Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DEFCON 4 - File Under Fuck

Defcon 4
File Under Fuck
Black Box Recordings

Dissonant, rabid sounds are the order of the day as Boston’s Defcon 4 unleashes a barrage of Black Flag vs. Refused-inspired viciousness that attacks the listener with severity and rarely shows mercy. At times, however, the tortured ranting of frontman Dug Moore (you might have previously heard his name tossed around the pro skating circuit) sounds like he has a twelve volt battery charger attached to his scrotum. Literally, this guy sounds like he’s foaming at the mouth as he screams, squeals and otherwise emits injured vocalizations throughout the course of the record.

Exploding with varied tempos of blasting and plodding rhythms, the stop-start nature inherent in much of the band’s music produces highly intense shifts in dynamics as the group sways between tantrums of rage and bursts of depressive sludge. Veritable aural anarchy of this type helps to redefine the notion of harshness.As Moore and company rage through the spastic “Berzerker’s Rage” and the wildly uncontrolled “Comet Relief,” the voracious onslaught is decidedly unforgiving.

With the record’s title track, “Lonely Hour” and “American Society” standing out from the pack, fans of harmonic rebellion will most certainly rejoice. Although File Under Fuck certainly is not for everyone, fans of the punkier side of Converge as well as most other noisecore acts would do well to give these alcohol-fueled ravings a closer look. Defcon 4 certainly knows how to deliver unrestrained sonic anarchy in its purest possible form, earmarking this insanely spastic effort for cult icon status.


Friday, October 10, 2008


At A Loss Recordings

Much like getting drunk and driving with a Hefty bag over your head, “Bestial” is beautifully disoriented and destined for a messy, blood-soaked collision at any given moment. Sludge is oozing toward metal prominence, with more acts jumping on this molasses-covered bandwagon every day. That’s just fine, because as Black Cobra so ungraciously proves with “Bestial”, there’s plenty of room to maneuver within the genre.

The Lovecraftian tentacles which grace the cover of this record are befitting, as tracks like “Beneath” and “Sugar Water” are enveloping, suffocating and deadly in their profusely monstrous execution. Although it would be great to hear the vocal ideas become more fully developed, the larynx-shredding screeds on tracks such as “Thrown From Great Heights” and “The Cry Of Melorn” are actually quite befitting of the down-tuned, string-flapping sound of Black Cobra.

If bands like Iron Monkey and The Abominable Iron Sloth are your entertainment weapons of choice, this disc will make yet another fine killer for your arsenal.


BAIT - Anatomy Of Disaster

Anatomy Of Disaster
In At The Deep End Records - 2004

Bait straddles the line between the styles of Refused and High On Fire brilliantly. The band has a dirty, disturbed edge about them that lends a feeling of impending disaster to their creative sounding music.

Bassy rumblings permeate these nine tracks as Rob Middleton wails vocally while delivering crushing guitar rhythms. He sounds uncontrollable on “Descender”, a low-fi affair meant to bludgeon. Steve Harvey and Nick Barker pair up to form a tough, hard hitting rhythm section that focuses on power grooves and closed fist accents to the discordant progressions Middleton provides. Thick sludge metal follows on “…And I’ll Be It’s Dog” as the trio hammers away in search of blunt force trauma. The surrealistic lyrics focus on life’s imperfections and dark corners. “Monochromatic” is successful in portraying an utter bleak outlook that moves in a downward spiral of destruction.

Bait tempts the hand of doom on “Forked Tongue Evolution”, pounding through buzzing riffs and high pitched bends with a notion of cryptic sonic hammering. The group injects some disjointed punk vibes into the fray with “Hangman”, where they sound like Helmet’s evil twin during the verse parts, while bashing away at a massive, destructive chorus that is like a wall of fog. No specific genre is best suited to describe this trio, but the music is undoubtedly heavy and the mood is brazenly dark.

Sludge is likely to be the most fitting description of this music, but the group throws in some punk, grunge and straight up metal for good measure. ‘Anatomy Of Disaster’ is a bleak, chilling indictment of a world gone mad. And, that’s intended to be a compliment.


Cobra Noir - Barricades

Cobra Noir
Chainsaw Safety Records

Gnashing of teeth is the end result of this harsh, crusted-over mindfuck of reckless sonority. And that’s a compliment. Cobra Noir explore the bitterest angle of hardcore music, torturous and vile. The rumbling sounds of “Walled In” and the spirited venom of “Ruptured” assail the senses with an unforgiving sonic bludgeoning. Fans of Cursed and Mare will revel in the dissonant, saturated sounds of cuts like “Monuments” and “The Arsonist.” It’s cuts like these that expose the grimy underbelly of hardcore music, one that is far removed from the candy apple claptrap that often passes off as such these days.

Production-wise, this record is quite low-fi and it suits the music well. From punked-up, start-stop mayhem to almost-crusty speedpunk, these black cobras strike with the intent to kill. So they do on the reckless, spiraling out of control facebasher “Against Us” and the attitude-laden “Come Crashing.”

Mind you, some will be put off by the sound of this record, so make sure you enjoy the most underground sounds before following through and picking this one up. But if filth and Drano-throated fury is exactly what gets you off, “Barricades” is one to seek out.


Few And The Proud - Stampede

Few And The Proud
Organized Crime Records

Few And The Proud pound out racous punk with slight metal overtones on Stampede. The band’s vocalist, Bernie, has a sort of pinchin’-a-loaf quality about his singing. It’s distinct, but sometimes somewhat painful to sit through. Musically, this act reminds me of a bunch of punks called Pnile Youth that used to open the local shows in the area, only a bit slower in certain points.

With bands like As I Lay Dying touting themselves as hardcore these days, it makes you wonder what you’re supposed to call a band like FATP. Hardcore, I guess. When you first lay eyes on the charging steers that grace this record’s cover, you may think you’re in for a lot of fast, unrelenting material, but what this is in a nutshell is sloppy, amateur punk that’s played with some measure of conviction, but not much expertise.

Surely, there’s oodles of underground bands with a lot of punk cred that have traveled a similar musical path, but none really come to mind immediately. The doomy riffing in certain tracks, for example “Absolute Truth” give this one just enough metal appeal to say tat a crossover crowd would be possible, if only these guys would try to kick a little more ass and not sound like they’re taking a dump in the process. While this stuff is not quite as heavy as poo-core, toilet rock will suffice to describe Stampede.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Vows - The Vows

The Vows
The Vows
Indecision Records

With a lineup that boasts Himsa member Johnny Pettibone amongst it’s ranks, The Vows bust out four spazzed-out, punked-up crossover style bashers unapologetically, blazing through “Back From The Deads” with assured intestinal fortitude, tipping a collective hat to the progenitors of this style of grizzled downbeat along the way.

Pissed-off and deliberately dangerous, “Fucked And Fired” and “Fall In Their Lines” are manufactured with the sole intent of whipping up some serious pit action, complete with crusty 1-4-5 licks and a completely honest breakdown or two along the way.

This four-tracker leaves you wanting more, just as any good EP should. In just over eight minutes, The Vows prove they’ve got the juice to get the punters throwing elbows and moshing it up all good and proper-like.