Congenital Death - From My Hands [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Congenital Death

From My Hands [7-inch] (2012)

Ranch Records

A common gripe regarding hardcore bands that incorporate grind or powerviolence elements into their sound is that it can come off as too busy or disjointed–and even if that's the band's intent, often it's little more than unintelligible noise to the average ear. For a genre so inherently straightforward, great hardcore needs to have a certain nuance to make it so, otherwise you might as well be listening to another local band's demo with nothing new or exciting to add to the table.

Philadelphia's Congential Death incorporate several elements into their sound, but unlike most bands are able to do it rather seamlessly, and with a lot of personality. From My Hands is only around seven minutes long, but it's clear the band have a lot of ideas and more importantly, the talent to properly convey them through different styles.

At 1:46, "Moniz Therapy" is the EP's longest track and also its best. The song begins, more or less, with a suite of rapid, chaotic instrumentation and vocals screeching just underneath the surface. A few blast beats later, it evolves into a quick, double-time hardcore banger before crescendoing into a riff-driven breakdown by the song's end. One really has to listen to it more than once to catch and appreciate each part, but they all flow so cleanly the song is weirdly accessible.

"World B. Free" and "Dry Rot Pulpit" are more or less straight-up powerviolence punishers; both songs are less than a minute long, but leave quite the impression through performances that, while meant to sound chaotic are actually very well-calculated.

The heavy, throttling "Collapse" dovetails perfectly into closer "Disapproval," which uses a plodding bassline and some minimal percussion to build to a heavy, mid-tempo, hardcore pace. There's some interesting time changes in the verses–if they could even be called verses–that subtly keep things unconventional. And just like that, it's over.

If anything, From My Hands is a quick snapshot into a band in Congential Death who clearly have the tools and the talent to create something mesmerizing. A sound like this doesn't always translate well to a full-length, but if any band can do it, it's them.