My discovery of Loma Prieta came about because of some label digging. If there’s a particular band I like but don’t know much about, it’s a good idea to look at their label to find similar groups. As I did with Com Truise (who releases on Ghostly), after my obsession with Converge began a while back, I went traipsing about Deathwish.
Loma Prieta (so named after the 1989 earthquake on the Loma Prieta faultline) appeared to have a new album out, and I’d seen the group’s name before on various mixes and “recommended if you like” type lists.
And after the onslaught that is “Fly By Night,” the first single from their latest album, I was done. Kaput, capiche?
I.V. is the aptly named fourth release from the Bay Area “emoviolence” (ew) outfit. Many of the tags on their Last.fm page make me uncomfortable: ‘real screamo’ (yuck), ‘skram’ (it’s not), ‘mathcore’ (this is getting silly), even ‘cybergrind’ (okay, it’s gotta stop).
Lead vocalist and guitarist Sean Leary’s vocal chords must be just… shot after a show. I saw them (the band, not his vocal chords) earlier this year here in Tampa, and they slayed in front of like 28 people. I’m old and it was one of the loudest shows I’ve been to in some time, a veritable lesson in shearing madness.
I.V. is home to ample feedback and dissonance, war-torn drums and some of the most abrasive riffs you will find in this powerviolence genre. Of course, their labelmates are hardcore punk icons Converge, so there’s some precedent, but I’ll be damned if there’s a sludgier band out there right now.
It all comes to a head on the sixth track, “Trilogy 6 ‘Forgetting,’” the finale of a trio of songs that act as a trilogy. The final 60 seconds that close out this song is the most overdriven, loudest, rawest minute I’ve ever heard from a hardcore punk album, and that’s not an exaggeration. It’s driven at peak volume to the point that the next song, “Untitled,” has to be a palate cleansing 43 seconds of simple refrain. Perfection.
Lyrically, it’s pretty bleak: themes of hopelessness, solitude and regret. But it’s not like you can hear what dude is saying anyway, so what difference does it make? You aren’t really here for lyrics, are you?
Even though it’s a full 12 tracks, I.V. clocks in at a tidy 24 minutes. But those 24 minutes are highly concentrated, and some of the heaviest, most unrelenting of any album of 2012. Highly recommended.
From I.V., this is “Fly By Night” –
Standout tracks: “Torn Portrait,” “Trilogy 4 ‘Momentary’,” and “Uselessness”
Weakest track: Not the biggest “Diamond Tooth” fan.
RIYL: Sludge. Chaos. Noise. Hardcore punk, powerviolence. Comade, Raein.