If hardcore’s most noble virtue is intensity, then Stripmines could be kings. The quartet’s five-song debut EP reaches just beyond 10 minutes, and each second is a punch in the teeth. Guitarist Jeff Young levies snarling riffs that dart in and around the song, providing undercurrents and burly noise. Such flotsam lends the band a frantic, foaming quality, similar to the unrelenting onslaughts of Charles Bronson or South Carolina greats Assfactor 4. Matt LaVallee’s coarse bark stabs like the round end of a ball-peen hammer. Ira Rogers, who doubles with fastcore up-and-comers Thieves, seems to be at ease with the roiling and comparatively slow tempos favored by Stripmines. Along with Alex Taylor’s bass rumble, this allows Stripmines to explore the low end, lending a metallic heft not too far removed from Corrosion of Conformity’s early explorations of a bass-driven sound.
Stripmines is a loud and fast hardcore band, but momentary diversionslike the feedback squeal that opens “Sympathy Rations,” or the sludgy slog at the onset of “Turn My Back,” or the same song’s wide-open bridgeintroduce powerful shifts. All told, those moves portend further evolution for an already exciting young band.