Features

Track Premiere: Reserving Dirtnaps, “Total War”

Prepare yourself for "Total War," from Memphis, TN's Reserving Dirtnaps: a short, powerful, to-the-point slab of vicious metallic hardcore from an EP that's absolutely packed with more of the same. Once again recorded/mixed by Alan Burcham and mastered by Brad Boatright, the group's hard-hitting sophomore EP—Reserving Dirtnaps Part II—will be released on Friday, December 9th, and is now available for pre-order:

Pre-order Reserving Dirtnaps Part II

Here's "Total War," followed by lyrics and a mini interview with the band.

serve at all cost to total war produce to paralyzation profit served has no use for victims of stagnation twilight of my mind time to read the signs found in a fetal state on the tit of degradation marked numbered since day one accept assimilation circle of misery where do you end wind down below beneath the land vengeance complete collapse disorder it's too far gone indifference no want for life anymore those who impose terror hold the burden of guilt prefer slaves to ambition to leech and to kill true believers who cherish to die for another's will domination drives the sacrifice of the child to the killing fields

The new material is of course comparable to your self-titled EP from 2014, but it feels as though there's more urgency and immediacy this time around. The impact is swifter and more forceful. To what would you attribute that?

Paul: When someone hears us, I want them to say, "Holy shit, who is this?" And on the quest for that, the first EP was us finding our footing—finding our voice, so to speak—and ...Part II is just building on that. The goal, like Pantera always used to say, is to top yourself on every record, so I like that you asked that question because it sounds like we succeeded there.

This is also the first record that was written with the lineup that recorded the first EP. All of those songs were written before Rob [drums] and Brandon [vocals] were in the band, so this new record was impacted by our chemistry as well. All of our sensibilities play a role into how the music is shaped. When I'm writing a riff or a song or whatever, my main goal is to bring it to practice and when I play it for the rest of the dudes in the band they're like, "Oh, my god, this rules." If it's a different set of dudes, maybe it's a different set of riffs. When the first EP's songs were written, it was just me with Josh (our bass player) on drums, and we were just kinda stabbing in the dark for a long-ass time trying to find our way. Then came Brandon and Rob and we recorded the first EP. Now that we have the foundation, we have something to top, so hopefully we topped it this time—and hopefully every time you hear a new release of ours, it's "a new level of confidence and power."

My go-to expectations based on a title like "Total War" would be content of the full-blown apocalyptic variety. Those attributes certainly play a role here, but you've combined such language with a socio-political undercurrent suggestive of a more meaningful message. Can you discuss this particular track from a lyrical perspective?

Brandon: I am fortunate enough to have never witnessed war firsthand. When just focusing on "explosions," it is normal for people to become indifferent and callous to the destruction of life. Obviously, America is a very militarized country, and the way our society serves to maintain the war effort is part of the reality of living here. It's just the way it is. All that violence is idolized through the media, and people murder each other in the streets. There are little wars and big wars, but they are going on all the time. Many people are born into war and extreme violence and it is a harsh, tragic reality. It's horrifying. These songs are about being stuck in horror, with no answers.

The new EP actually kicks off with a song called "Reserving Dirtnaps." I'm sort of a sucker for bands naming songs after themselves, and/or anthemically shouting their band name during a breakdown, etc.

Paul: We're just super narcissistic. No, I kind of randomly had the idea to have the "Reserving Dirtnaps" gang shout—I'm sure subconsciously ripping off any number of bands. We didn't have gang shouts on the first record, and that was something I thought would be cool for us to incorporate, so it all went from there. I knew I wanted to fit that gang shout into something, then later I had the idea that we should have like a glorified intro kinda song, and I just kinda worked those two ideas together. Brandon wrote the rest of the lyrics around that gang shout and we had our little intro, but calling it "Intro" is kinda lame, so I said, "Fuck it, let's just call it 'Reserving Dirtnaps.'" My first band, Clenched Fist, had a song called "Clenched Fist" that they wrote before I joined, and I always thought that was cool. It's just a cool statement that you can only do in certain styles of music, and hardcore is perfect for it.

The artwork immediately brings to mind Rambo: First Blood Part II. I have to ask if that was the inspiration?

Paul: That is 100% the inspiration. We're putting out hardcore EPs here, not curing cancer, so after about a day or two of trying to think of a title, I just said, "Fuck it, we're just gonna call it Reserving Dirtnaps Part II, you guys cool with that?" A lotta bands will number their releases, but I wanted to throw "part" in there to give it a different vibe, and the Rambo II thing came from that when we needed a theme for the artwork. It came on TV and I was watching it, and the title sequence in the actual movie has the "RAMBO" cut out of real fire (I'm pretty sure that's not on a poster or anything else, just in the actual movie), so I came up with a rough idea for the cover and that was my big artistic direction. I scribbled the cover out for Brandon—who eventually put it all together for real—and I made a note that said "real fire" and pointed to the "PART II." I must say, Brandon nailed the "real fire."

I'll say this, too: Gangsta Blac's I am da Gangsta is also an inspiration for the artwork, because that cover is him busting through the artwork for his first album, Can it Be?, so this is like a reimagining of our first EP's artwork.

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