Power Trip / Sheer Mag / Fury / Red Death at Union Transfer
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Power Trip slay us with the first new single “Firing Squad” from their anxiously awaited sophomore release Nightmare Logic, which finally sees light February 24 on Southern Lord. “Firing Squad” debuted via NPR who’ve described it as possessing “a certain monolithic quality Lemmy would admire: a massive rawness and a sludgy, heavy hopelessness that thrashes with punk immediacy and metal intricacy…it’s a track preparing for war.”
Power Trip are a real band — like no other. Their raw energy, musical proficiency, perfect song structure, rich tones, fierce riffs, persecution and collective attitude has seeded them as one of the most prolific underground staples in the U.S. metal, punk and hardcore scenes.
Power Trip have relentlessly toured the world for years now with the likes of Anthrax, Lamb Of God, Cro-Mags, Negative Approach, Turnstile, Backtrack, Eyehategod, Bane, Off! and having performed with literally countless others, in addition to pummeling audiences at major festivals all over the US, EU and beyond.
A tear in the firmament.
Beyond the noxious haze of our national nightmare — as structures of social justice and global progress topple in our midst — there lies a faint but undeniable glow in the distance.
What is it?
Like so many before us we are drawn to the beacon. But only by the bootstraps of our indignation do we go so boldly into the dark to find it.
And so Sheer Mag has let the sparks fly since their outset, with an axe to grind against all that clouds the way. A caustic war cry, seething in solidarity with all those that suffer the brunt of ignorance and injustice in an imbalanced system.
Both brazen and discrete, loud yet precise, familiar but never quite like this — SHEER MAG crept up from Philadelphia cloaked in bold insignia to channel our social and political moment with grit and groove. Cautious but full of purpose.
What is it?
By making a music both painfully urgent and spiritually timeworn, SHEER MAG speak to a modern pain: to a people that too feel their flame on the verge of being extinguished, yet choose to burn a bit brighter in spite of that threat.
With their debut LP, the cloak has been lifted. It is time to reclaim something that has been taken from us. Here the band rolls up their sleeves, takes to the streets, and demands recompense for a tradition of inequity that’s poisoned our world. However, it is in our ability to love — our primal human right to give and receive love — that the damage of such toxicity is newly explored.
Love is a choice we make. We ought not obscure, neglect, or deny that choice. Through the tumult and the pain, the camaraderie and the cause, the band continues to burn a path into that great beyond.
But where are we headed?
On NEED TO FEEL YOUR LOVE, they makes their first full-length declaration of light seen just beyond our darkness. Spoken plainly, without shame:
It is love.
This — is SHEER MAG.
At the apex of Fury’s short and startling rise, from a providential birth in late 2013 through era-defining performances at America’s Hardcore fest in 2014 and 2015, the Orange County five-piece has delivered Paramount, a debut full-length album of grace, erudition, and effortless virtuosity that guarantees Fury’s induction into the tiny fraternity of epochal hardcore bands — e.g., Embrace, Unbroken, Mental — in whose sonic singularity and aesthetic intelligence the best minds of successive generations have seen themselves reflected. Paramount is impossible to characterize in the usual terms of A-meets-B direct influence: maybe you hear Burn, maybe you hear Outburst or Beyond or Supertouch, but no combination of such references conveys the subtlety of the songwriting, the precision of the musicianship, or the ferocity of Jeremy Stith’s vocal performance, by way of which one encounters the best written and most cleverly phrased hardcore lyrics in recent memory. Paramount is, as they say in the groves of academe, sui generis. And yet to apprehend the lyric sheet’s overt intertextuality (no less than Shakespeare, Don Delillo and Praise’s Andy Norton, among others, are given co-writing credit), to hear the multiplicity of guest vocalists, to spend the 12 minutes required to read the voluminous thanks list — all this is to know, as the band itself surely does, that Paramount belongs no more to the individuals who recorded it than to the entire roiling, loving, terrifying, inspiring, hateful, romantic, literate, ignorant, fantastically dynamic culture that gave rise to it.
When a band forms, as Red Death did in late 2013, primarily out of reverence for Corrosion of Conformity — and especially when half the members hail from North Carolina — their second LP is bound to have a lot riding on it. Yet to say that Red Death have risen to the occasion is to say not nearly enough for Formi-dable Darkness, their new eight-song masterwork. It isn’t just their Animosity; it’s the best record to emerge from the hardcore scene’s hallowed metal/crossover wing since Iron Age’s The Sleeping Eye rewrote our DNA in 2009.
Everything that made 2015’s Permanent Exile LP and 2016’s Deterrence EP modern classics has been amplified on the new album: the solos soar higher, the riffs penetrate deeper, the rhythm section pounds harder and with more precision, and the vocals are more unhinged. And it didn’t hurt that Arthur Rizk, by general consensus the best young producer in the game today, oversaw the recording.
From their first practice in D.C. some four years ago, Red Death have been heirs to the proudest of traditions in the heavy-music underground, and with Formidable Darkness they’ve fulfilled their immense promise — just in time for the world’s ignominious end. As it was written, so it shall be.
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123