Reviews

Colony, Lapse (Self-Released, 2019)

When the world last heard from Hudson Valley, New York’s Colony In 2014, their pulverizing heavy hXc seemed set to topple empires both inland and otherwise. Instead, their camp went silent… until now. They’ve broken the silence in titanic and pummeling fashion with the appropriately titled 4-song Lapse EP. As fitting titles go, the songs herein more than make up for the intervening years between releases. They’ve clearly sharpened their edges, resulting in an upping of craft and intensity. 

“Lapse," the opener and title track immediately reintroduces the hXc world to their down-tuned ferocity. The opener staggers intimidatingly, plying their wares blaringly, albeit at a sludgier and glacial tempo. They seem exceedingly comfortable in this zone, playing pace against mood. There’s a barbed edge to the crushing guitar runs, the perfect match for the spiked death of the cover art’s “star.”

If my garbage memory is right, “Shishogan Eyes”  might be a Lone Wolf and Cub reference? Regardless, Colony unexpectedly again play the long game, as the beginning mines a similar mid-pace brawl. Choosing the assasin’s path, their battle sword instead is an intro riff that violently see-saws in unsettling fashion, inadvertently creating a sickness usually only earned at sea. They’ve likely absorbed an encyclopedic amount of down-tuned hardcore, crust/dis-core as well as the decidedly more punk end of metallic sludge. 

The feedback from the previous track bleeds into an absolutely devastating barrage of D-beat on “Anesthesia Drip.” The moment they chose to cut loose is cathartic and glorious, a band finally released from their collective imprisonment. Yet, there’s little straightforward about their precise attack. The hard charge often seats into a teetering pillar of a riff, topped with absolutely harrowing vocals that call to mind the guttural and feral Kevin Baker a la All Pigs Must Die. 

"Skeleton Key" is, perhaps, the perfect title for a track. It’s a tour through not just all of their greatest assets, it’s a sightseeing expedition through extreme sub genres. From the repetitive and devastating punch of staccato runs, gut disturbing rhythm section, and desperate yells; Colony’s take on heavy hXc certainly shares DNA with classic acts but retains a unique presentation. There’s a desperation to both the instrumentation and lyrics that feel like they’re spat out from someone in their death throes. Their skeleton key would gladly open the door into most of Hardcore’s murkier rooms. 

Photo: Thomas Steinberg

Straddling the line between early ‘oughts crust as well as the scene’s more contemporary move towards the downtuned dirge. I’ve heard comparisons to Cursed, with whom they definitely share blood, but a litany of unexpected bands comes to mind. Their slower passages hit like the poisoned molasses of Seven Sisters Of Sleep, another act that, like Colony, prefers the freedom of shapeshifting to the narrow doorway of classification. There are bits of the gloomy hardcore of Dead End Path or War Hungry or even the disorienting nihilism of Kiss It Goodbye. The moments during which the rusted pedal of their monolithic machine gets fully depressed, the speed are a revelation.

A look at the Will Killingsworth name and you should already know this kills. Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Dead Air Studios ensured the resulting recording is crisp and thick without sacrificing the intended layer of filth and dirt. With killer art by Dean Forsythe Jr, the presentation sits within both crust and heavy hardcore; the stark traditionalist approach is visual comfort food for extreme music heads. As if a relative unknown returning from a gore-filled gallivant to reclaim the throne, Colony are back. Let’s try and keep ‘em this time. 

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