In the sub-genre of “darkened hardcore” it takes a lot to stand out from a crowd. With bands like Trap Them, Cursed, Black Breath and Sect to name a few who have paved the way, there is a danger of new bands coming in being carbon copies. However, if you take sprinklings of all those aforementioned bands and put your own spin on it, then the results will be one hell of a punch to the gut, and that is exactly what San Diego’s Pissed Regardless have achieved with their debut full-length Imperial Cult.
It would be easy to use clichés such as “crushing riffs” and “ripping vocals” when talking about this album, but what Pissed Regardless have produced is more quite simply more intelligent than that. The quintet bring a fresh approach to what is a tried and tested formula. Obviously there are similarities to bands that have come before them, vocally there are times when Matt Gerken sounds very similar to Sect’s Chris Colohan – in particular in the opening lines of ‘Halls of Hate’ – but this is by no means a slight on the band, it simply proves they are students of their genre.
‘Bleeder’ is a real stand out, with guitarists Chris Kitchen and Sean Walker really letting their metallic influence shine through. In the chorus, their riffs and the vocal pattern used produces an almost dance-like beat, but still remains aggressive as fuck. When the band lean more into their metallic tendencies, their music really shines. In ‘Behold a Pale Horse’ the opening riff really pulls on the nostalgia of listening to early 2000s metallic hardcore, here brought forward and re-imagined for 2019.
The record closes with the drawn-out epic ‘Hell’s Comin With Me’, which is a brief respite from the onslaught that proceeds it. Building with a slow atmospheric undertone, when the song straightens out Gerken is relentless, not in brutality but in the way he is constantly delivering his lyrics; it’s an impressive thing to hear him following the relentless rhythm supporting him as he screams the words, “Fuck our modern world”.
Pissed Regardless may not be reinventing the wheel with Imperial Cult but what they are doing is putting a super-charged new engine in the vehicle and running at full throttle to great effect.
Imperial Cult is out 18th October and can be purchased here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck