Uniting three hardcore punk legends from both sides of the pond, this release immediately caught my attention. I’m guilty of missing the band’s 2017 split with Travolta, but glad that I’m aware of them now, thanks to this timely release. With all lyrics and song titles in Dutch, Kartom Punk promises an authentic experience from the off.
Paul and Olav Van Den Berg, (guitar/vocals and drums respectively) have been around in one form or another since 1981 when they founded seminal self-proclaimed ‘extreme noise’ outfit Lärm. Straightedge before it was cool, they’ve always been outspoken, and their influence continued through the years until they formed another of the Netherlands’ leading punk lights, Seein’ Red. Joining them on bass is none other than Chris Dodge, as ubiquitous to the US punk scene as the Van Den Burg’s are to the Dutch one. Serving time in such American hardcore icons as Spazz, Infest, Hellnation and Despise You, he still found time to launch Slap-A-Ham Records and write for Maximum Rocknroll along the way.
As Nooit kicks things off with a classic feedback-bass intro, you’re immediately transported to the unmistakable environment of a sweaty basement show. It’s swiftly followed by Stemvee, which delivers the record’s first beat-down with effortless groove. Third track Nee!derland is an instant classic for me and would have sounded right at home on Discharge’s Why? – completely natural considering the band’s pedigree.
the right balance of everything anyone could want from a hardcore punk record; vocals fuelled by righteous anger, killer riffs and punishing beats…
Then Klassenstrjid picks things up in frantic style with a lethal dose of Olav‘s trademark Dutch thrashcore blasting. It may sound a little dismissive to say the rest of the album is more of the same, but it really is – in the best possible way. The difference being, it’s a kick-ass ‘same’ containing just the right balance of everything anyone could want from a hardcore punk record; vocals fuelled by righteous anger, killer riffs and punishing beats.
It doesn’t drag on, either. If you’re in any way familiar with this type of music, it will come as no surprise that the majority of the tracks clock in at under a minute, with veritable epic De Lange Weg, (The Long Way) wiping its feet on the way in at 1.38. This is exactly how it should be, and this short but potent assault on the senses offers a perfectly balanced dose of what’s needed.
There’s a rich seam of vibrant energy running through Kartom Punk, and no sign of the jaded complacency that you might well expect from some other long-serving music veterans. A testament indeed to the authenticity and integrity of the hardcore punk scene.
Scribed by: Simon Brotherton