This Is Hell - This Is Hell (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

This Is Hell

This Is Hell (2005)

State of Mind

Scraps and Heart Attacks had a tenure in the Long Island hardcore scene cut all too short. Their sole full-length, 2003's Still Sick, closed with "Don't F With S," a more complex, adventurous track for the band, one that showed amiable potential for them to grow out of their straightforward but solid sound of a shell and into a unique hardcore outfit gleaming with creative splashes, á la the band's similarly defunct, much compared coast-mates, Give Up the Ghost.

This Is Hell is where that evolution continues.

Delivering on the raw promise of the lavishly packaged (for a demo) EP of last year, their self-titled followup here ups the ante and then some. The production is better, the gang vocals more prevalent, breakdowns cleanly integrated without the tough guy mindset, and even the guitar-work more creative. Though further comparisons to GUTG as well as SAHA is to be expected, in addition to tri-state area bros With Honor, the band is truly developing a sound all their own.

"Dead Salutes" is easily the best song the band's recorded yet, with Travis Reilly, the ex-SAHA member here, promising all sorts of violent metaphors ("I'm ripping flesh from bone" / "I'm slashing throats from ear to ear") in an ultra-catchy chorus with interspersed gang shouts of "TONIGHT!" "Heaven Sent, Hell Bound" benefits from its re-recording, as its core aggressiveness stays intact yet the words sung are plenty more distinguishable. "Diamond Lanterns" contains rather sound, abruptly changing guitar tones. It doesn't hurt to have Backup Plan front-man Jeff Tiu on bass and backup vocals here, as his scream plays off the rest of the band wonderfully, especially in the track here as he yells "We're pushing on!"

As if all this isn't enough, Glassjaw's Daryl Palumbo makes a guest appearance on the closer, "When Death Closes Your Eyes." Sure, the band's cover of early Equal Vision hardcore metal stalwarts 108 seems fairly inspired and decent on its own, but it's definitely refreshing to hear Palumbo's trademark warble, along with him screaming into a studio microphone for the first time in nearly three years.

This is Hell's self-titled EP proves that they've got the powerful sound to match their rigorous touring schedule. Sure, the band's subject matter (isolation, post-relationship despondence, stuck-cycle living) doesn't exactly make for the most uplifting themes ever, but the execution and delivery of the words as well as the cut-throat musicianship supporting it make for a far above-par 14 minutes of intense and world-weary hardcore punk.

Melancholy was never this enjoyable.

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