Pitch Black -- Half Empty
Cheetah's Records, 2002
In yesterday's review of the Worhäts / Strohsäcke split 7-incher, I mentioned that I felt the recording blunted the music's edge, taking the bite out of what seemed to be some pretty solid German hardcore. I went on to imply that, more often than not, the harder a band's music, the more difficult it is to capture their energy on vinyl. Pitch Black is a glorious exception to this rule.
Despite the errant notes and screeching amplifiers scattered about the recording, "Half Empty" is a remarkably crisp, hard-nosed horror punk disk. Kevin Cross's serrated vocals, like the best of Frank Carter's performances on Gallows' Orchestra of Wolves, practically slash through the band's impressively tight wall of sound while never quite crossing the threshold into outright screaming. He does, however, spend a good deal of time occupying the liminal space between impassioned singing and piercing cries. And it works.
Not to be outdone, Jamie Morrison (drums) and Martin Munroe (bass) deliver some of the most intense punk 'n' roll performances I've heard in quite some time and the final product is one hell of a record. Punk to a fucking T, even: fast, loud, angry and oh so replayable.
Oh, and lest I forget, the cover art is beautiful. That is, if a trio of terrified-looking mod corpses could be described in such terms.
Sobriquet Grade: 82 (B-).