Games Meet Metal: Faith/Void (first review)

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Faith/Void (first review)

This one is slightly rushed, as I'm currently juggling between this and a research paper for school. Work with me here, fellas.

The Faith/Void split, released in the early 80's, compiles two DC hardcore bands that have only achieved regional adoration during their short tenure. Yep, this means I'm reviewing two bands. The Faith occupies the lion's share of the disc (tracks 1-12 and 25-31); while Void have 12 short bursts sandwiched in between. I will start with the Faith.

Faith were fronted by Ian MacKaye's (Minor Threat) younger brother Alec, and they play standard melodic hardcore with the occasional atmospheric midtempo number; who explored more emotional avenues in the last third of the compilation. Fans of Minor Threat will probably enjoy the Faith tracks, as their sound doesn't drastically deviate from MT's. Lyrics here are occasionally corny and banal, strictly adhering to a conventional rhyming scheme that doesn't always work in their favor. But on the plus side, the vocals are passionately sung and the songs are accessible enough that it can be a good gateway drug for those who aren't very well versed in hardcore punk. The post-Void tracks are more focused on melody and emotion (emo?) than their earlier rage fueled songs. The Faith are a good and underrated band, though nothing particularly special.

Void, although their portion of the disc is relatively brief, have penned some of the most outrageous, feedback laden compositions out there. Similar to the Faith, many have forgotten Void, yet those who remember will likely never forget. Case in point, I bought the 3 disc compilation "20 Years of Dischord" just for the 3 obscure Void gems on it. They are 80's hardcore taken to it's most extreme, as cliche as that sounds. The lyrics read like the post-mortem diaries of a demonically possessed school shooter; plotting revenge against his peers. Three of it's members, including singer Jon Weiffenbach, were students at an all-boys Catholic school. In addition, there were rumors that the singer was domestically abused and had severe social anxiety.

Not everybody will dig Void, however. As with many early 80's hardcore bands, melody and catchiness is eschewed in favor of atonal rage, speed, and atmosphere. It's in these areas where Void excels, and few bands have been able to touch them in terms of pure audio mayhem.

Overall, I'd recommend the album for Void alone. Fans of skate punk or melodic hardcore might appreciate the Faith as well, but it's mostly a punk by numbers deal with Alec's band.

Score: 8/10


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