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Label: Out of the Darkness fanzin

Date: Apr 13th, 2023

Here’s an idea! Instead of having every scene report end with “the new kids are inexistent”, let’s dig’em up and support them. Truth is that they are out there, however few they might be, we just like acting all-important and all-knowing. Plus, it’s much easier to bitch about our generation being the last of the true ones, “before social networking, before internet, before smartphones, before wheel…” I won’t lie, I do have moments like these too, even if attempting to become a reviewer is basically prohibiting such behavior.

And then a fanzine appears (also run by old figures on the Serbian scene) with a slap to the face of every close-minded midlife-crisis-struck hater out there. This split CD is just that. Five young newcomers to the scene. Not just new bands, but new individuals running them. All of them based in Belgrade, Serbia. Okay, sure, the members intertwine so that you can hardly figure out who’s playing what and with whom, but still there’s dozen of guys in their late teens / early twenties rocking it out loud for about thirty three minutes.

Anyway, with the new issue (#14) of Out of the Darkness fanzine, you can get this CD for free. It is neatly designed, complete with full lyrics, band photos, logos and liner notes written by the zine’s editor. Of course, the zine itself is a beauty, so I would recommend getting it even without the CD, this or any of the previous issues. If you can read Serbian, all the better. Otherwise, there’s a lot of fine photos in there, design is awesome and you can just admire the effort of a small group of enthusiasts from a small, god-forsaken country in the Balkans.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Out of the Darkness is a zine dedicated to punk and hardcore. Naturally, you can guess that the bands on this split release are also orbiting around the same genres. More or less.

The one to open this split is Neven. Did I mention they are quite young? And right at the start we are getting pulverized by merciless hardcore. However, the quartet is mixing it out a lot. Basing their sound around early nineties hardcore, they’ve added reggae, tribal and Tibetan (might be, I’m not an expert, but it made me think of it) influences from the friendly neighbors Eyesburn. A dose of rap lurks in the vocals, leaning the band towards nu metal. Adding to it this wholly and ultra-positive messages (come on, you all know who I’m talking about here) of love, hope and peace… Well, you get a collection of three rather interesting songs.

Although Neven could be (and easily) shoved into the hardcore drawer, nobody can accuse them of not at least attempting to think outside the box. I would add that they did it nicely, promising even more as their music and creative power develops.

After a promising announcement, there’s an utter dismemberment, both physical and psychological, within and without. Majak is a trio that handles a tough to handle hardcore with a couple of extra influences as well. Their first two titles are basic, fast hardcore punk songs that are slowly adding guitar harmonies (the opener) then the slow, sluggish middle section (the follower) only to end up with a sludgy, emotional scream from the top of grief-stricken lungs (the closer).

Somehow, the progression of these three songs seems absolutely perfect. The way they evolve into one another, develop from start to finish and spew forth likely the best lyrics of the entire release. Lately I’ve discovered a Macedonian band by the name of YÖU and that’s the closest comparison I can come up with.

Stellar performance which makes me think they can go two ways from here. Either they are going to become absolute legends in the years to come, or they are going to find a way to ruin it all. Let’s wait and see.

Meanwhile, welcome Nabod!, exclamation mark included. They are the first straight-forward band on the disc. Quite easy to describe, so I can rest up a bit. Hardcore punk with just a hint of crossover in there. Best compared with domestic heroes Nadimač at their fiercest, most hardcore episodes. Included within these six track are momentary lapses into garage influenced punk that brings to mind another local legend. Namely, Concrete Worms. Strong, political lyrics with a whole lot of attitude, accompanied with such an electrifying music hits exactly where necessity demands, powering up some future barricades.

Now, if you need a breather, you’re in for a nasty surprise. The next band in this bunch is sort of an intruder, on two accounts. First of all, they are the only band here that sings in English. Rest of them are keeping to their native language. Secondly, Chemical Tomb is the least hardcore of them all. At least on these two tracks. Then again, these were recorded a couple of years ago, so the newer ones might be more fitting to this CD.

Nevertheless, these two tracks are good enough to stand on their own and will hardly make me think less of this release. Particularly since I’m a massive Exodus fan and Chemical Tomb’s thrashing reminds me mostly of this Bay Area legend. Sure, there are hints of crossover inside, but most of this is pure thrash metal. My only remark would be the usage of humor in the second track’s lyrics. It’s a matter of my personal taste though and it will probably not influence anybody else’s opinion.

Is anybody still reading this review? I’m getting into the fourth hour of writing about a release that doesn’t get to thirty five minute mark, so you better be checking out these bands by now.

But bear with me for just a bit longer. So that I can finish with the fifth band presented here. Closing this esteemed split is the band called Bednici. Now here’s a band that almost completely fails in hitting a nerve with me. Again, a matter of personal taste as I’m sure there are people out there who would be obsessed with this trio. With Bednici we are returning to hardcore, emotional one, with roots in the early years of the new millennium. Local bands like 36 Daggers, Unison or Tibia could be correct comparisons, though I wouldn’t quite say the band is following closely in their footsteps. Especially in the faster segments where the band is striving for purity in old hardcore punk (the second song). The third one is a combination of the two schools complementing each other, with lyrics calling out for ecological revolution.

While at lyrics, these are versatile and well-composed. What’s more, the mentioned one regarding the collapse of natural world is the weakest of the bunch.

Still, when you put all this together, there’s a coherent picture of a band that has an idea, though I’d say there’s still work to be done on rough edges. And there’s the question of my personal taste that remains but that’s absolutely my problem and should be of no concern to Bednici.

So, where are we after all has been said and done? Well, this is a release that can only put a smile on your face. No less than five brand new bands put together! Hey, that’s something! Now go ahead and type each of their individual names into your browsers, like, share, hashtag, tiktok or whatever you find appropriate. Support them!

 

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