Wednesday, May 23, 2012


(Feral Ward//USA)
I admit, at first listen, I just thought the demo was "good" but wasn't blown away, then a few months ago once I heard that the Trauma LP was about to come out, I played it again, but LOUD this time and it clicked better for me, and got me pumped for the LP. I remember thinking that the vocals were probably going to be what would make or break the LP. I picked this up at the Columbus Tragedy show on 5/17 and I am happy to say that I was not let down. The sound is perfect and the vocals are strong and catchy. If you are looking for no frills hardcore punk with no gimmicks, here it is. This is Billy (Tragedy/Deathreat) on guitar and Todd (Tragedy/Deathreat) on drums with a member of the classic 80s Portland HC group, Final Warning on vocals. If this isn't trebly or mysterious enough for you, I feel sorry for you. Raging Portland HC at its best. Imagine a more raw and stripped down Deathreat, if you will. You should be able to get this soon from Feral Ward and various stores & distros.

4 / 5 bells



TRAGEDY - Darker Days Ahead 12"
(Tragedy Records//USA)
Holy shit there are tons of garbage reviews and blogtalk about this record out there. Indie blogs are all talking about this "secret" hardcore band Tragedy that the reviewer found out about through crusted-blackened handshakes and back alley dealings. Ok, I get that you need to cover this record, but come on, find someone that knows something about hardcore or the history of the band or the style of music to write about it. Fuck.

Picked this up as well at the show in Columbus. The CD version has a nice digipack tri-fold with letterpressing and the LP version has a great textured sleeve. Word is, the LP will be remixed or remastered for the official version, I am not sure which, but in listening to it, it doesn't sound much different than the CD version to my ears, so I am guessing that a remix is what we are headed for. Not that I think it sounds bad.

Kudos to them, this is their 4th lp in 10+ years of existence and I can completely understand the want to do something different. The Death Side and Japanese HC influence is almost gone as there is only one song with fast (ie thrashin') parts, and in its place, I hear a lot of Killing Joke, Amebix, High On Fire and Bolt Thrower. Yes...BOLT THROWER...a lot of it. Ever since I saw Matt Pike (High On Fire) tell the sound guy at a show to put on the s/t Tragedy LP some years ago, I could see a little circle of influence that the two bands started having on each other. Especially on Nerve Damage for Tragedy, and on this new album it is glaringly obvious. I have to admit, on first listen, I wished at different times for a classic Tragedy Japanese HC style ripper, but then it was "Oh shit, nevermind, this part is sick." The title track, "Darker Days Ahead" is by far my favorite, it is a Killing Joke style headbanging mechanical anthem that can easily stand up there with the best songs in their catalogue. "We never think of the future. It comes soon enough" has been echoing in my head for days. I love the 2nd song, you know the one that usually has a fist pumping, headbanging pace on their albums...and of course, the Motorhead style stomper, "Power Fades" is another immediate stand out for me. The only song I am not real crazy about is "The Feeding Hour," but one out of 4 albums and 2 7"s is nothing to cry about.

In truth, this still sounds like the same band; just imagine an album full of the slower and mid paced songs from the 1st 2 records with a modern day doom metal drum sound and a little more experimentation with the guitar riffs. The guitar sound is similar, the lyrics and vocals are of the top quality that I have come to expect from this band (Todd with the Entombed-howls and Billy with the Bastard-growls). The only thing that could really make me like this more is if they had a couple fast hardcore tunes on here, but maybe that would have been at odds with some of the production values they chose (they recorded with Billy Anderson instead of Polymorph this time). I think some people are not going to like this, but then again others will love the freshness and new direction.

Steel your patience and withold your Ebay dollars from the flipper-scum, this will be widely available soon enough.

4 / 5 bells

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