Well, I'll be! The repress of the HASSLER - AMORALITY EP has finally arrived! There are 350 of these things and we spruced up the center labels a bit, making them red and yellow. Get em while they last!
Also, here are some reviews for the AMORALITY EP:
"Yet another great Canadian band, there seems to be a lot of good stuff going on there, especially in Toronto. Hassler deliver a punch to the face with a hard hitting, relentless hardcore attack which pounds itself into your skull while gruff vocals spew out anger and despair. This has me thinking of bands like Geriatric Unit, Hoax, Fuk and even Negative Approach; there’s a simplicity about the songs that I like, and a powerful sound that’s pretty irresistible. I’m finding that one listen to this record isn’t enough, multiple plays at each sitting is essential. Great stuff." - Suspect Device
"I just reviewed this Ontario band's 7" on Schizophrenic Records in the last blog post and here another 7" platter of unfettered hardcore rage with a hint of Poison Idea in the mix. Same hallmarks--gutteral vocals and a full-bore old school attack. About five years ago, the underrated west coast band Nightstick Justice had something of a similar vibe, especially on their song "Control," where their vocalist Jeff bellowed "get the FUCK out of my way!" Sounds like a good idea when this pain train is coming at you. " - Suburban Voice
"Self-described “meat and potatoes
"Hassler are another Toronto band heavily influenced by NYHC circa 1984-87, that sort of “homeless street kids start a band to play hardcore matinees” vibe that is so easy to romanticize decades later from our little internet portals and Expedits filled with rarities. Even the lyric sheet seems to share Porcell’s handwriting style! With Hassler’s big-mouth vocals, I’m reminded of Boston Strangler too, although not as huge-sounding, more “no frills”. They get super fast on some tracks (“Escape” being the rippingest), but Amorality is mostly geared toward stirring up the pit quickly and effectively. If we were forced to choose one Toronto hardcore group paying their homage to the New York classics, I’d probably still go with Omegas (they’ve just got the sound and image down pat), but Hassler are real good too, and they probably share band members, or at least hang out in the same living rooms together. If you’re trying to bulk up on meat and potatoes, it might be time to add Hassler to your regimen." - Yellow Green Red
"Upon opening the package I was met first with the EP artwork. Kind of a youth crew looking drawing, with the iconic lettering and everything. The artwork definitely has a Pettibon look to it though, so I guess judging the work on the art I was kind of expecting a throwback hardcore band somewhere between Black Flag and Youth Crew. The EP is printed on a glued sleeve, which anymore comes as a relief because of the sheer amount of bifold covers that are popping up. The artwork is pretty great tongue in cheek, whether it is the cover which depicts a lineup of a punk, homeless?, businessman, policeman and knife-wielding baby; or the back cover (my personal favorite) which depicts a life sized clothed rat (mouse?) dick in hand peeing into what I can only imagine is a sewer, but I could be wrong. Something about the overall uncertainty of the artwork and the comic nature really ties it all together: cohesive incoherence you could say. All of the artwork is kind of tied together with the inclusion of a small but clear, studded bracelet donning, middle finger in the liner notes.
Despite the look of the artwork, what Hassler offers though is definitely not a cross between those aforementioned bands, but more of a Boston Hardcore vibe, meets maybe something along the lines of Poison Idea with less solos, maybe even some of the Early British Hardcore punk bands. Hassler is neither easy nor necessarily hard to classify. You can tell they are neither trying to really imitate one specific thing, nor trying to be something completely new. What they do however is craft some pretty memorable and catchy songs.
I have to admit, on first listen I wasn't completely sold on the record. It was good, but was it worth really jamming a lot? I wasn't sure. After a few listens the songs began burrowing their way into my head, and I found myself liking them more and more, and eventually really loving them. This happened first with Retaliation, the record's 3rd song. At this point after sitting with the record for a bit (it has actually taken me about 2 weeks to write this review) I found this song to be one of the most catchy and rad songs I've heard in awhile. This remains my favorite track of the EP. The way in which the vocalist shouts really makes the band for me. He has a sense of urgency and anger that really shines through, and on top of the simple sound of his voice I am extremely into the cadence of his vocals. To put it simply there are some absolutely killer vocal patterns.
Musically the EP is good but can begin to sound a bit repetitive at times. However an almost perfect amount of lead guitar work comes to the aid. The guitarist is conservative about where to place a lead lick, as there are only a few in the entire record. It is possible that the record may of been improved with the inclusion of more, but I kind of think that the minimal use of solos/leads really allow the few to stand out. Often in punk, when a guitarist has the ability to solo well, they abuse this talent and the songs become over saturated with monotonous solos. This is fortunately not the case with this EP. The production is spot on though. The guitars have an awesome natural sound to them, neither overly distorted or too tinny. The bass is super thick and creates an awesome compliment for the drums which are pleasantly loud in the mix.
I honestly don't have much to say about the lyrics, without sounding like I am repeating myself from prior reviews. The lyrics are kind of exactly what you'd expect. Simple and straight to the point punk songs about amorality (fitting right?), violence (VI-O-LENCE, FUCK, VI-O-LENCE [my favorite part of the whole record]), apathy and seemingly self-hatred or at least self-doubt. No new grounds are being broken, but is that what you really want? probably not.
Overall, Amorality is a killer 2nd EP release by Hassler. If you like simple and aggressive hardcore that focuses heavily on the vocals than you'll love the record. If you have been a fan of the recent output of Hardcore bands from Toronto (anything from Kremlin to School Jerks to Violent Future, etc) than I think you'll find this record a very satisfying purchase. If you aren't crazy about it the first time, give it a few more listens (with only 5 songs barely over a minute each I don't think this is a hard feat) and I am sure that it will grow on you. Excellent buy from an increasingly excellent label. Can't wait to see what both Hassler and BI do next."
-But After The Gig
In other news, GAS RAG tests have been approved and art has been sent off to the printer so expect tracks like "Abort Them" to be your feel good hit of the summer. In fact, said track can be found here for those who want a sampling of what is to come. MOD SUBS 12" is coming along as well and should be out sometime in the summer as well. MERCY KILLINGS recorded for the upcoming 7", which should be mastered soon. Got a few things in limbo, both new and old, that I can hopefully spread the word on soon. We shall see.