Bushcraft on first play announces itself as something special, but it is with subsequent visitation to the debut release from Canadian hardcore bruisers Baptists that you realise just how impressive it really is. It is an album which needs and deserves a constant focus before you reap all of the rewards on offer but from its initial immense presence emerges as an album to set the genre ablaze.
The Vancouver band from its formation in 2010 was soon creating a big reputation and eager acclaim for their ferocious live shows amidst the underground scene with their self-titled 7” single selling out instantly upon release in 2011 through like Bushcraft, Southern Lord. The past year has seen the band writing and creating their first album as anticipation for it increased, something the release more than satisfies. Recorded at Godcity studios with Kurt Ballou, the eleven track album is a fury of attitude, aggression, and superbly sculpted sonic imagination wrapped in a bruising uncompromising tempest of intensity.
The opening sizzling discord of Betterment has the senses on edge, its ominous atmosphere setting the album off in intimidating style. As heavy oppressive rhythms and bass chords slam down upon the ear amidst the sonic resonance, the drums rise to begin a confrontational provocation with guitars igniting the atmosphere in similar incendiary style. The scowling antagonistic vocals add to the intense encounter and though brief the track scorches a path for the rest of the album with skill and magnetic violence.
Both the following Think Tank Breed with its sadistic scything sonic niggling and rampaging rhythmic spite and the savage Bullets, a song violently cavorting with a seductive groove and malevolent caustic persistence musically and lyrically, lift the already awakened passions further to seize and confront thoughts and emotions. Like the album as a whole, the tracks challenge and defy in word and sound to recruit the same thoughts and responses in the listener whilst basking in a furnace of enterprise and anger which evolves before and within the ear.
Each track on the album is a vehement stick of driven by adrenaline, discontent, and senses searing invention with the likes of In Droves, Still Melt, and Crutching Trails, leaving impressive and diverse lingering scars upon the listener but it is into the latter part of the album where the band really ascends into infernal fires of excellence and evocative imagination. Mortar Head is a white hot blaze of acidic and destructive malignant musical contempt which magnetises and intrudes with equal staggering results. It is savage, unrefined, and unreservedly without interest in respite for the listener.
The album bring its finest moments to aggravate further the bruising already smarting from the previous encounters through firstly the harassing title track which leaves one drenched in fatigue well before its infernal riot of two and a half minutes is up. It is a blistering assault physically and mentally which reveals more with each energy consuming encounter. The discovery of deep riches found within continual play is especially apt with the best track on the album. Soiled Roots is a sensational seduction of the senses which from its fiery acidic initial caress unveils a slow doom laden crawl which permeates every aspect of the body. It is a carnivorous adversary which swelters in primal belligerence and ingenious invention to excite and provoke with equal success.
Completed by the rabidly hungry and gripping Russian Spirits and a final dissident conflict in the beautifully contagious discord rippling Abandon, Baptists has produced in Bushcraft an album which intrudes and exalts on every level. Hardcore has received a new detonation of contention, passion, and imagination to be inspired with, and undoubtedly it will not be the last from this outstanding band.
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