I’m constantly amused by the juxtapositions and contradictions in my life. Nothing has brought this out more than my admission to law school two-and-a-half years ago. Suddenly, my modest tattoos were shockingly noticeable, most of my band shirts were rendered unwearable by reason of distracting my confused classmates, and everything but academics took a huge backseat. I always considered myself a creative type (playing in bands, writing fiction), and now I was in the domain of the decidedly uncreative.
A few weeks I was in the library at my law school. Everyone around me had their heads buried in a book: first-year hornbooks on torts and contracts, thick code books with the federal income tax regulations, and me staring down secured transactions. I recently bought some noise-cancelling in-ear headphones and was secure knowing that no matter what I listened to, no one could hear it (not that I really cared, but you should have seen the reactions when my iPhone inexplicably started playing Blacklisted in class first semester). As I sat across from my intently studying friend (note: the same friend who once told me he “doesn't really like music,” a concept that I never actually considered possible), I decided to listen to New Lows' Harvest of the Carcass so that I could later write my typical five-paragraph, 3.5-4 star review.
As the mid-tempo opener “Stagnant Strides” began pummeling my ears with its down-tuned heaviness, I noticed that I was no longer comprehending the obtuse language regarding perfected liens and statutory interpretation in the book I was staring at. Instead, I was daydreaming about battlefield conquests over wooded lands bleeding into feasting rats overtaking grey urban decay. As everyone around me sat quietly learning, I felt like moshing the library right then and there (I didn't).
“Reagan baby, viral child. Skulking saviors smile. Over sullen souls frozen from this withered world. Foul fangs sang songs of a crimson Christ. Fertile plaguegrounds, grow bastards. Vengeance in their veins and they’ll shatter your tracks.” As I ever so slightly bobbed my head listening to these words coming from the screaming mouth of a guy called “PBoy,” I thought about my fiancée. She just doesn't get why I like aggressive and primal music like this. Of course, it’s because in the calm, neutral tones of academia and adult life, it’s shit like this that actually keeps me balanced and sane.
Fast-forward to just now as I am writing this review. My fiancée sits down on the small couch behind my desk. She knows I’m writing a review and she starts playing a game on her phone. I press play to listen to the eighth track on this record, “Anguish”, which, like the rest of the record, features no breaks from its booming heaviness and shouted vocals. Within two seconds she immediately suggests that I turn it off. If you want to know whether a hardcore or metal record is good, this type of reaction is really all you need.