Album Review: Homesick Abortions – “The Art of Apathy”

Homesick Abortions are veterans of the Los Angeles Hardcore Crust scene, having roamed the gutters since 2003. Despite that, their catalog of music only features two full length releases. That is, until now! Six years after their masterfully merciless LP Means to an End this thrashcore quartet is back with twelve savage tracks in The Art of Apathy which was released by Obscene Records on May 1st (May Day, well played guys!)

Check out the full review of this thrillingly thrashy LP below!

When I need a crustcore fix, Homesick Abortions always satisfies my itch. It all started when I saw them open for skacore pioneers Leftover Crack a few years back at Los Globos in Silver Lake. There was just something about the beautiful barbarity of it all. The performance was violent and ferocious while also being somehow contained, albeit only just. On the razor’s edge of mayhem. Each one of the four members screaming, furiously into the microphones at just the right time, completing verses for one another or adding to the audible onslaught as it reached a fever pitch during the crushing choruses, no one ever missing a beat. They manage to wrangle a notoriously haphazard genre.  When I think of the Los Angeles scene, this is what comes to mind. It’s filthy and unkempt, birthed from the streets, perilously straddling the line between structure and disaster.

The album clocks in at nimble nineteen minutes across the twelve tracks. It breaks down as about five or six full length songs, with more typical, minute long thrash songs peppered in. While the more orthodox thrashcore tracks are obligatory, they are standard fare. It’s perfect music for the pit, or to listen to while shredding the streets on your board or if you wish to incite a riot. Belligerent, fueled by rage and anger, they will sound familiar to fans of the genre. “Obsolete” comes to mind as a great example (Take your opinion / Shove it up your ass / Can’t you see I don’t care / blow it out your ass). It shreds, oozing with contention and callousness, adding depth to the LP although it’s certainly not groundbreaking.

Having said that, there are a few of those brutally blazing fast tracks that stand out for one reason or another. “Happily Ever After” has superb lyric writing and somehow, expertly fits a cohesive message into this sixty second gem (We celebrate the folly of man / Indulging in the lies that we are fed / Our greatest feat is our greatest sin / We’re just killing time ’til we are dead). Another short yet superlative track that also highlights the songwriting but more so, the impassioned vocals is “Hugs & Drugs” which draws parallels between the highs and lows that come with both drugs and sex. (Needles and dicks, both ejaculate / One gives you life, the other takes it away) it’s crass, dirty and uncomfortable. Last but not least (although it was the shortest track on the album) “Production Recall” is an instant classic for d-beat fans, featuring Skinhead Rob from Transplants and Brad Logan of LoC.

While the thrashier(?) tracks are great for mindless violence in the pit, the longer full length songs felt a bit more comprehensive and quickly became my favorites, living in my playlist even today. The extended length of these tracks tend to allow for more of a thorough message to be conveyed and a little more time for the tension and contentiousness to build, which I guess added to the emotional attachment. In those longer songs, they cover a number of social topics like police brutality, the zombie nation created by Big Pharma and the damage that religious zealotry can cause in a society.

“Binary Code” is probably the most ruthless in it’s music composition, with masterful drum breakdowns that start slowly, deliberately building eventually to an impossibly fast apex. This track also spotlights the impeccable vocals of Whitney Marshall, which is one of the things that drew me in originally. They are high without being too high, extending the overall range of the band (lead vocals is a team sport with these guys, after all). As with most of the longer songs, the lyrics are also worthy of note, keeping the theme up front and showing that this group can do more than just “lather, rinse, repeat” (Chances are slender / a decent contender / will fill my warmth from within / This world that we live in / where no fucks are given / is hollowing out empathy). “Domestic Policy” is another high point of the album, addressing the systemic violence inherent throughout America’s law enforcement agencies through embittered, aggressive music and writing (Their fear / Their Ignorance / Our Apathy / The domestic policy).

My favorite song by far though, was “No Love, No War” with it’s heavy distortion, making the plodding, repetitive guitar riffs hum almost sounding like a pulse jet engine. This prophetic song takes aim at the apathetic, drugged out “Couch Potato Generation” and how an indifferent proletariat is, in effect a submissive proletariat. Almost instigating the drones, trying to shake them awake to join in the ranks of the anti-establishment, anti-capitalist revolution. It’s with that message in mind that the passion exudes from the song especially in the chorus. You can hear the derision in Whitney’s voice as she screeches out the song title. The overall tone of the album is cynical, dark, brooding and potent. Whether it’s a quick forty second thrash masterpiece or a longer showpiece of skacore, it all adds to the atmosphere of the LP. While there’s not a lot of progression from their last album to this one, I think these venerable thrashers have settled into their sound, reaching a zenith. At their pinnacle, this is certainly the perfect time to start exploring these sultans of squat-core.

“The end of the world’s not the end of the world!”

3.5/5 Stars

IYL: Leftover Crack; Death MarchModern Life Is War

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