Let me first express my gratitude to Young And In The Way (who, for the rest of the review, will have their name shortened to "YAITW") for representing my hometown with such incredible music. I grew up from Middle School to High School in Charlotte, NC, and it's absolutely crazy to see bands like YAITW or Narratives blazing a new trail in the hardcore/metal music scene - one that has been dead for a long time in Charlotte (which was drenched in equal parts Oi! and Grindcore for the last 10 years). So, to YAITW, I thank you and Charlotte thanks you. Now, to their newest effort, this split with Withdrawal. I, honestly, had only seen Withdrawal's release on distro sites and in a few local record stores before hearing this EP, and what an insane surprise. They live up to their affiliation with Holy Terror and stride in the same path that Ringworm and Integrity took in the Mid-1990s, which is not only refreshing, but also necessary for the hardcore scene at large--the respect for roots, and the desire to reinvent and make better.
Without further ado, here's a quick track-by-track, to get you in the mood:
1) "Psycopathy" - Holy shit. This is YAITW at their fastest. From the first lines of the song, "he wakes with me," the band doesn't let up into their normal, groove-heavy breaks until two minutes and eleven seconds into the song, with a harsh vocal delivery, and the sludgy crunch of the guitars coming in to decimate the rest of the track. With this track, the opening track, they want the listener to know that there is no hope for salvation, and that the only hope is the conformation to darkness and dread. Buy your goats, sacrifice them quick; it's going to be a long ride as long as YAITW is playing.
2) "Vaticide" - Let me take a minute to help out those of you too lazy to Google search what "vaticide" means: "the act of killing a prophet, or prophets." Alright, now that you know what the song name means, everything changes. The song starts off with a nice, 4/4 riff in pretty standard tempo, until there's a feedback harmonic, which is the catalyst for the remainder of the song. The drums start and remain at breakneck speed until 1:36, when the dark, gloomy riff comes in--the dark riff we knew was going to come. And for the last 45 seconds of the song, YAITW plays the most spine-tingling, wall-punching riff on the split. Let me be clear: I don't room mosh, but this song makes me want to take the pillow my mom bought me for Valentine's day and beat my football trophies through the drywall. This shit is crazy.
3) "Of Soul and Sacrifice/Guardian Angel" - This is my first exposure to Withdrawal, and I have to say I am impressed. Extremely impressed. The opening to this track is everything that Ringworm did on The Promise and didn't do after Birth Is Pain--everything you cried and prayed to any/all gods about. Then, the second part of the song comes on, and it's exactly what you wanted--more Holy Terror: It's Ringworm, it's Integrity, it's The Banner; it's everything you wanted, but thought didn't exist anymore. Listen to this song while jogging, or maybe something like yoga, but never listen to this in public, because you may actually kick the shit out of someone.
4) "Human Garbage Existence Disease" - Well, you have to hand it to Withdrawal; what they lack in the subtlety of their song titles, they make up for in leaps and bounds with their ability to write a killer song (both literally and metaphorically). However, as you can clearly see from the name of this song, this track is a jam; an unrepentant, unashamed jam. Like the last track, this is beautiful, depraved, Holy Terror madness at its finest. The constant, syncopated double bass that leads up to "AS WE DROWN IN DISEASE," when the riff of God's lifetime is raining down on your skull, and then it's unholy chaos for the last minute of the track. Holy Terror madness.
Ok, so if you haven't been keeping up, here's the bottom line: BUY THIS. I don't care if you get it digitally or on vinyl, just get it. Tell your girlfriend to buy this for you for your birthday, or tell your boyfriend to buy it for you since he was an asshole and probably forgot Valentine's Day (like a lot of us did--sorry). Just get it.
Thanks again to Young And In The Way for keeping Charlotte alive, and thanks to Withdrawal for keeping (un)Holy Terror alive.
And don't forget to BUY this shit when it comes out!