Baptists-Bushcraft (Southern Lord)
Out on 18th February 2013 (UK)
Vancouver’s Baptists provide listeners with a free ear cleaning with each listening. No longer will your ear drums be in the way between the outside world and your brain. Chris Hearn reviews ‘Bushcraft’.
Wow. BOOM, a kick to the teeth with no remorse is what Baptists deliver, that’s for sure.
What is it with Vancouver and Victoria? That area of Canada has a ton of these heavy, crazy, hardcore garage rock punk bands right now, like Ahna, Barn Burner, Bison BC and Six Brew Bantha. So angsty! So heavy! So good! It must be the high cost of living there that gets these guys riled up. Or it could be the long rainy winters. Regardless, it’s the hotspot for this stuff. There must be stacks of blown amps and destroyed guitars littering the back alleys of West Coast night club areas, exhausted from the heavy wear and tear Vancouver/Victoria bands are dishing out!
‘Bushcraft’ is a speedy, dirty, heavy, downtuned, feedback drenched charmer that just rips. Love it, love it, love it! Here are eleven relentless songs clocking in at roughly a half hour of an ear destroying hour and then says in a gentle scream, “Please, sir, play me again!” And you do. Why? Because you just can’t help it. It’s as infectious as an eel. Don’t even ask me what that means because I have no clue. It may cause you great pain and result in blood pouring out of your ears, but you really cannot stop!
Baptists signed on with Southern Lord a while back which seems like a good fit given their roster of bands that sound quite similar. This is their first full-length after an apparently very successful 7 inch release. Converge’s Kurt Ballou got on board to produce this album and what a class job he did, bringing out the true sweaty, heavy energy of this band! And it was recorded in Salem, Massachusetts, which adds a bit of honourary witchiness to it, and a symbolic wickedness that matches the intensity of the music.
They remind me of bands like ZEKE and High On Fire in their rough rawness, but like Ballou’s Converge in their speed and in your face abrasiveness. And, in my opinion, they are just as good as all of those bands. With song names like ‘Bullets’, ’Mortar Head’, ‘Soiled Roots’, you pretty much know what you are getting. Sometimes you really can judge a book by the cover.
When asked by Facebook about the “Band’s Interests”, they answered “living life… skateboarding… tunes… relaxing… whatever.” Sounds pretty laid back for a band that destroys ear drums quite as much as they do. But it also sounds like the West Coast way, eh. I notice they didn’t mention survival skills, starting fires with rocks, building lean-tos and such. What kind of Bushcraft is this??
All in all, this is a good, good release that deserves to be listened to by any and all who are interested in heavy, fast, sweaty, angsty, well executed madness. They are good representatives of the Canadian metal and hardcore scene and just how brutal it can be. And, rest assured, these are Baptists that are actually worth listening to, if you get my drift.
Words by Chris Hearn. More writing by Chris on Louder Than War can be found here.