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Negative Self, “A New Beginning,” from Control the Fear (Beatdown Hardwear, 2018)

Heavily influenced by Suicidal Tendencies circa, say, 1988 - 1992 or so, Swedish crossover virtuosos Negative Self impressed the shit outta me three years ago with their self-titled debut, and that trend continues with Control the Fear. Released a couple of months ago through the perhaps unlikely label of Beatdown Hardwear, out of Germany, I was finally able to land a physical copy last week.

The midpaced and melodic "A New Beginning" has been the immediate favorite for me with its sleek pulses of bass weaving in and out amidst galloping rhythms and super slick, explicitly composed, Rocky George-esque leads. The production can be almost too pristine at times, but they've nailed a well-balanced mix and the songwriting is just so fuckin' dead-on that it's truly hard to believe. I really don't want to undersell them as an "homage" band or anything, but god damn, the fact of the matter is that Negative Self does S.T. better than S.T. has done in damn near 25 years! (And I mean that much more as a compliment to Negative Self, not an insult to Suicidal Tendencies.)

Stream/deal with digital via Spotify, Bandcamp, etc. Snag a physical copy from the label on limited edition red, clear, or white vinyl; or on CD (thankfully). If you're located in the U.S., your best bet on price—at least for the CD—is gonna be Hot Shot Records Germany through Amazon, who's somehow able to ship for just $1.50!? (And it's legit, too, 'cause that's where I bought mine and it arrived in less than 10 days!)