3 out of 5
Label: Death Wish
Produced by: Zach Tuck (recorded by)
It’s 2019, the era of Trump. There’s a song called Charlatan Fuck. Aw heck yeah, Hesitation Wounds is damned political, y’all, up there with NOFX having a song called The Idiots Are Taking Over.
Alright, alright, those were my judgmental first impressions, in my holier-than-thou seat from which I never speak up or do anything. In truth, we need some folks who are just shouting the obvious and giving the finger when apropos, and also – NOFX can be a good punk band, and also also, Hesitation Wounds are a damned good (and punishing) thrash / punk band. That certainly helps to smooth the delivery of an unsubtle message, and then Jeremy Bolm goes a step further by having some more heft and thought behind his words. The subject matter – frustration with authority; with the state of 2019 – may still fall in line with any two handfuls of punk and hardcore, but Bolm has a way with stringing things together that suggests a bit more of a discourse than just shouting. …Though it all is shouted, of course, and that discourse still tipples over into outright anger to go along with that.
With the seasoned players in lockstep, clocking through straight-forward thrash rockers and some occasional breakdowns, given a reliably meaty mix by Kurt Ballou, Chicanery is definitely loud enough to be attention grabbing, and then solid enough to maintain that. But it’s also a bit choppy – songs just feel like they might have a few more bars in them, but just end instead – and mixed with a super short runtime, I kept thinking I had tracks on random, or that my player was cutting out before the end of the album. Digging in to some of the more hardcore influences of the various band members and allowing a track here and there to grow into its riffs could’ve definitely upped the impact, but anyone jumping on board because of those influences, or because it’s Deathwish, should be well satisfied with Hesitation Wounds’ undeniable energy.