NEGATIVE STANDARDS: I, II, III, IV, V: Cassette

Mar 03, 2011

Vaguely crusty-sounding hardcore from California that reminds me of various Tragedy/Deathreat/His Hero Is Gone family of bands and should appeal to fans of any of those mentioned. The songs are solid, decently recorded, and lack the overly “epic” sound that makes bands like this fail. The samples are well placed and don’t come across as cheesy. Honestly, though, the highlight of this tape for me was the essay written by the singer about his brother’s decision to join the military and his own struggles and self-awareness with rethinking his political ideology (though not necessarily going back on it). It lends a lot of credibility to a band in a genre that sort of prides itself in being reactionary and full of rhetoric. It stuck out to me—not necessarily because I agree with his politics or those outlined by his brothers situation—but because it was refreshing to see a punk record that allowed the person on the receiving end to understand the shortcomings of the performer in a very human way, which is essentially the purpose of art and something overlooked by a lot of bands who tend to talk write essays explaining their intent with a certain recording. As a result, the listener comes to appreciate the band more and actually make a substantial connection. And that’s my lame explanation. Also, the B-side of this tape is just the A-side played backwards.

 –Ian Wise (fivetentapes.com)

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