does practically the same on a 20 cm “high” stage is giving everything they’ve got? I know… It’s an indescribable satisfaction… God knows I love me some hardcore/punk, and lucky for me and every other enthousiast around me the Benelux is full of it. Terror Defence, Reproach, Sunpower, Hetze, Diss Guy, Haemers, Immigrants, really… the list is endless, beautiful right? They all took the scene by storm, for it is still one of the most devoted genres within the extreme. On the frontier among all those others in this DIY OR DIE army, there is RAW PEACE! And boy oh boy… they’re storming alright!!
I’m really happy that I am able to review the first RAW PEACE full-length album. Even though the duration of it doesn’t feel like a full-length haha, but that’s hardcore I guess. RAW PEACE is definitely one of the firmest bands around in the Belgian hardcore/punk underground these days. They are what you would call an “all-star band”, NO, not in an arty-farty commercial “we-are-better-than-you” kind of way. You see… RAW PEACE is the fierce, merciless and bridge-breaking spawn that came out of four stand-up guys that have already done a fair share of pure pounding hardcore throughout the years. Stijn (vocals) is active in the raging thrashcore band Reproach, and also in the sludgemonster Blind to Faith. Koen (guitar) started out with the legendary (or at least for me legendary) punk band Uitschot, and is now shredding guitars with the mince-core godfathers: Agathocles! And Tijs (drums) and Bert (bass) were both active in the first class (sadly already passed away) hardcore/punk formation Imaginary Dictionary, Bert also plays bass in Haemers (also one of my personal favorites!!). If you know at least one of these bands, you’ll know that these guys know how to serve their core, HARD and RELENTLESS!!
Last year they already released a proper four-tracked demo-cassette called Hand of Death, which was instantly welcomed home by punk, thrash and hardcore-maniacs like a cold beer after a long, warm day at work (you know those are the best!). A series of epic live shows followed (with personal high-point the gig in Kinky Star, Ghent, with Darmstadt, Black Heroin and Hetze! I’m still recovering from that one, hehe) and their legacy started growing rapidly! Though I claim they play hardcore/punk, the other heavy influences are ever-so there. Hailing everlasting legends like G.I.S.M. and Disclose whilst worshiping Kaaos and No Security AND I personally hear some kick-ass Nuclear Assault and Hellhammer vibes. Yet they manage to establish their own wall of sound, something hard to accomplish these days!
I couldn’t describe Total Death any better than the label it is released on (Hypertension Records) already did: “The sonic equivalent of a rabid pitbull on a rusty chain in an echoing, dirty back alley”, yep I couldn’t have done it ANY better… Stijn his voice to me has always been a bit of a mixture between Mike Judge (Judge) and Bill Crooks (Cryptic Slaughter), very convincing and violent, and in these recordings he sounds even more angry. There is definitely something on this guy’s mind, this is not just drunk-punk-bullshit, he knows what he is talking about, and the echo-effect on the vocals makes it sound so fucking heavy! GOOSEBUMPS! Tijs is drumming off-the-fucking-hook straight forward (the no strings attached kind), while Koen his riffing saws it’s way through your eardrums, and Bert tops it all off with a bass-sound that couldn’t fit any better within the whole package! Also the sound of Total Death really reminds me of the Nuclear Assault album Handle with Care, check it out if you think I’m talking crap (just the sound, not the style). All songs are outstanding! Personal favorites are War is Here (WAR IS HERE!! WAR!! IS!! HEEEERREE!!!), Canon Fodder and probably the best one on the album: POW!! This is probably gonna be an instant classic, so fucking groovy and energetic, I just cant stop moving when I’m hearing it. And that actually goes for the rest of the album as well, it’s pure fucking RAWNESS! Get it while it’s still hot! Actually I don’t think it’s ever gonna get cold….
Release date: October 26th, 2018
Label: Hypertension Records
2. Nuclear Mist
3. No Peace
4. War Is Here
5. Total Death
7. Endless Bloodbath
8. Canon Fodder
9. Mouth Of Hell
10. Body Bags