Discreet, This Is Mine (Convulse Records, 2022)

Discreet is anything but.

In fact, the standout Texas noisemakers are likely to sidestep discretion altogether, having recently signed to Convulse Records.

I’ve legitimately run out of glowing superlatives for the best label in punk so I’ll instead direct you to their unfuckwithable discography. The Austin band has returned, this time equipped with a stunning long player.

Set to drop in time to rot those stockings dangling from your mantle, This Is Mine also happens to threaten the balance of year-end lists everywhere. 

2021 saw the release of Dead Man’s Line, an EP that only tipped at what was to come. Already a thrilling enough triad of noise damaged hardcore, Discreet’s latest is something to behold. The band was stitched together from Texas heavy hitters Total Abuse, Skeleton, and Creepoid.

Considering their collective DNA, the glorious melange of mangled noise rock and stomping, primitive hardcore should come as no surprise. Yet, this song set, in particular, is held together by a genuinely harrowing look into the face of addiction, death, trauma, and fear like nothing I’ve heard before. 

From the first moments of opening salvo “King Heroin," the band employs menace and vulnerability with equal aplomb. The words slash with precision and intention as if shrapnel atop a damaged sonic battlefield. Locking in on a fittingly scuzzy bass tone and the nervous tension of grinding guitar, the first song is more a mission statement than a proper introduction to the album.

It’s pure damage born of disquiet and authenticity, elevating the proceedings to a genuinely upsetting place. Despite the well tread topic, the unguarded poetics lend an air of urgency seldom heard anywhere, let alone in hardcore. It’s a delicate balance akin to the album cover’s portrayed dichotomy … equal parts ornamentation and rancid realism. 

After the rhythm section warms up their blast furnace, follow up track, “I Am Full of Shame,” dispenses with the caged animal pacing of the anxious antagonism of the first track. Discreet are clearly adept at an all out rampage, sounding downright cataclysmic. Akin to the blown out, traditional hardcore that’s making the rounds at present, that’s where most comparisons end. The band’s not so secret weapon is their tendency to uglify.

Oftentimes, Discreet opt to devolve their attack into expertly timed moments of intentionally nasty noise rock. In what’s the biggest compliment I’m wont to give, they call to mind the Pigfuck bands of yesteryear, or perhaps personal faves Zeni Geva. Imagine Dazzling Killmen playing over SPY and you’re gettin’ there. Perhaps Deranged Records meets AmRep, if you will. 

Elsewhere, “A Nice Home (A Dead Dog)” fittingly launches into being on the squeal of feedback piercing enough to send canines into a frothing frenzy. The band boasts a wobbly and seasick pace here, dropping a devastating descending riff that somehow manages to avoid implosion. As they do across the album, there’s a nuanced lyrical approach that splits the difference between resignation, nihilism, and something a bit more forward facing and accepting. 

Of the two lead singles, “A Bug In A Jar” finds Discreet at their most long form. Across its four and a half minute runtime, we’re treated to phlegmatic and bilious vocals that play like a doomsday prophet cum therapist needling the listener’s brainpan. While ode definitely fucked in its uneasiness, it feels like an ultimately brave moment on a daring work. 

Highwater marks are scattered all over the album. Late album cut “Secrets Piling Up," for example, lives on a chunky and dense riff that calls to mind TAD or “Negative Creep” by some little Aberdeen three piece. “Pillar of Smoke” has one of the year’s coolest guitar moments, dropping a serpentine riff that feels like My War-era Black Flag or acolytes BL'AST!

“Real Men” promises to live up to its repetive lyrical mantra. Its crushing and incessant promise to bring the world to its knees feels nearly fulfilled, calling to mind the nightmare self reflection on Cold Sweat’s twisted masterpiece “Blinded.” Thankfully the band pulls up short on the mid-paced agony, because closer “Fear Invasion” feels ten times faster as a result.

As if to prove, yet again, that they’re capable of dishing out note perfect, fast hardcore punk, Discreet leaves a smoldering pile of detritus as the album bleeds into nothingness. 

Again, there’s nothing discreet about this band. Bands this good will be on everyone’s tongues before long. Taste the madness. 

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