Occasionally, I hear an album that blows my face off the instant it hits my ear holes. A band I’d either never heard of, or only heard of in passing, releases an album that is completely fresh, of the time, and brimming with energy. I think of the first few albums from The Bronx, The Bronx l and The Bronx ll, the first Big Business album, Head For The Shallow, Power Trip’s Manifest Decimation are a few examples, and more recently, Oakland’s Glowing Brain and their debut Brain Dust that I reviewed last year had just that effect.
Well, San Diego’s Negative Blast, featuring members of Lewd Acts and Hour Of The Wolf, as well as San Diego’s favorite pro skater turned punk rock/stoner rock drummer extraordinaire Mario Rubalcaba, he of Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes, OFF! and of course Earthless fame, have just released such a record in their ripping, crushing, debut Echo Planet. The first single Trauma Bond laid waste to my ears the second I heard it. A raging, d-beat, hardcore punk and roll monster that completely floored me with its unstoppable energy, and aggression. I was instantly a fan, gobbled up the small amount of music the band had on Bandcamp, and waited patiently for Echo Planet to drop, hoping my initial impressions of Negative Blast were accurate.
Well, I’m here to report that, yes, Echo Planet is as good as I’d hoped. It’s a non-stop hardcore & roll burner from the first second of opener Boy Blues, a mid-tempo, stomping monster, to closer Egghead, that’s a chugging, angry, rock and roll rager with nods to ‘60s garage rock. Echo Planet is overflowing with rock and roll energy, hardcore aggression, and pissed-off vibes throughout its eight songs.
Witness Carbon Copy, a seething, rock and roll, hardcore face-ripper, sounding like The Bronx if they were way angrier. Vocalist Raineir Pesebre (who also performed the drums on Echo Planet prior to Rubalcaba’s arrival) steals the show from the jump, sounding in spots like The Bronx’s Matt Caughthran, but WAY angrier, and more aggressive with just a tad of distortion on his vocals for extra menace. Guitarist Alex Jacobelli also of Lewd Acts offers up some wicked sounding punk and roll riffage, and bassist Pat Callaway’s rumble holds the low end down deliciously.
But Carbon Copy is just an appetizer in the one-two punch department as it’s followed by Bad Trip that sees Negative Blast up the ante with its furious d-beat bounce, and Pesebre’s blazing pissed-off, hardcore vocals conjure up all sorts of anger, desperation, and attitude. Bad Trip, pummels along, sounding like Negative Blast is going to go off the rails at any minute, building to Pesebre’s desperate screams of ‘I sit wide awake, no more time to sleep’ invoking real menace, and anxiety.
a clinic in high-energy, hardcore punk rage while dripping in manic, aggressive, anxiety-ridden rock and roll vibrancy…
Flamethrowers are everywhere as the title track, Echo Planet, opens with pounding drums from Pesebre, and some fuzzy, punk riffage from Jacobelli before Callaway’s bass rumble joins the fray and the three of them look into a ripping groove, building Echo Planet to all sorts of distorted hardcore and roll craziness. Pesebre sounds utterly maniac throughout the track and when the band lock in, riding the song out, my ass is completely floored.
No Trust meanwhile is a complete ripper, and, dare I say it ‘catchy’ of sorts, certainly on the scorching chorus. The penultimate track The King In Vancouver brings back The Bronx-ish vibes, meaning it’s slightly more ‘melodic’, if that’s possible in a band this aggressive, but Jacobelli’s tasteful, and well placed single-note noodling, as well as Pesebre’s chorus stylings, certainly make The King In Vancouver the most ‘melodic’ song on the album. Don’t let that description cause you any worry though, as, of course, Negative Blast spend the last thirty seconds completely ripping the listeners face off with crazy hardcore and roll energy before closing the album out with the chugging rager Egghead.
I can’t say enough about Negative Blast and Echo Planet. This album has been on heavy, heavy rotation since the moment I got it. I’d describe them as almost a cross between The Bronx and a band like Cursed or Trap Them, but make no mistake, Negative Blast are their own band with Echo Planet sounding like a completely original record very much of its own time. It’s a clinic in high-energy, hardcore punk rage while dripping in manic, aggressive, anxiety-ridden rock and roll vibrancy.
Negative Blast deftly meld the two styles to lethal effect. Every member is completely scorching, but Pesebre’s vocals are the perfect blend of distorted, raging, hardcore rock and roll attitude, to say nothing of his drum performance (again, Rublacaba came on after the album was recorded) are highlights.
If you’re in the mood for some ripping, rock and roll infused hardcore, then this album is for you. It’s blazing from start to finish, and I’m here to champion it. It’s early, but I’m sure Echo Planet will wind up on my year end-best of list. A total scorcher.
Scribed by: Martin Williams