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Artist: NEGATIVE BLAST

Album: Echo Planet

Label: QUIET PANIC

Release Date: February 10th, 2023

Location: San Diego, California


While hardcore as a genre is something I’m somewhat of a novice in (having only gotten into it in the past two years), I definitely know what I like and what I don’t like. As such I can clearly state that NEGATIVE BLAST are an act that I like, having seen them live on two separate occasions. As a result, I knew that I had to cover their brand new album Echo Planet.

Just as a disclaimer before I get into it this review, as killer of an album as Echo Planet is, you still need to see the band live to fully appreciate it. They manage to bring a huge amount of energy to their music whenever they take the stage. They somehow turn their already catchy, powerful tunes into rallying anthemic outpourings that even manage to get pits going as an opening act. I most witnessed this last week at Casbah in San Diego when they opened for Unsane and they set the night up for an evening of high energy auditory assault. (Photo from show below by yourethenight).

Echo Planet offers us 8 tracks of high energy, punchy hardcore punk, each running 2-3 minutes in length. Personally, I’m all for this shorter, choppier approach to hardcore, it allows each song to hit us with a memorable underlying rhythm, play through this with gusto and then move onto the next. That isn’t to say that each song doesn’t contain variety or quality songwriting, rather it shows that the band are able to express a number of varied ideas in a short timeframe.

Thankfully, we have killer, rapid fire vocal delivery to help get the album’s messages across. The powerfully belted style has a real bite to it but without being so aggressive that its detrimental to the groove and catchiness of the music. What I really appreciate is the mixed approach of full force and toned-down cleaner delivery, which helps to make the harsher segments pop that much more.

Instrumentally, each member of the band is a master of what they do, making it feel almost effortless despite being far from it. As someone that is a true lover of punk bass, let me say that this album delivers it in spades. From start to finish thick, high energy bass rumbles through the tracks, taking up a position in the forefront of the mix. Right alongside this is the killer guitar work that helps keep your head banging throughout. There’s a great variety of different punk style riffs here, ranging from more classic punk rock to the groove of surfpunk or the hard-hitting aggression of hardcore. Lastly the drum work plays a key role in driving the album’s energy, with a primary focus on helping the guitar to build and string together catchy and memorable rhythms.

As far as favourite songs go I’m fairly partial to the opener Boy Blues, a mid-paced track with an underlying “fuck around and find out” swagger to it. I like it as a standalone track, but I also appreciate that it slowly sets the tone for the aggression that is set to follow without giving it up right off the bat. My overall favourite though would have to be Egghead which features the most variety of any track on the album. There are a number of different rhythms employed here, each with varying levels of aggression. The track is also a top contender catchiest riffs with several absolute rippers featured. The vocal delivery is also among the best on the album. I very clearly remember every moment of the track from the live set too.

Coming in as a close second favourite is Trauma Bond, the second song on the album, which delivers heightened aggression in full force. It also happens to feature some of the catchiest riffs on the album and one of the most memorable choruses. Finally, No Trust is a real banger too and has gotten quite a few plays thanks to its high-speed delivery and occasional surfpunk riffs.

Overall, the album is a solid offering of modern hardcore and sets the band up to make a real name for themselves in the scene. Luckily for me NEGATIVE BLAST are a local act, so I’ll have plenty of chances to catch these new offerings live. For those of you who aren’t, don’t stress because you can at least rock out to the album until the band eventually make it to your neck of the woods.
Listen to and order the album:

Bandcamp




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