By Rob Hughes
Music journos tend to roll their eyes at hyperbole-ridden reviews by noob webzine writers. They rightly note that no matter how heavy a record sounds, it will not flay the flesh from bones, unleash a tsunami, nor (I’m sad to report) melt your face. It’s just music. It may be exciting to be the first kid on your block to hear the new Mystical Sphincter record, but that advance album stream trickling from your laptop’s headphone jack wouldn’t startle a Shih Tzu.
With that in mind, please allow me to say that THE DEBUT RELEASE FROM BAPTISTS WILL LITERALLY RIP YOUR HEAD OFF THEN DEFECATE DOWN YOUR BLEEDING NECK HOLE!!!!!!!!
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s step back and deal with the facts. Baptists are a four piece from Vancouver who play speedy, chaotic noise rock that emanates from a dark, dark place. If you get a chance to see them live, do so, because they go off. A Baptists gig is an amazing expulsion of energy. Bodies do literally fly, if only for a split second.
With Southern Lord’s interest in things punky and blackened these days, it’s little wonder the label snapped them up for this release. Captured by Stuart McKillop and Jesse Carr at The Hive Creative Labs, Baptists have arrived hitting fast and hard. It’s a little cruel that four songs are all we get, but as a way of documenting the band’s formidable power at this early stage, the 7-inch is the perfect delivery method.
“Good Parenting” arrives with squall of feedback before taking off at hardcore velocity, as drummer Nick Yacyshyn crams fills into every possible break in the riffage. “Farmed” follows after a brief feedback bridge, ramping up the intensity with a bit of grind and vocalist Andrew Drury’s crazed ranting. Less than five minutes has elapsed by the time the needle hits the runout groove, so you might as well return to “Good Parenting” and hear the whole thing again. Side two is essential, though, as it showcases the most interesting arrangements and songs, and hints at how Baptists might develop their material when they release a full-length later this year. “Bachelor Degree Burn” churns like The Jesus Lizard at their most malevolent; the rhythm section working to perfection to pummel the thing home. When this number breaks loose in the second half, it’s a glorious moment. “Life Poser” resumes the frantic pace, with guitarist Danny Marshall backing off the chunky riffs in favour of string bends that send the song careening with thrash ’n’ roll momentum.
Baptists are not messing around. Although you needn’t worry about “literally” being decapitated by a 7-inch record, this is truly powerful stuff.