Dark, bleak hardcore the way Lucifer intended it.
Greetings from the blackened lungs of the internet, where bellicose bands make militant music for pugnacious people. Today’s tunes will remind you just how worthless the pathetic excuse for an existence that you call a life happens to be. I present to you three records so coldly hostile that I suspect at least one of them may have shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.
Kicking off this Random Roundup is Narratives and their self-esteem-erasing EP Hell Is Here. This rotting chunk of blackened crust gets its point across with the simple efficiency of a headshot: running less than ten minutes, the band’s latest 7” gets in, gets filthy, and gets out with nary a wasted second.
The production this EP quality is deceptively good; although Hell Is Here has the gritty, lo-fi aesthetic that one expects of anything black metal-inspired, all the elements benefit from just enough clarity to make them stand out. Speedy powerviolence passages give way to weighty bits of crusted sludge, surging under relentless waves of gravelly rasps. Narratives imbue their music with a combination of acerbic misanthropy and balls-out fervor that makes this kind of dark hardcore so damn appealing. Plus, Hell Is Here is free, so even you ramen-eating scum have no excuse for sleeping on this release.
Greensboro, NC’s Torch Runner is a beastly three-piece with a devastatingly abrasive take on crusty powerviolence. Committed To The Ground pulses with destructive energy, jumping from groovy sludge progressions to furious hardcore riffing without missing a blast-beat. The mood on this record is oppressively malicious, battering the listener with breakneck rhythms and buzz-sawing guitars from start to close. Drummer Josh Platt’s work behind the kit on this record is tight and sharp, each snare hit popping like celebratory small arms fire in Tripoli.
Torch Runner’s virulently anti-religious lyrics are delivered with throat-rending venom by bassist Rob Turner, in a tirelessly aggressive vocal performance that is one of Committed To The Ground’s superlative aspects. I recommend completely ignoring this album and stopping a chainsaw with your bare hands.
Batting cleanup is a Colorado band with an odd name and an angry album. Damaru’s debut Gilded is a piece of deliciously vicious emo-violence that gets rougher than the business end of an oscillating spindle sander. The Denver quintet saws through ten blistering tracks, each erupting from a seemingly bottomless well of sorrow and self-loathing. Vocalist David Cave’s lyrics are serrated blades of poems, jagged edges ripping though even the most safety-conscious of psyches, “A cigarette hung like a dark cloud/ In the night sky/ I felt death over me/ Saw it wash over me”.
Gilded is about as bleak as hardcore can be, opting for a tastefully sparse aesthetic that pairs perfectly with the record’s soul-crushing mood. Uppercuts of dissonant metallic hardcore serve to break up the album’s flurry of frantic body-blows, guitars screaming and squirming over the relentless pummeling of Damaru’s rhythm section. This record is a fight your ears might not win.
So go check out these bands and ‘Like’ them on Facebook and get their albums and whatnot. It might help fill that yawning void where your self worth is supposed to go.