NYC’s Crushed is a band that came entirely out of left field for me. Someone told me to check out a couple of tracks from their new album Deep User on bandcamp, and then I saw it was a hardcore band and kind of sighed to myself a little because there have been a total of like five new hardcore records I have really liked in about as many years. So far though, 2017 seems to be shaping up to be an exception to this rule – which is exciting.
So, I GUESS Crushed is a hardcore band, but in a cool and expansive sense of what that normally invokes. This is not super surprising given the fact that two members are also in the proggy, heavy rock project Survival, perhaps best known for being the brainchild of Liturgy frontperson/internet celebrity/manifesto author Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (don’t call him Triple H). Digressions aside, what this indicates about Crushed is that their membership has a palette that includes more than just old Agnostic Front and Sick of it All records, and from the sounds of things probably no 25 Ta Life records. One thing that is also clear is that they likely have more than a couple Unsane and Slayer records between them as well, because under the skin of blistering vitriol and hardcore riffing that is presented on Deep User is a gritty and thrashy spinal column supporting it all.
Crushed‘s brand of hardcore here reminds me of what would happen if a college educated version of the Cro-Mags were locked in their rehearsal space as it was set on fire. Singer Fred Miketa rages through Deep User‘s six tracks, with a lyrically cohesive theme about a single parent dealing with the struggles of drug addiction; not exactly your typical content for an NYHC band, but on the whole more engaging and moving than songs about scene beef and unity, for me at least. Musically, the band takes all the 90’s hardcore riffs you ever loved and essentially throws them in a blender, kicking out ripping fast verse sections that slide into mid-tempo chuggy breakdowns, toss in the occasional thrash metal riff or solo, and cover it all in a satisfying patina of jacked up overdrive, feedback, and grimy static. Particularly gratifying tracks include opener Tarnished Past, where somehow producer/engineer Ben Greenberg (notably of Uniform) was able to work some sound like weird bagpipes into the intro without the song sounding like Dropkick Murphys, and the just-under-two-minutes long thrill ride of Ain’t High No More, which manages to rip your face off and then staple it back onto your skull all in that short space.
Deep User is not an outrageous time investment, the whole thing clocks in at right about 20 minutes even and packs a lot of punch in that time. This is a record you could listen to on your lunch break when you’re having a bad day to psych yourself up to quit your job, or if you are trying to hit a new PR for deadlifts. Crushed pumps out some of the best of what hardcore has to offer, both in the past and in the present – not least of which is the vibe of authentic anger, frustration, and heartache that has always allowed the genre to transcend itself.
Deep User is out 4/14/17 via crushednyc.bandcamp.com
Release Date: April 14, 2017
Favorite Tracks: Ain’t High No More, Tarnished Past, Who Needs It
For Fans Of: NEW YORK HARDCORE MUTHAFUCKA