If you have followed my work at First Angel Media at all in the past year, you have probably picked up on the fact that I have an unnatural love for two specific kinds of Metal subgenres: Alternative Metal and Mathcore. Runts have recently dropped their debut EP and I am in my car as we speak, heading to the closest Hot Topic to purchase a white belt, skinny jeans (as unflattering as that image is), and a one size too small Suicide Silence T-shirt. Now that I have that image imprinted in your brain, let us dive into the music……….
Within recent years, there has been a pseudo-revival for the Myspace Mathcore and Faux Grind scene. Many blogs and online communities have been digging up the past and sharing their love and obsession for this bizarre time in music history. At the height of its popularity in the early 00’s, many of these obscure bands were overlooked in the Metal Community outside of a small audience that had latched on to it via Myspace. As time would progress, such bands as The Sawtooth Grin, The Great Redneck Hope, Daughters, Tower of Rome, and others of their ilk would disband and dissipate, but go on to achieve cult-like status. Enter Runts. Upon listening to this release, I am overtaken with a strong sense of nostalgia and shocked at how fast the years of my youth have become a distant memory. Runts isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but merely an amalgamation of its influences and affections that are engrossed in the Myspace Faux-Grind era. The panic-induced chords and guitar slides of “Hell Songs Era Daughters”, the low chunky polyrhythms of “Ion Dissonance”, and the manic, blood-curdling vocal schizophrenia of “The Number Twelve Looks Like You” are not only all here, but they are nailed to the tee beyond simple imitation. These gentlemen have have studied the Myspace Grind playbook and knocked it out of the park with this collection of tracks.
Runts is a short and hyper affair. All the tracks are well executed, even if following a familiar routine throughout its duration. The songs hit hard and fast with technical finesse, but still manage to somehow be catchy and manage to be well-structured with what would seem a lack of structure. The dissonant and chunky breakdowns add a nice touch and a break from the blistering high end wanketry on the guitar. The lyrics are often very vague and obscure, allowing for the listener to interpret them pretty much how they see fit. The vocal performance is top notch for the genre, mixing various death growls with piercing high end screams along with the occasional spoken word and drunken vocals. For a record that was mixed and mastered in-house, everything sits nicely in the mix with just the right amount of grit to really allow the album to come to life. The guitars slap hard with the chugging and slash and gash like a buzz saw with the high-pitched panic chords, the vocals mull you like a rabid wolverine while the bass and drums hold everything together in this chaotic little safe haven. Despite being such a chaotic and dense atmosphere, the replay value is through the roof, partially due to the short song lengths and quirky tendencies. Runts have really crafted an EP that serves as a soundtrack to the nostalgia of Myspace Tech Grind and underground Metal.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this recording project. For such a strong and well-crafted debut, Runts are definitely going to have their work cut out for them in producing a follow up. I highly recommend giving these guys a follow and listen if you dig your Metal fast, dirty, technical, and absolutely sinister. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and keep up to date on anything and everything Runts……