Blowback - Greed Runs the Clock [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Greed Runs the Clock [7-inch] (2012)

String Break Records

Blowback's Greed Runs the Clock was recorded in Washington, D.C. by Don Zientara and mixed in New York by Don Fury and it shows. Not to overstate the presence of the respective legendary producers, but the EP solidly plants one foot in the nation's capitol and the other foot in the nation's capitol of sleaze.

While the EP is undeniable hardcore with its screamed/growled vocals, stomping drums and slashing strings, the traits of both poles of east coast hardcore crop up. "Rats in the Middle" skittles and tilts like '80s D.C. hardcore, when the genre was forging itself from pure angry thrashing to a reflective off-kilter rhythm a la Scream. But then, just as the song seems ready to steady itself, it snaps forward like '80s N.Y.C. blasting a la Reagan Youth.

Similarly, politics-wise the band borrows from each city. "Greed Runs the Clock" is a doom and gloom lamentation, forecasting destruction with lyrics that could have been used by Nausea. Conversely, "Smoke Break," which grumbles about soulless jobs, is a much more intimate piece, focusing on one's own struggles, with lyrics that could have been dropped by Embrace.

But, while the EP salutes the hallmarks of both takes on the genre, it really takes off when it gets a little weird. "Smoke Break" drops in a chorus that is halfway between Snow White and the Seven Dwarves' "Height-Ho"and the Wizard of Oz's soldier march. The "friendly" chorus adds a level of menace, energy and, frankly, fun, that makes the piece more exciting than run of the mill barking. On "Greed Runs the Clock," a sound thaws from what sounds like industrial machinery into what turns out to be vocals, echoing the strange sonic experimentation of Holy Terror bands.

Blowback's combination of the various facets of a relatively narrow genre suggest that perhaps hardcore is wider than we think. The wrapping of the different attributes together does create and interesting question: Is Blowback looking back or looking forward?