January 31, 2007 | | 3.5

Thumbscrew, Within Hearts of Redemption

Thumbscrew has a pretty interesting mix of influences heard in their brand of noise/metal. There’s a good amount of Dillinger Escape Plan technicality, Converge’s raw, gristly sound, and plenty of methamphetamine to keep a man up for days. I hadn’t heard but a couple tracks from their previous release, All Is Quiet, so this really was my first real introduction to the band. I’m glad we met.

Being an EP, this release is meant to whet the appetite for their next full length — tide you over until your next fix. The problem with this one, and with just about every EP ever, is that it’s too damned short! I know I’m being greedy, but after listening to this release several times, I want more.

Within Hearts of Redemption has plenty of energy, emotion and just enough breakdowns to balance out the noise and grind attack. The vocals provided by Daniel Maldonado are varied well from higher end screams to deep death-like guttural growls. Guitarist Chris Johnson and Drew Lakin are capable of shredding eardrums at the drop of a hat. Their technical ability is only matched by the large, crushing mosh found in the breakdowns. Nathan Palmer on bass and drummer Poopie Sanchez provide the boom and cadence for this death march.

Did You Get Everything You Wanted
The opening track is only 41 seconds in length and pretty much sets the tone for the album. It fades in slowly to an eruption of chaotic guitars and drumming.

The previous track quickly transitions to “Maliscent” so quickly that it all sounds like one song. The backing vocals/screams are a nice touch, adding another layer of depth to the band’s sound. This one is definitely a prime example of their Dillinger-Converge-trucker-speed variety of grind/noise. The reverb lasting through the slower portion of the track gives it a live concert feel — nice touch.

Be Prepared, Dig In
After fading out the pounding drums from “Maliscent,” Maldonado let’s loose with an immense scream sure to give any one nightmares. There is so much going on in this one. It’s busy on all fronts, but not overly so — the listener is still engaged and interested in what’s going on. The band slows is down for the last 10 seconds or so with deep, guttural growls from Maldonado and beefy mosh from the rest of the guys.

A.I.M. Plays A Big Role In Her Life
“A.I.M.” is chaotic and technical at one point, then brutally primitive at another with plodding breakdowns. There’s a good bit of the industrial sludge that you might find on a Premonitions of War album. I’m not sure if the silence after the 2 minute mark is meant to make the final track feel like a hidden song or not, so when you get to that point simply skip to the next song.

Title Song (A Little Black Heart)
The last track on the album opens with Jake Bannon like haunting vocals. There’s plenty of reverb in the guitars through most of this one. The band mixes up the vocal delivery a bit with some shouted lyrics. While this isn’t my favorite track on the disc, it is a nice change up from the chaos and ear rattling noise from the previous four.

~ ~ ~

It’s not too hard to get a grasp on what this band is about on this short EP. Thumbscrew’s mixture of noise, grind and hardcore makes for quite a listening experience. It balances technical guitar and precisions drumming with plenty of crushing mosh.

Favorite Tracks:
Be Prepared, Dig In
A.I.M. Plays A Big Role In Her Life

Additional Notes: