Review: Ed Gein – Bad Luck (2011)

Hope you’re in prime condition, circle pitters, because the Syracuse 5k is upon you.  Ed Gein has returned from hiatus with their first album in six years and it’s 22 minutes of blistering hardcore at break neck speeds.  So put some new insoles in your combat boots (or you might want to opt for your vintage vision street wear hi-tops) as you pop the bill on your favorite bicycle cap.

Ed Gein started out as one of those grindy, technical metal, mosh bands.  Lots of odd time signatures mixed with chugging and pinch harmonic gusts that would be sure to spin the windmills in the crowd.  However, on their second release, Judas Goats & Dieseleaters, they seemed to steer more towards metallic hardcore credibility and shift away from the mosh novelty.  They had gone less Daughters and more Cursed, but the problem was that the material was devoid of anything to really latch onto and the songs kind of just sounded the same.

[bandcamp album=4263306486 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=grande]

The new record is a good example of judging [an album] by its cover.  The artwork coupled with the title Bad Luck and a band that takes its name from a serial killer shouldn’t lend itself to any surprises, but I was kind of surprised by my own reaction.  Originally, I wasn’t too high on this record.  I felt the drums were a little buried, the songs, again, kind of blended together, and it was just an amalgamation of hardcore sub genres that I had never really delved that far into.  Then I decided to put the record up against two entities, the first being Ed Gein’s last record.  Although Judas Goats… still had a few moments of technical metalcore tendencies, it definitely leaned more towards straight forward metallic hardcore, but with a lot of chaos.  There were too many parts shoved into a song, weak transitions, and it felt kind of messy.  Bad Luck doesn’t have that.  It’s far more focused, the transitions are seamless, and thus the record as a whole is more fluid.  The vocals have also improved.  All 3 members share vocal duties, but on the first record they all sounded the same.  The next release showed some variance, but it was still hard to tell them apart.  On Bad Luck each member has their own voice and it’s easy to discern when a change occurs at the microphone.

The next combatant I pinned the album against was the new wave of thrash metal/hardcore.  I’ve never really been into thrash so I checked out albums by bands like Municipal Waste and Trash Talk and went through other newer bands of the genre to get a better understanding of it.  Bad Luck isn’t a thrash album.  It’s way better than that.  It’s faster, heavier, more punishing, and doesn’t have any silly solos.  For a majority of the album Ed Gein never slows down, sliding between punk and blast beats.  The only time they even hint at their fading penchant for off-beat dissonant metalcore is during the instrumental “Intro,” and that almost feels like a Viking Funeral for their past before they relentlessly push through the rest of Bad Luck.  The record does contain some brief half-time moments, but that’s only so you can stop to catch your breath (or head bang) before building into the next series of furious gut punches.  Although I do miss some of the kitschy moments of their pseudo-grind material, this record is the perfect example of a band finding their own sound and maturing without losing their balls.  Fans of punk, hardcore, metal, thrash or just flat out fast music should give this record multiple spins.

Ed Gein
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Rating: 7.1/10
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