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Baptists - Bush Craft [Southern Lord - 2013]

“Bush Craft” is the debut full-length by Canadian quartet Baptists. Having been kicking it around since 2010, Southern Lord releases this follow up up to their well-received 2011 “Untitled” 7”. As with all Southern Lord releases the art and production are top notch. The full color cover art is pretty striking. It’s a picture of a shrouded figure taking an axe to a tree. The trees can be seen through the spectral figure, giving off a very eerie feeling. Perhaps what I would expect more from a witch-house record, than a d-beat influenced hardcore band, but it works well with the overall dark aura of the record.
 
In reviewing this, I must confess that I’m somewhat out of loop with modern hardcore. Lucky for me, Baptists seem to drink from the same gene pool as His Hero is Gone and other 90’s HC/punk references. You know the score: grimey, crust-influenced HC, metal-tinged, with gruff vocals. Right from the start the onslaught begins. Pummeling drums, heavy as fuck guitar riffage (at times near black metallish parts), and pissed vocals. It’s unrelenting, but just when you think you’ll have no respite, track 5 throws you for a curve ball. Entitled “Still Melt” this track slows things down with mathy, repetitive guitars and slightly more subdued vocals. No less crushing, this track relies more on the intricacies of the instrumentation than angst. It’s perhaps my favorite track on the album. Next it’s back to the HC attack, alternating between mid-tempo and fast as fuck tracks, the record ends as powerfully as it began.
 
“Bush Craft” is a real gem, bringing me back to my younger days, when I was happily listening to His Hero is Gone, From Ashes Rise, and Totalitar. I would gladly drop my hard earned cash to exorcise some demons with Baptists live, but for now I’ll happily crank this up in my house to chase away the spirits.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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