By: Eric G.
This is frantic, frenzied, and spastic hardcore played with chaotic craze. The boys in Assfactor 4 scream their often-hilarious stories with absolutely no regard for their vocal chords. You can hear the nodes forming as they shriek against a backdrop of bracing guitars and super-fast changes. The band plays each song as though their lives depended on it. Their screaming isn’t just abusive noise either- there’s melody and emotion in the inflections (all four members sing); it just takes a few listens to hear it. The songs are all very catchy, but, again, your first listen will leave you puzzled as to where the hooks are. Once it sinks in, though, you’ll be playing air guitar and going hoarse just trying to keep up.
Sports is Assfactor 4’s second full-length, but it was recorded almost three years ago. The band has been on hiatus because one of the guitarists moved away from the band’s hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. Assfactor 4 is semi-legendary in hardcore circles for being one of the most frenetic and abrasive bands around. If you’ve seen them live, then you know what kind of harshness and fury they can wrest from their guitars. Sports is consistent with the band’s formula for unique hardcore, which was perfected on the Smoked Out 7” in 1994. Every song is incredibly short (Smoked Out is nine songs packed onto a 7”!), and they repeat the bursts of lyrics several times, each time with more desperation and anxiousness than before. The two guitars provide the melodic structure, veering off into tricky starts and stops but always meeting back up for a double dose of some memorable riff. Amazingly, amidst all the noise, the band retains an incredible dynamic, where certain parts literally explode through the speakers.
Assfactor 4’s songs are brutally frank but playful for the most part, focusing on personal and political areas with a self-deprecating sense of humor. The band is as unpretentious as you can get even when politics enters the agenda: “the White House is alright if you like saxophones…but if you don’t like southern pig motherfuckers who straddle the fence (who pull down their pants and ask you to inhale) you might be wondering why G. Gordon Liddy sounds so reasonable lately” (“The White House Is Alright If You Like Saxophones”). Of course, this is screamed so hard that it would be impossible to discern without a lyric sheet, but that’s half the fun. On “Free Tibet And Pussy” the band mocks MTV’s coverage of the Beastie Boys’ futile attempt to get teenagers to care about politics: “In golden days a glimpse of pussy meant more than hip hop clad Czecks slurring ‘f— Communism’ on TV/they’re slashing prices at the monk house while Bono orders pizza from stage three/and I don’t give a fuck about the price of eggs in China when I’ve got Free Tibet and pussy on MTV.”
As the title suggests, life for Assfactor 4 is all about sports and punk rock. The album cover art is a deconstructed version of the famous Huey Lewis album of the same name with Assfactor 4’s faces pasted over those of the News’. The noise that this band makes is unlike anything you’re likely to hear in or out of the punk rock community. Assfactor 4 makes most punk bands sound limp. If you hear this record, I guarantee you’ll go out and find everything they’ve ever recorded. Sure, there are plenty of punk rock bands that play fast and scream, but these guys take it all to a whole new level, where wit and intelligence and fury rule the day.