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The Derelicts

Life of Strife (Digital Warfare)

Anyone familiar with Seattle rock ‘n’ hardcore band Zeke won’t be surprised with the sort of music that founding member Donny Paycheck is digging up for his own Digital Warfare Records label. Besides his own band, he’s looking for the gnarliest, nastiest, most uncompromising punk rock out there, and has put out releases by the likes of The Cutthroat Brothers, The Hip Priests, The Insurgence, The Hookers, and more. It’s all great stuff, and Digital Warfare is fast becoming one of those labels you want to explore — bands you’ve never heard of that you want to look into.

This Derelicts album is certainly special. It’s the Seattle band’s first release in a quarter of a century, and it’s a tribute to drummer Richard “Ric Deathchild” Michael Bilotti, who died in ’99. Paycheck himself is on the stool for this album.

They’re being pushed as a pre-grunge outfit, and that’s true in the sense that, in Seattle before grunge, there was punk rock. There’s a solid argument to be made that grunge really was just punk rock, sludge/stoner rock, or a combo of both. But boil it down, and this Derelicts album is just a gloriously nasty punk record. Loud, angry and perfectly offensive.

“This is the Derelicts first release in 25 years,” the label says on an accompanying press release. “The band is a solid unit cranking out some of the best punk since the ’80s. This album has five new songs and a sprinkling of the best songs from past 7” releases. It is fierce and in your face.”

That it is. It’s tough to pick out specific tracks because they fire past so fast, like a Ramones record but minus the Beach Boys/girl group dynamics. If you’re not into it, you might complain that the songs are monotonous, but that is somehow the great thing about it. 15 slices of sledgehammer-heavy punk, coming at you without mercy. Goddamn, it’s great.

Life of Strife is out now via Digital Warfare Records.

(Digital Warfare)