Citing their main influences as Every time I Die, Dillinger Escape Plan and Rise Against it was impossible to resist giving The Nika Riots a spin. The Norwegian hardcore band state that “rather than bringing anything new to the table”, they’re instead “trying to smash it to bits”.

Their blend of hardcore is laden with heavy riffs, reminiscent of ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ era Gallows but in no way a direct clone. Perhaps more of a descendent or distant relative if you will. Although The Nika Riots have just released their debut EP ‘Set Fire’ via Negative Vibe Records the band themselves are no ‘newcomers’ Featuring members of Man the Machetes, Torch and ieatheartattacks, The Nika Riots are already establishing themselves on the Norwegian hardcore/metal scene and surely before long they’ll be conquering the rest of the continent.

“Everyone loves a messy ending!” Well, London trio Ice Cold Slush certainly do. The band have just released their debut album ‘Live at Moth Club, London’ via US based punk label Burger Records. ICS play lo-fi, indie-punk with guitars so fuzzy that they wouldn’t sound out of place on a Sub Pop record from the 90s.

Ice Cold Slush’s performance isn’t a far cry from the golden era of British punk in the 70s. With two front women tending to double up their vocals, there’s something slightly sinister about their youthful voices layered over the fuzz-submerged instrumental tracks. Think X-Ray Spex fronted by the twins from The Shining.

Taking the simplistic approach of ‘less is more’, ICS generate catchy vocal hooks and guitar riffs one after the other with an almost careless abandon. So don’t be a ‘Boring Bonehead’, put on your ‘Chucky Boots’ and let Ice Cold Slush give you ‘Brainfreeze’.

Mind are a hardcore band from London with very specific goals that they’re trying to achieve. First and foremost is the raising of awareness of mental health issues and getting young people to start opening up and talking about them. Due to the tragic loss of a friend who’d been affected by anxiety and mental health issues, the band are dedicated to using their music as a way of sharing these important facts. The EP title alone, ‘One In Four’, is the shocking statistic of people that suffer each year with these illnesses.

Having listened to and been impressed by the EP, I caught their first show and saw just how they were  bringing these facts to light. Taking time between songs to explain what the band stood for and why with such conviction, it really struck a chord with me as well as encompassing everything that made me fall in love with hardcore music in the first place. Mind are not scared to speak out, tell their story and stand up for a cause they strongly believe in whilst making the music they love. That said there’s no style over substance here as their EP and live performance are both crushing and unstoppable. “You’re not a slave to your mind” is the message and it’s delivered with the raw emotion and importance a topic of this nature deserves.

Right off the bat I’ll admit that this track isn’t the sort of thing you’d expect to see posted on a website with ‘punk’ in the name. But, that being said, the production and story behind this recording are both ‘punk as fuck’. This track (as well as the rest of the album) was recorded in the German duo’s motorcycle garage using only two microphones, with additional percussion coming from a rusty, old bike chain repeatedly being dropped onto a wooden platform. It doesn’t get much more DIY than that.

The song itself is fairly bluesy rock orientated but brims with punk ethos in that it’s overflowing with raw and real emotions, sung like there’s no tomorrow. Fynn & Philipp had met at a skatepark and discovered they were both fans of The Smiths, The Cure and Minor Threat to name but a few, so it’s not hard to see where the duo get their DIY ideologies from. Although The Picturebooks don’t play ‘punk’ by genre definition, they’re definitely ‘punk’ by attitude and this song demonstrates that as zero fucks are given.

Metal has always seemed to be the dominant musical output from Norway and the surrounding Scandinavian countries, but recently all that has been changing. More and more punk bands are emerging but still bringing with them something cold, something distinctive, that sets them apart from anywhere else in the world.

Describing themselves as ‘Norwegian stonerpunk / hardcore’, there was no way I wasn’t going to check out Bokassa. I was captivated even further by their black & white horror movie, inspired music video. Mixing the speed and aggression of hardcore punk with groovy, stoner guitar riffs and howling gang vocals, Bokassa had me at ‘hello’. ‘Walker Texas Danger’ closes out with the lyrics “not dead yet, last of my kind” and after listening to their work I’m glad they’re not. Long live Bokassa.

In the past few years, I’ve noticed that more and more black metal bands are emerging from the United States as well as Europe. Woe happen to be one of those bands. I’d been blissfully unaware of their existence until earlier this week when our editor, Glen, told me to give this track a spin. The track ‘No Blood Has Honor’ definitely set the tone for the day after listening to it that morning. Cheers mate…

Combining both the classic ‘cold’ and negative black metal sound, along with the more modern post-metal ambient elements, ‘No Blood Has Honor’ bridges the gap between the black metal of old and the new wave. It’s fast, it’s ferocious and it sounds twice as impressive if you play it really fucking loud!

I hadn’t heard of Diet Cig until an email appeared in my inbox with a request to post some news about their new single, ‘Tummy Ache’.  I was intrigued by their album artwork and the fact that the band is only a two piece. I can’t remember the last time I listened to a song that was so infectious and really got under my skin.

The band describes the track as an “approach to punk with radical softness” as well as “the shout into my pillow when what I’m saying isn’t being heard”. The contrast in those two descriptions was enough for me to hit play and I haven’t looked back since. As a result of listening to this emotive track that tackles oppression and sexism, I’ve not been able to stop singing “it’s hard to be a punk while wearing a skirt,” for a week now.

There are always certain elements that will draw me towards a band and make me want to investigate them further. If the music is ‘in your face’, oozes with attitude and crowned with costumes or theatrics, then nine times out of ten that band will have my undivided attention. Add the word ‘Turbojugend’ to that list and I’ll drop everything, ten for ten, I’m all ears.

I’ve been a fairly ‘obsessive’ fan of Bitch Queens for a number of years now and feel it’s only right that I share this dirty little secret with you all. Hailing from Basel in Switzerland, Bitch Queens have been greatly underestimated in my opinion. Only god knows why though as they’ve got a bloody impressive back catalogue to explore including several split releases with UK punks The Hip Priests, the most recent of which being a tribute EP to the late Lemmy Kilmister.

Bitch Queens play harder, faster and sexier than just about anyone else. One listen to their ‘Kill Your Friends’ album and before you know it, you too will be denim clad, glittery eyed and sneering ferociously at anyone that crosses your path.