BETWEEN THE EARTH AND SKY: Of Roots and Walls: CD/EP

May 08, 2013

So this band is a supergroup of nineties hardcore luminaries from band such as Trial, Catharsis, and By A Thread. It sounds a lot like some of those bands—with its long builds with poetic spoken lyrics—which all come crashing down into a bunch of screaming and pounding drums. The only difference is that it’s a bit emotionally flat in comparison The packaging for this CD is another throwback to nineties hardcore with its list of Humble Suggestions, things to “read,” “see,” “listen to,” and “search for” in one of the last pages of the insert. A lot of the stuff is what you would expect: radical literature, stuff on straight edge, but it gets weirdly subjective, for instance, when they recommend Google-searching for Ronnie James Dio and “greatest hockey fights” or that you read Stop Walking On Eggshells, a book about how to deal with people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Huh? Besides their own lyrics, they print a lot of pull quotes from books about mortality and the way humans are always in resistance to their own demise. This is the album’s concept, humanity’s desperation for immortality and battle with the inevitability of death. After the songs are over comes the “Band Interview” track where the members sit around and interview each other about how it took them ten years to make this EP of six songs and they talk for forty-five minutes! They go on and on about every metaphor and symbol on the album, explaining each in great detail. They ramble on about how they’re trying to make something both “timeless and immediate.” But it took them ten years to make this album, so I would say that the latter of two is pretty much shot to hell. The album certainly makes its point, but maybe not in the way that the band intends. Their (and humanity’s) struggle is ironically apparent in the interview where we get to hear these old dudes who once made crucial and important hardcore ramble on and on. They seem confused and bewildered at their places in life after once being so essential to a long-faded style of hardcore and trying to cling to some of its fire. Hearing them, desperate for relevance and rambling about their belated album is, ironically, a much better metaphor than the okay ones they make in their songs. Add it all up and what you get is one of the most genuinely depressing, existential crisis-triggering pieces of art I’ve heard in a long time.

 –Craven (Refuse, refuserecords.prv.pi, [email protected])

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