Krömosom – Live Forever

‘Cheap, raw and nasty’ is MacDara Conroy’s take on Live Forever from Aussie crust punks Krömosom – and that’s a compliment

This Cormy fella gets around, doesn’t he? Seems like just a few months ago the Roscommon lad was kicking about Copenhagen with Danish crust punks Nuclear Death Terror, but now he’s popped up halfway round the world in Melbourne as a member of Aussie scumdogs Krömosom, who feature ex-members of local legends Pisschrist in their lineup. And much like Cormy’s previous band, Kromosom’s first few vinyl-only efforts have now received the Southern Lord ‘crust punk world tour’ reissue treatment, collected on CD with the title Live Forever.

I’ll be straight with you that I didn’t like the NDT collection all that much; the aggression was there, for sure, but the scales were tipped the wrong way by a far-too-clean production that only served to emphasise the sameness of their dis-core run-through, and a predilection for melodic death metal soloing that left me incredulous more than anything. I have the same problem with the new Wartorn record Iconic Nightmare, which loses some of its pummel to the production polish. It’s a relief to report, then, that Krömosom are a different kettle of fish. Actually, more like a stinking bucket of rotted fish heads.

If the ear-splitting peal of feedback that starts ‘DBH’ isn’t sign enough that this ain’t music for refined palates, the next 60 seconds of basement-low-fidelity filth and fury should see off any stragglers. No time’s wasted as it bleeds into the dis-gust of ‘Bred to Lose’, the martial stomp of ‘Shapeshifter’ and the fuzzed-out bass and chainsaw guitars of ‘Paranoid’ to complete the Paranoid 7-inch. ‘Fallout’, ‘Are You Free?’ and ‘Chaos Night’ are up next – pulled from the Hardcore Pollution split with Japanese lunatics Isterismo – and they bring an even more intense experience, trading the paint-tin drums for cardboard boxes and boosting the low-end for a satisfying gutter-punk grind. The tinny as-live recording across these tracks will surely have its detractors, but that’s exactly I want from a band like this. I want it to sound like a fifth-gen bootleg from a tape trader in the back-arse of nowhere. Cheap, raw and nasty.

The songs from the 8 Tracks 12-inch are more ‘professionally done’ in contrast, but the grime is still palpable, dripping from that hefty bass tone and lead-weighted drumming, splashing from the slashed guitars and spewing from those polyp-inducing vocal rasps. And would you believe there’s actually some tunage in all that murk? ‘Live Forever’ hangs on a hooky melodic bounce, and ‘Force Fed Lies’ leads with a surprise dance-punk bassline somewhere between the Gossip and ‘Seven Nation Army’ of all things. Yet none of that detracts from Krömosom’s blunderbuss discharge. This is D-beat through and through, but it’s D-beat done right. It’s tenement punk, the sound of Alphabet City in the ’80s, the atavistic noises from East End squats, and I hope there’s more where this crawled from.

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