Yambag, Strength in Nightmares (Convulse Records, 2022)

Mile-high punk purveyors Convulse Records has not so quietly assembled a veritable murderer’s row of artists.

Continuing their damn-near automatic Midas touch, the label has just dropped a new one from an up and coming slugger… Cleveland’s Yambag. 

Building on their monstrous 2020 full-length comes the brand new 7-inch, Strength in Nightmares

Though barely north of 8 minutes, it’s an imminently playable slab of wax that I sure as shit better see on your year end lists. This is the best fast hardcore record of 2022. I’ll say it again at the end so stick around. 

Opener “inclusiòn” flies outta the gate. It’s a bilingual and bilious banger that pairs blown out fastcore to sneering vocal chaos that lands decidedly on the punk end of the spectrum. Clevo devotees will find all the requisite danger and chaos that sets their town apart.

As likely to please fans of hometown wild ones 9 Shocks Terror as it is Protocol and their ilk, it’s Yambag's sprinting abilities that truly rounds out their considerable arsenal. To Live a Lie loyalists need this immediately.

Fans of World Peace, Cell Rot, and Brain Tourniquet should scramble to get this limited treasure. 

Self dubbed the fastest in hardcore, they just might be right. You needn’t look much further than the speed trial racket of highwater marks “Seclusion” or “…Without Sin” to get your fix of the fast. It eschews the precision of grind but matches every bit the tempo. The drumming is of particular note, as somehow managing to keep the whole thing on the rails is a towering achievement. 

Elsewhere, “Capture the Flag” and Yambag's cover of Cryptic Slaughter's “Lowlife” are both world class. The former finds them at their absolute snottiest and catchy. Built around a stellar bass riff, they ease up on the gas just enough to nail us with a demented earworm.

At 2:18, the latter is an epic by their standards. The vocals bounce and rattle with a rambunctiousness and barely controlled energy that can only be captured by, you guessed it, Will Killingsworth.  

Photo: Joe Lacey

I’ll leave you with a pointless anecdote… When I was growing up, I had a teacher tell me that I lacked testicular fortitude. I had no idea what that meant, but it roughly translates to “You don’t have a yambag.” Now THAT’D be fucking tragic. Good thing that us lucky fucks do, in fact, have Yambag.

I told you earlier and I’ll tell you again. This is the best fast hardcore record of 2022 and you need it, like now. I’m team Convulse and they keep hitting home runs. 

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