Penalty Kill - Penalty Kill [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Penalty Kill

Penalty Kill [EP] (2023)

Fear of War / No Solution

Penalty Kill is the band formed of Fletcher and Wyatt Sheers of the Garden along with their dad, Steve Shears, who was in regionally popular ‘80s hardcore band shattered Faith. On their debut release, they kick out three hardcore smashers about hockey and a UK Subs cover.

First of all, this record is fast and raw. I would say that it’s an ‘80s throwback, but the band is so redlined and frantic on the release, it reminds me of a lot of the neo-deathrock bands like Zorn, Poison Ruin, and Devil Master. Every note is played at hyper speed, every vocal is howled, and everything is a blindingly fast strike. The record is fast and dangerous and its kind of funny that it’s about hockey.

UK Subs “Police State” is particularly interesting because the band meets the original street punk rocker halfway with their own savage hardcore style, resulting in something that has the bop op the original but also the manic ferocity of the band’s own hardcore style.

What makes the release notable is that ever since Life and Times of a Paper Clip, Fletcher and Wyatt have been getting more and more avant-garde and adventurous. So, it is interesting to hear how a “return to roots” sounds, after the brother shave traveled so far artistically. It’s very punk, but even in its traditional attack, there still is a certain art-bend in both the playing, which frequently spins off kilter and the recording, which gives the band a certain ghostly aura. And of course, to hear pops Steve kick out the jams with his sons has a certain significance.

The album is fast and fun and it rocks. It might be a fun one-off release, which is cool. But, it has the potential to be more. As prolific as the Garden brothers all, who knows. The more the merrier.