Review Summary: Hardcore bros playing alt-rock (no this ain't Turnstile!!!)Life Under the Gun
showcases the momentum the hardcore has seen in the past couple of years. Turnstile are now known (and liked!) by my friends who usually only jam French rap, Knocked Loose played at Coachella, and MSPAINT are steadily gaining (well-deserved) traction. LA band Military Gun lies in that direct lineage: they are signed on south-of-mainstream label Loma Vista (St. Vincent, Denzel Curry), while frontman Ian Shelton appeared on banger "Delete It" from the aforementioned MSPAINT and is also the boi behind the powerviolence one-mand band Regional Justice Center.
Despite these origins, Militarie Gun mostly plays a power pop-influenced alternative rock with a dude that prefers to shout rather than sing (maybe he can't sing at all? We won't be slanderous and assume the sympathetic lad can indeed sing). With this concoction in mind, Militarie Gun are exquisitely evident about their influences - the vocal delivery on "Never ***ed Up Once" sounds straight-up like Cap'n Jazz's "Oh Messy Life", the 90s pop punk comparison shines hard on some of those riffs ("Very High"), and the closer features a very R.E.M.-like jangle.
These forays into other genres typically explain why the recent hardcore scene's popularity popped out: its main entities worked on refining rough-around-the-edge songwriting and fusing different influences within hardcore frameworks. Whether that comes in the form of drem punk
, punishing synth punk with no guitar, or hardcore-influenced 90s alt-rock, all these bands work together in establishing a scene that is not solely confined to the (very cool but very smelly) underground purviews. Hardcore is not only fast riffs and breakdowns and spin kicks in yo head
anymore. If that's the only thing you look for in hardcore, there are still bands that play by that recipe (jam the new Incendiary), but it's been a long time (…the 90s???) since the scene produced that many bands that can pretend to enjoy broader acclaim. Life Under the Gun
take that whole approach to the moon with immediately-catchy songs that still proudly carry their punk edge - opener "Do It Faster" would have been one hell of a '97 single with its raspy vocals, slacker lyrics, and start-and-stop riff. Even more so, the few tracks that solely focus on delivering your typical hardcore riffs fail to bring anything to the table ("Think Less"), mainly because they do not even try to propose anything different.
If there's one more jab to throw at the record's neck, it is its relatively weak second half: twenty-seven minutes is quite short, and the last couple of songs still feel undercooked compared to the slab of punk bangers offered by the first half. Despite this, the songs that bang
do because they carry powerful punk riffs and relatable, Linkin Park-worship lyrics to yell ("Turn out the light, I think I've lost my mind"
. Is Life Under the Gun
the record hardcore bros will swoon over? More than likely not, as its tendency to only root itself in hardcore without fully diving into the genre's brutality will provoke scornful reactions from the most gatekeepers of us nerds. Do Militarie Gun care? They willn't after gaining new fans aplenty during this European Summer Festival Season.