Old Lines is Mitch Roemer, Jake Berry, Matt Taylor and Pat Martin. Pat and Matt thoughtfully answered my standard MDF questions.
What will be the official lineup for Maryland Deathfest?
Pat: I’m not sure, we haven’t really discussed doing any special merch for the fest yet. We have beer koozies, that not a normal piece of merch, or maybe it is now, but whatever, haha. Gotta keep those beers chilly!
|Early Graves @Ottobar 2012. Photo by M. Spiro|
At the time of the show, Early Graves only had two albums in their discography, We: The Guillotine and Goner. So I listened to a few tracks from those albums. I liked it alright; they kind of had a blackened thrash-core thing going on.
What I did not know before the show was that they had lost their original vocalist, Makh Daniels, in a tragic van accident while on tour in August of 2010. Daniels’ voice was deep and rough. Their new vocalist, John Strachan, has a slightly higher pitched and “thrashier” sounding voice. The vocals don’t make a completely different band but they are distinct.
What also did not know, though I could have suspected it from the songs I heard, was that Early Graves’ live performances completely destroy a venue. Everything about their performance that night–from the punchy drums to the crushing riffs and searing vocals–was a flaming ball of utter awesome aural devastation.
So it was with palpable excitement that I awaited the release of Early Graves third effort, Red Horse. I bought the digital copy from iTunes and devoured all 32.6 minutes of it twice in a row. Here is my quick and dirty impression of the album.
Hardcore and thrash are subgenres of metal that can be easily married. A bad marriage results in something barely listenable, but Early Graves merges styles with finesse. Songs like the title track “Red Horse,” with its literal galloping drum beat, possess the right amount of catchy melodic riffing framed by an appropriate structure of visceral brutality capable of branding the chords into your frontal lobe.
Other tracks like “Days Grow Cold” churn through each measure like a guitar-powered locomotive, that pauses briefly to let you reflect before rocketing off again. The track ends like an acoustic balad. Very surprising.
Another track, “Death Obsesssed” wormed its way into my psyche. I found myself playing the song repeatedly before moving on to the next track. There’s something sinister and looming in this song–maybe like death itself–and yet endlessly relentless. This song represents everything that I love about hardcore metal–raw vocals, desperate lyrics, riffs that grab you by the throat and drums that make you want to bang your head.
My favorite song on the album, “Quietus,” is also the longest track. The first two and half minutes plow forward ferociously like much of the rest of the album. Then the song spirals into this melancholic, almost doomy section. The music builds to a soaring crescendo and closes out the album on a thoughtful note.
On the whole, I found the eight tracks on Early Graves’ Red Horse to be thoroughly satisfying and packed with heavy hardcore goodness. As much as one can view hardcore as “catchy” Early Graves has figured out the formula while maintaining music that inspires a respectable mosh pit.
This album is masterful and brutally beautiful. Go check it out.
Coke Bust describe themselves as a straightedge hardcore punk band. And being from the Washington, DC area I would say they have some big shoes to fill in that arena, the nation’s capital being the birthplace of such iconic punks bands as Fugazi, Government Issue and Minor Threat. They seem to be doing pretty well though. And, no they don’t always play in basements.
Since 2006, when they put out their first demo, the group has released a little something –a cassette, a 7 inch split, an EP–every single year. They play consistently and are ready to go to Europe to play the Obscene Extreme Fest in the Czech Republic this summer.
Coke Bust is Nicktape (vocals), James (guitar), Jubert ( bass) and Chris (drums). They play the 2012 Maryland Deathfest on Sunday afternoon, May 27.
Presently on tour with The Melvins, Unsane is credited as being one of the pioneers of noise rock, infusing elements of punk, hardcore and even rock-a-billy and blues into their songs. The unrelenting backbeat, in your face vocals, and often times twangy and distorted guitar riffs will set them apart from most acts at MDF X. No corpse paint and spiked gauntlets here.
Unsane swaggers through each song with impressive violence and grace. Their sound has barely changed over time. They have maintained their brutal punkish roots for nearly 25 years, unbowed to the trends in music around them. This is a good thing. They are like a rough roll in the hay* with a familiar lover, you know exactly what to expect, but you won’t be bored and you’ll leave thoroughly satisfied.
*that is, fuck 🙂
Here’s something brand new from Unsane….
And something from their first self-title recording….
New Jersey’s Rorschach blends elements of punk, hardcore and avant garde dissonance to come up with the so-called “power violence” sound and screaming vocal energy you see here. They perform Thursday, May 24 at MDF X. Current band members include Keith Huckins – Guitar; Andrew Gormley – Drums; Nick Forte – Guitar; Thomas Rusnak – Bass; Charles Maggio -Vocals.
The band first got together in 1989, sort of at the tail end of the hardcore punk scene, extend the genre well into the early 90s. They took a break, some members going to play in Deadguy. In 2009, they reformed and have toured sporadically since.
Following the Maryland Deathfest, Rorschach will play at on May 26 Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. If you remember hardcore punk from back in the day, or if you are making the nouvelle version of hardcore punk now, Rorschach satisfies.