Obnoxious Youth – Mouths Sewn Shut (2020)REVIEW

It doesn’t matter what generation of idiots you’ve been lumped in with, the same societal message persists for all folk reaching adulthood within the last hundred years: The shackles of specialization will allow for maximum impact. Know one world and know it well, do one thing and do it well, and leave a big fucking fiery dent wherever you land. In every case this is a limitation, a one-size-fits-none linear path presented to the perceived lowest common denominator. If you’re in your goddamned twenties and haven’t already realized you can do more, can be many things, can change your mind, ethos, modus, life and vision of the future on a dime and eventually leave a thousand napalm-scoured craters upon death then you’ve probably skipped out on the whole classic hardcore punk thing. I mean, that’s the good shit that’d knocked me out of suburban hell in my late teens and far, far down the rabbit hole of the extreme music maniac experience ever since. The bump in the road that’d really sent me flying was ‘metalpunk’, thrashcore, crossover and the eternal appeal of the speed metal mindset. Anything that takes me back to that era, those riffs, and reinforces a lifetime devotion to skeptical defiance, personal accountability, and a forever self-directed existence is like heroin to me and few modern speed metalpunk bands carry that torch as admirably as Scandinavian thrashers Obnoxious Youth, who’ve signed to Svart Records and released their most inspired record yet with ‘Mouths Sewn Shut’.

The rasping fury of G.I.S.M.‘s ‘Detestation’, the sweeping motorpunk of Beowülf‘s first couple records, and the jagged riff-wrangling of Black Uniforms collectively paint a very niche-specific vision of what Obnoxious Youth sound like today but they’d kicked into gear as an offshoot of Undergång (Uppsala, not Denmark) retaining some lessons learned in the past while shooting for a more straight forward hardcore n’ roll attitude leading up to and including their debut full-length (‘The Eternal Void‘, 2011). In the six year span between full-lengths a lot had changed when their second album (‘Disturbing the Graves‘, 2017) saw Coffin‘s vocal timbre sharpen and the pace cranked to what I’d always seen as DS-13 meets something a little more wild n’ grinding a la Electro Hippies. That thread leads pretty well into Obnoxious Youth‘s sound today, mid-80’s speed metal/hardcore punk attack and just enough of a swinging heavy rock presence to transcend any sense of juvenilia. A concerted effort to approach both metal and punk from their most ancient yet undefined extreme combinations makes for a bloodshot and clambering nuclear howl rarely heard beyond Reaganomics era metallic hardcore where extreme music innovation was being pushed to a point of neon yellow sickness by the threat of impending doom. This snares ‘Mouths Sewn Shut’ more in the realm of a band like Zig-Zags or perhaps even closer to Drittmaskin‘s most recent record where classic metal, skate punk and a hit of LSD keep things frantically free-wheeling but wholly memorable.

Right off the bat “Cockroach” makes the argument that Obnoxious Youth haven’t changed who they are but they have carried their momentum beyond 2017 well as songwriters and performers, wrangling together sharp hardcore bursts and wailing speed metal grinds that push a sort of ’79-’85 agenda without sounding too campy or imitative. The Kvelertak-esque rock breaks of “Funeral” aren’t stellar in my book but leaning guitar trills and a steady beat make it a memorable moment; The leads on “Succumb” on the other hand do a fine job of bringing speed metal menace to their spirited hardcore n’ roll rush on this record. By the time “Dripping Organs” swings around to signal the end of this EP I’d always give this record a mulligan to spin again as its Bl’ast style crawls and furious attack make up for some of the less interesting rock-centric flourishes that threaten some measure of cloying camp entering Obnoxious Youth‘s oeuvre if they ever go too far with it. The full listen could serve as a sharp introduction to the band’s sound though the guitar work is probably at its most advanced state thus far in their discography. I had a great time with this EP though I definitely didn’t find it to be a mind-blowing release, just a great reminder than this band still has the right spirit electricity sparking off of their work and it feels great to be in the midst of their rush. A moderately high recommendation for this EP and good enough reason to keep an ear out for what’ll come next.

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Artist Obnoxious Youth
Type EP
Released May 15, 2020
BUY from Svart Records Website

PREVIEW on YouTube

Obnoxious Youth on Facebook
Genre Hardcore Punk,
Speed Metal

Moderately high recommendation. 3.75/5.0

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