Double Negative - The Wonderful and Frightening World of... [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Double Negative

The Wonderful and Frightening World of... [12 inch] (2007)

No Way

It takes a pretty savvy band to steer allusions toward hardcore legends like Negative FX and Negative Approach in both name and sound. It also takes a developed sense of wit to reference sectors of academia in both mathematical and linguistic fields at once. But what kind of band can pull off both of the above simultaneously? I could tell you, but it might blow your mind.

From the deep, dirty southern locale of Raleigh, North Carolina, Double Negative is right at home with "Golden Age Hardcore" retrofitters like Government Warning and Wasted Time. There must be something about that cosseted corner of the South Atlantic that spawns inch-thick forehead veins that pop out from hardcore singers' buzzed heads like earthworms in the rain. Whatever it is that's to blame for this head-bursting rage is also to thank for inspiring the current surge of grubby, early `80s-styled hardcore rattling off influences from Minor Threat to the Adolescents to Jerry's Kids and Poison Idea. Double Negative's style of punk is snotty but not whiny, thrashy but not thrash, and fast but not fastcore. That is to say, Double Negative is old-fashioned hardcore in the purest of terms.

The first half-minute or so of The Wonderful and Frightening World of… is deceptively calm, as tightly controlled feedback builds ever so gradually before exploding into the skull-crushing speed of "Technically Disfigured." Through the overdrive mincing of guitarist "Epic Warfare"'s frenzied progressions, vocalist Kevin Collins' nearly incoherent shouts hit like a rhythm instrument as much as any type of melodic device. The singing does, at the very least, provide something of a timing mechanism to follow along with KC's psycha-violent lyricism that meet somewhere between the stream-of-conscious, Ouija board-poetics of the Mars Volta and the subtlety of the Shitfux. The minute-and-a-half screamer "Rehumanization" parades through three verses of this twisted lyricism as Collins yelps "Like I could die on the sand, a helpless swimmer / Ripcurrent of lust / I hate you, why don't you just fuckin' say it / Complicit convenience / A ball of violence in my heart / Like I could die." Even at such brevity, the track clears way for a discordant guitar solo that whirls about like a Kansas twister. "Looking at the Rats" actually extends past its primary lyrical utility, plowing through several rounds of the song's solitary line "We're all in the gutter, but I'm looking at the rats." The band does, however, flex the occasional use of measured restraint as the first verse of the ambitious rally cry "Stop Growing" will attest.

The Wonderful and Frightening World of Double Negative showcases one of the most talented bands in the classic hardcore punk revival alcove. There are few words to accurately describe the Double Negative experience. But among them: conquering; radical; mind-blowing.