Pittsburgh has a penchant for producing some of the most miserable sounding music around (Vulture, Heartless), the newest to come to my attention is the hardcore band Meth Quarry. While I had seen the band’s name bandied around on a number of local show fliers, I had not actually heard any of their music until seeing them open for Primitive Man a few weeks ago (also one of the most wretched sounding bands you will ever hear). Now, I have seen a lot of hardcore bands in the last few years, many of which verge of sounding the same (undecipherable vocals, messy guitarwork, etc..), such that I did not go into the show expecting anything out of the ordinary. It only took halfway through the first song before Meth Quarry had my undivided attention. The songs were fast and ugly, but they also featured discernible melodies, and were dare I say, catchy. Vocalist Adam Bailey did not so much sing/scream as spit out his lyrics with a vitriolic rage, providing one of the most memorable hardcore vocal performances I have heard in a while.
After the show, I promptly went home, found Meth Quarry’s bandcamp page and gave their new album, Irreverence, a listen. As a testament to the quality and distinctness of the songs, I recognized many of them from the show. The song “Gloom Generator” stands out as being particularly memorable: as soon as that opening guitarline kicks in, the song’s awesomeness is assured. “Grimewave” is another highlight, starting with the drone of feedback supplemented by deliberate drum beats, giving it a very doomy feel, before picking up to a solid gallop. When midway through the song the music drops out and Adam starts screaming ”Trying and trying. Trying and failing,” it is difficult not to want to bang your head in fervent approval. As the titles of the aforementioned songs probably suggest, the topics the songs delve into are not cheerful. They tackle serious topics like the perils of drunk driving (Crash Anthem), drug addiction (Drugmelted), disillusionment with religion (Flatline Divinity, Behind Sleeping Gods), and depression (Grimewave). And while these subjects certainly aren’t new to hardcore, the songs never seem hackneyed or overwrought lyrically, with Meth Quarry approaching the serious topics with respect.
You can stream Irreverence in its entirety on Meth Quarry’s bandcamp page, where you can also purchase it digitally, name your price. If you have any allegiance to aggressive music, you really need to give Meth Quarry a little of your time. Irreverence is one of the best albums I have heard this year; it should not be missed.