First vinyl purchase since getting a turntable: sweet.
Arriving in my mailbox 5 days before official release: sweet.
Tie-dyed vinyl: sweet.
Mistakenly believing that all 7" records are best played at 45 RPM: not sweet.
(Russ Rankin, I dub you an honorary member of the Chipmunks while spinning at anything greater than 33 revolutions per minute.)
Punk rock supergroup Only Crime and Maine's Outbreak convened at the Blasting Room in Ft. Collins, CO a few months ago to record what would soon become one of the most ass-kicking and face-bludgeoning split EPs in recent memory. And while both bands deliver in their limited capacity, the two songs each artist provides will barely satiate the fix needed after getting hooked on the authentic hardcore of Only Crime and Outbreak.
Side A belongs to Only Crime, commonly known for boasting veterans of Good Riddance, Black Flag, Bane, and GWAR. Their unique brand of heavy hardcore is intense and powerful without being metallic, a sharp way of updating their roots, instead of going "metalcore" like most hardcore bands trying to outdo their elders. "Brand New Scene" is dispensed in traditional Only Crime form, with amelodic verses that seem to reflect on the state of hardcore, particularly in relation to the passing of vocalist Russ Rankin's former band Good Riddance: "Just push around while I'm running away from / I see myself inside you / Leaving trails and the blood you ignore / Leave lies behind you / […] / Like all the other perversions / Leaving time for the versions of that sound / […] / I've seen enough to drive it all away / This time it's done so take it all away." The second half of Only Crime's offering is "Revisionistic," the obvious standout of the EP. Light, teaser riffage gives way to melodic hardcore that with an extremely catchy tune and slightly less heavy approach sounds like Good Riddance in the prime of their existence. Side A score: 4.5/5
Outbreak's three minutes of the split don't exactly give a full introduction to the novice listener, but they do offer a glimpse of what a typical Outbreak composition might entail. Lyrically, Outbreak closely resembles the forefathers of East Coast `80s hardcore: simple, angry, and concise. If you're thinking about playing Side B around your parents because there aren't any expletives in the liner notes, you can forget it. Even though they don't appear in the written lyrics, Outbreak drops the F-bomb in both of their tracks. The band's approach to songwriting is interesting in that their songs are essentially composed of one big verse with some lyrics repeated to form a quasi-chorus. As the first song "Single File" bleeds right into "Deaf and Blind," the somewhat convulsive drumming gives Outbreak more of a D.R.I. or Suicidal Tendencies feel than that of fellow East Coasters like Agnostic Front or Madball. Outbreak shows promise here, but their contribution is over right as they begin to pick up pace. Side B score: 3.5/5