ALBUM REVIEW: STRONG INTENTION

Razorblade Express (PATAC Records)

Give them the Maryland seal of quality while the ink’s still wet, fellas, because that state can do no wrong as far as quality extreme music. From the Deathgrind virtuosos MISERY INDEX, to the indomitable DYING FETUS, and the fast growing Hardcore act COKE BUST, it’s safe to say that STRONG INTENTION will naturally follow suit and be awesome. the only thing I’d change about this release is the cover art, but that’s a rant I’ll save for someone more judgmental than I. SI have been around since the mid-nineties, but mysteriously haven’t gotten as big as their  aforementioned contemporaries. Something went highly amiss, as their mixture of CHARLES BRONSON/SPAZZ style Powerviolence with the new-school Thrash sound that’d find a home on the latest TOXIC HOLOCAUST joint, alongside a hearty dose of Southern fried Sludge should have hooked this godless country by the nose.

This EP immediately opens up with its title track, a Sludgy number with Mike Williams of EYEHATEGOD infamy performing the bulk of the vocals. It dips in and out of a Thrashcore inflected MAGRUDERGRIND vibe, which is honestly something I didn’t think that Mike Williams would ever sign up for, being accustomed to muggy, heroin induced grooves that can only be properly born south of Virginia. Mike’s on top form as far as sounding angry and acrawl with various diseases, so this change of speed actually suits him, and I’d like to see him (and any other willing Southern Metal vocalists) try it more often.

“Messiah Whore” begins immediately with the musical equivalent of artillery rounds entering your home while you sleep. Here they also showcase a bit of Death Metal influence as well as their dirty brand of what I’ll dub Grindviolence, with punishing blasts and sporting a riff that sounds not unlike some I’ve heard on EXHUMED’s Anatomy Is The Destiny. The breakdown is highly reminiscent of some I’ve heard by MISERY INDEX, which is not odd, as bands in that area seem to swap sounds as bored teenagers sexually transmitted infections.  A solid track overall, and probably one of the standouts.

“Holes In The Wall” boasts a more straightforward Crossover style; think of the vocalist of BANE if he jammed with the band members of PUNCH and MUNICIPAL WASTE. The riffs that kick in at the very end are probably the most melodic thing to happen on the album, as they point towards SI’s ability to lock into killer grooves.  I was a bit sad to see this track end so abruptly, as it promised a bit more variation from a mental nailbombing, but instead leads to the next track.

Mike Williams appears also on “3rd Space Gorilla Generator”, which is a title that shall give me nightmares for years to come. Pure DADA. This one’s a bit more by the numbers Hardcore, with the vocals being more like Jay Randall of AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED. Aside from a small Sludge section where Mike steps up to the mic to howl in pain, it’s pure circle-pit mayhem.

“Rat Factory” continues the vocal tradition of the last track, which gives me the impression that either the vocalist’s larynx morphed over the course of the EP, or someone else stepped in due to an unfortunate neck-related incident. Curious indeed. This track is the second shortest, but packs a helluva punch, with a breakdown at the end that could knock down buildings.

“Slaughter Intelligence” is quite similar to the last track, but ends much more abruptly at only 54 seconds as opposed to “Rat Factory”s even minute. It makes me almost go against my very instincts, which aren’t a fan of the slow, 3-4 minute down-tempo tracks that Hardcore influenced bands usually toss in, often at the end of their releases, but this band actually made me hunger for one. Yes, EPs are short, but this was almost demo length, and was the equivalent of being given a handy when you expected whole night in Paris. That was gross, and I sincerely apologize.

The Verdict: It becomes more of a teaser than an actual appetizer for an album, but overall it’s still a sweet treat from the balmy climes of Maryland.

GRADE: A-

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