Great Falls – Demo 2009

Great Falls - Demo 2009Fuelled by the demise of seminal hardcore act Playing Enemy, Demian Johnston and Shane Mehling went on to do a duo project entitled Hemingway. Recently, the they decided to change the name of that project to Great Falls and have released a cassette demo with a digital download – an incredible feat of retro cool in my book considering I was accosted at Download Festival last year by some pink haired ‘yoof’ who upon spying my festival stereo (the best part of a decade old) told me they had ‘heard of tapes, they’re well old’… then promptly asked me to ‘roll them a fag’.

Offer declined.

But I digress. The title of demo falls a little short as an accurate description, this release comprises of 8 full length tracks and clocks in over half an hour long making it longer than Reign In Blood and most punk albums and in many ways as snotty as both.

The thing that strikes you first about this album is how focused it sounds – the music digs it’s way into your brain from the first squeal of feedback reminding the listener of a more industrial, unrefined Neurosis – some the brutal passages offered forth on “Hundreds of Child Soldiers” could sit alongside the Oakland outfits classic ‘Through Silver In Blood’ such is the level of ability on display here. The music manages to draw you in and put you on edge at the same time.

The following tracks follow in a similar vein, pushing and challenging the listener – on one hand sounding like Will Haven with riffs that hit you like a sledgehammer wall of sound and then veer off wildly into unhinged discord reminiscent of The Dillenger Escape Plan’s better works.

The tracks contain an air of menace and clashing rhythms and yet at the same time remain strangely appealing, a delightfully uncomfortable listen as Demian roars and bellows like a deranged ringmaster whipping up the crowd.

This is showcased on “The Bank Agnostic” a call to arms over a soundtrack of huge jarring rhythms, like some delicious nightmare in a steel factory as the electronic elements that add light and shade to the music clank and grind like the Terminator soundtrack did to Fear Factory’s ‘Demanufacture’ although the hardcore feel nods more towards Godflesh in it’s pulsing grinding beats and snaking basslines.

“All Clean Necks” shows that when the band want to they can conjure a groove that is an absolute joy to behold, they are not afraid to break with the familiar and the ‘norm’ for them and inject a little melody and sonic levity that reminds me a little of Burst in the ability to flick between strangled screams and harsh guitars and then break out into a moment of (almost) bliss.

For a two piece with a fondness for outdated musical mediums this is a forward looking demo that suggests should they be given the time and encouragement to find their own feet they would be more than capable of spurring themselves on to greater things as it is a rare find to have a demo that manages to hit such consistent high points. Stick that in your tape deck and play it.

Label: Self Released

Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden