Concrete, the hardcore band from Albany, returns with devastating aggression on Free Us From Existence.
The first music I heard from Concrete was the 2014 split they did with Hammerfist. The song “Born Lost” made a big impression on me especially, but all four of them smoked. Deadlock was before the split and Everything Ends Now came after in 2017. Over the years the band has been accumulating an impressive catalogue and gaining attention and respect from fans and the heavy music community at large. Free Us From Existence casts a sharp eye on the dismal situation that exists now and condenses it into loud bursts of disapprobation and condemnation in the form of ravaging hardcore music.
The new album opens with “Executing Vengeance” which sounds like climbing a ladder that is airborne and swirling in a tornado. “Starving Serpent” starts with heavy thumps and reveals twisting urgency in the tempo, cadence, and voice: “Fed to snakes / In the abyss / Left to rot / Starving serpent, oceans black / Take my eyes, take my eyes.” The menace and threat in the guitar line that runs along beside the vocals in one of the choruses tightens in your throat when you hear. “Path of Fire” has big doom riffs at the front with rolling rapid percussion, then a shift to thrash-speed before going back to heavy thumps like a stomping sauropod.
The landscape is broad and differentiated with Black Metal, Death Metal, and hardcore throughout. It is notable how much ground the band covers in just under thirty minutes, all the while keeping their own brand of menace intact and the thematic focus narrow. This overarching dispatch is demonstrated perfectly by the back-to-back entries “Psychological Crucifixion” and “World Tomb.” Listen to it all the way through and then hit it again because you don’t want to miss anything.
Available now for download at Bandcamp, with physical versions on the way from Black Voodoo Records. This album is going to be on a lot of Best Of 2020 lists. Recommended.
Band photo by Chantel Roberts.