No Cure For Death by SECTRelease date: November 24, 2017
Label: Southern Lord Recordings
It only took one look at the roster of musicians in SECT for me to understand a) what I was dealing with and b) that I was going to love this record. Hardcore scene godfather Chris Colohan (ex Cursed, Burning Love) doing vocals again? Sold. Supported by former members of Earth Crisis and Racetraitor? Double sold. The phrase ‘supergroup’ feels weird when applied to a hardcore band, but this is pretty much the archetype if we can get comfortable with the term in this context. It’s a brutal ride too; SECT are angry, and are very happy to let that anger flow across 17 fleeting but blistering minutes.
No Cure For Death opens with the raw wound that is ‘Open Grave’; Kurt Ballou smashes the production ball out of the park; the guitar thick and driving a solid HM2 tone, and the drums dominating perfectly, with Colohans’ vocal nestled and slightly distorted in wonderfully raw way. The sound is pure Nails and All Pigs Must Die; pace and unrepressed violence. The lyrical subject matter is pretty heavy as well; apathy in the face of an overwhelmingly negative world position; the passion and outright anger boiling over on Colohans’ gruff screams. It’s a short, sharp shock at just over a minute and a half of bleak, focused rage, and then we’re right into ‘Day for Night’, a mid-paced pounding d-beat rager that ends in a hail of feedback. “Come down off the cross!” Colohan yells over the blastbeat introduction to ‘Crocodile Prayers’, probably one of the best songs on the album, with a mosh friendly chorus and an Entombed style riff to close out. ‘Reality’s Wake’ keeps the foot off the gas for the bulk of its run time and wallows in sludge-y riffs that plod along in a mid-pace stomp, before ‘Stripes’ turns that on its head with storming blast beats.
There are so many awesome moments on this record – ‘Born Razed’ crams more intensity into its 45 second run time than should be feasibly possible; ‘Transaction’ echoes Converge covering Entombed with its buzzsaw guitars, the unhinged vocal performance on ‘Liberal Arts’ and ‘Avoidance Ritual’ is a punishing album closer, with its opening refrain “I’ll be your Judas, lined up on the wall / I’ll be your wingman, taking the fall” underlying the bleak tone of the song. It’s a great closer, the pace dropping almost to a crawl, accentuating the desolate lyrical content perfectly. Lyrically the album is bleak and intelligent, and remarkably reflective of the world today; it is angry music, for an angry time, made by angry people – but it doesn’t feel like pointless bluster, more an urgent plea for awareness and a potent call to arms – exactly what hardcore has always been to me. Musically the rhythm section is tight and thunderous, the low end distorted but massive. The guitars are serrated to the point of tearing strips off the listener – as noted above Kurt Ballou has outdone himself in shaping the sound – it’s aggressive, to the point and sounds angry, and therefore fits the songs perfectly.
This is an absolute beast of an album. It is a punishing, breathless 17 minute rager that doesn’t give the listener time to pause. There is absolutely no fat on the bone here; the band have pared these songs back to a lean, powerful set that goes for the jugular and doesn’t let go until the screaming stops and the feedback fades. This is the sound of unfettered anger, distilled through guitar, bass, drums and ragged throat. It’s a late entry, but this is almost certain to be in my top ten for the year, if only for the sheer exhilarating, breathless adrenaline rush of it all. I really need to see these guys live. Can someone make that happen please?