It’s time for a taste of Toronto courtesy of Fucked Up, Canada’s premier progressive hardcore sextet. No, that’s not an oxymoron, but I must admit, it’s pretty fucked up (in a good way). This three-song EP features an 18-minute title track backed by two covers of semi-obscure local 70’s punk-rock bands. Cuz really, what else where you expecting?
“Year of the Dragon” starts off slowly, with a lone, lazy guitar line, but before long, the band comes on like gangbusters, busting out into a low-n-slow groove that’s equal parts Crowbar and Neurosis. Alas, it only lasts for a few measures before some chugging riffage brings them back towards more traditional hardcore territory. But then it’s back to a more mellow, stirring post-rock passage that could almost be considered shoegaze or post-post-post-black metal (which probably isn’t a thing…I hope). Again, some of the transitions and changes here give off a definite Neurosis vibe. If you were looking for something more along the lines of the happy hardcore of their recent full-length David Comes to Life—a great record, mind you—look elsewhere.
Or you could just flip over to Side B. Rather than taking the, erm, 18-minute treatment to a coupla lost-classic Canadian punk tunes, they play them pretty straight, with the same chaotic crash ‘n burn sound of 1977…albeit with three times as many guitars, which makes for quite the wall of sound. Can’t really speak to the originals—I’ve heard about Cardboard Brains before, though The Ugly is unknown to me—but their updated takes on “I Wanna Be a Yank” and “Disorder” kinda remind me of Black Flag’s Nervous Breakdown EP, which is not a bad thing at all.