It’s true that most bands rock less as they age. The few that go against the grain remain rare exceptions. Specifically, hardcore bands tend to blow up long before they can go limp. Such was the case with Assfactor 4. The legendary South Carolina quartet called it quits at the height of its powers in 1997, despite its second LP, Sports, not being released until 2000. That posthumous release has managed to keep the rumors alive that the band would get back together in some form for a decade.
Enter SLED. Featuring one-half of Assfactor 4, SLED is a trio from Columbia, South Carolina, which certainly takes its foundational cues from a 90’s hardcore aesthetic. The tempo is less frantic than Assfacor 4’s frenzied stampede, but the urgency is just as extreme. The overall impact is more brutal, as the guitars have a thick, punk-metal crunch to them, but most of the credit goes to the fact that production values have improved so much since those early 90’s hardcore 7”s.
SLED leaves little to the imagination in terms of temperament. This is angry, hateful music on the surface, but, like Assfactor 4, there’s a tongue-in-cheek facet that might escape casual listeners. These guys have outgrown the humor that stemmed from the inside jokes of the punk-zine community that helped shape the hardcore scene long before the world of blogs, but there’s still a decidedly piss-taking slant evident in the lyrics and in song-titles like “Metal Boy Band.”
With all three members contributing to vocals, the screaming takes on varying degrees of rage, but it’s all likely to peel the paint off your walls. The bitterness and anger that punctuate barn-burners like “Blood & Portence” and “Corpse” are almost overtaken by the searing cacophony of distortion and rage surging beneath them. This debut LP is unapologetically in your face and proves that SLED defies the mindset that age dictates how hard you can rock. These guys have kept it bottled up for far too long.