Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to get your face fucked right the fuck off.

Even though Owen Hart had two of the best songs on the second edition of Scott Hull’s This Comp Kills Fascists last year, I did not immediately rush to listen to my promo copy of Earth Control when it arrived. Never again will I make this mistake. Earth Control announces Owen Hart an unstoppable force of FUCK YOU in metal. Pay attention.

It would not be difficult to guess Owen Hart’s favorite bands. The epic thrash riffs, rhinocerial death metal stampedes, grindcore buzzsaws, and hardcore spasms all point very clearly towards the usual suspects: Slayer, Napalm Death, Converge, and so on and so forth.

But the band’s execution is just so righteous that none of it ever feels derivative. Earth Control is a prime example of how far good riffs and a song sense of structure can do wonders for a metal band; every single guitar lick is EPIC and will make you wanna rock tirelessly, and the flow from one sectionto the next feels jusssssssttttt right, perfectly balancing the ability to put together influences you might not expect to make good bedfellows without losing the listener in a sea of overwhelmingly schizophrenic mush. If there is a formula for kicking ass, Owen Hart seem to have discovered it.

And the production is sushi raw, which is SUCH A FUCKING RELIEF from all the over-processed pieces of shit people have been sending us. As a consequence of that fact, Owen Hart’s acrimoniousness never feels like an affectation, and as a consequence of that fact, their caustically witty song titles (“Fuck Morrisey, Fuck the Smiths, Fuck the Cure,” “Methlahem,” “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die,” etc.) never feel like some sexually confused fifteen year old just trying to be clever. Owen Hart are beyond Clever; they don’t care about Clever; they dropped Clever off by the side of the road a hundred miles ago because he wasn’t paying his share in gasoline. He may have made it a littler further than Hope and Happiness, but not by much.

Earth Control feels like the kind of album that people might take for granted; it’s so meat n’ potatoes, it’s easy to imagine swarms of jaded metal heads writing it off as not-revolutionary-enough. But a lot of its power comes from its simplicity;  these days, bands will cram a bajillion riffs into a single song, and not one of them will be memorable. Meanwhile, I’ve had the EXCELLENT elephants marching riff that concludes “Poor Straight White Guy” stuck in my head for the last hour. It’s a not-so-gentle reminder of why I ever fell in love with metal in the first place — it can play circles around you, but it can also just break into your house and do terrible things to your children while you watch.

Earth Control is the first album worth getting really excited about in 2011. Happy new year, assholes.

(four outta five horns)


Come back Thursday, when we’ll be debuting a new track from Owen Hart’s Earth Control.

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