An odd pairing here that’s probably based more in geography and friendship than anything else, as both of these bands hail from Long Island. Deathcycle hits us with two metal songs, neither of which floored me too much. Lyrics deal with contemporary topics but are strained through the standard metal colander: the result of environmental irresponsibility isn’t translated into the passing of CAFTA and the ensuing depletion of environmental standards and continuation of nation-sanctioned sweatshop labor, but rather “dead bodies rotting everywhere.” I mean, I agree with them but I’ve had it up to here with the Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch snarling behind the mike stands, shouting doom-filled epithets while the double bass rocks it. Then I flipped the record and got stoked once I realized at least one of the kids in the Solidarity Pact used to be in Contra, who at one time held the belt as one of my favorite bands. And what the Pact is doing here, they’re doing well. Consider it an updated version of Contra—they’re not necessarily more pissed off, but there’s a fuller sound this time around. The vocals have to fight against the guitar just to be heard, rather than sailing easily over the top of it like Contra did. The guitars are fuzzed out and vicious and the songs seem less dependent on verse-chorus-verse than they are in going full-tilt from start to finish. Three quick songs on their side and every one of them just shits fire and brimstone, you know? It’s hardcore that’s intelligent and pointed, that’s less reliant on floorpunching (do kids still do that?) and instead rests on the bedrock of passion, solid songwriting, and a gut-wrenching intensity that doesn’t let up until the needle does. I hope they stick around long enough for a full-length.
–keith (Rok Lok)