Friday, 21 October 2011
Last week I saw this Leeds based band play on a lineup that included Mexico's ultra forceful Inservibles, the relatively new outfit 'No' (featuring the vocalist from The Shitty Limits on drums) and the somewhat semi-local hardcore band Moat. Vinegar Strokes were my favourite band on the bill, which says a lot considering how young they are as a four piece, and how crushing each of the other bands on the bill sounded within in their own right.
The Vinegar Strokes attack plays as a powerful coagulent of raw black punk anchored by solid noisey riff-making. The vocals are howled, the drumming is on point and almost waltzy at times. The whole thing breeches the ear drums as a lethargic Pissed Jeans slowdancing with Bone Awl. Listen to the track 'TV News' - the final track from their demo - and you should be able pick up on the sharp vocals and skin splitting drum parts being blended with pinches of that familiar ironic jauntiness that Pissed Jeans have thoroughly made their trademark
'Benefit Cuts', rolls in with a playful modern pigfuck type riff, something The Men would have been proud to write. Thirty seconds in and a tirade of raspy vocals flood in to take over the proceedings. There is a definite veneer of SQRM similarity, not a total looting of the Rodeo grave by any means, just a shared taste for mid-tempo, intensely dark hardcore - the type that would strike fear into the heart of any Trapped Under Ice fan.
Track one 'Jason' welcomes in a Grinning Death's Head style mix of aggression, and keeps to the proven template of raw, lo-fi, distressed black metal meets punk. Sharing the same city with Sump has probably resulted in a great deal of influence being worn off on these guys. The similarities are definitely noticeable, although Vinegar Strokes seem to approach the situation from a hardcore background, whereas Sump are much more ingratiated within the realms of black metal.
The whole thing sounds great live. The thrashing of the low end makes the swirling mass of blackened punk feel like it has something weighty to rely on, rather than being totally lost in feedback. I think you'd have to pen these guys as a raw punk band, with noisey inflections. They're predominantly more Youth Attack than Posh Isolation, if you had to stylize them. I'm heavily recommending this band