NEGATIVE STANDARDS "Fetters"
LP — Vendetta Records
"The follow-up to 2012's VI.VII.VIII.IX.X.XI LP, Fetters finds Oakland's NEGATIVE STANDARDS further refining their unique and sample-heavy blend of crusty hardcore punk, sludge, black metal, and noise to conjure a bleak, haunting atmosphere of pessimism and decay. Downtuned His Hero Is Gone-style metalpunk bombast is the order of the day, with frequent forays into grinding blast beats, crushing sludge-doom breakdowns a la Corrupted and Whitehorse (with whom they released a split 12" in 2013), and nods to Scandinavian and Japanese d-beat hardcore, bracketed by ambient passages and collaborations with noise fiend A.C. Way of Thoabath / Sutekh Hexen fame. Impressionistic, introspective lyrics touch on Buddhist philosophy, nihilism, and an overall skepticism towards traditional and revolutionary forms of morality and politics, complimented by nightmarishly psychedelic cover art from Rainbath Visual mastermind Reuben Sawyer. Recorded by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios and mastered by James Plotkin, this is a collaborative release between the band and German hardcore/metal powerhouse Vendetta Records, representing the fullest realization thus far of Negative Standards' maximalist, genre-hopping experiment in metallic crust surrealism."