From the wilds of southern Missouri comes the latest addition to the roster of On the Attack Records (Thumper Punk Records hardcore imprint). This independently released ep serves as a fine introduction to the band.
The ep opens up with a snippet from Lowell Blanchard and the Valley Trio’s song “Jesus Hits Like an Atomic Bomb” and then the song does pretty much to proceed with that sort of impact through the rest of “Cry Havoc”. This is a very raw and rough album, which often reminded me of bands like Norma Jean and The Chariot. Vocals are distorted throughout the album and screamed loudly. Unfortunately, the vocals seem to be overly dominant in the mix which takes away from the strength in the songs. Guitars are buzzsaws or relentlessly chugging throughout. The vocals could be a hit or miss with listeners. Overall there is not much variety to them, so by the end of the ep, there is the potential for listeners to grow tired of the distorted screaming. Those who like the genre, however, will likely not even understand where the last comment comes from as these vocals are fairly normal for the style.
I really like the rawness in “Let Slip”. The line “O Death where is thy victory, O Death where is thy sting?” that starts out spoken and builds into screaming and then abruptly comes to a stop with the rest of the song only for the song to start again with “Let love set you free” serves as a great section especially with all the starts and stops in the song.
In general, much of the ep sounds as if the band just plugged in and “went for it”. In this case, that serves them well. They manage to pull it off and the songs and style are conducive to that approach. “The Beauty of the Final Bow: Exit Stage Right” is one of the more ambitious tracks on the ep. The song starts out with some relatively quiet guitar strumming providing a musical background for part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Mountain top” speech. The rest of the band then joins in and while still having that raw feel to it, the song in general seems “cleaner” than the others on the ep, which does take a bit away from the overall impact. The song seems to get more raw as it progresses, which is interesting and the slower, chugging part toward the end of the song comes to an abrupt finish that is simply awesome and the perfect end for the ep.
Written by John Jackson
1. Cry Havoc
2. Let Slip
3. The Dogs
4. Of War
5. Viva La Vie, Viva Le Roi
6. The Beauty of the Final Bow: Exit Stage Right
Austin Williams- Guitar
Steven Hackworth- Vocals
Jon Waggoner- Drums
James Davis- Bass
Record Label: Independent, 2013 (now on On the Attack Records)