The pandemic has taken its toll on everyone. Even though I’ve stayed healthy, it’s stressful and that inevitably seeps into daily life. One interesting takeaway is that I think I appreciate hardcore more in 2020-21 than I have in the past decade. It’s a good time to be screaming from the bottom of your lungs.
Slant is a 5-piece from South Korea -- not that you can tell the locale by the sound. It’s timeless and furious. It could be from DC in the 1980s or the Pacific Northwest in the 2010s. There are 10 songs here, none longer than two and a half minutes, and totaling 17-minutes from start-to-finish. It’s titled 1집, which is a Korean equivalent to self-titling a record, something kinda-sorta translated as “Volume 1.” It stomps and rages, but with some metallic flourishes here and there, often serving as a bridge. The vocals are so raw that it almost hurts to listen.
“Stagnation” is a song for the times. Furious and corrosive, repeating, “It’s the same thing every day,” and a bunch of super-fast lyrics I can’t make out. There’s even a classic circle-pit breakdown for good measure, which serves as a breather given the intense pace. “Prison” is another good example of that style. A few metallic moments flash in “Effigy” and “How Did It Feel?”, but this is rooted in the intensity and brevity of the hardcore classics like Minor Threat, which have barked/shrieked vocals and buzzsaw guitars that are always moving the songs forward instead of pausing to admire themselves. There is some nice drumming in “Casualty” that proves it’s not all pounding, all the time, even when the volume is cranked way up.
I can’t say that 1집 reinvents hardcore, and I don’t think it’s supposed to. But it sure is cathartic. In a time when even the simplest items in daily life seem to add to stress instead of relief, 1집 blows off some steam every time I listen to it -- which is frequently.
7.5 / 10
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