FREELOADER: COLOMBIAN NECKTIE’S DEMO
Welcome to the latest edition of “Freeloader” in which we review albums that you don’t have to feel like a douche for downloading for free. Today Satan Rosenbloom checks out the latest from Colombian Necktie.
Canyon-carving guitar trowels. Spittle-flying throatscrapes. Thwack-a-doodle-doo drum kit. Bang, zoom, bristle. Swinging elephant nutsack bass bombs. Bash! Pow! Gag! Colombian Necktie’s first demo flies by in ten minutes of action verbs and comic book interjections. You’d think music this visceral would be the most common thing around. It ain’t. Only folks like Trap Them and Converge make metallic hardcore as raw and cathartic; you only get the kind of electricity that courses through “Morse Code” when Kurt Ballou is behind the boards. And these five dudes from Los Angeles did it all themselves.
Though it’s just three songs, Colombian Necktie’s demo deploys stylistic range as a weapon. “In Your Absence” transitions from a grinding intro to unexpected neo-thrash riffing, breakdowns and even a bit of sweep-picking, and the constant tension and release keeps the song rushing forward even when its static harmonies threaten to implode it. Gearshifts abound in “Black Ash” too, from Envy-style screamo to some devastating hardcore surges. Those two are plenty aggro, but nothing compared to the demo-ending “Morse Code.” That one dominates from the beginning, chewing up melody and consonance in an inspired bout of crackling Converge worship. And what an image: “We stare at the stars with conviction / They blink a morse code / Foretelling the future / Light pollution mutes their words / We walk each night / Without a thought of / Their heeded warning.” Kind of the anti-“Somewhere Out There.”
I’ll be honest, it’s the palpable energy more than the songwriting that grabs me about Colombian Necktie’s demo. But the fact that music like this is made today is important. There’s no studio polish here, no stylistic allegiances, nothing to hide behind. Just five guys with a lot of collective listening experience, destroying their instruments out of necessity. I’m guessing these songs would sound even better live. Three songs into their recording career, Colombian Necktie are doing just fine.
(3.5 horns up)