Sheer Terror. I won’t weigh this down with some redundant bio or some narcissistic spun tale of me alone in my room with their catalog (although there were many of those nights). Tales from the razor, tales from an empty bottle; powdered bags and abandoned hearts; street tales, ashes of lost souls, not enough hate, wilted roses, black walls, love songs for the unloved. All these elements painted a 10 year jaunt through the ugliest moments of existence and a scathing interpretation of this shit called life.
Well, if you’re new to this, go learn some history. If you’re bitter that the Sheer Terror name lives without Blake or Neuman, well, it wasn’t up to you. So stuff it. Paul felt that these dudes were worthy of the moniker. So it is. Let it go.
“Heresy on the Monkey Bars” – fast. Smoking fast drums and guitars burst in the door like a jealous dad into the room when you were moaning on top of his little angel in her teenage room. Paul’s growl hasn’t lost an element of his lost a guttural snarl. Nor has the anger slipped. It’s all there in its boorish, sweaty rage. So after the 2nd chorus, at 1:15, in comes the Sheer Terror stomp (Ugly and Proud style) the galloping breakdown is pious and sneering. Then it punches back into a sped up romp to finish. Lots of “Fuck You”s and “bastard”s to please all the jaded misanthropes.
“Blue Shadows will Fall” a tuned down, heavy NYHC stomp kicks this off. I dare you to sit still. Again, this is foreplay to the quick ass pounding that follows. Tight drum rolls are the pith of the Chorus, bludgeoning the listener into a daze like a dark alley mugger. This song is dark and ripe for the fist-throwing pits. “Cold and Alone” screams Paul…
We get a cover, “Salome” for the final tune. Akin to Sheer Terror doing Johnny Thunders’ “Memory”. It’s said and catchy and good old rock and roll. It’s better after a few Makers shots. It would have been a good Joe Coffee song. ***this said, I just assumed it was some mod band a la Small Faces or Jam; well. I googled the lyrics and it ends up being the Old 97’s. I have no clue about them except them being in the Break Up movie… Thanks, Paul. I like being thrown for a loop. Good music is good music.
Bottom Line: these are two kick ass originals. Paul’s lyrics are as indulgent and absurdist as ever. (this is a compliment and said with eager envy…Let’s face it, when you are hurting, clever broken hearted poetry is indulgent.). While most hardcore band stick to the straight forward; Paul embarks on a journey of puns, wordplay, alliteration to punch home a point of complete bitterness, enmity, abhorrence, rage and well, “spite”.
Now the music: fast tough and dark. Tight as hell, executed by young energetic musicians. Now, true, there isn’t Alan Blake’s Celtic Frost worship; but we still get the Discharge/Negative Approach love mixed with early NYHC. Never wanting to fit in any simplified subgenre, Paul can proudly file this in the Sheer Terror discography.
they’re baaaaaack. Cleveland metalcore masters of the misanthropic, macabre and malicious have returned. This is their 2nd stint since Frank 3Gun has been in Hatebreed. “Venomous Grand Design” was cool, but didn’t grab me as “Justice” or the classic “Promise”. I don’t know if they were trying to infuse too much thrash, but I just felt it was “cool”; not “mind blowing”.
But when this bitch kicks in – no second guess that this line-up is writing the fiercest shit on the shelves today. The young rebel from “Frailty” spits “There is no God” at the end of the first track, “Voluntary Human Extinction”. Nice little echo to “The Promise”. And the strong metal riffs call back as well. This is a menacing string of tunes. Fast metal played by hardcore dudes with film samples to tickle the listener. Eyehategod definitely comes to mind. This drumming really is the foundation of the sharp production and sturdy yet stunning guitars. Nothing feels indulgent and or superfluous. Any leads fit in well and do not linger. I want pummeling hardcore. That is what I get.
7 minute title track? Yep. Early Metallica/Megadeth pace and lead guitars usher us into this beast. But thick riffs pound to let me know this is Ringworm. A slow middle doesn’t bore; your brain isn’t bored when you’re shackled to a rat infested dungeon stone wall. But a little insanity never hurt anyone. We jump back to a thrash riff to which Municipal Waste would give “righteous” thumbs up.
