Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Out Cold - Two Broken Hearts Are Better Than One

Artist: Out Cold
Album: Two Broken Hearts Are Better Than One
Year: 1999
Label: Kangaroo

1. High Maintenance
2. Energy Vampire
3. A Is For Asshole
4. You'll Never Learn
5. Skinned Alive
6. Dangerously Unstable
7. Nailgun Murder
8. Schizo
9. One Trick Pony
10. Crawlspace
11. Restraining Order
12. It Went Bang
13. Deviant
14. Spaceshot

Starting in a town a few miles outside of Boston in 1989, Out Cold went against the trend of the time and would uncompromisingly stay true to their formula of tried-and-true 80’s style hardcore for another 20 years.  This record came out in 1999 or 2000, preceding the explosion of 80s hardcore obsession that would flood the US a few years later.  This is not necessarily to say that the band is responsible for a sudden rise in hardcore’s popularity; however, a lot of their influence, while maybe not alluded to, is fairly obvious.  After 20 years, Out Cold’s body of work has become large and significant, and I feel they are severely underrated. 

While they’ve had a ton of releases over the years, Two Broken Hearts Are Better Than One is definitely my favorite full-length they’ve ever put out.  This record seems to get less attention then some of the others for whatever reason.  There is no real good quality rip of this record anywhere else online, which is a shame because sonically, the songs on this record hit you like a ton of bricks with in-the-pocket rhythmic intensity. That being said, to me the stand-out quality of Out Cold’s sound is that while the songwriting is pure, unadulterated, and straightforward, it is also somehow extremely catchy at the same time.  This is due to the genius of Mark Sheehan, who handled vocal duties for the latter era of the band.  He is another one of my favorite all-time hardcore vocalists, delivering some of the most throat-callusing growls I’ve ever heard, always with serious attitude and lyrical content centered around either personal frustration or sadistic methods of murder.  Even so, no matter how menacing the riffing and lyrics are in a song, he always manages to create some-sort of vocal hook to grab onto.  This is no more apparent than in my favorite song on this record, “Deviant,” with a riff that, while simple, is one the most unrelenting and sinister opening riffs ever, still managing to get stuck in your head. 

On a side note, while I had always planned to post this record on the blog, I recently found out by an eerie coincidence that Mark Sheehan died unexpectedly at the age 41 in early October of last year.  This was obviously devastating for me to hear, Out Cold being one of my favorite bands in the last few years.  I never got a chance to see them live, but this record, and the other slue of great records Out Cold left behind are testament to how great Mark really was.  He will definitely be missed.  RIP.


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