I like some good throwback punk rock as much as the next guy. As all these hipster elitist numbskulls embrace Sum 41 and Rise Against ironically (or not?), fans who have Static Age on vinyl are rolling their eyes in desperation. There is nothing particularly wrong with embracing mainstream modern punk/pop rock. But let’s not kid ourselves here. There is a massive monumental difference between the modern hardcore punk of, say, AFI, and the likes of The Misfits, Black Flag, Agent Orange, and the Vandals.
Leadsucker openly throw their historical precedent to the mid-80s hardcore explosion. It was a time where naivety was inherent and freshness was standard. An era where the Sex Pistols were iconic and controversial, as opposed to dated and kind of boring.
Toxic Highway Recordings unleashes ‘Burn,’ the debut full length album from the nostalgically-infused hardcore group, Leadsucker. Even there name recalls moments of punk’s glory days. It could definitely be something to come from the mind of Danzig or Napalm Death. But Leadsucker sounds naturally fresh, as we are so far removed from that initial punk rock movement. When so many contemporary bands explore the ‘funnerest’ side of things, with attributes like hooks and clean melodies, Leadsucker releases full frontal aural assaults akin to Minutemen and Bad Brains. Oh, and let’s not forget the blatant political tones. No punk rock album is complete without them.
If all these name-drops confuse you, then Leadsucker may not be for you. The tracks on ‘Burn’ rarely exceed one minute, and newcomers to hardcore may have a hard time differentiating between songs. It is a dizzying pace and a warming up session may be required to gain the most out of the experience. Check out The Ramones Rocket to Russia or Double Nickels on the Dime before venturing too far into Burn. I would think even the members of Leadsucker would agree.
Where Burn is somewhat exhausting to listen to, it is also grandly invigorating. Punk rock fans of any age will certainly feel inclined to sit back and recall moments of sweat-fueled dementia in the basement of their favorite local band’s friends house. Younger fans may find little to embrace with inherent nostalgia, but they will feed off the rhythmic pulsating empowerment of the tracks. 30 second blasts of intense hardcore will not go over anyone’s head. And though it is downright impossible to truly differentiate Never-Ending Cycle from One Minus One or Seed of Evil, there is something aggressively exhilarating about the music. The album cover displays the burning of an American flag. Whether in irony or legitimate anarchy, Leadsucker has 80’s hardcore bleeding through every orifice of their body, through every slamming of the guitars and pounding of the drums; and ultimately, through every chant every fan brings out their sheer love of hardcore.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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