[The seven-inch record is a cornerstone for hardcore and the format continues to serves as an essential platform for disseminating music. Characteristically shorter song lengths make it possible for a band in this scene to make a statement over the course of multiple tracks and provide it in a way that is affordable. The purpose of this column is to identify and offer short critiques of some new and recent releases in the 7″ format.]

Split 7″ releases always carry a risk of one band’s side kicking the ever-lovin’ crap out of the other band’s side. Neither Ringworm nor Mindsnare deign to upstage one another on Your Soul Belongs To Us (A389). Cleveland’s finest dig up two previously unreleased cuts, including the paradigmatic “Leviathon”. Nothing earth-shattering, but ultimately this is just what we want from Ringworm. On the flip, the Australians add doomy flair to an otherwise pounding duo of tunes. Collectors: note the cool EC Comics style insert.

Hey, speaking of art, not even Brian Walsby’s clever didja-catch-that-reference illustrations can make Toby Morse singing Cro-Mags’ “Hard Times” or Madball’s “Pride” anything but totally fucking weird. H2O‘s California and New York City (Bridge Nine) serve as precursors to the Don’t Forget Your Roots covers LP. The left coast platter feels right, with Social D’s “Sick Boys” and Rancid’s “Journey To The End Of The East Bay” fun and snotty. The Big Apple cuts, however, fall flat on the sewer grate.

Yes, Soul Search‘s Bury The Blame (Triple-B) packs a hell of a wallop. Rapid-fire barked raps, oh-so-pittable breakdowns, and chunktastic riffs are this SoCal squad’s modus operandi, and the mix should elicit positive Pavlovian reactions from the TUI-set. Everything here is at least moshable if not exactly memorable. And therein lies the rub: in the moment, this 7″ kills, but don’t ask me to hum any of the songs ten minutes later. By the time Soul Search get to recording a full-length, let’s hope they’ve figured that key bit out.


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