From its modest roots as a basement mail-order operation to its status as one of the premier independent metal labels, Relapse Records has carved a niche as purveyor of distortion-heavy talent. In addition to a few ALARM favorites from Pig Destroyer, Liberteer, and Primate, this year saw noteworthy releases from Dying Fetus, Baroness, Horseback, Locrian, Serpentine Path, and many others.
“Silence of Violence”
Featuring members of Mastodon, Brutal Truth, and The Despised, Atlanta’s Primate is a new hardcore super-group — a furious bastard child birthed by hardcore, punk, grind, and metal. Heavy-music geeks quickly will recognize the names of vocalist Kevin Sharp and guitarist Bill Kelliher, but the rest of the lineup is no less impressive or important in crafting the band’s maiden opus.
Hail! This being my first column for ALARM Press, I thought I’d dip into some overlooked summer releases to get the blood flowing.
First up is the third album from California’s Decrepit Birth, Polarity. This album is a great example of the band’s name and the album’s title bringing to mind two completely different things. “Decrepit birth” sounds like a schlock-y gore-grind band, while “polarity” suggests spaced-out, progressive rock. Truth be told, it’s a bit of both.
Like Necrophagist before it, Decrepit Birth sticks to the old-school, growled, and slightly raspy styles of vocals in addition to its very complex, other-worldly music. This tactic is employed as a foundation: it doesn’t matter what Bill Robinson is growling about; it just matters that he does it consistently and with enough force to keep the album grounded throughout. With that being said, Robinson chooses his phrasing and placement of vocals well, allowing plenty of time for the rest of the band to do its thing, which really begins a minute and a half into Polarity, when there’s a Spanish-influenced guitar break out of nowhere.