It’s not long into Machinist!’s Black List EP that you start to feel a warm nostalgia wash over you, like when you’re shopping for food supplies and find a box of cereal you thought they’d stopped selling, or when you glimpse a dusty Street Fighter II Turbo cab in a cinema. This is a throwback hardcore EP that channels the proper roots of the genre. No arbitrary clean singing, no slow interludes with a 1950’s film sample, just 7 minutes of cutthroat riffs, raw production and one hell of a message.
Indeed, vocalist Jeff Hill says what he means and means what he says. It’s easy for a lot of hardcore bands to lose their direction in the midst of a furious blast beat or wave of distortion, but Black List is an EP built on lyrical content, ranging from mortality to the abuse of power over the course of its five short tracks. Like Modern Life is War’s seminal Witness LP, you find yourself drawn into what is being said, and invariably agreeing, or at least relating.
On the production side, everything fits well into the mix. Kenny Gill has generally given all the instruments their time to shine, without cancelling each other out. The riffs are clear, the drums pound in the back, and the vocals stay prevalent throughout. Perhaps the bass could be upped a notch, but whatever. A lot of modern releases tend to end up with a washed out sound, or even worse, an overly synthetic sound. Black List is a solid balance between clarity and sincerity.
So, there you have it. Georgia’s Machinist! have administered a highly enjoyable dose of ‘old school’ hardcore. If you’re into stuff like Ceremony and Trash Talk, check out Machinist! If you’re not, check out Machinist!
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