Music ReviewsAspirant – Defeatist

Patrick McElravyAugust 29, 2019

Pittsburgh “Brown Note” architects, Aspirant, have been taking over the Pittsburgh hardcore scene as of late. You would be hard pressed to find a recent show flier that doesn’t have their logo plastered on it; with the release of their debut Ep “Defeatist”, I don’t see this trio of panic chord enthusiasts slowing down anytime soon.

“Defeatist” plays out almost as a time capsule over the last two decades, taking me back to the days of Myspace and finding crazy underground deathcore and faux grind bands. While the band plays off of a spastic and technical sound, there is most certainly a keen sense of rhythm and groove that cements everything together. Production on the album is very raw and gritty, almost Steve Albini or Kurt Ballou in nature at times; the guitars have the treble maxed out and thin on the low end, the bass booming in some places and hiding in others, while the cymbals and crash on the drums are high enough in the mix to rupture one’s ear drums. “Defeatist” sounds like someone captured the auditory massacre of a local hardcore show in their grandmother’s unfinished basement without any sort of hearing protection… and the end result is fucking beautiful.

As a whole “Defeatist” holds no punches and unleashes fury on the listener from front to back. Key cuts from this release include opener “God to the Weak”, the chromatic “Glass Cannon”, and closer “Wander”. “God to the Weak” grooves and grinds much like a love child of Norma Jean and Strapping Young Lad. Ear shattering dissonance alongside the barrage of groovy palm muted riffage thrash and spazz for the track’s less than 2 minute duration, starting things off in an energetic fashion with its sparse and guttural vocals. Catchy and visceral……this track is sure to be a crowd pleaser at live shows. “Glass Cannon” follows in a similar fashion, coming out the gate with its inverted power chords and strained high end shrieks. Mid way through the track we hear a slow decline in pace as the band bring forth one of the heaviest breakdowns they have to offer……trudging militantly as the track slams and stomps to the end with chromatic power chords and a thunderous rhythm section. “Wander” shifts gears and goes from the spastic concoction the band has brought forth thus far to a slothful, mammoth of a closer that smashes all within its path. Eerily reminiscent of War From a Harlots Mouth epic song “Mulder”, the band spew toxic ooze with its riffage at a slow crawl, and the results are truly disgusting. Little melodic nuances make their appearance to let you know when the next change of pace is coming, but never picking back up as things did before in the album. A truly menacing and crushing track to send the album off.

Overall “Defeatist” is an impressive debut. With its lo-fi production quality and sheer ferocity, it hits hard like a spin kick to face at a basement show while chugging some Deathwish Coffee. Audio snobs may turn their nose in disgust with the production on the album, but fans of the Myspace “White Belt” era are sure to eat these guys up. As always, be sure to keep up on everything Aspirant and catch them at a mosh pit near you!!!