Coming up in the punk scene in the early ’00s, there didn’t seem to be much of a divide between genres. Mixed-bill shows were the norm, to the point that it was almost predictable that every local show would have a pop punk band, an emo band, and a metal or hardcore band. But as the internet brought members of each of those subcultures closer to like-minded individuals, it seemed like it drew a divide in the local scene. Gradually, mixed bill shows became a thing of the past, each subgenre isolating itself itn more homogenous lineups.
But if we’re honest, this is a completely unnatural segregation. I don’t know a single person that listens to only one genre of music. Honestly, that sounds miserable to me. Most of us take in a broad melange of styles and genres, swirling together in our collections and playlists like a kaleidoscope.
Bruiser, the new EP from AMORIST (formerly Floods in Japan), gets this, taking influence from several scenes under the punk umbrella and melding them together to create a collection of songs that is as hard-hitting as it is emotive.
The title track starts the record like it’s kicking the doors in. Screamed vocals and a hardcore riff volley in call and response, launching into an alt-rock groove in the verse (still with the screamed vocals), bursting into a melodic chorus that releases all of the pent-up tension from the verses. After a couple of rounds, the song then expands into a massive breakdown before returning to the refrain.
It’s the longest song on the record, with each other track clocking in about two minutes shorter. However, the rest of the songs have the same power, despite the shorter lengths. “Empty Pleasures” takes a detour into an ambient spoken word passage between furious peaks. “Ectopic” puts a heavy Pumpkins-inspired riff against a metal drum beat with rapid double-kick drum flourishes. “CTRL.ALT.DEFEAT.” wields a defiant joy like a Molotov cocktail, its sneering vocals paired with as fist-pumping a riff as hardcore can offer. Closer “WDYWD” pulls back the pace, alternating verses with sludgy bass and spoken word vocals with a heavy permutation of the same melody, combusting in the final moments from the heat of its own fire.
It’s all too brief at fourteen minutes, but I’m not sure that pace could be maintained for much longer (especially by the drummer’s kick foot). But AMORIST fits more energy in those fourteen minutes than many punk bands do in albums three times as long.
Bruiser is streaming everywhere today.