Album of the Day: Pure Disgust, “Pure Disgust”

As thousands of activists and ordinary citizens gather across America to protest the slayings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Pure Disgust touch down to fire off ten warning shots. The debut full-length by the Washington, DC hardcore vanguards makes their intentions plain. Every roar from vocalist Rob Watson rings out against racism (“Slander Me”), its force threaded through the state (“Potential Criminal”), and its long line of ruined lives on levels systemic (“Pipeline”) and personal (“Lost Child”). His bandmates match force, fusing the Oi!-influenced hardcore of their previous EPs with Discharge’s speed and NYHC’s heft.

“Normalized Death” embodies this attack down to the second, charging with jackhammer chords before slowing to crush heads. Tracks like “Agents of the Machine” and “White Silence” complicate the onslaught. “Machine” takes Chained’s blasts and switches out dynamite for nukes, while “Silence” finds Pure Disgust wringing complacency out of its targets’ necks, complete with NWOBHM chord progressions to prolong the choke. This is the siren song to having no home as a person of color—in punk, in society, in America. This is the sound of swinging at a nation and breaking bones. Be glad they’re not yours.

—Nnamdi Bawsism

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