With the buzz currently surrounding their debut album Burden you’d be forgiven for thinking that Last Hounds are an overnight sensation. The truth is they’ve been putting in hard graft for years and that work is finally come to fruition. Two solid EP’s (2016’s Last Hounds and 2017’s Old Dreams) promised much and Burden, two years in the making, delivers. Propelling them to the top of the hardcore pack it’s surely a matter of time until the world takes notice.
Last Hounds aren’t a band who deal in subtleties and opening shot ‘Snakeskin’ is like seeing your reflection in a bullet that’s about to enter your cranium, and it’s all the better for it. With a deliciously chuggy riff, pounding drums and throat-shredding vocals it encapsulates all that’s good about modern hardcore. Bold as brass and straight in your face it ululates like a stormy ocean and the beat is equally as choppy. Three minutes of unadulterated aggression that leaves the listener slightly punch drunk…and it’s still only the first song! Those expecting respite from next track ‘Handmade’ are seriously deluded as it arrives with all fists flying. Sure to create havoc wherever it’s played it seems tailor made for windmill kicking and circle pits.
Burden is furnished with a clear, crisp production that separates all the instruments and the result is an album that sounds absolutely massive. The drum sound in particular is like an uninvited guest knocking on the door of your cranium, and it’s not going away until you open up. It’s the drumming that dictates the pace and ensures that Burden swings with a real groove and with no signs of flagging ‘Incinerate’ is the spark to light the kindling and it’s a pretty explosive number. There’s little in the way of extraneous soloing or such fills; each song is the most direct line to what it’s all about and not since Black Flag’s Damaged have I heard an album so chock full of sick jams.
Last Hounds have a quintessentially English take on hardcore; I can draw a direct line back to bands such as Six ft Ditch and Freebase but I’m also picking up a definite NYHC vibe on ‘They Say’ (think Breakdown and Frontline). It’s simultaneously heavy and lithe and beneath its stormy surface contains a strong melody much favoured in American circles. But Last Hounds very much play by their own rules and ‘Lay Me Down’ couldn’t have come from the pen of anyone else. With a staccato riff the penultimate ‘Do Or Die’ is akin to standing before a firing squad which sets things up nicely for the short sonic burst that is album closer ‘Innocence’ and it’s surely the only way to end an album as brutal as Burden.
- Reviewed by Peter Dennis.
- Burden is released via Venn Records and is available now.
- Official Website
- YouTube Channel
- Running With The Dead
- Slow Burn
- They Say
- Lay Me Down
- Do Or Die