Monday, August 9, 2010

Vaccine - Human Hatred 7"


Vaccine's first "full length record" was not pressed on LP. The exercise would be incredibly pointless. With a full running time of 4.1 minutes and the longest song on the record clocking in at 36 seconds, it barely warrants the two sides of a 7" that it was pressed on.

What the record lacks in running length, however, it makes up for in an unrelenting assault on your eardrums. Vaccine's nihilistic, straightedge aesthetic, which sneers at the entire world while still taking time to reflect inward and lament, as well as their unique and powerful take on the powerviolence genre, makes them a heavyweight contender in the modern hardcore scene. Take the lyrics to the third song on the LP, "Failure":

Hollow faces / Empty heads / Humans are vile / Succumb to this / Rotten existence / There is no excuse / Minds are diseased / Addicted by nature / Humans are / The worst fucking failure.

Let's just say that the mood doesn't lighten at any point during the record. Self-loathing, contempt for anything non-straightedge, religion, capitalism, and civilization all get their fair share of abuse from vocalist Matt KcKeown.

Musically, the band picks up where it left off with their self-titled demo (which you can download from Chug Life here), which is basically playing an absolutely fucking brutal brand of hardcore. Matt Swift's guitar is all over the place here with tasteful, classic breakdowns taking center stage between feats of strumming so fast that you're sure the sound of his wrist snapping is sure to break up the song any second. The a-side has it's share of strong moments: the album's opener, "Your Life's A Joke," which basically sets the tone for the record; the one-two-three punch of "Failure," "Soul Fuckers," and "Limited Edition," where "Failures" and "Limited Edition" serve as bookends for the breakneck attack of "Soul Fuckers," which lasts a grand total of 16 seconds.

The entire b-side of the record may be the best part though. It flows flawlessly and combines bone-crushing breakdowns with wiry, perfectly placed feedback and heady fill parts. The last 10 seconds of "Rotting Away," perhaps my favorite song on the record, puts Will Killingsworth's (guitarist of Orchid, Ampere, Bucket Full of Teeth, Failures, etc. etc.) bass in the forefront before Swift's guitar joins back and the band plays a riff you could two-step to if you wanted: except it only lasts for a couple seconds, and before you know it, the record is over following the best breakdown of the album, "Waste".

You can buy the record for a cool $4.50 here from Painkiller Records.

The art direction for the record was handled by Christopher Norris of Steak Mtn, who has made a name for himself by handling projects for bands like Against Me!, CombatWoundedVeteran (which he was a member of), and Orchid, and I even saw a profile of him that someone did up in Alternative Press, which I found both perplexing and intriguing at the same time. The above photo of the band was taken by Mark McCoy (Charles Bronson, Failure, Das Oath, and a respected punk artist in his own right), and is featured on the record's insert. All in all, this is a well put together, great sounding release that would be a great addition to any hardcore fan's record collection.

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Human Hatred (2010)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Laurel/Let's Split



Laurel and Let's. Two bands from Baltimore (or the suburbs thereof) who are really great. We've already covered Let's here before. This split features all three of the songs that were featured on their demo plus one more, "Confusing," which is a folky acoustic jam that anyone who is familiar with The Summer We Went West is sure to appreciate. It sounds like it could easily have been one of the band's b-sides, or even a song from member Erik Peuckonis's other current project, Boat Water (which also feature vocalist/guitarist Jon of Let's).

Laurel plays a slaphappy brand of emo with the same influences of just about every other band playing this style of music today, but they do it in a way that's a hell of a lot of fun, with hooks that will get stuck in your head for days. The highlights of their side of the tape are "Shamu (Sister)" and "Wait For You".

This release was limited to 100 cassettes, and you probably won't be able to get your hands on one unless you go see one of either of the band's live. So, go see them!

Laurel's Blog

Let's Myspace

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Laurel/Let's Split (2010)