A little background: bands like BREAD AND WATER and GARUDA (who shared two members) were paramount for budding suburban anarchist punk kids like myself in the Dallas area circa the late ’90s-early ’00s. Their live presence was distinctly formidable, and everyone agreed they were one of DFW’s finest acts, regardless of musical taste. My focus split between the singer Brian, headbanging from the waist up (upper-torso banging?) even while singing, the entire set, and the mesmerizing drum patterns. Every song had an awesome heavy melodic dual-guitar breakdown part that would coax a collective headbang from everyone in the room whether they realized it or not, like some kind of cult lulled into hypnosis. On to this recording: nine tracks, three or four that I recognize were in rotation of their live set back in the day, all newly recorded. The punchy and heavy production suits them perfectly! And would you believe that nearly twenty years later I’m listening to this and still anticipating certain drum fills and guitar riffs because I remember the songs so clearly, and fucking goddamn it’s giving me the same dopamine hit! And to top it all off they close with a rendition of BREAD AND WATER’s “Nakedness As Insult?” with Amie doing guest vocals, successfully bringing the fucking house down, and by “house down” I mean tears of nostalgic joy to my eyes. I’m going to call GARUDA hardcore with death metal elements, and I’m allowed to pretend to know a little about metal because I listen to IRON MAIDEN. Marvelous drum dynamics, without any of that double-kick nonsense, punctuate every transition with precision. Brian’s guttural isn’t actually too far off from his speaking voice, and he is apparently unconcerned about keeping time, which throws chaos into the overall tightness of the band. The guitars are borderline acrobatic but not too flashy, ultimately responsible for the hooks that get stuck in your head. These elements give GARUDA an authenticity that endures all these years later. If you are into no-pose fast and heavy shit, or caught them on tour in the US/Mexico back then, you should be more than pleased with this record. Additionally, someone should start a petition to put their 2002 CD-only Cold Wired Sentiment on a 12” (I still wear the t-shirt, faded and sleeveless of course!).