About the Fire, Magrudergrind/Shitstorm, Ultra Dolphins, and Ruiner…
Posted on Tuesday, March 21st, 2006 @ 3:46pm » permalink
Fuuuck am I ever kicking myself on this one. This god damn CD (About the Fire's "Six Anthems From the Comfortably Jaded", released by Happy Couples Never Last) has been sitting in a pile on my floor for like three months, maybe more, but it somehow got lost in the shuffle and I didn't even listen to it for the first time until this weekend. I had no idea what to expect, but let's be honest, I was anticipating boring metalcore, because there's more boring metalcore out there than anything else lately, and for some reason people seem to think I want to hear it. Thankfully About the Fire offers nothing of the sort, instead cranking out something kind of like a crunchy melodic hardcore/punk style that has elements of pop-punk and metal going on in terms of catchy songwriting and energetic performances alongside occasionally dissonant riffs or dual guitar parts. Not what you'd expect from a band that has at various points in time featured current and ex-members of Burn it Down, Harakiri, and Upheaval! But perhaps that's why this stuff is way meatier than your usual dose of pop-punk or melodic hardcore? And just check out those gruff vocals! Totally fuckin' killer, I mean… I was sold on this shit within 30 seconds or less. I could stand for the recording to pull things in a little closer together (the vocals seem a smidge separated), but the songwriting is fucking great, and there's something about those vocals that kicks ass.
About the Fire "So Close"
My sincerest apologies to both the band and the label for fucking up and letting this one slip past me for so long! I'm gonna have to look into their prior full-length as well. If you dig the track above, and you damn well should, pick this shit up and keep your eyes peeled for more:
@ Very Distribution
As one might guess, the recently released Magrudergrind/Shitstorm split CD on Robotic Empire is a series of explosive bursts of high-speed grind with 24 tracks in just 22 minutes. Magrudergrind wastes no time kicking things off with generally fast, generally tight grindcore that musically tends to follow the classic framework of the genre while vocally dealing with completely indecipherable barks/cackles that deliver somewhat of a message within plenty of smartass humor and lightheartedness. Honestly I've never been much of a fan of these particular vocal styles, but I'm all over the music, so the raging breakdowns and tactful speeds make up for it. If these cats were around in the 90's the Slap-A-Ham crowd would've been all over 'em.
The same probably goes for Shitstorm. The band contains members of Torche and tackles a similar brand of grind to their splitmates, but with lightly distorted vocals and a slightly rawer sound that has an oddly warped feel to it at times. I think a lot of that comes from the recording, where there's a lot of potential in the badass riffing department, but I'd toss the vocal effects and try to do something to keep the guitars from getting shuffled around by the nice, natural thump that the blastbeats have got going on. The speeds tend to be very well executed, and some of the classic sounding grindcore breaks are complete ragers. Only one track hits a minute, and I'd say these cats sound a smidge darker than Magrudergrind, too. There's still a little sense of humor in there, but it's delivered in a more pissed off manner, I guess?
Magrudergrind "Organized Cell Death"
Magrudergrind "Emo Holocaust"
Shitstorm "World of Shit"
This one's definitely growing on me, but it took a few spins for the damage to break through. Not too shabby. It's $8. That's like .37 cents per minute of ripping grind. Don't be a douche. Buy it if you like it:
@ Robotic Empire
Also just out from Robotic Empire is what I believe is the Ultra Dolphins' first CD release, "Why are You Laugh". Personally I am not laugh, if you know what I mean, but whatever the case, I'm also not that familiar with this band. Most of these songs were recorded in 2002, and apparently this CD collects other releases, but there's no indication of such in the booklet so I'm not sure what that's all about. I'm kind of on the fence with a lot of this type of thing since I like elements of it a lot, but tend to have a hard time with spazzy, frantic stuff that's all screamy and frenzied. Where I think this one wins out is that they'll randomly throw in a rocked out riff that sort of has a mathy twist to the rhythm, and they hit on a couple of almost melodic sounding DC riffs that are pretty cool, too. I'm not gonna lie, this EP comes off as sort of "hip" to me, but it wouldn't be fair to hold that against 'em since there's actual musical value in place, and despite such (perhaps inaccurate) associations the band has a certain sound in place that isn't what I would call typical. There are actually some damn fine passages within the disc as a whole. I'm not sure I care for the artwork on this thing, but it, too, has a different look to it that I respect in that it does catch the eye in refusing to look generic. What a weird fuckin' band, ha…
Ultra Dolphins "White Substance"
It's probably a safe bet that most of the people who read this site would write this band off because a lot of their fans probably have bad haircuts and wacky, tight pants. I, on the other hand, can keep my good taste in music and assholic sense of humor side by side and just encourage you to give everything a chance and purchase those CD's that interest you:
@ Robotic Empire
I reviewed the 7" pressing of Ruiner's "What Could Possibly Go Right…" EP on the old site awhile back, but I got it on disc about a month ago from 1917 Records and figured it deserved another hit. There's not enough hardcore of this variety out there in my opinion, and this is the kind of shit that I really eat up. It has an old school sort of vibe to it without being the least bit of a throwback, so they just go with straight yelling vocals over moderately fast rhythms that always possess a certain energy due in large part to the melodic aspects of the riffs. I still think the recording on this one is a little off since the guitars fall by the wayside and the mix needs a little more crispness for a generally fuller punch. Nice bass presence, though, and with the right set of production values this band would blow the doors off the joint. I'm not sure what they're up to now but I wouldn't be surprised to see them move on to bigger and better things if they keep at it. I'm into it.
Ruiner "Out Go the Candles"
Now buy it if you dig it:
@ 1917 Records