Thousands dead. Millions displaced. Cities destroyed. Children killed. Hospitals bombed. Civilians massacred. This is not a death metal song. It is not an imaginary apocalypse. This is the reality of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That is why nine American bands teamed up with seven in the war zone to raise money for humanitarian aid.
The result is the compilation Band Together: A Benefit for Ukraine.
“The album takes the listener on a sonic journey touching emotions and topics appropriate to the moment with some heavy hitters from across the punk, post-punk, folk-punk, metal, and hardcore spectrum,” said Janis Chakars, who organized the effort with Derik Moore.
It opens with the Middle Eastern-infused beat of the Arab-Ukrainian Morwan before turning to a new song written for the record by Ted Leo that examines the human propensity for this kind of injustice. Post-punk KAT from Kharkiv then pair with a previously unreleased live studio track by The World/Inferno Friendship Society before diving into a first-time digital release of a 1990s fan favorite by Citizens Arrest and Ukraine’s first all-female punk band Death Pill. Pushing the envelope of hardcore is a remastered classic by Unsane and Ukraine’s The Raw. Getting harder and heavier the road takes you to Grey C.E.L.L. (recorded by John Baizley of Baroness) and Pusca before going blistering metal with Fright and Terrorscum. A new song by Under Attack and some hardcore brutality by Cross Control come next and then the album ends with acoustic guitars and a new song by Erin Incoherent and the country/folk of Sasha Boole, who is now fighting Russia in the Ukrainian army.
The money goes to Razom for Ukraine, who have a network of in-country partners and are able to get aid across the country.
Unusual for a DIY effort, mainstream news media have shown interest with stories about the benefit compilation appearing in newspapers, radio, and television.
The album is currently available on bandcamp for $10 or more (single songs $1 or more) or as a cassette for $15 or more including digital download and free shipping.