Racebannon’s approach to writing music seems to be one of sheer and utter chaos. Even with only four guys, there seems to be so much going on above and beneath the surface at any given time that it’s nearly impossible to truly take it all in. With all the rage and technical prowess one can possibly muster, Racebannon plows through close to 30 songs on The Inevitable, a collection of demos, compilation tracks, and rarities composing their entire, though still ongoing, eight-year career.
There has never been a more schizophrenic act bringing the rock than these Indiana natives, and you needn’t go farther than the very first track on the very first disc to make this discovery. The maniacal vocal stylings of Mike Anderson, who throughout the entire collection sounds borderline insane. In the more low-key vocal moments, he sounds like a man on the verge of spontaneous combustion, literally tearing his hair from the scalp with every word delivered. It’s when he really does explode, though, that all bets are off. His high-pitched shriek makes its way so quickly down your ear canal that it staggers you, but the man just doesn’t relent. And it’s never possible to tell, or even anticipate where the path of a song is going, you’d just better hope you have a good handle to hold onto for the ride.
True to form though, Racebannon never stays in one mode for long.
The second track is almost entirely instrumental, but it’s still extremely loud, heavy and in your face. The riffs just seem to slowly gain momentum as the song pushes forward and finally subsiding somewhere around the ten-minute mark. The ebb and flow of the album is an odd one, as they’re taking tracks from countless split 7”s and compilations, as well as a few tributes that the band took part in. Covering Sonic Youth’s “Death Valley `69,” Racebannon seem oddly right at home with the frenetic discordance and walls of noise; they never miss a beat. Most of the tracks after that cover are much more in the usual style of Racebannon: Loud, fast, and extremely complex. Anderson’s screams seem to get louder and more piercing every minute, and the combination of lightning quick drumming and chord progressions will have your head in a whirl before the first disc has even completed. Disc 2 starts out with the band's cover of Black Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” and once again they completely nail it. But it’s not the covers that are the main attraction, it’s the originals that this set was compiled for.
The second disc offers up some of their best recordings, including material from splits with Mara’akate, the Disease, and Knives & Greenwater. Despite the fact that release dates of these tracks are not arranged in chronological order, there’s no problems to speak of as far as fluidity is concerned. There’s some glaring differences in recording quality in some instances, but the songs themselves sound so good that it’s of no consequence. “That Rocketship Exploded” is a blistering example of just how loud and how extreme Racebannon take things, starting off with some serene droning until the music kicks the door completely down and blows everything in the room away. While Disc 2 shows a lot of the best of the band, it also shows some of the more forgettable tracks, but with 28 in all, it’s not hard to press the skip button and find something you’ll really enjoy.
Almost nine years later, the only good thing to ever come out of Indiana is still alive, kicking, and ready to rip your head clean off the shoulders. This extremely comprehensive collection details everything but the band's three LPs, all of which are worth your time and money as well. With a new record on the way this year, these two plus hours of music should do well to tide you over.