WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras
Mil-Spec, the Toranto hardcore band, have released their debut full length and it’s as intense as any hardcore release you’ll hear this year. This may be a short record clocking in at just eight songs and twenty-two minutes, but Mil-Spec makes each one count. The band put out this record on Lockin’ Out Records, a fitting place for the hardcore band. The group has seen a great response in terms of sales for this LP, already selling out one of their vinyl variants in the matter of days. One of the best things about this record is its diverse sound and how it is hard to just label this a punk or a hardcore record because some of the musical textures used by the band transcend hardcore and move it more into the realm of post-hardcore. This record, while short in runtime, can be appreciated by all punk fans.
When the band begins the record with “Grand Design” the action starts right away. The band comes in fists flying with hard guitar riffs, and howling vocals. This transitions into “When the Fever Broke…” which is wild and chaotic as the guitars roll and the vocals come screaming into the fray and it just breaks down from there. The rest of the record will continually flow throughout with “Where I Was From” and “Parade,” especially with “Parade” where there are more melodic elements to look at. The guitars and tempo overall are slowed down to let more diverse sound be heard. This is what it means for hardcore records to stay contemporary and also deep and interesting. Mil-Spec isn’t letting this record go stale with old hardcore tropes and sounding like the same thing the entire record. They want more, and they show that with these elements.
“Colony” brings back that intense energy the band has and “Counter Culture” feels like a punch in the face, with energy blowing through the speakers. The band never loses their momentum and keeps on moving forward. “The End of History” finds the band moving back to more melodic hardcore type of music, and finds a nice balance to breakup the heavier tracks. This song could find itself in history with mid-late 80s D.C. Revolution Summer as well as those bands coming out on Dischord Records like Rites of Spring, and Gray Matter, it is a great track that’s got character. The final track, “World House” is not only the longest on the record, but also the hardest. It is the emotionally destructive conclusion to an otherwise perfect album.
If heard live you could describe this record as the “gauntlet of fists” as Henry Rollins once coined a Ramones concert. It’s intense, powerful, deep musically, and just enjoyable. In a sea of hardcore bands and records, this one will stand out from the pack. Its not your typical punk/hardcore record. It’s got more than enough layers to peel away at and even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the genre, give this one a spin, you won’t be disappointed. Mil-Spec came through big on their debut record and it should be listened to immediately.
For Fans of: Mindforce, Illusion, Restraining Order
- Grand Design
- When The Fever Broke…
- Where I Was From
- Counter Culture
- The End of History
- World House