Apparently, Under Pressure hails from Winnipeg, Canada - former home of the Jets hockey team before they became the Phoenix Coyotes. Black Bile is the latest release for the band following several seven inches, compilation appearances, splits, and full-lengths; an impressive amount of work since their formation in 2003. Still, this is my first exposure to Under Pressure, and it is a shock to say the least.
Listening to "Human Meat" really takes me back to old, old school hardcore and punk, it's hard to explain what this sounds like, maybe a cross between Black Flag with maybe the vocal sound of a raspier Rollins with a hint of something else that I just cannot put my finger on yet. Their sound on "A Hazing" continues with the early sound of
Black Flag with a dash of the Descendents; call me crazy but I kind of hear it in some of the song structure at times. Regardless, by the time "Pale Skin" starts going I am reading Under Pressure's bio to make sure that they really are from Winnipeg because this song, and record as a whole, just reminds me of early 80's California punk and hardcore. Seriously, "Whip and Rein" has guitar parts in it that remind me of Bad Religion; it is really a trip to hear all of these sounds in the songs. "The Last" is completely different from anything else on Black Bile by way of being a slow dirge like track that is bleak and depressing sounding and is at least five minutes longer than any other track on the record.
Multiple trips through this under twenty-five minute blast from the past will have you thinking that Black Bile is really damn catchy, and it completely is. Under Pressure find a way to make a crunching early sounding punk and hardcore record that seems to combine a ton of influences into a well-honed machine. Listening to the record gives a weird sense of nostalgia while still sounding fresh; it makes me want to check out more of their records.
6.5 / 10
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