HATEHUG: Russian Perfume: LP

I’m not sure these crusty, hardcore punks will take this as a compliment, but I hear some quality mid-’80s Exploited influence on this, Hatehug’s second album. Sure, Discharge is always the reference point for crusty d-beat bands, but The Exploited did a pretty great job with a similar approach on records like Let’s Start a War… What Wattie and Co. did with that material and what caught my ear with Hatehug are the driving, backbeat-powered, slow burner songs that punctuate the speedy d-beat songs. This variety in tempo certainly makes for a more interesting listen, front-to-back, with the ragers really standing out instead of blending into a sea of sameness. The only thing I’d like to hear more of are some vocal dynamics. No need to get all poppy, but a little catchiness here and there would pay dividends. See: “Rival Leaders” from the aforementioned punx, or English Dogs’ “Survival of the Fittest”—to the ends of the earth! –Chad Williams (Subzine, sub-zine.net)