When last we saw Blinded by Rage, the band had left the listening public at large bloodied and bruised in the wake of their vicious 2009 EP Green Mountain Beatdown Volume I. Well, head for the hills, because the Burlington hardcore veterans are back for another round — or five — with a ruthless follow-up EP, Green Mountain Beatdown Volume II.
To lead off Volume I, the band swung a tire iron at our collective legs on the sonically punitive “With Broken Knees.” To open Volume II, they reprise the strategy and come out swinging with “Left Hook.” A concussive flurry of double-bass drum and chunky guitar batters the ears into cauliflower. Lead singer, er, screamer, Trevor Rushford bellows with gut-tightening ferocity, his throaty delivery resembling a rock tumbler. A very angry and perhaps supercharged rock tumbler. “Faceless, I see your common place / Once again I’m reminded of the lies / Try and try to dispute my eyes / But you can’t hide / Now that I’m inside / Your mind, has warning signs / You should heed with honor,” he howls, his words barely perceptible amid the slobbering vitriol. And then, “Get the fuck out.” Sage advice.
A brief aside: Remember when CDs and tapes came with “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” stickers? It seems less prevalent now — a more relevant question might be “Remember CDs and tapes?” — but during their heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, that little black-and-white label did more to inspire curiosity than to dissuade minors from buying “dirty” albums. Seriously, given a choice between a “clean” CD and one guaranteed to contain sex, violence and/or F-bombs, only a poindexter would buy the former, right?
I mention this because Volume II is emblazoned with that infamous warning label, both on the album cover and on a customized, T-shirt-ready BBR-specific version under the CD tray. But I would submit a further modification. “Explicit Lyrics” should read “Explicit Rage.” Yeah, there’s an occasional four-letter word here, and surely some gruesome imagery. But the real danger lies in BBR’s pure, unchained fury.
Take “Blue Collar Kings.” The song begins with a pleasantly meandering guitar melody courtesy of Mike Prue. But, just at the moment of blissful submission, that prog lull is brutalized by a crush of overdriven metal thunder. Other tunes, such as “Alone We Break” and “Worn With Pride,” eschew such fleeting deceptions in favor of berserk guitar savagery. And then there is the closing cut, “After the Agony,” which serves as smelling salts following the earlier knockout blow with its classic East Coast hardcore crunch. This is blinding rage, distilled to its very essence. Parental advisory, indeed.
Green Mountain Beatdown Volume II is available on iTunes.