Strangers and The Wrongmen…

Strangers - HoldingFrom Action Man Records comes the latest output from New Zealand's Strangers (formerly known as Guest Stabs Host) in the form of this absolutely raging four-track CD-R demo, "Holding". The band's style is a curious blend of harsh, chaotic, dissonant metallic textures with an energetic backbone of fast-paced hardcore/punk rhythms—all fronted by blown-out shouting/screaming. And it's honestly more creative than that description might indicate, because these dudes pack a shitload of riffs into short, energetic compositions that just burst forth and never let up. You'll find everything from subtle hints of melody and grinding picking patterns to post-hardcore textures and sludgy/crusty levels of density, among other influences, and the songwriting totally kicks ass. Plus, the recording is solid and the packaging totally rules. The disc is housed in a simple six-panel sleeve printed with a sepia toned aesthetic on matte brown paper, with a clean layout and nice photography to boot. Hell, even the lyrics are fuckin' great:

I walked the wrong way home the other night and found a friend in the corner of a lane, wounded pride and gutterfucked in the rain. He was hungry and he followed me home. And I was overjoyed for I'd always been alone. Strangers. We saw the pain of life reflected in the light. Seraphs wandering doleful at no great height. Weeks had passed. He grew strong and I was loved again. But desperation! He'd want more but I had none, I saw frustration stir his stance, we parted ways, he took the food and I was left without. But it was fine for I was not alone. The next night I begged him not to let me starve. And he sneered and leapt and tore, all the while he laughed. So I lay bleeding with saliva on my throat. His shadow beckoned over me, and I thanked god for I hadn't died alone.

Strangers "Teenagers"

This shit is seriously fuckin' awesome, and I can't wait for a full-length. The demo's limited to 200 copies, and I believe most of 'em were sent out as promos, so... if you want one (and you should), don't sleep on it:


The Wrongmen - Den of VipersAlso from New Zealand and Action Man Records is the debut EP from The Wrongmen, "Den of Vipers". On some level comparable to Strangers above, The Wrongmen deliver short, caustic tracks jammed with loose, chaotic riffing that combines Botch- or Converge-styled metalcore textures with jagged hardcore/punk and a little bit of a rocked out vibe—occasionally flirting with slower, darker atmospheres (best exemplified by the departure taken during the massive 13-minute closer, "Bacteria Disguised as Men"). As suggested by the rawness of the sound, the entire EP was recorded live, overdubbing only the vocals. For the most part such an aesthetic works out fine, and certainly fits, but I do find myself yearning for a little more density and punch from the production here. It sounds alright, and you definitely understand what the band is going for, but a number of these tracks would certainly benefit from the added punch/power of a hint more crispness or added volume to the low-end pummeling. Not bad, though. And as with the Strangers demo the packaging looks cool and I damn sure dig the lyrics:

I saw a dog rolling in its own shit just the other day and it reminded me of you and how you'll do anything to get paid or fucking laid. Soulless motherfucker. Artless motherfucker. Shameless motherfucker. Hey, this is all we have, and, it ain't so fucking bad. This could be so damn good. You never understood. Never did, never will. Never will.

The Wrongmen "Brainchaos"

I say it every time, and always will, so pick one up if this is your thing:



  1. eh not too sold on The Wrongmen. Strangers, however, fuckin owns! I was reading the lyrics you posted and was quite amused when I saw the song title was “Teenagers.” But then I listened and I don’t think they were from that song?.....idk it’s really hard to tell by the way he screams (which I love, by the way.)

    2.12.2007 | By Adrianoso

  2. The Stranglers stuff has a tone that reminds me of Chaos AD era Sepultura, Before someone jumps down my throat, I don’t really think they are anything like Sepultura,  just the tone on some of the riffs at the beginning of the song. Overall, I dug it ok, nothing I’m too stoked on though.

    The Wrongmen stuff I thought was awesome. I didn’t get too much Botch / Converge out of it, maybe it’s just the track you posted is more straight forward. It’s awesome as hell though.

    2.12.2007 | By Carlzilla

  3. Fuck yes. Both of these bands are awesome. It’s kind of embarassing the way I live in New Zealand and know shit all about the scene. Thanks for the head up.

    2.13.2007 | By Fergus

  4. 2 guys in the wrongmen used to be in evil priest, the seminal hardcore band from auckland, nz

    2.28.2007 | By nick