Ah, underground Hardcore scenes, ever-shifting locales full of “those bands”. “Those bands” a term ubiquitous and often used within and for more than one context. However, for the purpose of this review and to introduce PI$$ER, I shall quote their own explanation of such: ‘So, who are PI$$ER? Let me tell you (yeah, it’s one of those “members and ex-members of…” bands!)’.
Got it? Here are a few more names for you: The Domestics, Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man, The Filaments, Beat The Red Light – And what does it sound like? Fast, dirgey UK Hardcore supplemented with D-beat for that extra disgruntled destabilising edge and some brass, yes you heard me, now, shall we? Oh, and its based very loosely in and around the UK (Suffolk, High Wycombe, Manchester and Hebden Bridge) and Gothenburg (Sweden).
Hardcore Punk. Relentless and/or cuttingly abrasive. These are the descriptions and feelings Side A leaves you with after an eerie intro akin to something from a bad horror flick. ‘The Lie Is As Good As The Medicine’ is underground Hardcore Punk-Rock at its best sonic vintage with just enough of those expertly placed melodic yet still rough-cut strings. PI$$ER have very much quite plainly and in no care of any shown you what they can a do and yet the ‘core is not all, for a perfectly serviceable Hardcore song is nothing – in this case – without a little brass. Interest piqued and D-Beat-‘core given new life.
‘PI$$ER’ was one given to the public ear to sample and for good reason. ‘The Lie […]’ may have grabbed your attention but this second offering verbally accosts you with such sheer rage and conviction-laced emotional strife that you are transfixed by the ‘core to the core. The gruff, low-vocals match abrasive classic underground Hardcore tuning alongside obscure, gritty brass and surprising yet crucial melodic leads that once again are only as necessary as is necessary. This band are born for Hardcore heavyweight status but their sheer speed, driven rhythms, mild melodic leads and brass (for whatever reason) stand them in excellent prominence as a Hardcore band off the beaten track yet a must-have.
Up until this stage the brazen yet probably dented and beaten brass has done nothing but fit naturally and ironically suit this gritty underground dirge but it is in the opening to Side B of Wretched Life that the fun really begins post that flawlessly classic opening bass tone. Are you in the wrong place? Are you listening to Skacore? Who knows! It doesn’t last long enough for you to ponder but leaves you armed with nothing to argue against its presence with. ‘I Won’t Repent’ then falls back into subtly upbeat but stripped down Hardcore Punk-Rock that simply is. This is nothing overly technical or groundbreaking, just a grizzled Hardcore Punk band out for a walk with their apparently self-aware brass-ware. To say that this band and particular track are simply fun is quite simply an understatement.
The eponymous closer opens with slower thudding breakdowns missing from the previous three before thankfully (but by no means in any sort of saving grace) the full-speed of the release opener relinquishes its rest-bite in favour of one final swine-horn charge into what is left of your audio-receptor shield wall and breaks it on first impact. ‘Wretched Life’ is relentlessly tenacious in its grip on what was said shield wall and you should all champion Saxophone-core and this debut upon moving forward and investigating further via Kibou Records.