For more than a few people, a new band with an ex-members list boasting names like Threadbare, Snapcase, Mean Season, Stickfigurecarousel, and Adamantium would be reason alone to dust off the ol' JNCOs, bleach that thinning hair and dig your XXL Cabal jersey and tulasi beads out of your kids' dress-up bin.
As someone who "came of age" on all of the aforementioned bands, I was beyond thrilled when Southern California's Precious announced their formation and debut EP Unravelings, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Balancing the familiar hallmarks of each individual player's resume — singer Brian Lovro, guitarists Dan Sena and JP Gericke, bassist Dustin Perry, and drummer Matt Horwitz — Unravelings was at once a throwback to a transition period and creative apex in hardcore as well as a fresh, updated take on a now-classic sound, appealing to fans from any of the genre's heavier eras.
Sick Rooms, Precious' first full-length and second release for scene stalwarts Indecision Records, continues the band's swift upward trajectory, expanding on both the urgency and atmosphere of Unravelings while managing to create a record broader in scope yet more cohesive than their earlier work. An Explosions in the Sky-esque intro gives way to opening rager "Not Holding On," a track replete with melody, groove, off-kilter rhythmic flourishes, and clinical, percussive riffs, setting the tone for the remainder of the album's brilliant 35 minutes.
The relentless intensity of Sick Rooms should be attributed in no small part to Dan Sena and Paul Miner's absolutely vicious production/mastering job, which perfectly straddles the line between low-end warmth and icy, digital clarity — again hearkening both the '90s hardcore sounds these gents cut their teeth on, as well as the current tonal colors one might associate with bands like Axis, Discourse, Vein, etc.
The end result is a record easily on par with anything else in these musicians' deservedly well-respected careers and that will undoubtedly grace many year-end lists — I'm hard-pressed to think of a release that tops it at this halfway point in the year. Positively killer.
Sick Rooms will be out later this summer and can be pre-ordered at the link below.
- Indecision Records (Vinyl)