Not For The Weak

Bato Ravages of Time EP

Ripping hardcore out of Virginia that brings CAREER SUICIDE to mind. It’s all fast, with the attitude of MINOR THREAT, THE FIX, and other staple early ’80s US hardcore bands. The MVP is the drummer, who holds it down and hits heavy throughout the records, sprinkling in plenty of those JERRY’S KIDS-style rolls. My favorite parts of the record are when it comes up for air: the slightly slower and groovier fifth track “Better Way,” and the breakdown at the end of “Delusional.” Mosh worthy, indeed.

Deficit Staggering Toward False Light cassette

This is a one-man-band solo project for the drummer of Virginia Beach’s STREET WEAPON. You wouldn’t guess it at all with the non-bedroom project beefy production and big gruff sound. I’m feeling a lot of BLOOD PRESSURE and DIRECT CONTROL here, as well as some classic Midwest-by-way-of-D.C. bald-noggin roar. “Uphill” and “Fear of Nothing” are my faves here. I’m looking forward to the live full-band version of this. Cool.

Lethal Means Zero Sum Game LP

LETHAL MEANS force their hands to mechanically tweak a naturally simplistic Scandinavian hardcore approach with decent ability. In other words, they squiggle around the frets to ring out a few extra notes and adjust the verse-chorus structure a bit (see the aptly titled “Ad Nauseam”). The subtle technicality of the opener “Break Free” gave hope that LETHAL MEANS would offer something intriguing, but overall there were maybe three attention-grabbing moments here. I’ve never listened to stadium crust ‘cause the good lord didn’t plan that in my life’s trajectory, but LETHAL MEANS’ catchy riffs, endlessly pounding drums, smooth production, and more technical playing inevitably creates an “epic” sound that I assume is indeed stadium crust. “Break Free,” “Serve No Man,” and the closer “Life Cannot Be Owned,” which feels inspired by but lacks the swing and ease of DEATH SIDE’s “Crossfire,” could’ve served as an acceptable 7”. Low points are an instrumental track featuring video game-like sound effects of decommissioned military planes and album art featuring the Grim Reaper stroking a phallic atomic cloud, which seems appropriate for presumably older punk men doing their take on music written by children 40 years ago.

Street Weapon Quick to Die EP

Multiple eras of ’80s New York street music are represented with nods to the ABUSED, A.F., and CAUSE FOR ALARM as well as breakdowns reminiscent of ALTERCATION and MADBALL. Aping the early NY sound isn’t exactly new or surprising but STREET WEAPON actually gains intrigue by doing a decent job of balancing the early and late ’80s styles without being tied down to anything. Ultimately the name is corny, the artwork’s forgettable and they provide another straight edge song about abandoning people with addiction issues but they’re also kids in high school so chalk it up to them being impressionable, possibly excitable boys. Buy it for a teenage punk in your life.

Street Weapon Quick to Die EP

Though the label copy namechecks CONFRONT and ALTERCATION, STREET WEAPON reminds me more of the heavier end of the mid-’00s USHC revival, when a band could still cite BLACK FLAG as an influence without sounding naive or hackneyed. That’s not to say they sound like BLACK FLAG—they sound distinctly modern but with a strong classic NYHC influence—but the simplicity of the presentation hearkens back to an earlier era, where everyone wore flannel and jean jackets and put every weapon they could possibly think of on their record art. These guys are quite young, and I’m not totally sold on this record, but when quarantine is over in 2029, some kid in Virginia Beach in construction gloves will probably get a black eye in a STREET WEAPON pit, which certainly counts for something.