Monday, June 25, 2012
Congenital Death- demo CS review
This band has perfectly encased a vocal style that I adore- a shrieking, fast-paced, hoarse female voice that I will now call the “shrieking bitch” vocal style. Not meant as an insult, it’s actually one of my favorite vocal styles when it’s done right. So, I definitely dig the vocals- what about the music? It’s somewhere between 80s hardcore and powerviolence, kind of like Knee Deep in Shit, U.D.I., and maybe Coke Bust or Citizen’s Arrest. Not the newest style, but this is everything you could want from a band playing punk/ hardcore. Fine jogging music for the hardcore runner in all of us- a fine demo indeed. I want more.
No Happy Endings
Wherever did people get the idea that life is a happy venture that will end in bliss and puppies and flowers? That’s bullshit propaganda, folks. Life sucks, and then you die. This whole idea that life is a path laden with golden tiles and fertile grass is an unending barrage of lies, and it has contributed to so many social problems in our society- it has truly made life LESS worth living, and not more. From issues of self-image to a win-at-all-costs mentality, we are suffering from a widespread mental disease that at the end of our path, our contributions will be rewarded, despite our sufferings in this life. They used this same argument to justify the story of Boxer the horse (in Animal Farm), where the horse put in his life’s work, and then was denied the rest of his life after he was too ill to work anymore. People promising a future reward should ALWAYS be regarded with skepticism and mild distrust, with correlation to the distance of the reward and relevance given to the amount of work put in. A future promise of happiness is never an acceptable one- if you want happiness, find it now, with what you have, who have, wherever you are. If you still lack this happiness, then pursue it, and enjoy it while it lasts. Make no mistake, believe no delusion- we are here now, and tomorrow is far from guaranteed. A “horizon promise” becomes less worthwhile the further away it is, especially if you have your happiness now. Supervisors, ministers, rabbis, imams, senators, representatives, cops, liars, deceivers… they all come bearing these horizon promises, a happy ending in exchange for the miserable now. This bullshit should have an odor from yards away. Now, what are the sources of these happy endings? Oh, they are like weeds- omnipresent and never ending. How many times does the antidote of reality have to be applied before these weeds do not grow back?
Cinema (at least popular cinema) is a great example of these false promises. Even off-the-cuff movies like Kick Ass, Zombieland, and Juno end with “the guy gets the girl and they live happily ever after”- how revolting! An otherwise exemplary and exciting/ interesting film, sullied by a compulsory happy ending. Our human need for closure is almost unbelievable- why does everything have to be okay in the end? Why does such a minor thing create such distress in the human mind? If Michael Cera and Ellen Page had parted ways, what would have been undesirable about that? The disclosed reality is that people change, move on, or something happens, and it is no longer desirable to be around them- this is part of life’s process, and it is VERY real. Why do we deny this- would it not be healthier to accept this regular occasion in life and be better conditioned for life, and therefore, more susceptible to happiness? There is no use in closing one’s eyes and denying what has happened- the embrace of reality comes with a stronger skin and a more robust person in the end. Escapism will not solve your problems- if they help you cope with loss, so be it, but do not believe for a second that happiness is forever, or just on the horizon; only taking action and solving the puzzle of one’s life will bestow upon you any level of happiness.
The second source of these problems is music- what I shall give to music, though, is that it is usually made in times of distress in order to cope with reality, of which there is nothing wrong. However, it seems that contemporary popular music is related to live or falling in it (or it is other meaningless bullshit, but that’s a different story). This is different than cinema, in that music is saturated in society and constantly projects a message behind a song by whatever band is playing. It is that much more difficult to avoid, and the powers that music has on our psyche are demonstrable, making this happy crap that much more dangerous. In short, cinema is rarely integrated as a part of life- music often is. The same barrage of propaganda applies here, the level and efficacy of the message being the only notable variables that change from cinema’s propagandic ways. In the end, it is a message of happiness on the horizon being involuntarily pushed into our collective brains, the results of which can (and are) often used to change someone’s mind about something. Happiness has a high tendency to make potential consumers more willing to spend, hence why there is not a cacophonous sound to be heard in any shopping outlet.
This horizon happiness is being used to influence us, and in addition to this deception, the happiness is an outright lie. There is no happy ending in life- instead, you have the potential to have a happy life. Of course, it sucks when it ends, but that’s how life works, and is much less bitter a pill to swallow when reality is embraced. Your happiness is here, now, not on any horizon or over any hill- my happiness comes through music and the days when I do not dwell in the darkest depths of the human mind. Even a lonely pessimist of gargantuan proportions has his solace- hah! One can certainly find theirs.
Fight It Out- Depression 7” review
This is 90s hardcore done right- songs about being depressed, alone, isolated, and hopeless are what hardcore should be about. It’s a place for unity, but to unite all the fuck-ups in a socially hospitable environment, to escape from the hell that is normal life and have fun for long enough to forget about one’s problems, or at least make them bearable. That’s what hardcore has always meant to me, and that’s what Fight It Out is about, too. The guitars alternate between speedy punk parts and dark, sludgy slow parts that (make your skin) crawl. The drums and bass match the guitars’ high end sound with a low end sound, and creates that early 90s hardcore feel. The vocals are a mix of the dancing, pit bull-like varsity dude and the tormented, screaming freak who might remind you of a schizophrenic off his meds and on the streets, telling you about his latest vision. I generally don’t get too hot for hardcore like this, but this is one example of the right way to play 90s-style hardcore. I can definitely two-step to this.
Final Assault- …Yllatyshyokkays 7” review
Though somewhat similar to their first 7”, the lyrical theme is very different, and this one is more fitted to traditional D-beat stuff (war is at the center of all things D-beat, don’t deny it). The singer’s voice reigns over top of the music, a laughing face over the top of a dying humanity, even though the narration is very much sided with the oppressed people. Also, there is little to no reverb in the vocals, making the sound that much more raw punk, rather than traditional D-beat. The bass is an essential tenet of the F.A. sound, which is interesting for punk- it suits the vibe of the music well, though. Guitar is pretty standard, though it does break into a lead in the middle of “Battlefield of Death”- another odd addition that benefits the sound (the lead is nice and short, unlike these cock rock, self-absorbed, atrociously dull leads). The first three tracks are all originals, and the fourth is a cover of “Wartorn” by Social Outcast, the singer’s first band from the early-mid 90s. The band still manages to put their own spin on it- it’s not really a cover, but a reinterpretation. The dual vocals of the original song were a bit stronger, but Final Assault has but one singer- good enough for me. One of the better D-beat influenced groups of recent years- these guys were doing this before the trend of formulaic crap D-beat came upon us, so they are not a part of this particular generic movement, which makes them seem that much more genuine. I can’t wait for more!
Cubone’s Brigade- Train & Destroy EP review
Poke-core? I never thought this would see the day. For the single reason that this is Pokemon-infused youth crew-styled hardcore punk, you should immediately check this out. However, if that is unsuitable, it can be summed up in greater detail. This is good old youth crew, fast/ slow parts and poetic vocalists intact, and the lyrics are all about Pokemon-based stuff. To be honest, you were either a Pokemon kid or you weren’t. If you were, and you happen to like punk/ hardcore as well, then you will adore this. If not, then you might view this with some skepticism. However, much of my childhood is rooted in this little universe (With a pen, paper, and some time, I could probably name all 150 originals), so I loved it. You should too.