An inciting bass line leads into “Unravel”. HF’s vocals are incinerating. They blaze through a cruel delivery of vengeance. “my whole world starts to unravel…anything to kill the pain by any fucking means”. The tune of this steps away slightly from the formula of the album – almost an Anthrax-esque bounce. (but just a dash). Maybe I am off, but something makes this tune refreshing after the 7 minute “Scars”.
Ringworm, revamped and ready to conquer, definitely tap into the metal more than say even a Full Blown Chaos or 100 Demons or Cold As Life; but this still is a hardcore album to me. Brutal and lightning fast; sludge heavy and darker than some other Victory bands’ make up; antagonistic and provoking, the heretics and blasphemers will find several aspects from which to feed.
“Angel Fuck” (no, not a cover) is a furious onslaught of audio through my needle. Holy Shit. Steamroller subtlety. Fast fingers on the frets and an eviscerating howl form HF join a crazy song. “Empty” brings the pace back a notch but still delivers the hate and fire.
“To The Grave” “AngelFuck” and “Voluntary Human Extinction” are the standouts here. But each track is stellar. I will probably go back to “VGD” since only the drummer has changed in the line-up. “Scars” is Ringworm in top form. Everything you have ever loved about the rage and noise and treacherous carpet bombing of Ringworm is crammed into “Scars”. And HF lyrics and vocal delivery are as condemning as ever. Beelzebub has a tear of pride in his eye.
New school hardcore. Heavy. Not afraid to slow it down a touch to really get the pit moving. These dudes blew me away with “No Remorse” 7” two years ago. Here we are with a full length to follow up “DBNO” 7” earlier this year. Crushing, thick riffs and bouncing popping drums keep a solid upbeat pace. Hailing from the vibrant RVA scene, these dudes have a point to prove to rise above the rest. And I see no reason why they shouldn’t. “One Voice” era AF or Cro-Mags are noticeable as ground work, Naysayer are doing way more. But latter bands like Shipwreck and Palehorse are heard as well. Gruff vocals propel seething lyrics towards pissed at the world and backstabbers and the usual subject HC matter. Again, nothing crazy new, but sick riffs, attitude and determination will help these guys rise to the top.
Fast, really fast super tight riffing is what stuck out to me about Rotting Out’s debut 7”, “Vandalism”. This was the main element that helps Rotting Out stick out from some other bands that have adopted this style. But this lp brings a whole new vibe and immediacy to it. San Pedro is the locale. New vocalist is the new energy. R.O. are kicking ass and couldn’t give a shit about the names of their victims. A big thing with this band is that when they intro’d their new vocalist, they covered “Bro Hymn” by Pennywise. You can hear that Pennywise, Bad Religion, Descendents influence (I stress influence) in about 15 – 20 % of each song. But R.O. still tends to the two step kids. While I still hear some Ag Front/Murphy’s Law in there. Rotting Out have a fresh, boisterous punk foundation and comprise the rest of their music with some fist pounding, boot kicking hardcore. A little Kill Your Idols, a little Straight Faced – a little Shark Attack, a little Powerhouse; good NYHC influenced west coast hardcore. This is some of the freshest new shit out there. Cop it. “Faith and Failure” “Eyes Peeled” “Goddamn” stand out
Bounce filled hardcore comes in the vein of early Reign Supreme, Trapped Under Ice, Rival Mob and even a little Iron Boots. Fast spurts mixed with break beat rhythm patterns and head bobbing mid-paced rants. While you could toss this in with a dozen bands that are popular with this style; cue in the generic “they are not reinventing the wheel, but they do it well”. But they do. This band still sticks out in my mind. Supercharged energy, venting a mean-ass attitude. Damn good demo. I want more.
Western Mass Old School Hardcore. Collegiate letters and a live pic adorn this 7”. And what you expect is exactly what you get. And I am cool with that. Uniform Choice, Chain of Strength, Ten Yard Fight, Over My Dead Body all come to mind. These 5 songs of youth crew formula deliver a solid punch; tried and true for a good reason. Give it a spin. Recall why this style of hardcore never gets old.