By Levi Mulholland
By May 7, 2023 EP, Reviews

TOKKY HORROR spawn an EP that is as gnarled as it is infectious, featuring some of the dirtiest, contagious cuts of their patented ‘virtual hardcore.’

KAPPACORE is an EP of dance music caked in scum. Calling to mind the likes of Aphex Twin’s ‘Come to Daddy’ (only more swamped out) or The Prodigy, it finds the no man’s land between hardcore punk and hardcore techno. Mutant in its form and militant in its determination, the collective dish up a vat of the most feral dance music possible. The buboed, viscous bass tone and erratic leads cough their filth all over the tracks, fostering a pit of Saint Vitus slam dancing. For example, ‘TRANMERE RAVER (feat MC NULTi)’ feels congested with the bands unique brand of grot, giving a listener no reprieve with its mantra-esque vocals and unrelenting rhythm section giving the air of a frantic ritual. Seeping into every pore, TOKKY HORROR provide two choices; move with them or get bulldozed.

Industrial rock in the vein of Rammstein’s influence toils under the skin, a machine designed to process the diseased organic matter that lines the surface. On ‘HAMMER 2 THE FACE’, this machine stutters and warps as a spew of punkish fury emerges. The drums ricochet off every surface as the guitars grind everything that is pushed through their gaping maw. The biomechanical sound with a looming sense of dread is reminiscent of the atmosphere in the 1989 film Tetsuo: The Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto. The seedy veneer and mechanical body horror seemed echoed by the instrumentals, which feel as though they are organic matter being consumed by a digital presence. ‘MAXINE (feat Blazer Boccle)’, with its doomy stings seem to reflect this, with the unignorable rush present in the grooves put down diverting your attention from the engine working away in your periphery. There is a cathartic rage frothing on the surface of KAPPACORE, and in this catharsis there is an undeniable fun in giving in to the rhythm. Where hardcore rhythms are often punishingly heavy, TOKKY HORRORs are commanding but never overwhelming, and feed the joy of movement and freedom that is curled up at the heart of the band’s sound.

‘TOILET’, alternatively, is melancholy and wistful. Despite its title, it is the song least infected by the dirt elsewhere unescapable. The band have said the song is a ‘heartbreak song about falling out of love with a scene.’ That mood is captured earnestly here, with the gang vocals chanting “you are my insurrection” portraying a wider community spirit surrounding the message. Unfortunately, with this comes a slight cliché aftertaste. The chanting hook and the guitar lead feel like they were transplanted from a much different band, and a much more toothless sound than the raging dance punk that makes the rest of the record cling to your insides. It is more reminiscent of some of Bring Me The Horizon’s more alt-rock leaning tracks from recent years. It does, however, serve to give the EP a few minutes to breath so that when ‘TRANMERE RAVER’ comes sprinting in, it hits like a clothesline.

‘JAZZ MUSIC’ is perhaps the closest to a traditional dance track on the EP, as while it is still warped and marred by TOKKY HORRORS genre refraction process, it retains most of the form and mode of a more traditional vision of dance music. With that said, the slithering bass lurking like a chestburster from Alien on the tracks subdermal layer makes it crawl with an uncomfortable itch. In that, it is more texturally interesting to me than I usually find the genre and feels a lot more punk in its approach than it might have otherwise, cohering to the rest of the track list whilst also feeling sonically distinct.

Vocally, the EP has moments of undiluted primitive anguish, like towards the end of ‘MAXINE’, whilst also providing the pseudo-rapping that may make these songs feel at home on a larger playlist in a club. It is unexpected just how these vocal approaches meld with the hybrid instrumentals to form an uncanny fluid of reconstituted, genetically modified electro-punk that is simultaneously disgusting and undeniably appealing. Every time I thought I might not like this EP, one of the tracks embedded itself so far in the back of my head and was unmoving until I had worn it out with repeat listening. The band have smartly brewed music that fans of their influences can find something they love somewhere in there.

When considered as a whole, the EP sits below a festering layer of grime that characters every nook and corner of each track. It’s a quality that makes TOKKY HORROR emerge as one of the most unflinching, primal acts to claw their way out of Britain’s underbelly, coming out with carrion of dance, punk and rap rotting on their teeth. Whilst bands like Knocked Loose and Soul Glo proving that there are dormant wider appetites for vicious heaviness, and the likes of the Warehouse Project showing the seed of rave and club culture to still be alive and well, TOKKY HORROR dig out a hole for the two to swap DNA in the underground and conceive an unholy strain of music covered in the viscera of both punk and rave.

You can listen to KAPPACORE HERE