Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Red Death- Permanent Exile LP

When I heard the 2014 demo tape that was released by this band, I was immediately repeating the tape over and over. I haven't worn out a tape in under a week since Matt LaVallee (Stripmines, Devour) let me sort of borrow an early Kieltolaki discography cassette tape. This is the band I had hoped these guys would start when guitarist Ace Mendoza and drummer Connor Donegan both made an exodus from Raleigh into Washington DC, to seek their own animated and well-structured DIY ventures. At the time the demo tape came out, I literally had no free time to review how I felt about it on this blog, seeing as I was sort of living between two cities both 1200 miles away from each other on and off for a little while. Simply enough, this LP makes a great cornerstone for a Vile Discourse review.

After seeing Red Death live at Nice Price Books in Raleigh, the anticipation for their newest vinyl release was similar to that of a new Star Wars movie. I had followed many of their projects while living in Raleigh, and was fortunate to see nearly every set ever played by Abuse., Last Words, and fortunately played some cool shows short-lived Macht Nichts, all which are precursors to Red Death.

My favorite song on the album has to be UNHOLY AGONY II. When they played it live, I could feel the beginning out, and heard the snare crack into a vicious down-tempo, I was in the middle of the floor spinning my hair around like Andrew WK. It's great on record, but still doesn't do justice to how I saw it live when they played Minneapolis two weeks ago. The breakdown tempo change in UNHOLY AGONY II is, to me, immediately noted as a clever tip of the hat from Ace to Raleigh's Jeff Young for his brutal and clever down-stroke riffing in Last Words. To me, that's probably the coolest thing you can do in respect to your previous bands, is add simple notes and clever homage to what you've done before. Instead of naming an ex-members list for themselves, the actions of Red Death speak much louder than words. You can feel and undeniably understand where they came from and what bands they were probably in or liked without creating a "for fans of" section at all. This LP does so perfectly!

The song Strategic Mass Delirium starts an intro of subtle limitations that immediately changes gears, and hits the nitro boost in what feels like a Celtic Frost style tempo change. Straight forward hardcore slamming riffing and writing on the bass on the song ALLEVIATE by Coke Bust's Nick Candela bring you an evolution of what sounds like a structure that couldn't fit on their Degredation EP, but twisted to fit the style of Red Death's more rock n' roll feel. The untamed guitars and feedback between and during tracks have clear nods to classic Raleigh hardcore titans such as Double Negative and CoC, but there are probably enough blogs and reviews saying the same thing already.

Chad's vocals are menacing and professional in a very tasteful way. Ranging dynamics from proto-thrashers and the diaphragm charges you may have heard on Infest's "No Man's Slave" LP (see the fast kick-drum tag in Unholy Agony II). Menacing and highly energetic, riotous snarl.

Connor slams one out of the ballpark with both the drum sound on the record and his keen ability to write great parts. The second song RUINOUS WRATH shows a nod to Raleigh's Brian Walsby and Reed Mullin which seem meaningfully intentional and logical for the song to have it's "Raleigh feel", while incorporating an evolution of it all by rewarding us with certain methods gained from Sepultura's Igor Cavalera. I remember seeing Connor play drums in a living room when he was like 16 or something and the only thing I could say to Jeff was, "Holy shit we have a new Brandon Ferrell now." It was like finding a long-lost Skywalker in a world that really needs great hardcore punk.

The brutality and fine production of this record pick up right where the fantastic and absolutely punishing LP by 'Abuse.' left off at the end of their band, and this offers something different and just all around cool. Every note is clear and concise, and it was everything I was hoping for when these guys started packing their bags. This record takes everything we've learned from Raleigh hardcore history and crams in together on wax. They just "get it". I can't recommend this record enough.


Out now on Grave Mistake Records
Download here