February 16, 2012 | , | 3.5

Heartless, Hell is Other People

Heartless: Hell is Other People

Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Heartless have plenty to be pissed off about. Hell, the city hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 2009. That’s more then enough right there to bark at the world.

I’m kidding, of course. The hardship that the working class of this iconic city has seen and encountered has been well documented through the years. The boys in Heartless and the music on their Southern Lord debut, Hell is Other People, are chomping at the bit to unleash their fury upon the rest of world.

Kicking things off with a swift kick to the head, “Clean Slate” let’s you know exactly what you are in for over the remainder of this quick hitting album. Grind influenced, metallic hardcore explodes with just enough grime and sludge to do a body good. The riffs are big and the rhythm section hit like a back-alley beatdown in just 51 seconds. Vocally, the vitriol and hatred that these guys have deep seated within themselves is delivered harshly with an in-your-face bark, spit flying everywhere. Crusty, d-beat packed tracks like “Cede,” “Undulations” and “Late” get the blood flowing with plenty of aggression and fire — all the while teetering on the precipice of diving head first into full-on grindcore.

As violent as the first half of this album is, it’s not until the band settles down a bit in the later tracks that we are really treated with some good shit. “Pathogen” starts this stream of songs off with plenty of sludgy groove peppered into a destructive track packed with bruising riffs and malicious rhythms. “Out of Focus” is appropriately titled as it’s all over the place in terms of spastic tempo shifts, grinding blasts and driving riffs. “Cast Down” keeps the frenzied blasts flowing as it erupts for just under a minute with distorted guitars and vicious drums.

The last three tracks (“Blinders,” “Cop Out,” and “Hard Feelings”) not only end the album in stellar fashion, they are also some of its more complete songs. Distorted reverb, doom-fueled riffs and manic drum work accompany snarling barks and growls letting you know that these dudes are pissed-the-fuck off, yet quite adept at intelligently putting their thoughts together and not just mindlessly fuming at the world. If the rest of the album were like this ending trifecta, we’d have one hell of an release on our hands. As it stands, Hell is Other People is a solid debut effort that shows not just a pile of aggression, but also plenty of promise.