Listening to The Domestics’ new album with a big grin on my face. This precious gem of sublime hardcore has been long awaited, and is everything I ever wanted it to be.
‘Come back to Manchester soooon’ I hear myself wailing over the thrash.
The Domestics have been described time and time again as the ‘East Anglian hardcore scene’, so its clear where they got the name for this album. ‘East Anglian Hardcore’ is their first full length studio album since Cherry Blossom Life in 2017.
Around since 2011, The Domestics clearly are forerunners of hardcore in and around East-Anglia with other bands like the renowned Pizza Tramp hot on their heels (even PT are actually from Wales).
Domestics follow in the footsteps of U.S. hardcore bands such as Poison Idea, Negative Approach and Off! They draw from incredible Japanese bands such as Gauze and Warhead as well as Swedish legends Totalitär and Heråtys. U.K. bands like The Restarts, Fuk and Violent Reaction also get a mention in their biography.
“If you’re gonna play hardcore, don’t fuck around. THE DOMESTICS got the memo. Stellar”Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll
The Domestics played their first gig on the day their first album launched. This is their style, do it loud, do it whenever they feel like it and make sure it’s anything but standard.
After I saw the Domestics for the first time at The Steamboat in Ipswich, I got a badge and wore it proudly wherever I went – it’s still on my jacket. It was one of those times where everyone has told you about a band and you go all excited, then they exceed your expectations -the whole night is amazing, and you are totally blown away. They’ve turned into a sort of flag for the punks of Essex. On the day The Domestics were supposed to play at Manchester Punk Festival, the crowds were littered with people in their shirts. It was a great way to see who-was-who in an ocean of friendly faces – I was sporting mine. A girl on the bus the next day commented negatively on it, like it was a kind of cult. She should go get a shirt.
‘East Anglian Hardcore’ is a fast, mesmerizing hardcore tornado that doesn’t put you down till the last beat. With metal guitars and tremendous beat-downs, it’s hard, its fast and it has lyrical depth.
“Snotty, obnoxious punk rock played at amphetamine speed with a part two-fingers in the air, part political message”Louder Than War
The Domestics have always prized themselves on socio/political songs, they do more than create great music they are poetic in their own right. In fact, James Domestic has a new book out last month full of poetry, prose and illustrations courtesy of Earth Island Books. Guess what it’s called… Domesticated. The lyrics in East Anglian Hardcore range from stories of abuse, violence and gagging orders to anti-capitalism, mental health and self-destruction.
I was provided with a lyric sheet in the press-pack (absolutely love it when bands do this) and it goes above and beyond. It’s going to come with the vinyl, so I can’t give you a sneak peek, but think zine meets tabs book meets alluringly decorated ransom note.
It’s great when hardcore, thrash and sludge bands divulge their lyrics. So often there is a profound intensity in the words. Like being given a torch in a cavernous hole, and when you switch it on and shine it around the place, you realise its full of glowing crystals of deeper understanding and relatability.
Obviously, it’s also great to be in a pit and have no idea what you’re screaming. Recently I was shouting ‘put a pineapple in the microwave’ to some band and they nodded at me like I was a super-fan. Both are fun.
RIGHT – ALBUM TIME
It has 14 tracks, ranging from hardcore to d-beat, rhythmic trills interweave beasty guitars.
‘Konichiwa Mother Fuckers’ starts us off, a big hello and welcome to the album. I hope I get to see them play this in full at some point because this track would absolutely get everyone down the front – get ready to bow.
‘Burnt Out’ will definitely get all those down the front into a heavy pit.
The third track ‘Haunted Victorian Pencil’ is about the hypocrisy of poisoning children in schools with useless information, indoctrination of government and the need to rise up and make a stand against the man, or it might be simply about a haunted Victorian pencil – you decide.
‘Purchases’ is an anti-capitalist noose of a track, with the catchy chorus;
“You are worth more than your purchases”
Next up is ‘Cash Gag’ a nod towards the bribery and corruption that goes on within our UK government. Hordes of which have come to light in the last few years. It’s a great track musically, with a sonic-speed call-and-response thing going on between the vocals and drums.
The album gets emotive as we get to track 6 ‘You Old Romantic’ a thinly-veiled comment on how thick the cover for domestic abuse can be even when you think you know a couple;
“Your love just had,
To stop her in her tracks,
‘Cos that’s how a real man acts,
You only meant to hit her once.”
‘Falling Apart’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Its louder, faster and even crustier hardcore than the rest.
‘Get Me Out’ starts with a long curdling scream. It reminds me of something The Restarts would have brought out years ago. It’s a great track about being stuck and unable to get out – super relatable. It has an excellent guitar solo in the middle and a track I’d love to see live. I reckon its effect on the crowd would be palpable.
The 9th track on the album is ‘Die Like a Dog’, this one is catchy and similar to ‘Get Me Out’ but with the message that we are all born equal in this world, and we all die equal – something the 1% seem to be attempting to eradicate from our minds.
‘Hate, Hate, Hate’ follows on from this. This track slows the tempo and the pace of those in the pit, giving a bit of a breather. The sentiment of the song is anything but, it an anti-Nazi song with poignant lyrics that could be attributed to any indoctrination;
“… and now you’re slipping through the cracks,
The longer it’s in your mouth, the harder it is to spit out,
The longer it’s in your mouth, the harder it is to spit out,
Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate”
A bit of my most cherished d-beat makes an appearance in ‘No Sanctuary’ the speed is swangled up to full and a true hardcore classic is born.
‘Blackout’ seems to have been etched onto a scrap bit of paper. Most punks have been through a blackout, we know how it feels. ‘Blackout’ made me remember some stuff and I felt sick which I’m guessing is what its designed to do – great track.
‘It’s a Filthy Fucking Business’ is a comment on the futility and pain of the rat race that we are all involved in or in some way subjected to.
My favourite song on the album ‘Fuck Your Birthday’ made me instantly start dancing when I heard it. Why? It’s d-beat of course. I love my birthday, but for the reason that one day a year its all about me without me being called a narcissist. This track is about the fact that candles do not equal wisdom – and if you think they do you can “Shut yer’ cake hole!”
Then, just like every fast paced hardcore show, it’s over, leaving you hanging on the precipice, wanting more.
The album is out on the 29th June