Recently the polish label RATEL RECORDS released the debut 7“ of the also polish hardcore punk band SNUFF OUT. Since the quality of this release is so magnificent the time had come for me to dig deeper into the hardcore punk scene of our eastern neighbours. In hindsight of the research I’m really asking myself why I never had the idea bevor. The scene seemed to have grown incessantly during the last five years, completly unnoticed by most, because many bands, labels and clubs aren’t really known to us which is what I want to change with this article. If you ask polish hardcore kids what is special about their scene you will mostly hear „We are a 100% antifascist hardcore scene“. Having this attitude is not natural in a country which isn’t really kown for its good external policy and that has been seethes in its domestic policy for a while now. Due to the aggressive appearance of many neonazis, rascists or hooligans the hardcore scene of our neighbours goes beyond music. Apart from things like solidarity, loyalty and 100% support of the bands and locations, training collectivley in self-defense groups is high on the agenda more and more often.
Simple lips services won’t do in ordner to be part of this. Bookers or bands which demonstrably have e.g. organised shows with nazi bands are excluded consistantly and not only in the local area. Thus keeeping hardcore nazi-free is the top priority of polish hardcore youth and, damn, that is a good thing. Passion is written with a captial P, too, which the result that gigs here are looking how gigs shoulds look like.
Visiting HC-concerts one can find skinheads, punks, hardcore kids, skater and other subgroups. Everyon is welcome, with the exception of misanthropists, of course. No matter if you are in Warsaw, Posen, Crakow or Katowice, one is trying to stick together and turn the scene into a family.
But let’s get back to the music. As meantioned above, the current SNUFF OUT release LET IT GO made me want to extend my knowledge about the scene there. The quartett from Posen in the Greater Poland Voivodeship impresses with whirling hardcore punk sounds that are frustrated to the core and don’t need to hide from any german, UK- or US-based band. Especially the agressive vocals and the awesome riffs are likely to stay in your ear for a while. With short songs which never exceed the two minute mark and sophisticated lyrics the young polish have blossomed out to be one of the best bands at this time in their country. Let’s stay in Posen, a city which should be especially interesting for bands or bookers from eastern germany, because it is not that far away and is home to another band besides SNUFF OUT, which has been on the rise for quite a while, namely the hardcore punk/fastcore combo FIGHT THEM ALL.
Already in 2012 the guys have thrilled the polish scene with their DEMO. Having played a neat amount of shows and released two other records till today, FTA, the hardcore punks from Posen aren’t unknowns anymore, at least not on a national level. With sounds somewhere between 80s HC and groovy, metallic riffs, these four confirm that hardcore from posen stands for quality. Local bands need to play gigs and in Poland that is where it gets a little tricky. Many concerts need to be illegal and staged at abandoned places, for example in Lodz in the HOSPITAL UNIT, a vault in the tunnels of the bigges local hospital. Necessity begets ingenuity! In case you are up for staging a gig in Posen, or maybe just visit a show, you should go see ROZBRAT or the POD MINOGA, which is the local venue for concerts and hanging out.
Fight them All are under contract at the DIY underground label DIY KOLO RECORDS, plus at the probably biggest and outside of Poland best known distributor of punk and hardcore punk REFUSE RECORDS. This label exists for 23 years now and has acquired an excellent reputation for release in the punk/hardcore/hardcore punk section. Besides FIGH THEM ALL one can purchase, e.g. a sound carrier of the spanish Youth Crew band APPRAISE and the german combo MINDTRAP. Even Poland’s most appreciated HC PUNK band at this time is under contract.
I’m talking of GOVERMENT FLU, who are on a west coast tour through the United States right now, which should tell you everything about the quality of this band. With a lot of releases these guys should be a household name to one or the other hardcore fan from Germany. With raw, angry 80s HC-Punk à la BAD BRAINS, BLACK FLAG oder NEGATIVE APPROACH, the band from Warsaw can stoke up the crowd or even make it rage.Being virtually in Warsaw right now; Here we can probably find the most aktiv and the biggest part of the polish Hardcore Punk scene, with the exception of Silesia. Along with well-known locations, such as Squat Przychodnia, which has been playing host to DIY shows for years or the Hydrzagadka, there is one location especially one reads and hears about a lot and which is recommended frequently.
