Sectarian Violence - Upward Hostility (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sectarian Violence

Upward Hostility (2013)

Grave Mistake Records

Sectarian Violence consist of members from the USA, the UK and Sweden so if nothing else, they deserve credit for managing to exist as a band, let alone following up last year's self-titled 7-inch with an album of 10 pulsating hardcore songs in Upward Hostility. No fancy musical adornments are to be heard, as the band attempt to pummel their way through a granite wall by using a deliberately crushing sound that tends to swing between a more mid-tempo approach and a lightning-fast presentation. Whether it's a blitzkrieg style of hardcore or a slower, more belligerent delivery, it's done with much aplomb despite the sometimes tumultuous drive of the tracks.

That slightly slower approach allows for a more menacing sound, one which can be traced back to some of the east coast hardcore of the 1980s, and probably would be most welcome by those who were into the Boston / New York scenes–though it's certainly not a nostalgia trip defined by any one era.

One of the best things about Sectarian Violence's style of hardcore is the set up that comes from the intro to most of the songs: that build up, of whatever combination of guitars, bass and drums, raises anticipation levels until the song finally kicks in, be it fast or mid-paced. This is something that Sectarian Violence do very well; you might feel your body winding itself up through those moments in preparation of the musical maelstrom.

The closer, "Open Wound," is the strongest song on the album and it gives the sense that something–or a number of things–are really gnawing away at the band, leaving them with a festering and exposed sore that needs scratching to alleviate the discomfort. Somewhat ironically, this track eschews the approach to intros previously mentioned, as there is no pause before the song takes hold; it just rolls on from start to finish, imbued with an essence of being pissed off at a whole host of things.