Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Split 7" EP

Self-Released (Deathwish Direct / The Armageddon Label)

About two weeks ago I needed to add a jolt to my Friday night so I could stay up past 10pm and play video games. The six minute round-trip drive to the convenience store needed the perfect soundtrack and my choice was equal parts nostalgic, moody, and cathartic: DROPDEAD's 1993 self-titled album. As soon as I heard those buzz saw guitars and that pitch-perfect screech, I knew I'd made the right choice, but I couldn't help but to wonder what DROPDEAD had been up to lately. Cut to a crowded record store the following weekend, my fingers rifling through the New 7" bin, I spot something that almost seems like a dream concocted by a 16-year-old me using some kid of primitive Photoshop. The Converge/DROPDEAD split 7", a sure-to-be earsplitting oasis in a desert of half-hearted one-offs and Johnny-come-lately's. Two of my absolute favorite bands since I first got into hardcore, celebrating their shared 20 year history in music. I doubt the 7" would have been $7.99 in '92, but let's leave that discussion for another day. I've considered Converge the best modern hardcore band since the days when Petitioning the Empty Sky would lay on the floor mat of my friend's car as we left school for a quick record store trip before band practice. "Runaway" won't surprise anyone who's kept up all these years. It's a frantic yet meticulous pummeling where Jacob Bannon's voice (something like a possessed jaguar gargling lava) and Kurt Ballou's guitar work remain their unassailable best. DROPDEAD's cut, "Paths of Glory", was at first somewhat underwhelming, but after repeat listens I've realized it's just that a minute and thirty-nine seconds felt like a tease - they haven't lost a step. I've spent half my life happily toiling in the lovably cantankerous world of punk and hardcore, and to see something like this come along is almost indescribable. I may no longer leave shows with a messenger bag full of merch, but this record should put a genuine smile on the face of anyone who's ever cared about "the scene".

-Brian Muirhead

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