Southern Lord Recordings 2013

Someone, somewhere managed to find this unreleased album from the seminal California hardcore band, BL'AST and then they got it into the hands of David Grohl who remastered it and pushed it to Southern Lord who had the nads to release it despite all the years that had passed between its recording and the present (25 years I believe).  Soundwise, this has an old, late 80s/early 90s feel to it.  I am reminded of a cross between Ludichrist and Open Casket era The Accused.  Stylistically though, BL'AST diverges from those bands by utilizing a somewhat discordant approach.  Only Time Will Tell begins with a ropey bass line and sour, crystalline guitar and then they delve into menacing riffs.  The guitars pick up and a decidedly more aggressive attack is unleashed.  However, you cannot escape the lack of repetition which provides a sort of foundation to most songs/bands.  The songwriting almost appears to be a stream-of-conscious approach.  You can easily discern this as the track stumbles into some midtempo grooves that arc upwards at the end.  Sometimes opens with a long fret stroke and then an eruption of angry hardcore and punkish vocals.  The track undulates and stops and starts like an epileptic seizure.  With all that said, Winding Down is a pretty straightforward bought of speedy punk hardcore and infuses the song with interesting guitar squeals and lightning quick solos.  Look Into My Eyes just muscles its way through sheer aggression and a forceful chorus.  The main riff is pretty muscular but there are all sorts of dissonant flourishes which take this song into different directions and make it a bit of an incoherent listen.  And I guess that really goes for the whole album.  The meaty bass riff that opens Your Eyes sets you up perfectly for the beefy riffs that follow.  And they form the pedestal upon which a ton of guitar noodling insanity is set.  I'll admit this really is my first exposure to BL'AST so I don't have any nostalgia to fall back upon while listening to this album.  It's a mixed bag of really good, old school hardcore riffage and strange and incoherent discord.  I can see why some people are completely enraptured by this band, but for me it is just an interesting stroll down memory lane that brings back images of a period of punk heavy hardcore.  Good stuff, but not amazing.