Albany, NY's Violent by Design impressed me back in November with one of my favorite tracks from the excellent Upstate Records Volume II compilation, and as expected that momentum continues with the eight-song, 28-minute Dark Days Deserved. I believe this is the group's first proper outing after a four-song CD-R demo in 2017, and while it's the second new release I'm writing about this year, it was actually the first to really get me excited. I've already been jamming these tracks for a few weeks now while I waited for the CD to hit the mailbox, and the material really brings to mind a lot of fond memories of sinister and pessimistic east coast-centric metalcore acts from the '90s.
Expect burly, hard-as-nails metallic hardcore that has a dark undercurrent as well as some creativity to it. It's not just chunky power chords and breakdowns, you know? The rhythm section is actually quite notable. The drumming boasts a mass of heft and constant movement, and the bass work absolutely rips—adding texture and even a dash of melody. I also commend them for giving the bass equal importance to the guitars in the mix, which makes a huge difference and really gives the band's overall sound an even more unique sense of character.
My reaction to "The Oppressor" on the Upstate Records Volume II comp was that it brought to mind the mighty Neglect—in large part due to the brilliance of the lyric, "I felt the hand of God, so I broke his fucking fingers!"—and, as a whole, I'm stickin' with that vibe. Violent by Design has a hint more of a diverse, full-on metal edge happening, but in terms of attitude and general tonality, if you dig Neglect—and you should—this ought to be right up your alley.
I'll also note the guest vocal spots in "Repeat Offender" (Don Tufts from Execution Style), "Outcast" (Todd Farrell, ex-357 Justice and Built for Battle, currently in Balor), and "Squatchcore" (Ed Daubney from Remains of Rage). Good stuff.
I was afraid Violent by Design might turn out to be one of those bands that released a select few songs and fell apart too soon before getting a proper release out into the world, so I'm psyched to see Dark Days Deserved follow so quickly on the heels of last year's compilation appearance. I'll cross my fingers for more and hope that the weight of the world doesn't beat the band into the oblivion of underappreciated obscurity, 'cause this shit really hits the spot!