Lethal Rejection - 2, 1, 2, 2 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Lethal Rejection

2, 1, 2, 2 (2004)

Day 51

The death penalty has long been a fixture of American judicial culture. Many methods have been tinkered with over time, and depending on the individual state, some of those methods are still used today, albeit sparsely. Hanging, the use of a firing squad, and the gas chamber are all methods that were widely used at one point in history, but have since given way to the "more humane" process of lethal injection. Or is that Lethal Rejection...no no, it's lethal injection, although death by the latter of those wouldn't so much as catch me by surprise.

Lethal Rejection play an old school style of hardcore punk, but somehow manage to lack any of the intensity that made that style popular in the first place. Though the DIY ethics of those days are very strongly instilled in this bunch, who own their own label, put out their own records, and help produce and distribute records put out by fellow members of their own local scene, the heart and conviction of a lot of 80's hardcore seems to have been left at the door. Whatever be the cause, Lethal Rejection seem to enjoy going through the motions rather than playing like they mean it. Maybe an indie rock band, or a pop-punk band could get away with this, but in a genre like hardcore, where passion is taken above talent, it leaves Lethal Rejection without either leg to stand on. "Don't Kill The Pain" exemplifies the vocalist's lazy delivery, sounding like he doesn't even want to be in the recording studio in the first place. There's more up-tempo efforts on the record, but the speed of the song increasing has no effect whatsoever on the vocals.

Lyrics follow the same pattern as the half-assed singing, with some of the more repetitious lyrics I've come across recently. Repetition is a popular writing technique, used to embellish or make notice of an important point, but there is such a thing as overkill, and "My Blood" reminds us all of that, by using the word blood 44 times. Blood, blood, blood, yeah, we get it, oh the wonders of subtlety.

There is no saving grace to 2, 1, 2, 2, but some of the guitar work is as close as the band comes to not being complete garbage. It's relatively normal hardcore riffage, but there's some metal solos thrown in there once and a while that don't sound half bad, contrived and forced or not. The production doesn't allow for much else to shine, as the drummer and the bassist are pushed beyond the background, so the poetic genius of the lead singer can be heard above it all.

After listening to this record a few times, I can't say that I hold it in much higher regard than the electric chair. Listeners of hardcore aren't the most discriminating lot, but if you're going to leave an integral element out of your band, have it be talent, have it be gang vocals, have it be breakdowns, but to leave the passion and emotion out of hardcore will earn you the credibility of Geraldo, minus the bad hair.