To Live A Lie Records has long been the purveyor of the finest in grindcore, fastcore, and power violence. Mining scenes both Stateside and international, the eye-popping cadre of label head Will Butler's roster is an impecabbly assembled stable of damaged hardcore. Home to long-running scene staples like Agathocles, Magrudergrind, Unholy Grave; there's also choice cuts from Midwestern audio terrorists Sick/Tired and XBRANIAX. TLIA has even released Conga Fury, a personal favorite of mine.
Having already decimated eardrums in Oxidant, a crucial power violence unit out of North Carolina, Butler’s new band Tired of Everything is set to drop a scorching hot demo entitled Silenced on Nov. 9. Who’s releasing it, you ask? When it’s this fire, best to keep this shit in-house. Even after running the label for a decade plus, Tired of Everything has him momentarily shelving the owner's manual for an altogether new endeavor... that of frontperson. In much the same way that the label's bands all seem to exist outside of the impossibly heavy zeitgeist, there's a "lifer" vibe to the straightforward hardcore on display throughout the demo's six scorchers.
This is hardcore punk done by punks, informed by years of experience. Rounded out by Eli, Matt, and Ryan; Silenced is a master class in tight hardcore punk.
There's a definitive and undeniable musicality to their attack that one doesn't necessarily hear on say, a Belgian mincecore opus. Pace, though mostly set to "fast/faster" is employed as a nuanced asset, avoiding the limitations of genre signposts. While still informed by power violence, it’s more in the blackened tapestry of lyrics and the hints of dive bomb fury as opposed to the pummeling speed. The guitars struggle to stay behind the starting line and are a beautiful mess of frantic and precise. The drum sound is impeccable, both in the razor-sharp punk edge of the snare and the crustier tom runs on song intros and breakdowns. There haven’t been many moments lately when straightforward, punk-influenced hardcore has been this good. It calls to mind the more punk adjacent moments of Coke Bust, the blistering but straightforward elements of Total Abuse, Green Beret, and Boston Strangler.
Vocally, Butler manages a snottiness and sneer that, when done this well, makes Hardcore that exists outside of time, defying all comers to define it or time stamp it. It's as if the lyrics are being shouted maniacally through your alarm clock via a busted megaphone, at once distant and immediate. Either way, it’s a hand around your throat. As a long-standing fixture in the power violence and grind scenes, one would certainly expect the gnarled and sudden impact of “Silence” but the surprise is the group’s tight grip on a good melody, however distorted and damaged it might be. There’s an anthemic quality to the “gone in an instant” choruses that’s altogether more difficult to find in the label’s discography. There’s an adherence to and reverence for serving the song that seems to suggest a band that’s immune to the cynicism inherent in a lifetime of playing hardcore, instead pointing to an enlivened take bolstered by Butler’s first foray behind the mic.
For my money, “Mental Hell” is the real breadwinner of the bunch. As a sufferer of serious depression myself, there’s an agonizing realism to the song. The reluctant nihilism I’d the lyrics is a clear match for the suffocation of the instruments as they clash and clang against each other, the drums threatening to collapse in on themselves. There’s a trapped vibe on “Mental Hell” that feels like a thematic callback to Flag’s “Depression” or Cold Sweat’s self-loathing masterpiece, “Blinded.
Recorded 9/22/18 at Legitimate Business in Greensboro, NC by Kris Hilbert and Mastered by Jirix-Mie Paz, there’s a clarity to the recording seldom heard on a demo. Pick it up here, y’all. You won’t be sorry.
Tagged: tired of everything