Murder Weapon - Nervous Wreck (Cover Artwork)

Murder Weapon

Nervous Wreck (2003)

Martyr Records

Before I get into this review, full disclosure: I’m writing this with the purpose of dredging up a great recording that, for me, went a little too under the radar when it was originally released. Murder Weapon were a semi-side project band from Richmond, VA. Now besides being the hometown of the mighty Avail, Richmond has long had a rich hardcore ethic. Down to Nothing being the biggest flag-bearers of course, and not so coincidentally sharing members with Murder Weapon. But enough of the context.

Nervous Wreck is a series of seven short, bursting, and acidic hardcore songs. But what I think helps this EP along is the recording itself. The recording and production manage to very much catch the ferocity and vitality of the band. While this is the hope of any aggressive band when recording, it’s an often elusive atmosphere to actually capture. And yet, Nervous Wreck brims with the urgency and disillusionment of many far more celebrated hardcore records. I’ve often said that the original Judge recordings were the perfect examples of recorded music capturing the anger and frustration of the band. And while Nervous Wreck isn’t quite in that echelon, it does reverberate with that level of kinetic energy.

Now the songs themselves aren’t experimental or particularly layered. They are, however, well-written and cohesive. The musicians know what makes a strong hardcore song and they stick closely to that archetype. The EP is rife with well-placed choral chants, drum builds, and clever bass fills. None is overused or repetitive. The guitar work is just as solid, drawing on similarly well-place pick slides and harmonics without going overboard. And the EP’s title track, “Nervous Wreck,” displays all of these aspects perfectly.

Vocally Murder Weapon adopt a heavier version of the vocal styles consistent with Roger Miret and Freddie Madball. There’s something very guttural but also slurred about the vocal deliveries here. While the comparisons may help a bit, I know I’m pigeon-holing a bit, but the vocals fit the music really well. “Every Night’s the Same” is a favorite of mine on this EP and the vocals on this track showcase the not-so-limited range of the singer. He balances so very low end growls against sharply delivered fast-paced vocal lines.

Like I said to open, this review was written with the intent of offering up an under the radar band and release. I really do think that’s just Murder Weapon and Nervous Wreck are. It’s well-played straight forward hardcore delivered by guys who know how to make their sound work. Here’s the other thing: the EP is available for a measly $1.00 from the Martyr Records webstore. Why not buy it?