EASY PREY – Relentless Struggle [Vinyl] (2020)REVIEW

The ones who hit back harder, their frontier justice system and the eyeless, artless and phobic lives they lead bear the least endurance. By virtue of this stunted capacity a life perceived in conflict manages to shorten itself naturally no matter what side of the fence provides best vantage; Collapse is inevitable as death and division is only in the interest of a smallest malicious third party. Which way your screams of frustration with captivity and isolation echo matters less than the fact that they do at all, conviction and intelligence cannot be effectively erased. Crafted for impact, smart as a whip, and shouting from their deepest lung Easy Prey are an aggressive post-hardcore/noise rock quartet straight out of Austin, Texas’ vibrant punk and freak rock landscape. They haven’t a moment to waste on ‘Relentless Struggle’, an EP that topples a bag of ammo and begins swinging wildly outward with its angular dynamo output. Burn hot, seethe, and don’t take a breath ’til your life depends on it.

Folks tend to forget that it wasn’t until about mid last decade that we began seeing a surplus of twentysomething post-hardcore bands with noise rock-curious tendencies waxing nostalgic for the pre-mathcore and arena rock gusto of pre-’98 post-hardcore. Their success is still not all that abundant, and collecting the gems is absolutely herding cats, yet the disillusionment with an era of uneducated chaos and lies makes their reactionary punk music all the more vital and inevitable. What Easy Prey are doing here in 2020 isn’t necessarily flat out punk rock, though; They’ve taken the sullen post-hardcore smash of their debut (‘Teeth‘, 2018) and leaned way harder into it. The kicker comes quick for my taste with a ‘Strap It On’-heavy Helmet shout n’ bustle to introduce “Fail/Thrive”, where a tighter syncopation will speak to fans of classic early 90’s noise rock with some urgency. The simple dash and roll of “Gasoline Mouth” reinforces that feeling, amping up the hardcorish shouts without losing the lung-shaking cockeyed attitude that helps to characterize ‘Relentless Struggle’ as more than a rote art-rocker. They’re furious and bounding with a purpose that reads heavy as hell as it hits.

…And then they kinda lean into a post-metallic dirge featuring a sort of duet with Chelsea Hale providing a listless feeling to “Fever Dream”. This is something new for the Easy Prey toolbox, melodramatic and a fairly “commercial” hook-bound song. I’d like to liken it to something Sonic Youth-esque but it ain’t exactly ‘Washing Machine’ art-rock, not in the slightest. The rest of the EP has the feeling of an updated approximation of underground post-hardcore and noise rock oddities in the early 90’s, the kind of sound bands like Wrong and Exhalants naturally aim for and a style not that far from ILS minus their own distinct intensity. The clincher is probably the way ‘Relentless Struggle’ ends, on the highest note possible via “A Study in Acute Narcissism” wherein the verve of “Steamrolled” amplifies, fleshing out in triplicate unto a bigger groove, bidirectional guitar lines, and a simple but effective loud-quiet-loud construct.

The full experience rings of the efficient profundity of classic works yet side-steps the drug addled muss and torrid excess that’d typically muddle the old ways. Anyhow, it isn’t necessarily meant as a throwback in style but the appeal of a certain lineage of influence is preserved via simplicity and a certain irreverent passion. Sharp jacket design, custom inner sleeve, a crisp recording from Big Orange Studios and a giganto-boost from Audiosiege‘s rendering make for a brilliant vinyl sound. I don’t particularly care about colored vinyl variants but give me a white plate with some kind of splatter and I can’t help but magpie at it a bit. Pics below, check out a full live performance [Here]. Highly recommended.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Relentless Struggle
TYPE:EP [12″ Vinyl]
LABEL(S):1407 Records
RELEASE DATE:May 29th, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
Noise Rock

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