Review Summary: Slip is an incredible record of poignant, bludgeoning music and most importantly is influential record in post-hardcore or 90's rock in general. If you’re a fan of destructive and original music then you must buy Slip.
Back in the 80's ideological skirmishes between hardcore and metal factions were not uncommon. Each side regarded the other as freakish and musically bogus, but there were some enlightened souls who recognized the commonalities both marginalized mediums shared. Quicksand's composition is made up of those same enlightened individuals. Quicksand took the bone crushing over powering riffs of metal and the uncompromising pace of hardcore and fused it into one distinct sound. Bands like those served as the antecedents to the blistering and propulsive rhythms of modern day hardcore, including bands like Quicksand. All of the members of Quicksand are former members of New York's biggest hardcore bands (Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, and Bold). Back in 1993, not many people knew about Quicksand (they still don't) even though the video for Dine Alone
had heavy rotation on the metal segments of MTV. But in hindsight, Slip is one of the most influential albums in post-hardcore and rock music in general and one of the best of the 90's. Quicksand doesn't rely on epics to make the music good. If they have something to say they say it and shut up. Quicksand receives legitimate comparisons to Helmet probably because of their love for abrasion and a wall of sound and to Fugazi because of its rhythmic vocal style. But Quicksand's sound stands out as a fresh one.
Quicksand's transition from hardcore to what they are now hasn't lost the over-the-top ferocity of their old bands. Instead, Quicksand took that ferocity and added a much slower tempo, creating a murky, grating sound that fuses guitar with a grinding beat. The brooding guitar sound is refracted through feedback, ear-ringing feedback and heavy harmonics. Locomotive drums drive the fist-pounding energy with a distinct rat-a-tat-tat, building a rhythmic foundation for other instruments to stomp upon. But all of the instruments feed off each other and are integrated seamlessly together as every instrument has a chance to shine. When the guitars aren't chugging along, the rhythm section consisting of Sergio Vega and Alan Cage will be keeping things interesting during the quiet moments. Sergio’s basslines are impressive and powerful and Alan’s tapping of the top hats keep things going. The vocals of Walter Schreifels (who happens to be the main musical force) are a lot like those of Fugazi. Not tone wise, but rhythmically as Walter spits out lines with a rhythm to them on songs like Omission
and Too Official
. Walter's voice doesn't have a lot of melody to it, which is completely fine. Because, Quicksand doesn't focus too much on the melody but it's all about the noise or the wall of noise in this case. The band tries to convey a brooding sensation through their instruments and it works perfectly. Meanwhile, Walter's voice fits seamlessly into the dense wall of sound with a more than satisfactory amount of power. While a lot of his peers had to rely on screaming to make up for weak voice, Walter doesn't have to do this as he sings evocatively and cathartically at the same time.
From the strong pound of Fazer
to the guitar harmonics of Transparent
, Slip is surprisingly consistent and every song stands well on its own. Not even one track should be skipped here as Slip is a bludgeoning and murky offer that won't disappoint fans of either marginalized mediums of hardcore or metal. Quicksand's unique hybrid of punk and metal is refreshing and original enough to convince those who aren't convinced with the sheer legacy the band has produced. Walter also manages to tackles subjects ranging from narcissism to isolationism to poking fun at translucent people and standing as one individual.
Can Opener is a demonic song that features really cynical lyrics. Throughout the song a bell can be heard which adds to the dark feeling of the song and makes it feel very cryptic. Walter pokes fun at those who try to look good for others in an attempt of acceptance. A stain you can’t remove, a stain that keeps you from that place, where you’d probably have much left to prove
Schreifels sings evocatively until he starts to get going Come down, don’t fall, over your ego, don’t mind your friends, they just want to go where the fun goes down
at this point the song gets going. Throughout, just when you think the song's about to get going, it calms down which makes the vocal delivery even more damaging to compliment the cynical lyrics. This song is definitely underrated. Baphomet is a instrumental and an instrumental showcase at that. This song sums up everything about Quicksand's sound as it involves everything element of the group's sound. Dominating basslines, impressive drums and bludgeoning and bone crushing riffs and a whole lot a feedback are all elements of Quicksand’s sound. Fazer is another highlight as its undoubtedly one of Quicksand's most catchy songs. This song really epitomizes the idea of a band as every band member has a chance to show what he can do. Everything is just dead on as Schreifels' vocal delivery is varied, cathartic and emotionally driven, Sergio's bassline is evident and sounds almost elastic in the solo. The guitars deliver the goods and deliver some pretty mean riffs and the drums are a pummeling machine throughout.
Quicksand's punkier side is at its best on Lie and wait. It doesn't let up for a second. This is the fastest song on Slip and the guitars really drive this song, throughout. Walter's vocal delivery is really astounding as he just spews out lyrics with a considerable amount of precision and venom. Sunday feeling, under weight of what’s to come. Tired of living under thumb. She wonders, why did you say what you said. Silently living is death
Walter sings with a considerable amount of urgency without giving time in between lines. In a way Lie and wait is homage to the ferocity of the band's past. Like I said, no song on here is weak or skippable which is a major reason this album is considered such a classic. If anything, Head to wall is somewhat weak but still is a great song which is driven by Sergio's heavy bassline. Otherwise, Slip is an incredible record of poignant, bludgeoning music and most importantly is influential record in post-hardcore or 90's rock in general. If you’re a fan of destructive and original music then you must buy Slip.