I’m talking about the CHUMRY, a club which gives you the chance to see bigger acts from the USA, UK and the rest of the world. It seems to be one of the considered adresses in all of Poland in general when it comes to hosting punk concerts.
Another band from Warsaw is HEATSEEKER, which have made their third release recently, a PROMO TAPE with short, but expressive Hardcore Punk tracks, which just are flushing the brains. Snappy vocals, thoroughly cracking instruments ensure that the scene can’t be imagined without them. This combo, which has, among others, also played with MENTAL REFUSE and INNER UNREST, should be kept and eye on for sure, since the PROMO TAPE has huge quality and a coming release will certainly another jump ahead. The physical sound carrier will be the first realease of the still young label YOUTH 2 YOUTH RECORDS of which one can be anxcious to see which bands will drop a release there in the future.
Another absolutly recommendable band from Warsaw is STREET LIGHTS whose sounds reminded me of bands such as BENT LIFE or SOUL GROUND, due to their groove and their slow style of playing that is usually more present in metal. Anyway, the four them are audibly pissed and frustrated! Especially in small, narrow locations these guys should able to demolish neatly.You can find a really awesome Oi!/Streetpunk Band Warsaw, too, which is GLORY DAYS. There is three of them and they can deliver on anthem after another, due to their melodic Oi!- Punk à la BISHOPS GREEN, which made the trio very popular and their shows allways well-attended.
I really didn’t expect to stumble over a good antifascist Oi! Band
from Poland one day! All the more happier I am with this find, because with melancholic guitar riffs and catchy vocals the Varsovians are quickly hogging their listeners. Their lates EP CHAOS RITE ist a sound carrier consisting of three ear worms. So go for it! Another very cool locations ist das MELINA in Zalesie Górne ca. 19 kilometers (ca 12 miles) south of Warsaw. Old skate park, vast compaund and therefore an ace location to stage shows and stuff. In case you are Warsaw you absolutely need to check out the compound.
However, the MELINA CREW is not only responsible for shows and booking, but also ready with a small label which, for example, has released the SUICIDEBYCOP disc. Someone who is planing a gig in Warsaw and its surroundings should definately get in touch with BOREDOM BOOKINGS, probably the hottest booking crew in Poland. Past shows boasted with such as HARMS WAY, BLIND AUTHORITY or VIOLENT REACTION, IMPLORE or ACxDC.
North between Posen and Warsaw Torun, a wonderful town, is located, which produced two Hardcore combos who are absolutely worth listening. First, there is the 80’s HC-Punk band SUICDEYBYCOP , whose music rampages somewhere between skate sounds and frustrated punk. You shouldn’t turn your back on both of the guys‘ EPs, especially when you are skating yourself they should give you please. Another well-known band from Torun and the thereabouts are CONCRETE DOGS who are in somewhat of a indentification stage right now and on hold. It’s a pity. I was fond of this band, because of their Killer Youth Crew sounds, especially. Live they seem to have demolished neatly, I’ve been told. Talking of youth crew and Oi!-Punk I can entrust you one other bands. PRISONERS BY CHOICE form Lubin, south of Warsaw, are relatively new and just in july they have released their strong debut.
Just like with GLORY DAYS, one can marvel at melodic and melancholic Oi! songs, which score through sublime vocals and somehow motivating vibes. Soundwise one is treated with unblemished Oi! post punk. This quartett you shouldn’t let slip through your fingers, because their ear worms won’t dissolve so quickly. Let’s have a closer look on Silesia, because here the scene has been very aktiv and growing over the passt few years. Nothing works with without SILESIA RIOT CREW (SRC) who are organising concerts, pushing bands and are providing with the necessary footage.
