All Systems Fail “s/t” 7″
Here’s some heavy hardcore/punk from Utah that has a midpaced drive and a multi vocal attack that blends scathing screams with gruff shouts. I definitely like the vocal variety since three members contribute different styles, and the heaviness of their sound really allows even the faster chord progressions to feel somehow more pounding and moderately paced. The songwriting is pretty standard hardcore/punk with a crusty edge, there’s nothing unexpected going on at all, so expect thick chord progressions, simple drumbeats, basic song structures, quick little lead breaks, etc. The heaviness definitely gives more energetic tracks like “Last Seconds Before Annihilation” a Swedish sort of sound, which continues to a lesser degree in “United Police States of America”, but as with many of these bands there’s not a terribly large amount of differentiation from song to song. The recording’s pretty damn good. The vocals and drums are a little overemphasized in the mix, but it’s still really heavy. Were it a bit clearer and letting the guitars and bass run the show it would sound a little more effective, but they’re not harmed by the minimal issues I’d cite with the levels, so screw it. The record is pressed on red vinyl and comes in a black and white sleeve with solid illustrations mocking the current political administration as well as all of the lyrics. Some of the lyrics are in Spanish, so an additional insert is included that provides appropriate translations for every song (the English songs into Spanish, the Spanish into English). As expected the content is intently socio-political in nature and attacks the current state of the world as far as war and imperial domination are concerned, but the lyrics are definitely a little longer and more pointed than your average punk act these days: “Nuclear nightmare diplomacy has turned into nuclear proliferation, Instead of changing what needs to be changed we use the pretext of weapons of mass destruction to further our foreign policy, Here come the bombs, We built the bombs, We sold the bombs…” This isn’t bad. I’m not blown away by the songwriting, but that’s just because it’s a little too commonplace. “Last Seconds Before Annihilation” is an excellent song that has more crunch and more energy to its speeds, so it immediately jumps out as a result. If they can reach that point more often they’ll definitely be better suited to kicking ass. (6/10)
Running time – 12:00 (approximately), Tracks: 5
[Notable tracks: Last Seconds Before Annihilation, United Police States of America]