The Metal Examiner: New Lows’ Harvest of the Carcass

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

New Lows: Harvest of the Carcass

New Lows: Harvest of the Carcass (Deathwish Inc., 1/18/11)

New Lows: “Anguish”

[audio:|titles=New Lows – Anguish]

In the early 2000s, members of New Lows were cutting their teeth in Think I Care, playing in Sheer Terror’s tradition of Celtic Frost-worshiping hardcore punk. After the demise of Think I Care, New Lows appeared with an ugly, punishing demo and a similarly aggressive seven-inch record.

The band recorded an LP with CC from Mind Eraser that was initially shelved due to inner turmoil and a near breakup. However, New Lows resumed activities as a band, and Harvest of the Carcass, its proper debut, now sees the light of day, taking the Boston metalcore tradition into a raw and primitive place.

New Lows plays in a style that recalls the crushingly heavy and simplistic late-1980s punk/death-metal hybrid of bands like Asphyx and Bolt Thrower. Bands affiliated with the hardcore scene, like Ringworm and Merauder, have been blending these sounds since the early 1990s. Recently, several hardcore bands have risen to prominence with sounds that are much more death metal than they are Bad Brains. This new crop of bands includes New Lows as well as Nails, Harms Way, and Mammoth Grinder.

That’s not to say that New Lows predominantly is a metal band. It often employs a syncopated NYHC feel that seems descended from Madball. It also structures songs in the “fast part, slow part, mosh part” style typical of hardcore bands, instead of composing in the winding epics of death-metal bands.

Still, New Lows does not write songs that exist only for the heavy mosh at the end. It creates a haze of bludgeoning rhythm, and its chromatic sense of melody traces lineage back through Sheer Terror and Celtic Frost. Many parts are surprisingly hummable despite the abrasiveness of this release. Metal and punk have been trading secrets with each other for more than three decades at this point, and New Lows uses this musical melting pot to create a statement on hostility.

The LP is often a stumbling block for hardcore bands, as the longer and more-polished format tends to diminish the immediacy that bands put forth on demo and EP recordings. Some bands overshoot their boundaries on an LP, and others have simply run out of ideas when the time to record a full-length comes. Fortunately, New Lows has successfully retained the purposefully reptilian sound that initially garnered the band its underground success. Harvest of the Carcass even contains re-recorded versions of three older songs.

The band also reuses rhythmic patterns from its past on these newer songs. The vocal pattern from the 2007 demo’s standout track, “Lucifer Crucified,” appears on both “Harvest of the Carcass” as well as “Last of the Rats.” Rather than coming across as a recycled idea, this seems more like a thread that ties New Lows’s discography together. The whole of this music becomes a haze that impedes higher-level thought and encourages acting on instinct.

Leave a Comment