Short. Fast. Simple. Angry. Loud.
A good hardcore record doesn't cause damage with the painstakingly calibrated destructive precision of a smart bomb. A good hardcore record causes damage with all the beauty and grace of an angel-dusted maniac with a baseball bat. Nowadays, it's not uncommon for "hardcore" bands to crank out five-minute epic singles chock full of multi-layered vocals, masturbatory guitar solos, youth choirs, pipe organs, windchimes and recordings of whale songs. Illegal Exhibitions of Speed, the CD debut from Boston's Colin of Arabia, slams through twelve songs of visceral, red-eyed raging hardcore in less time than it takes for some of today's hardcore musicians to fix their hair before going out on stage.
Musically speaking, Colin of Arabia has much more in common with old-school hardcore bands like Negative Approach than many of their borderline-metalcore peers. The disc is eighteen furious minutes of throat-tearing vocals, frantic drumming and aggressive riffs. The album kicks off nicely with the circle pit-inducing "Introduction of Destruction," carrying through to a brief intermission in the form of "BST...," a pissed-off, Boston-accented answering machine message recording, and wails through a handful of solid hardcore tracks, including a Slapshot cover, before coming to a close with "War on the Poor," a disillusioned commentary on sending young men overseas to die fighting a rich man's war. While the guitar work is intentionally unsophisticated and prefers heaviness over melody, in many places it dares to venture outside of the realm of three-chord harmony, such as in the 37-second "50 Bag of hate," which adds to the catchiness and replay value of the tracks.
The lyrical content, as you might expect, isn't about puppies and flowers. It's anger, frustration and disappointment, pure and simple. The lyrics to "Sleeping With Someone I No Longer Love" made me chuckle in the same way that I would chuckle while watching a bad episode of "COPS;" "I wanna punch you in the face / Instead I punch the walls / I fucking feel like walking out / but I just don't have the balls." There's even a brief clip from "Fight Club" just before the seventh track kicks in, which fits nicely within the volatile emotional context of this album.
In short, if you're a fan of old-school, angry hardcore, the kind that isn't out to impress anybody or attract girls to shows, then pick this one up and you won't be disappointed.