In Katowize most of all seems to be a lot going on. Im INWERSJA for example, a little venue with genuine living room atmosphere. YOU BETTERUN there is a great band from Silesia. These four hardcore punks from Ruda Slaka are whirling everything away that gets in their way with their gloomy and fast riffing. On their latest release the snappy vocals, reminding one of british street punk, are most convincing. YBR are bringing great potential with them and could easily take the step and become popluar beyond polish boarders in the future.
The next combo from the region is BRIGHT LIGHT who are convincing by their ingenious youth crew hardcore. Here, too, the vocals are a prominent factor, even though the song structures and basslines really are noteworthy as well. Everyone who likes youth crew will be delighted by BRIGHT LIGHT.
In august this year the first Hardcore/Oi/Punk festival was staged in Silesia. The NEVER FORVIE NERVER FORGET FEST is not only supported by SRC, but also by e.g. BLACK WEDNESDAY RECORDS or DIY KOLO RECORDS.The line up consisted of the creme de la creme of the polish scene and many of the afore-meantioned artists. The second volume is already in the pipeline and will go down on the last weekend of august 2017. I’ll try to be there for sure, if the line up can match the previous one, this is nothing to be missed.
You can experience workshops, a martial arts tournament, a lot of nature and enough good and most of all vegan food.
One of the main acts of this year’s NFNF-Fest was the straight edge combo VICIOUSXREALITY, which might be a household name for one or the other hardcore kid in Germany already. Nasty and yet groovy youth crew harcore with XXX attitude. Up to now the guys have released two records, one of which being two years old already. Might be we are surprised by a new release, but with expectations rising, you will take your time to make the fans happy. Also, I’ve been told that VxR are tearing places down, which is underpinned by some footage. Personally, MENTALLY ILL are the once for which I hope the most that they will become popular internationally. They have released a insanely good demo at the end of 2015. Lyrically and musically nearly to good for being a debut, one can only wait anxciously for a coming release. Angry youth crew hardcore punk à la MENTAL REFUSE or even DOGCHAINS. From time to time the sound is subducted with a metallic riff, which makes the songs diverse enough.
Of all bands from Poland that I got to listen the MENTALL ILL’s DEMO is definately the strongest debut release I could find. 2017 this band will very likely be appearing on flyers for hardcore shows in germany. In case you want to browse some more, the following labels, which are shining with good distro and a good asortement, should be entrusted to you. First, RATEL RECORDS whose latest release was the SNUFF OUT, but ELEPEHANT SKIN RECORDS, BLACK WEDNESDAY or WARSAW PACT RECORDS are worth visiting, too, in case you are stoked for Punk/Oi! and harcdcore releases from the underground, not everyone you know has already heard. It’s worth to have a look!
As you can see our eastern neighbours have a really good scene to offer, which not only consists of great band that should be supported, but also of locations, solidarity and a lot of spirit. Just give on or the other combo a listen, check the live footage, distros and artworks and connect the dots of the polish hardocre punk scene yourself. Recommend and support what you like, because only that way we might be able to see some acts from Poland live.
POLISH HARDCORE PUNK ISN´T DEAD YET!
Snuff Out Facebook/Snuff Out Bandcamp
Fight Them All Facebook/Fight Them All Bandcamp
Government Flu Facebook/Government FLU Bandcamp
Heatseeker Facebook/Heatseeker Bandcamp
Glory Days Facebook/Glory Days Bandcamp
SuicidebyCop Facebook/SuicideByCop Bandcamp
Bright Light Facebook/Bright Light Bandcamp
You Better Run Facebook/You Better Run Bandcamp
Prisoners by Choice Bandcamp
Street Lights Facebook/Street Lights Bandcamp
ViciousxReality Facebook/ViciousxReality Bandcamp
Mentally Ill Facebook/Mentally Ill Bandcamp