Grouchier than a stoked up hornet nest and just as damaging, the sound of Kansas City hailing 34 leaves no hiding place for the senses and imagination on the band’s debut EP. The five-track self-titled offering is a rabid and ravenous fusion of hardcore, noise, and metal, all honed into an assault with a sonic sting just as merciless as its rhythmic and vocal bite, and both incidentally constantly veering towards irresistible.
Formed in 2015, 34 features current and former members of bands such as Sisters Of…, Eighteen Visions, At The Left Hand of God, David Hasselhoff On Acid, and Maps For Travelers. It has taken little time for the band to make a potent mark, their live ferocity acclaimed and devoured with shows alongside the likes of Black Breath, Motograder, 68, and Norma Jean adding to the quintet’s rising reputation. Now it is the EP preparing to stir things up further, a success hard to see failing with its impressive and seriously solid introduction to a wider landscape to the band.
The release leaves a lingering and memorable mark with its first two confrontations alone; the EP’s best tracks setting the tone and creative stature of the release with Alpha Blade starting things off. Fair to say we were hooked straight away by the dulled yet anthemic lure of drums which opens up the track. Their flat and compelling resonance easily has ears and appetite attentive, both further gripped as the wiry grooves and sonic animosity of the guitars winds around the senses before allowing the pulsating bassline of Erich Thomas and Jason Shrout’s increasingly addictive beats to lay their magnetic bait. With the throat raw snarls escaping vocalist Brett Carter taking their share of attention too, in no time the song shares a raw magnetism, showing itself a belligerent and aggressive beast with sinews sculpted in virulent noise and biting hooks. Like Unsane meets Pigs with the caustic catchiness of a Coilguns or Shevils, the tracks seduces as it corrodes the senses, every twist and turn within its unpredictable body enjoyably toxic.
The following Stick Em Up is just as imposing and thrilling. It opens with chunky scarred riffs which need little time to persuade, their hint of repetitive temptation soon revealed to be one riveting texture in the grooved and rhythmic provocation of the track. As with the first though, things are soon evolving and shifting as melodically fiery and sonically scathing passages entwine with adventurously bruising endeavour within the track’s rock ‘n’ roll. The guitars of Phil Wolf and RL Brooks persistently nag and entice, stirring up the imagination and psyche as Carter vocally and lyrically savages with the backing of the similarly aggressive and potent tones of Brooks.
The final trio of tracks within the EP do not quite live up to the first pair, such their might, but with T.S.Y.T first, all only add to a thickly enjoyable and striking introduction to 34. The third track is as irritable and uncompromising as those before; bullying and arousing the senses with spiky grooves and predacious rhythms as vocals blaze while its successor, Flatliners, springs a Quicksand spicing across its scorched canvas and in its sonic causticity. The song is probably the most adventurous of the five, exploring different creative scenery which swiftly comes and goes, then returns with greater dexterity and imagination as new ear exciting twists become involved.
The EP closes with Machines, a furious tempest and web of emotional and sonic tempestuousness riding on the whiplash effect of Shrout’s and Thomas’ predatory rhythms. It is a forceful and fiercely satisfying end to a great first look at 34. It is easy to see and hear why the band has made such a potent impact already, and to expect, as their sound and imagination grow bolder, they are going to be a potent force in the driving of hardcore/noise ahead.
The 34 EP is released digitally and on limited edition clear red vinyl May 20th via Fountain City Records @ https://34kcmo.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 20/05/2016
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