At the beginning of the 21st century one of my favorite bands was calling it a day. It was quite a bummer to hear that the crushing behemoth, His Hero Is Gone was to be no more. My mourning period was short lived because not a year after they split three of the members relocated from Memphis, TN to Portland, OR to form a new band, Tragedy. His Hero Is Gone members Todd Burdette, Paul Burdette, and Yannick Lorrian were joined by another Memphis native, Billy Davis to round out the line up, and make one of the most intensely brutal debuts in punk / hardcore history.
Throughout the early 2000s, Tragedy continued to release one crushing record after another, but after the release of their 2006 LP, Nerve Damage, things began to slow for the band. Members were keeping busy with their other equally exciting, and brutally punishing bands; Deathreat, Severd Head of State, Warcry, From Ashes Rise, Criminal Damage, and Nightfell. In 2012, Tragedy came together once again and released their darkest, heaviest record to date, Darker Days Ahead. After they completed a short round of touring for the record, the band members again went their separate ways and focused on other projects. Only coming together as Tragedy every so often to play a show with their friends that come through Portland. This left Billy time put aside the bass guitar for a bit, pick up a guitar and front a band himself. The result is the crushing power trio, Lose Lose.
Lose Lose was formed in 2015 in Portland by Billy Davis, Jason Irish, and Peter Nilsson. It’s Billy’s first band other than From Ashes Rise that doesn’t feature any members of Tragedy, and it’s the first band where he has taken the lead. Lose Lose quietly recorded and released a demo toward the end of 2016 that has literally fallen on deaf ears, until now. The nine song demo clocks in at just under twelve minutes, and is full of fury, immediacy, and attitude. Fans of Tragedy will hear the obvious, but they will also hear a love for early '80s East Coast hardcore, raw Australian punk, and a tip of the hat to punks late '70s beginnings.
The first track, “Kill or Be Killed,” with its galloping drum beat and sinister chord structure (reminiscent of Negative Approach), is the gut punch that begins the demo. From there Lose Lose never let up, and continue to pound you into the floor. Songs like “Kick Back," and the band anthem, “Lose Lose," highlight the Australian punk influence as put through the D-beat grinder only Billy knows best.
The standout track on the demo for me is “Never-ending Greed.” This song has everything I have come to love about punk and hardcore over the years; it’s fast, raw, angry, it doesn’t fuck around, and by the time you realize what you’ve just heard it’s done.
The only song that didn’t grab me immediately is “Blood Pressure.” It has this cheesey Ramones "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" intro, while there is nothing wrong with that in the context of the Ramones it just really threw me off. After 33 seconds of the intro and a straight forward grimy gutter punk song things begin to take shape, and before you know it you’re in the midst of crusty D-beat heaven. Through out the demo the band is tight, focused and unforgiving. Leaving no room for second guessing, useless drum fills, or guitar noodling.
They came to deliver hardcore for hardcore’s sake. And they do it in less time than it takes most bands to do over an entire career.
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