Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Revenge of the Quick Ripple Bursts: Featuring Phobic Instinct, Black 4, Smash Fashion, and Birch Hill Dam

Phobic Instinct - A Second of Thought

After Exhumer came Phobic Instinct and not a growl, snarl or bite of attitude was lost.  Returning from New York, Exhumer screamer Mem V Stein launched a perfect mid-80's thrash crossover assault with Phobic Instinct, with razor wire riffing and venomous attack of snarled vocals.  I was hooked immediately and couldn't help but think of my Ripple partner's old band Blind Justice as both bands shared that love of hardcore punk/metal urgency.  Each song terrorizes, but highlights like "Cop State," Justified Murder" and "Teenage Pregnancy" give you a good idea of the state of mind of Mem and his crew.  Included are demos of Tartaros from 1984 and Mayhem from 1985 as bonuses to the main meal, the long unreleased player by Phobic Instinct.  If crossover thrash in the Excel vein is your mantra, you gotta check this out.

Black 4 - The Tales of the Cuatro Negro . . . 

Pure gun metal, tail pipe smoke rock and roll.  Gruff and mean as a junkyard dog, rabid with rabies and distemper.  Black 4 play a post-clutch road of riffing guitars and axle grease.  Toss in a host of punk snarling sputum and a tip of the hat to Sabbath and you've got some punkified monster riffing here of hi caliber.   Worth checking out.

Smash Fashion - Big Cat Love

Smash Fashion have one question they want to ask you?  What did you ever do with your plaform shoes, blow dryer and T Rex records?  In case you don't know, I have the answer.  It's all right here in Smash Fashion's third longplayer Big Cat Love. With a huge nod towards Marc Bolan, a love of KISS, Sweet, and 70's glam and a huge box full of melodies and catchy hooks, Smash Fashion are determined to bring back the days of radio friendly, slightly dirty glam pop.  And they succeed in spades. Songs like Marionette, Wicked Ways and Strike My Fancy (Knickers Down) are simply one sweet confection of delicious glammy hooks and attitude.   You better check the back of your closet again, because those platforms are in there somewhere, and you're gonna need them.

Birch Hill Dam - Reservoir

I'm quite familiar with Birch Hill Dam's gut punch of brutal heavy rock, but Reservoir surprised me.  Granted it's been a while since I'd heard the crew create their particular mayhem and destruction, but Reservoir found the band stretching out and maturing into serious songwriters.  Now don't worry, they haven't lost any of their brutality, stoner metal riffing with a spice of southern sludge, just refined it and focused things a bit. "Wasted Times" kicks off with a gut-wrenching vocal hook that simply grabbed me by the ears and held me captive throughout the 6 new songs and the two live cuts that make up this release.   And when that guitar kicked in, oh my.  This is one damn fine effort.


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