Review Summary: "Possessed and corrupted/To find peace I must be destroyed"
The loyalty for Mark McCoy’s Youth Attack label will never cease to amaze me; watching the fanfare surrounding the release of their latest batch of oddities last week was awe-inspiring to say the least. Over the years, Youth Attack’s novel aesthetic – cultivated by McCoy and his Boston University issued Fine Arts degree- has made it an extremely popular boutique label in extreme music. Every record, from 2 song EPs to 12 track full-lengths are treated with the same attention to detail, gifted with exquisite artwork and packaging that makes them the crowning jewel of any fan’s collection. However, despite the immense care that goes into their visuals, the overriding factor in Youth Attack’s success has always been its meticulous curation of quality hardcore and black metal.
Each of the 5 albums that dropped in that last grouping is of the high caliber that’s come to be expected from the label. Veterans Grinning Death’s Head’s blackened punk contortions and VEIL II’s thrashcore pummeling continue to enrich their legacies while two of the newer acts, The Consequence and Mangled State took the first steps towards establishing theirs. Each of these projects is deserving of a purchase, but if you were down to your last dollar, my recommendation for record to pick up from this collection is Goodbye World’s debut At Death’s Door
, the easy standout in this bunch.
The band’s ancestry is too impressive to be ignored. Featuring members of punk legends MK-ULTRA and Charles Bronson to more recent hardcore luminaries City Hunter and The Repos, Goodbye World would probably hesitate to call themselves a supergroup, but their pedigree speaks for itself. Their music is a mélange of classic and current powerviolence sounds; first track “Blood and Bone” opens with guitarists Mark McCoy and Jeff Jelen shredding their strings into oblivion, obliterating three note riffs while Aaron Aspinwell ruminates on the on the fragility of existence. Throughout At Death’s Door
he frequently harps on the morbid, but it’s always with a wink and smile; “Laugh Out Loud” naughtily explains why some questions are sometimes better left unsaid, while “At The Graveyard” humorously expounds on that thought, Aspin asking, “I got so fuck
ing mixed up/ Unearthed something I shouldn't have/ Wanna see it?”.
On the whole, Goodbye World adheres to the archetypal Youth Attack sound. With most of its members coming from a myriad of other projects hosted by the label – Cadaver Dog, Civilized, Vile Gash among others – there is a very specific sonic tumult associated with these acts that the band seamlessly falls into. That being said, the band -and the album as whole by extension - is not without its quirks. Again, attention has to be drawn to Aspinwell’s rabid delivery, each lyric bursting from behind his teeth like he’s foaming at the mouth. In a scene where almost every frontman blends together, his distinct roar adds an extra layer of definition to Goodbye World. Will Killingworth’s stellar production can’t be overlooked either; the quasi-clean meets quasi-grit of the guitars only perpetuates the album’s chaotic leanings, and when Jelen decides to kick his axe into overdrive for a solo, his squealing tone cuts through the mix conjuring ear-piercing pleasure.
For a band whose name references a farewell, Goodbye World’s debut is certainly one heck of a hello. Despite their penchant for eccentricity, At Death’s Door
probably won’t appeal to anyone with a distaste for Youth Attack’s easily recognizable sound. That’s okay though, you won’t find this band vying for anyone’s approval; to quote Aspinwell one more time, “the men who beg get nothing.”