"Dissonance is Beauty" (459 Audio Recreations)

Reviewed by Brian Connelly

Ah, PFR, man! Okay, that was cheesy, but this shit really hit a raw nerve with me. Upon first sight of the cheap looking black-and-white photocopy cover, with no interior, the first thing that hit me was "Gee, this reminds me of those millions of penny production 'zines I read for awhile that were all the same." And the dynamic of such 'zines was "Here is my piece, which I have absolutely no eloquence in conveying, but I figured since do-it-yourself is really punk I have to do it myself, too." In other words, I was expecting to hear some rehashed hardcore or punk or some such thing, masking itself in some overused heady cliché. Well, CafFiends is by no means artistic breakthrough. In fact, it struck me as quite retrograde, hitting sounds that reminded me, though not to the point of rip off, of Exploited, Avail and Cause for Alarm. Think Vision of Disorder with less catchy formula and more heart. This stuff is genuinely classic, or classical in the vein of early punk and hardcore. No-nonsense power chords, churning percussion and rhythms. It's hard to find much on any scene now that is this awesomely unrelenting and true. 

There is absolutely no pretension involved here. This material aims straight for your gut and pulls no punches, no fancy footwork, no over-your-head technique here, just real music. The armorless love that went into this production makes the DIY production quality extremely forgivable.

Although these guys will never be mistaken for power pop, they are still difficult to categorize - another one of their strengths. You can't put them in the start-stop contemporary hardcore scene a la Snapcase, although their breakdowns are mighty ("Pen and Ink," "Mr. Adams"); you can't put them in punk-driven core a la Ignite although these guys can turn up the speed ("Sick," "Introvelositer") and they can't be put in the politically driven section of hardcore, the stuff that sounds like soapbox speeches driven by chugga-chugga guitars, although they do have stuff to say ("M Town") and they certainly aren't too close to metalcore although they can bring in the noise  ("Life is Hid"). They stand by their statement that categorizing themselves "limits our style."

Cut down on the 'emo," like "Gold Eagle" (which is quite sparse already), improve the singing vocal quality (or turn up the intensity) and you have what is, in my eyes, about the best hardcore/punk/whatchawannacallit album of the millennium. Hard-edged music for the new millennium, right here.

Band's Website:

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:10 -0500.