Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Under Pressure- Come Clean LP

Under Pressure- Come Clean LP cover
No exaggeration, this record has spun on my turntable at least 350 times ever since I picked it up back in early 2008. I saw them live on their final tour when I was still a gullible youngin'; I had no idea who they were, I actually went to this show to see one of my area favorites, Government Warning, who were always great to see without question. The show was at this terrible bar full of dimwitted employees called the Double Down in Raleigh, NC. The staff was rather brood-ish and ego-scary.

From memory, I could only remember seeing this band feeling like my jaw had dropped to the floor. I could have died happy at that moment, while I observed this five-piece monster of a rock n roll band completely destroying this shitty bar, and playing a seamless, uncompromising 30-35 minute set that left me wanting even more at the end. There were absolutely no breaks between songs, and the guitar player crawled on top of things, did a lot of scary things, went outside during a guitar lead, and scared the hell out of all of us attendees by coming inches short of slashing our necks with his guitar neck. The vocalist, Cam Popham had a firm stance in the middle of the floor, belting out terrifyingly genuine feelings through the microphone. Driven by lyrical content on par with modern poets, his voice was straight low-end diaphragm. I was immediately shifted.

I specifically remember the bartender telling the band after their set, "Hey, ya'll can't play here ever again!", and the response from one of the band members being something like, "Um okay, we were never going to anyways, we are from fucking Canada." One month later, this bar closed forever and became the Black Flower. Good job guys.

Under Pressure (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) was definitive for what they were performing. The drummer Dan Ryckman (I probably spelled that wrong, whatever) wrote parts that were directly inspirational and influential to my drum parts for bands I would later be a part of, such as Stripmines (NC), and later, some of the more recent Much Worse (MN) stuff I'll be doing on the new LP. Back in 2008, seeing Under Pressure, and listening to their records didn't make me want to create more of what I was doing, but instead inspired me to completely destroy it and start all over again (i.e. quit the band I was in, which I did quit it, gladly and for the better). In that area in life, the timing could not have been more perfect as a means for self-improvement and musical discipline. From what I understand, that dude also plays in a bunch of sick grindcore bands such as Violent Gorge and Archagathus, thus making for Ryckman's such perfectly practiced pacing and drumming language.

Another great thing I remember about Under Pressure playing in Raleigh was smuggling pizza out of my job's kitchen (don't tell my boss) for this band the day after their show. This action would very well be my foot in the door for doing DIY hardcore show stuff later on down the road. These habits and understanding for the needs of touring bands would quickly create great contacts for me and, only a year later, would send me booking really neat DIY hardcore shows of my own all over Raleigh. I can tell any of you first hand, that sometimes bands come through and they can be a true catalyst for members of the audience, and for me it took a band setting an example of "how to do it". This would keep me excited enough to understand that I would diligently keep at this stuff for years, and that I would care about doing it for a very long time. It also made me practice drums nearly every day and still does, and it made raised the bar for me deciding on what kind of bands I would eventually be doing for my years after seeing them.

I genuinely felt like this band was pushing the boundaries of what's actually possible in songwriting while still making hardcore punk that sounded so completely perfect and musical. Riff heavy rhythm parts, minus too many leads, much like the Ramones were so popular for. This band was the equivalent, or more, of seeing something like a mix of Japanese hardcore or Bl'ast, but with a grimy melody carrying every part uniquely, just like in the song "Muddy Waters". The songs carry a fine distinction from one another and contrast tempos frequently throughout the record. Perfect guitar tone, and the vocals belt out in a realistic, non-contrived format, laid out in a well thought out process. I feel like this entire record builds itself up to the punishing track "Sick/Sinful" and closes perfectly with "Tired Eyes". To say that I recommend this record to you is a criminal understatement, for I actually feel like you have not been alive yet until you've heard this record start to finish. Their other LP that I have called "Black Bile", is just as good, I promise. As soon as I find a digital version of Black Bile or upload it myself, it'll definitely be up.

RIP Under Pressure
Listen: Under Pressure- Come Clean (Full Album) thanks to Mindless Mutant's youtube channel.