Review Round-Up: Hardcore (ft. SECT, Rabid Dogs and Sharptooth)

We get so much stuff through that we do struggle to make a dent in the massive pile of great new releases. Then John had a great idea… let’s just cram a few related titles into a single article so that more people get to hear about them. He’s clever, is John.

So here’s our first roundup, featuring a trio of hardcore bands. All three albums featured are out now.

SECT – No Cure For Death

No Cure For Death is the much-anticipated searing second album from straightedge vegan punks SECT, released on Southern Lord Records. For the uninitiated, SECT is comprised of veterans of hardcore from a range of noteworthy outfits Cursed, Earth Crisis and Catharsis, as well as Fall Out Boy.  Yes, Fall Out Boy, whose drummer Andy Hurley is behind the kit for SECT and already has plenty of hardcore experience outside of his day job, playing with the likes of Racetraitor and fellow Southern Lords Enabler.  

The album was recorded with Kurt Ballou at God City studios and it shows; huge slabs of beefy riffage are squeezed through HM2 distortion and the thud of Hurley’s kick drum impacts like a punch to the chest. Over the album’s 17 breathless minutes, tracks like the intense “Open Grave” and the furious “Stripes” perfectly demonstrate SECT’s dark, abrasive and angry take on hardcore. On No Cure For Death, as well as delivering pacy blastbeats and thick breakdowns, SECT paint a bleak outlook on the present world – vocalist Chris Colohan spits venomous social messages from one blistering track to the next.

No Cure For Death is essential listening for any discerning hardcore fan and is sure to be high up on quite a few end of year lists. 

For fan of: Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die, Converge

No Cure For Death is out now

SECT: facebook | twitter | bandcamp

Rabid Dogs – Italian Mysteries

Formed in 2009, Rabid Dogs, a band new to me, are an odd beast. On their newest album Italian Mysteries, they splice together grindcore, stoner, sludge, d-beat punk and 70s Italian exploitation movies into a sleazy rock ‘n’ roll Frankenstein’s monster. This particular blending of metal and punk subgenres is a bit jarring and difficult to get into to begin with – second track “John Philip Forsythe” is an intensely heavy and short blast of grindcore with a really out of place bluesy harmonica solo – but somehow after a few playthroughs, it all clicks into place. 

“The Lodge”, one of the highlights of the album, and one of the stoneriest of Italian Mysteries’ tracks, has a pacy Discharge-esque intro and slow sludgy midsection before the slow groove of the bass and drums and the Kyuss riffing see out the track. D-beat rhythms and grindcore blastbeats shouldn’t get on well with the more ‘relaxed’ tones and warmer feel of stoner-rock, and it doesn’t always work well on Italian Mysteries… but when it does on the likes of “The Lodge”, Rabid Dogs pull it off excellently. I do wish the lead vocals, especially the deep death growls, were a tad lower in the mix though.

For fans of: Soilent Green, Discharge, Orange Goblin

Italian Mysteries is out now.  Check out an exclusive full album stream of Rabid Dogs’ Italian Mysteries on The Moshville Times here.

Rabid Dogs: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | vk | reverbnation | youtube

Sharptooth – Clever Girl

Sharptooth mix pop culture references with highly political messages in an album of breakneck hardcore punk with shades of metal. Lauren Kashan’s vocal performance is a standout on Clever Girl, switching effortlessly from screeching and snarling (whilst remaining decipherable) to clean singing on the more accessible “Give ‘em Hell Kid” and “Left 4 Dead”, and the lyrical content is currently very relevant. The title track may make an obvious reference to a well-known scene from Jurassic Park but it also has a strong feminist message against the condescension of women.

As well as the overtly feminist themes and lines Sharptooth make no apologies for their stance and say what they need to say about right-wing Christians, homophobes and misogynists, and they say it loudly. Hints of Sharptooth’s pop-punk influences come to the forefront in the opening half of third track “Give ‘em Hell Kid” before getting pushed aside again by the snotty, belligerent anger of “Fuck You Donald Trump”.

Angrily preaching a pertinent political message will only win over so many fans if the music isn’t up to scratch, but on Clever Girl Sharptooth impressively display everything essential on a great hardcore album: intensity, speed, breakdowns and a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude. With Clever Girl, Sharptooth mark themselves out as ones to watch in the sphere of relevant political punk alongside the likes of Gouge Away.

For fans of: Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, Anti-Flag

Clever Girl is out now

Sharptooth: facebook | twitter | bandcamp | youtube

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