Gazm, Heavy Vibe Music (11PM Records, 2019)

The first time I ever played a show in Montreal it was to a swirling horde of extras from The Lord of the Rings—at one point a gentleman was standing directly in front the stage carving a pentagram in his hand, gleefully displaying his handy work to our vocalist Jenny, who was not shy about displaying her utter horror and confusion.

For me, however, the moment of joy was when a lone mosher came busting through the pit adorned with a massive fluffy pink mohawk, wearing what appeared to be a loin cloth and proceeded to basically clear out the room with this stomping, grooving dance move which were one part creepy crawl, one part skank and whole lot of epileptic twitching—all syncopated to the various twists and turns of the cacophony of noise we were cranking out.

I think about that guy a lot—probably more than is reasonable for what was really a 30 or 40-second moment of my life and yet listening to Gazm’s debut LP, Heavy Vibe Music, he was the first thing to explode into my head.

On the one hand, it would easy to peg hole this as the output of some maniacs who spent too much time studying groove-laden NYHC like DMIZE or Breakdown. I mean there is a heavy Runnin’ Scared demo meets "Backlash" vibe going on here but there’s something a little filthier, a little dirtier going on. Is it the moments where they momentarily blast away a la Transilvanian Hunger-era Darkthorne before downshifting into a breakdown that pays homage to Born to Expire?

Photo: Michael D. Thorn

Is it vocalist Bad Bill’s creepy hyena-straining-at-the-leash, snarling spit of a vocal attack? Am I crazy that some of the vibe I get off this is the same as Detroit crust lords Civil Disbedience’s debut, A Few Hours of Madness? And is that crazy that my first thought listening to them was to go back and blast Sergio Vega’s old band, Collapse?

All in all it has this schizophrenic feeling that permeates the record, making it such an enjoyable as it twists, turns and just grooves. 

Its sorta crazy to go back to Gazm's demo and first single and compare it to this—not only is the production leaps and bounds better but the song writing and structures are just so better developed and complete sounding. There was a primitive rawness to those earlier sounds that have been honed into a more effective tool that slices and dices all the bullshit away.

Photo: Michael D. Thorn

A solid debut LP from these fiends and cool second release from the relatively new 11PM Records.

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