Reviews

Extinction Burst

Deadream Deadream cassette

Fast hardcore punk. Five short songs, each clocking in well under a minute in length, most of which still finding the time to have a tough breakdown. Picture something mixed between LEFT FOR DEAD-type spastic riffs and tough CHAIN OF STRENGTH breakdowns.

Head to Wall Demo 2019 cassette

Super chuggy, youth-crew-esque hardcore. Three songs that truly sound like they came from a different decade. You know the sound; singy melodic vocals with barked gang backups, driving main riffs, chugging tuff breakdowns. As I write this I’m discovering that there is an unlisted fourth song on the demo, a cover of “Under Fire” by 411. Not hiding where their inspiration comes from one bit with this choice of cover.

Reclaim Break EP

Pretty damn good hardcore from California’s oft-neglected High Desert. These guys clearly know their NYHC as much as any other hardcore band in 2020, but they draw upon turn-of-the-millennium bands like CARRY ON and COUNT ME OUT too, especially on opening track “Bloom.” RECLAIM’s sadly terrible cover art will probably doom them to a localcore dungeon, but the tunes are pretty great. Recommended for ardent scene supporters and more discerning hardcore fans alike.

Snakes 5 Song Demo cassette

Chaotic and aggressive hardcore is king. I mean, this is obvious. But when a band settles into melody, I want to hear HÜSKER DÜ and MOVING TARGETS, and that’s exactly where SNAKES land, with tinges of FUEL (and/or Dischord) in the mix to keep me guessing before they launch into more power. They maintain the balance well, and SNAKES spend five short tracks making their point and then exiting confidently.

Thievery Thievery cassette

Lo-fi hardcore from Victorville, CA. From the little insert included I have gathered that this was a short-lived project from 2005 that wrote four songs and recorded live onto a four-track, released it as a demo, and played one singular show. This is a reissue of that same demo. It’s pretty cool, sufficiently pissed. The quality of the recording makes it a bit difficult to discern exactly what they sounded like. The mind fills in those garbled gaps, tho. Musically it falls somewhere between powerviolence, fastcore, and some tough-guy beatdown stuff.

V/A Behind This Wall EP

A 7″ comp from the Mojave Desert in Cali. Bands included on this are RECLAIM, NOBLES BONES, MARRÓN, COUNTY FAIR, and CEL DAMAGE. Pretty much a hardcore collection that stays away from generic thrash. A good start for a lesser-known scene.

Vacancy Last Rites EP

Upbeat, driving melodic punk rock here—tuneful hardcore that in a more innocent time may have been called emo. The guitars churn and glisten like early JAWBREAKER or RITES OF SPRING atop surging bass and drums. The interplay between all three instruments really stands out, while the dark, introspective lyrics are reflected in the vocals, which are laced with a tortured drama that reminds me of Andrea Zollo of AREA 51/DEATH WISH KIDS. Deftly cramming six tasty little numbers on a bright green 45 RPM seven-incher; wonder what VACANCY will get up to next?