Review: Skew Whiff “Taedium Vitae” LP

This band features an international lineup with members from Belgium, the UK (the ex-vocalist and guitars of Hiatus), and the US and cranks out nine tracks of crunchy hardcore/punk with a metallic crust edge that almost has hints of crossover thrash in there as well. So expect a pretty good mix of tempo changes with tight performances that unload plenty of chunky picking patterns, typical surges of power chords, occasional caustic lead bursts, and maniacal yelling/screaming vocals throughout. "Vertigo" uses some unexpectedly melodic palm-muting riffs before shifting gears into more of a traditional hardcore rhythm, so it's a little more disjointed than most of the other songs; but the awesome clean intro to "Batter" that quickly gives way to a total wave of thrash metal riffs absolutely kicks ass! "No Matter How Hard" also opens with eerie clean passages, but this time things build more fluidly into a discordant surge of distorted guitars and speedy picking patterns - and this is among the most powerful tracks herein. The oddly titled "Skew Whiff Main Road No Way" kicks off side B with a slightly catchier and more melodic framework that hints at some of what was going on in "Vertigo", but with a shorter and more focused approach that pays off in the end; while "Nothing News" keeps the energy level high and throws in a killer break that briefly layers sinister clean guitars over the distorted backing chords for added effect. "Hugs and Kisses" is another somewhat disjointed track that jumps from almost shockingly chunky power chord grooves to rocked out Iron Maiden styled melodies and leads almost with no warning, so... there's definitely a lot going on throughout this LP! The production is actually pretty damn good. It sounds a little dated, but that actually works great with what they're doing, and regardless, the drums sound pretty warm and natural, the guitars are crisp and heavy but still clear and well controlled, the vocals are well placed in the mix, and you can hear just enough of the bass. There's room for minor improvements, but overall they've definitely done well in the recording department. The LP comes in a black and white sleeve with fairly cool looking artwork and a black and white insert with additional art on one side and all of the lyrics on the other (as well as Polish translations for Trujaca Fala's local audience). Most of the content seems to be a mix of socio-political commentary and expressions of personal frustration, but many of the actual lyrics are handled more openly, so they're not being too specific about anything: "An infinity where nothing changes, The planets will always exist, and will never be moved, It's all beyond the fiction of our existence, Between laughter and tears nothing changes..." All in all this is a really solid record with a good mix of influences and a generally solid approach to songwriting. With a little more focus on cohesion this band could be absolutely incredible, but they've already got a lot to work with as it is. I'm not sure what their status is as I think this LP has been out for awhile now, but hopefully they're still active, 'cause I'd really like to hear more.

[Trujaca Fala]
Running time - 30:00 (approximately), Tracks: 9
[Notable tracks: Batter, No Matter How Hard, Skew Whiff Main Road No Way, Nothing News]
Trujaca Fala -