HOT GRAVES - Knights in White Phosphorous CD
Northern Horde Records
From a personal standpoint, calling this Gainesville, Florida band's debut full length anticipated is putting it lightly. Their EPs, which I've reviewed here this year as well, are great although one is all covers and the other only lasts a few minutes. (which is exactly what a lady friend of mine said about the hipster guy she slept with) So I have no problem ruining my reputation for objectionable standards (for all of you who just fell out of your chairs laughing I'm not waiting) by saying Knights in White Phosphorous is one of the best releases of 2011. Unlike most people who came across this band accidentally while googling for necro sites. Their releases were actually sent in to SFM666 in order for me to explain to the people that yes Punk actually did start before NIRVANA. For some people in the mainstream that's a hard pill to swallow, especially when they're used to swallowing so much more. Others, like on the NWoSHM sites aka: New Wave of Shitty Hipster Music, consider it equal to being a holocaust denier. So be it because Knights in White Phosphorous sounds like 80's Hardcore (specifically POISON IDEA minus the crimson mask, the DAYGLO ABORTIONS and BATTALION OF SAINTS) with blackened vocals. For all you mainstream people who troll SFM666 for expert commentary from an experienced individual you might wanna take notes. Prior to getting this one I caught part of a review for their last EP written by someone on another site where the writer called this band's music "new and unheard of". Well maybe if you're completely new to music or just plain ignorant of it's history.
For me this is just history repeating itself but in the best possible way. I mentioned 80's Hardcore because that is the catalyst for the primal punk energy being projected. I'll listen to a song like "Bad Blood" or "Total War" and past images of Thrash bands in large halls is not what comes to mind. Instead I'm remembering Hardcore shows with slam pits in small shit ass clubs or in parking lots behind buildings with make shift stages. These are Hardcore beats and riffs being employed here. The drumming is simply fast, furious and pounding. Once in a while the band will introduce some full on metal structures but it's always going to be overwhelmed with punk filth. It's important to remember that the 80's Hardcore which conveyed violence and ugliness did not last for long because it became corrupted by outside forces. The sound and style would die back for a while until around the mid-90s which was when Scumfeast was a print zine. We were covering these bands who were not only influenced by POISON IDEA, DISCHARGE and the STOOGES but also VENOM, ENTOMBED and CELTIC FROST. No one else would give em the time of day because the weren't hardcore enough for the politically correct punk police and the metal crowd had their own bias against em. So you had an era of hard as fuck bands whose music fell on few ears because they couldn't fit into the genre specific peg holes.
Therefore when I blast the fifteen cuts on Knights in White Phosphorous not only am I impressed with this band's ability to kick fuckin ass. But I'm also hearing them influenced by great sounds of the past which this time around might not be left to bigots to decide if it's acceptable for genre peg hole classification. Of course HOT GRAVES are not the only purveyors of this sound lately. Band's like SATANIC THREAT, DISHAMMER and most of Hells Headbangers Records cadre of bands has been putting out similar styled material. So there is an audience of sick twisted individuals (most of whom I've fathered and thanks for the cards last June kids) who are now of drinking age and fighting mean who loved this stuff as well as 'seasoned' individuals like myself. They're playing with MIDNIGHT at a local club in October which will leave the place's carpet soaked with hipster blood. (and human flesh hanging from my forearm gauntlets) Some people might believe this band is being tongue and cheek when they blast "WE KILL FOR SATAN, WE SCREAM OUR CALL, WE LIFT OUR VOICES, AND KILL YOU ALL". Personally I believe that should be left up to the eyes and ears of the goat blood drinking weirdo beholder. I'm sure a band like HOT GRAVES won't mind a little BYOB (Bring Your Own Blood). In fact after listening to this on and off for just over a week I believe they'd encourage it.