VA – Underground Asia Compilation CD

Underground Asia CD
(Love From Hate / Delusion of Terror)

Long-awaited compilation put together by Francis of the Philippines’ veteran punk band Istukas Over Disneyland, who’s also the mainman of Love From Hate Records, helped along its way by Pinoy’s own super-DIY-punk-promoter Emmanuel and his label Delusion of Terror Records.

When I first heard of this project last year, my thought was that it would be a purely Southeast Asian collection, but boy, this CD features 25 bands from a quarter of the globe, like a slice of punk rock cake starting with Russia and ending with Indonesia. In-between those polars we have bands from West Asia (Turkey, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain & UAE), East Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea), South Asia (Nepal) and the Southeast. There’s also a band from Egypt but from what I know Egypt is already a North African country.

Anyway, looking at the map here, I believe there should have been representatives from India, Pakistan and Indo-China too as I have heard of punk-influenced bands there. Maybe Francis tried but cannot get interested parties? Not sure, but this is already pretty huge in terms of the areas covered, a truly Greater Asia compilation would probably need another two CDs to fit. Are there punk bands in Bangladesh? Maldives? Sri Lanka? East Timor? Laos? Bhutan? Mongolia? Kryzygstan? Uzbekistan? Iraq? etc, etc. Who knows eh? What do you think Luk?

As per usual with this type of large-scale trans-border compilations, the music can be wildly erratic in terms of its stylistic content. Apart from the usual punk-derived sub-genres there’s also a few metallic moments, especially with the South Middle Eastern countries – Through Sunken Eyes (Bahrain) kick it hard in the general direction of thrashy, bulky metallic hardcore while Creative Waste (Saudi Arabia) rant and growl in a modern-grind blasting fashion.

My personal favourites though would be bands who offer a bit of difference from the usual, and that would be our friends RAI KO RIS (Nepal) who have grown increasingly raw, raging post-punk for the past few years; THE SCUDS (Singapore) is also very good, bringing back that X-Ray Spex pogoing goodness to this spheres; while longtime faves LOW FAT (Thailand), who brought in their expat-Japanese sensibilities to crazed Siamese hardcore-punk-grind wedding.

On the surprises department, there are a few bands from the Middle East who really made this very pleasant to listen to – Egypt’s FAKING IT is rather good with their modern-rock variation, that is until the break where the guitarist came in like some windswept, MTV-rock guitar hero and ruined it; DETOX is way better with their raw, raging and thunderous hardcore-punk; while UAE’s PUBLIC WASTE and Israel’s MONDO GECKO lay it down old-school American style. Really looking forward to check out more of the bands from this region.

All in, it’s a good release for those who want to check out snippets of noises from these countries, and I found a few bands which I’m gonna keep a look out for. For those who are looking for something more substantial in terms of wild musical progression, you would have to keep trawling myspace for that! I mean there’s no indigenous musical instruments being mangled hardcore-punk-style here, not yet anyway.

DETOX (Lebanon) – System Fails But The Law Prevails

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THE SCUDS (Singapore) – Addicted (Version X)

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Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Love From Hate Records | here
Delusion of Terror Records | here

RM15 at shop / by hand / at gigs
USD7 Postpaid – PayPal (

Trades welcomed but we don’t have that many copies!