Reviewed: September 2000
Released: 2000, Howling Bull Entertainment Inc.
More death metal influenced hardcore comes our way from Howling Bull Entertainment Inc., this time, in a less deathy format than fellow Japanese metallers HellChild. Indeed, Hellchild is the perfect point of comparison for United, beyond the fact that they both hail from the same country. Both bands play a coked-up style of death-ened hardcore, and both pound out fairly short aggressive albums. Between the two, it is United that stays truer to the NYC-style hardcore form. The death metal influence that runs rampant through Hellchild’s music is still there, but in a more subtle form (I never thought I’d use the word subtle to go with death metal!). Basically, the United sound is straight street hardcore with the typical D.I.Y. work ethic/disenfranchised youth lyrics.
The issue that I have with hardcore music is the sameness of the music. After awhile, all of the songs tend to blend into each other and sound like one 35-minute song. Indeed, at times over the course of Distorted Vision I had trouble telling where one song ended and the next one began. This is a problem that afflicts the entire first half of the album, as the first 6 tracks could all be movements in one long hardcore symphony. That being said, once they get going, the songs are fairly good in their own right, with “Color” and “Locked Inside” being particularly cool.
It is the last four songs of the album where the action really picks up. “So Damn Low” is a slow, grinding song that quickly morphs into a fast, unintelligible stressball. Pretty cool, and infectious as all hell. “Tiger” is reminiscent of the first half of the album, playing it down the middle but full of anger. “Change” takes the spirit of the slowed down section of “So Damn Low” and makes a full 6-minute song out of it. It provides a nice break from the speedballs on the rest of the album. Speaking of stressballs, “Revenger” is the perfect closer for this album. Featuring a chorus of shouted vocals, the song is pure anger at its best. Like I said with Hellchild, hardcore is usually not my bag, but this is a really kickass album that hardcore fans would do well to search out.
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