We already knew that most productions affiliated with the name of Kurt Ballou are crafted for excellence. But still, see Converge guitarist retain as much regularity and quality trademark is impressive. Among recent groups who recorded at GodCity Studio, there is Baptists. Straight from Vancouver, the Canadians had already released a 7” self-title demo in 2011, not gone unnoticed in the underground scene. Distributed by the excellent Southern Lord label (Black Breath, Pelican, The Secret,…) the EP immediately sold out and after a year of touring, the band took time to write new material for Bushcraft, their highly anticipated debut release.
Obviously more mature, the group has decided to increase the intensity on this record. When the first notes of the gloomy opening track ‘Betterment’i can be heard, the slap in the face is instantaneous. The experience is going to gain urgency and brutality on the next tracks. ‘Think Thank Breed’ is a 1min23 explosion, which you’d think the riff comes out of a Napalm Death album. Like the man on the front cover, Baptists delivers huge axe shots. ‘Bullets’ follow on the same energy and show the extent of work done on drum parts. You can think Converge, Rise and Fall, or Trap Them but the band emancipates itself from all its predecessors. Songs like ‘Still Melt’ or ‘Mortar Head’ are extremely pissed-off and could make you bang your head anytime.
Do not turn over around the bush because Bushcraft is a hard and brutal mastered record. Not only because each instrument is at a rare level, but also because the group seems to have digested influences ranging from dirty punk hardcore to D-beat crust through sludge passages. Baptists delivers relentless music whose identity is their own. The compliments will also inevitably go to Kurt Ballou’s production, which highlights each part of the album. The drums are uncompromising and insane, riffs are chaotic, vicious and heavy, not to mention Andrew Drury throat-ripping vocals, full of ferocity and varied enough to make the record fully enjoyable.
For a total duration not exceeding the half-hour, the eleven blasts of Bushcraft are a delight for darkened hardcore and metal lovers in general. There is no question anymore about the band’s potential and character. Baptists are the living proof that Southern Lord has the gift to add amazing bands to its roaster and honestly, it had been a long time since we had not heard such a good debut release.
Track list - Bushcraft:
Written by Alex Tabankia