Starkweather - Crossbearer / Into the Wire [Reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Starkweather

Crossbearer / Into the Wire [Reissue] (2015)

Translation Loss


Translation Loss Records has taken it upon themselves last year to re-issue Starkweather's first two albums, Crossbearer and Into the Wire.  They decided to completely remaster all of the tracks as well as throw in a whole bunch of bonus tracks from the eras in which the albums we recorded.  The album is two discs, which is a requirement, since Starkweather loves to record songs in the six-to-eight minute range, so even a six song album like the original Into the Wire has the length of an album and feels like much more than an EP.

The first disc is the ten tracks on 1994's Crossbearer with the songs "Shards" and "Unto Me" separated into two tracks where they were originally one track on the original album.  The second disc contains the original six tracks from Into the Wire as the first six songs and adds six additional songs - "Mainline" "Desolate" and "Divine Art" that originally appeared on the Philly Dust Krew compilation, "Bitterfrost" originally appeared on their split seven-inch with Season to Risk (one of the strangest splits I've heard during the course of my entire life), "Hushabye and Goodnight" originally appeared on the Definitely Not the Majors compilation on Bush League Records (track it down - you owe it to yourself) and "Taming Leeches with Fire" is the demo version of the song that eventually appeared on Starkweather's 2006 release Croatoan.  

There is a thick, glossy booklet that includes all of the lyrics in a sometimes difficult to read red ink on grey art.  But who cares about all of that?  The music is what really makes this amazing.  Unfortunately, Starkweather has yet to receive the following they deserve.  Whether it's the tortured growls or haunting singing, the macabre and dark lyrics, the pummeling drums, the melodic/heavy/chugging guitar, or the bass contributing to the lows while complimenting the guitar, this band has it all.  For music this epic, you would expect them to be a lot more than a four-piece, but Starkweather manages to handle all of this with just one person on guitar and one on bass.  

 Most people discuss Starkweather in terms of being somewhere between hardcore and metal, and I agree with that to a point, but they're so much more unique and genre-defying than that.  If you're into heavy music and you've wondered about the limitations of human vocals, this album answers that.  I won't say that the remaster is the difference between night and day, but these tracks didn't need that - the original recordings hold up well.  It's like putting a clear-coat after you wax your car - it's that little bit of extra zing.