Saturday, 28 December 2013

Replica - s/t EP

Really raging nogimmick hardcore punk on Prank Records in the US, Cut the Cord That... in Europe. No disrespect to gimmicks, but Replica have no time for anything that isn't pure hardcore punk drive, they hang on nothing but the anger, musically, vocally. Vocals that spit with fierce conviction, strapped and bolted to perfectly pitched hardcore punk that holds tight and mean, driving onwards with shivering precision. It sounds like, I 'unno. It sounds like a hardcore punk EP. Void, Articles of Faith, Vatican Commandos, who gives a fuck. It's hardcore punk done sharp and ugly gutsy.

Beginning with an acapella scream of "COMING FROM MY EYES! COMING FROM MY EYES!", Strings is an uncomfortable one, crashing about in pained imagery, hitting you cold and hard. Rapture, an apocalyptic call. "NO FUTURE REMAINS FOR YOU." Not the nihilistic fuck-it-off Sex Pistols drawl, but a ruinous promise. "I WILL EAT YOU ALL". Damn, that's huge. Assume the position of destroying angel, not gonna fuck you up, gonna wipe that whole slate clean. The way that Dharma snarls "RAPTUUUURE", dragging out the word, corrupting it, squeezing it out into a half-yer/half-yeah, is just the best.

I had to edit out about four uses of the word snarl from the first draft of this review. Cos that's the word that constantly comes to mind listening to this, the words ripping out with violence and threat but also in that way where it could curl into a venomous smile at any time. I keep forgetting that this is Replica's debut EP, partly cos I played their demo to death, partly cos it's just so fantastically put together.

Dealer shifts the EP, closing out the A-side, speeding up. Moving from the trudge of "ERAAAASE MEEEE! BLANK MY EXISTENCE!"  to the squeal of "ERAAAASE YOOOU!" so the first line in retrospect seems less like a self-loathing pain than a fuck-you double-dare. That's where it jumps.

Cos You Can't Stop the Weather goes forward, not forgetting the struggles, but moving onwards with them, through them, feeling them tumble around you. "Collect yourself. Collect yourself. Pick up the pieces. YOU CAN'T STOP THE WEEEATHER!". The slurring now seems wryer and than the torn out anguish of Strings, the bilious bite of Rapture. Big Black Boots hits a skittering fast rhythm and rolls with that onwards motion again. It's movement, on foot in front of the other, til you can kick shit to pieces when it tries to pull you down.

From Strings & Rapture, all loathing and destructions, wrath and anxiety, contempt, the EP explodes out of that whole. You Can't Stop the Weather still deals with the the spatterings of mistakes and misfortune ("HABIT FORMING LOSSES HAVE GOT ME PASSING TIME/WONDERING IF WHAT'S LEFT OF ME IS MINE") but they punch through that, rather than writhing around in it. Five hardcore songs of inevitability, of the struggle with blankness, of movement and personal progress, questioned, pulled at, and lived with. And it fucking snaaarls that shit at you, unrepentant in each moment. Lives lived in punk fury. One of the best straight-up hardcore punk records of the year.

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