Bombardement, EP (Symphony of Destruction, Kick Rock Records, Destructure, 2020)

My newest lockdown obsession is Bombardement. The Bordeaux based hardcore punk band just dropped an essential 7” through a triumvirate of labels to watch. Kick Rock Records, Symphony of Destruction, and Destructure all had a hand in seeing the band’s eponymous EP committed to wax.

I’ve done my homework retroactively and, digging backwards through their discography, they arrived with their fingers on the nuclear codes, a fully realized proposition. Boasting a rad 2016 demo and a sterling 2019 long player, D-beat and raw hardcore fans would be wise to take notes.

Having covered the mighty but underrated Swedish D-beat crew Meanwhile on their aforementioned first recording, Bombardement’s starting point has similar coordinates. They also excel at no frills crusty hardcore and keep the proceedings appropriately short.

Brutal brevity aside, I hear bits of influence from the more punk-leaning Imperial Leather to the straightforward rabid fury of Totalitär, yet they manage a unique and defining quality all their own. Scattered throughout the songs are squealing guitar lines that fall somewhere closer to Holy Terror hardcore. 

Opener “Blood. Cash. Self-Destruction” is a dexterous blend of thrash leads and rampaging D-beat, sounding as apocalyptic as the bombs gracing the cover. Pairing a sharp and treble-heavy raw hardcore bent with an intimidating low end rhythm section, Bombardement's biggest asset is that they seem to come from the school of minimalism, lyrics-wise.

Spitting out venomous couplets with a shouty cadence a la Discharge or even Anti-Cimex, the desperate repetition feels urgent and chaotic. Inasmuch as the sound pays homage to the halcyon days of crust punk, the band doesn't pay much mind to genre confines. Midway through there’s a ripping guitar solo that feels far more pained or tortured than it does flashing its chops. 

Photo: Jesse Heroindöd

The fires are at last unleashed on the following track “Summoning Flames.” Starting in much the same exhilarating fashion, the guitars arrive as if in mid-solo. Their off the rails approach is typified by my favorite moment on the EP.

As the minute mark is ushered in, there’s an isolated and quick-picked bass riff that feels utterly devastating. As if awaiting the shells of munitions to shower down upon the listener, it feels like the floor is giving way. Alongside a blazingly fast drummer, it feels like they’re racing to the song’s end only to smash willingly into a wall. 

Surprise of the release certainly goes to “My Own Satan.” The opening salvo of the third track starts off with, date I say, swagger? In a style not employed elsewhere, Bombardement clearly excel just as well playing Motörhead’s mid-paced groove, giving leg up on the monitor vibes.

It feels a bit like “City Weapons” era Inepsy, if they’d grown up on the twin leads of Thin Lizzy. The vocals are the true MVP on this ripper, feeling as desperate as ever but given a bit of space to breathe and enunciate. This more stripped back variation on their D-beat, raw hardcore is killer. 

“Abyssal Grave” though? This is a crusher that gladly ushers in more “four on the floor” galloping D-beat with aggressively relentless drumming which is perhaps the foundational key to a good crust band. Just prior to the 1:30 mark, there’s what appears to be a slowdown moment.

There’s a perfect vocal break pulling what almost feels like a mosh call. Instead, the false moment of reprieve is decimated with a reckless doubling down of speed. Beneath it all is a piercing pastiche of feedback and distortion that ultimately pushes us out the door. 

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