†††† Once again, we get some forward-thinking, noise-damaged hardcore savagery from the Iron Lung label. Vacant Life's debut EP Pain Compliance hit me with a serious frag attack, banging out four quick blasts of blown-out, malevolent punk that fused marauding speed-fueled riffs and a satisfyingly irate singer with a high level of feedback abuse and over-the-top distortion. These guys come out of Seattle, but there's a distinctly Midwestern ugliness to their music, combining their breakneck hardcore with a seething undercurrent of gnarly, Am Rep -style discordance (something that we're hearing more and more often with bands of this ilk). When they crank up the aggression on songs like "Erasure", though, it makes for some supremely potent hardcore, with particularly violence-inducing tempo shifts and an abrasive guitar tone that seems to constantly be on the verge of splintering into total overdriven speaker-shredding chaos. One hell of a nasty EP, and it wraps things up with an especially gruesome dirge called "Press Gang" that sort of resembles a Flipper/Kilslug-style scum-beating combined with a heavy dose of power electronics style mic-annihilation. Fuckin' gruesome.
†††† Limited to four hundred copies, and issued with a download code.