Hardcore is a broad church. The lineage from Agnostic Front and Sick Of It All to Wristmeetrazor might not make much sense at face value, but this is 2019.
Bands as creatively distant as Terror, Code Orange and Old Wounds all fall within the ever-widening parameters of hardcore, and, as the boundaries are nudged yet further year on year, its world grows.
All of which is to say that hardcore is a generously portioned chunk of Wristmeetrazor’s sound on their debut full-length, Misery Never Forgets, but I’m still not certain I consider it a hardcore record.
Across its nine songs Misery Never Forgets blends goth-infused introspection with furious screamo, chainsaw guitars with artistic effects that lift the songs to another level in a world of noise.
But the reason Wristmeetrazor – born as a bedroom project for guitarist and vocalist Jonah Thorne but now a full-band operation – works for me? Constant, pummeling, bouncing, momentum.
Pace isn’t always present; this is an album strung together by attitude. And it’s always got a direction.
The first few songs trade in guttural, emotionally explosive aggression, the kind that ignites a room and creates chaos live. But they’re also laced with slower parts and clean vocals that gradually come to fore in the middle of the album.
‘Come On In, The Water’s Pink’ pulls at those threads and intertwines them with a sinister industrial-style minimalism. ‘Goodbye Sweet Betty’ – an almost experimental interlude – completes the job.
Lead single ‘XOXO (Love Letter From A Loaded Gun)’ is next and returns Misery Never Forgets to the realm of frantic rage. It boasts a spiraling riff-tail in its mid-section that’s just to die for.
The last two tracks are as strong a closing pair as this record could have asked for. ‘Expiry Date : 12 Hours’ is a fiery rager that cleanses the palate before ‘No More Blue Tomorrows’ ends the album with a classic build-and-release.
Misery Never Forgets is a short debut with loads of ideas. If it’s the best thing Wristmeetrazor ever do, they’ll have done just fine. I’m hopeful there’s more to come once these ideas are refined and realised.
Misery Never Forgets will be released on Prosthetic Records on January 18th.