Haymarket Riot - Mog (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Haymarket Riot

Mog (2004)


When I reviewed Haymarket Riot's 2001 LP Bloodshot Eyes, I focused mainly on how the band's sound was very similar to that of Fugazi, and that if you enjoyed the pioneering DC group, you'd probably be all about Kevin J. Frank and company. Since Bloodshot Eyes, the band has been hit by cars, lost a drummer, cycled through a few guitarists, and who knows what else. You think that all this might up the anger level a few notches on Mog, but surprisingly, the opposite happened - Haymarket Riot has seemed to mellow out a bit.

This is even more shocking, considering the group's new members are guitarist Chris Daly of Sweep The Leg Johnny, and drummer Shane Hochstetler of Managra. The spazz factor from these two previous bands alone should have sent Haymarket's guitar arpeggios through the roof, but somehow, the rage stays under control for a good portion of this album's half hour of music.

Recorded by Steve Albini, the production is down and dirty, which is even more confusing as there's just a whole lot more melody on here than ever before. It's as if the group is fine-tuning their now-recognizable brand of post-hardcore while at the same time trying to sound as cold and distant as possible. "Vera" is the perfect example - guitars squeal and squelch over some of Frank's most in tune singing ever put to tape. The dichotomy of melody and dissonance here is just mind-boggling.

Haymarket Riot seems to have gotten it's second wind, and also seems to have experienced a sort of musical rebirth. Everything you liked about the old Haymarket Riot is still here, but I'm all for evolution, and this band is well on their way out of the "sounds like Fugazi" cellar.

My Donuts, God Damn!