VARIOUS ARTISTS: Closer to the Grave: 15 years of Tor Johnson Records: LP

This is a retrospective compilation of stuff released on Tor Johnson Records over the years. They’re a pretty fucking eclectic label. The record starts off with the heavy hardcore of Saint Jude who end with a perfect segue into the indie singer-songwriter vibe of Tyler Daniel Bean in spite of the how different they sound. Bean is followed by the eerie, heavy beauty of Bloodpheasant. Death To Tyrants is followed by Furnace; both play a noisy, expansive post-hardcore to close out the first side. The second side starts out with some existential, angsty, emotive indie from Sea Of Storms and Lunglust play some pretty experimental hardcore with a deeply wounded vocal. Late Bloomer and Aneurysm both play a grungy sort of hardcore and Ratstab sounds like you’d probably think they would closing out the album with energetic classic hardcore with a lot of oi-shouting. I typically don’t care for compilations. The segues are usually jarring and I don’t like skipping or sitting through the mediocre stuff. This one, however, is really diverse, yet, still has an almost seamless flow. All of the songs are bangers, too. –Craven Rock (Tor Johnson)