This one is tough. I've slammed THISCLOSE in print before today, and I have probably publicly stated that I don't like the band on more than a dozen occasions. I'm not really sure why, but perhaps it's the premise of the band that dislike more than the band itself....even though I can't really find a way to justify that statement. There's no reason to slag a band off for trying to emulate a formula (especially when they are successful), that's essentially the premise for modern DIY hardcore/punk - if you want originality then you're gonna need to look to the noise world I'm afraid, because the UNA BESTIAs only roll through once a decade or so (and most punks can't actually handle reggaetón beats in their hardcore). So why the fukk should I hate on THISCLOSE? Because I feel like it's a pisstake, even though it's awesome. It's like they set out to regurgitate the shitty era of a good band and convince a new generation that it's good. And they succeeded, because THISCLOSE is good, but I still can't back their sonic existence because I feel like that means I am admitting that their joke worked. Somewhere I have a piece of physical correspondence from one of the members, received after I slagged a record in MRR, asking me to look further into the mission of THISCLOSE, and wondering why I heaped praise on xSAXONx (who share member/s with THISCLOSE) and had dissed their record. The answer was simple...in my mind at least...why should a band be celebrated for brilliantly recreating the forgettable and justifiably dismissed era of a legendary band just because no other bands had been dumb enough to emulate it before them? OK, that's not a simple answer, it's kinda confusing actually, but fukk man, Grave New World is a turd. It just is. And Massacre Divine ain't much better, so why why why why why? But...what if THISCLOSE is just showing us what could have been if DISCHARGE hadn't fukkd up as bad as they did? What what if they are just showing us how incredibly bad ass a metallic DBeat record can be with weird falsetto vokills throughout? And what if I only dismissed the band because I didn't fully grasp their vision?? These are the things I wrestle with mentally...and it's hard. So listen to "Sexcel" at full volume at those chunky high end guitars and...I don't know, maybe I'm just wrong across the board. But surely I'm conflicted.
Asheville, North Carolina, 2006:
I was on tour with SUNDAY MORNING EINSTEINS and we played that killer record store there that did the shows in the '00s. I found a copy of Grave New World for $5 and I bought it...my first DISCHARGE record (yes, that one - and yes, 2006). EINSTEINS guitarist Peter was the most devout DISCHARGE apologist I had ever met (or perhaps a close second to Markku), and I challenged him to convince me that the record was good. We bought a 12-pack and when we got to Jeremy's house after the show we retreated to a vacant room to do our research. After a few beers and the first side of the record, Peter gave up and asked to leave the room...or at least to stop listening to the record. Because it's bad. Like, objectively it is just not good music. Cool logo, several ripping releases in the early '80s and that drum beat surely kills....but that record sucks. And maybe that's my point with all of this...is it an art project? Because why else would you want to make a shitty thing into a killer thing? If you're good enough to do that, then clearly you can make your own killer thing from scratch, right? And after all of this....I'm still listening to the 2012 THISCLOSE demo thinking "wow...this is pretty bad ass," so what the fukk do I know?