Irritainment For The Masses 7inch
By: Eric G.
Guyana Punch Line follows up its brutal debut LP, Maximum Smashism, with this jarring 7" on Germany's X-Mist label. The band continues to balance a searing wall of noise with snatches of melody, thanks to former Antischism guitarist Kevin Byrd. Chris Bickel's (Ex-In/Humanity) vocals beat through the cacophony with an agitated and frenetic shriek. Most rhythm sections lead the direction of the music, but Byrd's guitar clearly surges ahead while the drums and bass try to keep the pace. The result is a rigid onslaught of furious guitar crunches and taut rhythms that are the physical equivalent of pounding your head on a curb.
Despite the ever-present sarcasm and harsh humor, Bickel's lyrics are caustic, taking on the fake, the shallow, and the two-faced. On "Political P.I.G." Bickel berates an unsuspecting enemy: "they may turn a blind eye/but I can't turn more than two/you're so transparent/who can't see right through?/you're so liberated/political P.I.G." "Speak Softly" confronts shifting world powers with Bickel's relentless reproach: "a new hand holds the big stick/speak softly and you won't get hit." His delivery is hurried and unmerciful. The lyric sheet is required, for sure, but there's no question as to his sincerity regardless of the actual words.
Musically, the greatest leap for the band is "Speak Softly." Underneath all the chaos, I do believe, are actual hooks. They may be bathed in brutality, but they are hooks all the same. The opening guitar riff sounds almost hopeful until the hi-hat count into the hard core fury led by Bickel's tireless ranting. "Turn You A Blind Eye" is the harshest song by far on this 7". The rage fades into a melodic bass lead only to erupt into another ferocious storm. The electronic snippets that close the songs, hopefully, hint at some new toys for the future. Hard core punk needs some new blood in its system, and Guyana Punch Line is tapping its veins.