Song of the Day

Exit Fear, “Strangers,” from EP 1 (2018)

Still firmly entrenched in my musical globetrotting via-Bandcamp expedition, today we find ourselves in Auckland, New Zealand. Aside from Truth, Respect, Spirit by sXe legends Balance, my knowledge of NZHC is shamefully incomplete. Enter Exit Fear, an absolutely bludgeoning and impossibly loud 3-piece hardcore band, whose self-released EP 1 dropped barely a week ago.

Unsurprisingly, the band shares a member with the sadly defunct Shitripper, another personal favorite. For the uninitiated or interested, they sounded like Career Suicide covering Red Tape ad infinitum... truly top shelf shit. Exit Fear is fittingly the sole Auckland band that's made my blackened punk heart skip a beat since. 

Starkly minimalist, the classic black and white cover art equation of “Band name+Skulls” barely hints at the deadly serious and dexterous brutalism inside. The entire demo is a deafening assault that showcases their tour through extremity in all its harrowing sub genres... there’s a grindcore and power violence edge to their violent crusty hardcore on stunners “DeadShark” and “Classic Libra.” The Motörhead via Converge worship of “Damage” recalls at once the blackened death 'n’ roll of Inepsy or the pulverizing lurch of Cursed.

Ultimately, however, it’s on the album closer “Strangers” that Exit Fear unleash their full arsenal. By their own standards, it’s a veritable epic in only two minutes that manages to dramatically build itself in the tradition of classic D-beat, conjuring the bleakest of imagery. Behind a gnarled and serpentine riff that devolves into a furious flurry of grind, Vocalist Dorian Noval deftly alternates between rabid exclamation and a throaty desperation. The interplay between drummer Brogan May and guitarist Aidan McDonald creates an unsettlingly perfect mix of attack and relent, pulling punches right before pulverizing the listener.

At the midway, there’s a brief blip of noise before the ratatat of the snare whiplashes us back into a wall of pummeling hardcore. They somehow even manage to throw in a sludgy doom passage before ultimately destroying their creation in a whirlwind passage of blast.

I hear myriad touchstones in Exit Fear’s nuanced take on extreme hardcore. Their devastating and dramatic take on Feral Ward style D-beat is widely truncated with both the tempo and brevity of grindcore. From the looks of it, they seem to be the real deal live, as well. Check ‘em out here

Tagged: exit fear

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