DEATH CAMP: Live at the Bug Jar 7/20/15: CS

This band released a 7” a couple of years ago that you can still find pretty easily in the markdown bin of your local record store or basement distro. It’s what people nowadays call a “dollar bin ripper” as it was a solid recording from a band that was settled nicely into a genre but didn’t really catch traction because it’s not all the way there. That record has a heavy NYHC vibe that was dubbed “classic” by many a hipster blogger. The sound was good, but was very modern—with vocals that were more inspired by West Coast weirdos than DMS bangers and hidden behind a strange wall of reverb. This recording might as well be a different band, and had it been released on vinyl would certainly not be cast off to the dollar bin for the curious traveler of tomorrow to pick up and file away in a room too small to house all their records. The first song “Wolf Prince” is a strange, cathartic listen with moody dives and Christian Death-style breakdowns buried between evil rocking. The first song fades into the second “Strange Beast,” with a twin guitar intro reminiscent of Thin Lizzy that immediately dives into ‘80s cock-rock riffing (think more Change Today and less Shout at the Devil). We’re just two songs in. The recording continues on as a hodgepodge of sounds centered around a cohesive theme. There’s the seven-minute stomp of “Big Trouble” that calls to mind the Gorehounds, but with a slow lead break that feels so familiar but impossible to place. The intro for “Punch Line” retains their former NYHC vibe but makes it sounds fresh and new in the context of the rest of the cassette. Throughout the recording, the vocals are theatric and thematic, akin to recordings of Tomato Du Plenty or the rambling prose of Spencer Moody. For all the fucking weird bands from Rochester, this one may be the weirdest. It also may be the one with the most possibility of producing a commercially successful record that doesn’t dumb down their sound. There are bolts that need to be tightened down in their sound, but this is a band poised to do something very interesting.

 –Ian Wise (Self-released, deathcamp.bigcartel.com, deathcampny.bandcamp.com)