The CHAINMAIL section reviews bands that were proactive enough to contact me directly. Here at Cerebral Metalhead, initiative is rewarded.
I love the idea of a hardworking local hardcore band with few ambitions beyond playing some gigs, releasing a few records and staying passionate about its music. Hardcore is nothing without passion. That's definitely Karloff, a four-piece group of straight edge DIYers out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana. When last we visited the band, they were recording 12-minute EPs of drum machine punk and Joy Division and Suicidal Tendencies covers. Things have changed for the better. Karloff now have a beast of a drummer in a dude named Austin, and a cool command over hardcore's groove-to-grind continuum that keeps the gears shifting, the songs short and the rage undiluted.
Fault the clunky production job all you want -- Karloff's resolve still shines through, whatever style they attempt. The bristling fastcore of "Desolation" is all in-the-red energy and bowel-loosening bass breaks; "Bled Dry" track compacts a Crowbar album into 2 and a half minutes. With its snarled soliloquies, gang-chanted title phrase and d-beat midsection, "Faithless" might be the most traditional hardcore song on the album. Also traditional: Karloff spit their anger with no filter or compunction: "I believe nothing that you speak/I care nothing for what you believe/Spew my curses/I spit my rage/Your bribes of an empty paradise/Cannot sway my fucking disdain/Fuck you." Fuck me indeed. By the end of this record's 12 minutes, I'm starting to believe that I deserve the hatred.