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Hellhounds

That opening count-off on the high hat, followed by that vicious ripping-into by the rest of the band, makes Miami's Hellhounds reminiscent of second-wave hardcore British punk acts like the Varukers and Disorder, but the comparison ends there. This well-executed version of American hardcore keeps the rhythm section on a breakneck 4/4 cadence from which rip-roaring tracks like the aforementioned opener and the slightly slower "Ad-Vice" feed. The drums are discernably crisp, with lightning-fast fills and rolls like machine-gun fire, and the bass lines are thick and distorted.

Gang choruses and layered vocals pepper the stresses throughout the songs, with all four members lending throats. The twin-guitar assault of Jacob and Harry (also of the Hangovers and formerly of the Knumbskullz) is a buzz-saw amalgamation that goes from the straightforward devastation of youth crew union hardcore "Churchills '98" to the metal-tinged leads of "Take a Fall." The easy standout here, incorporating the kind of solid musicianship that differentiates good punk from bad, is "Miami Babylon," a Kenneth Anger-styled depiction of South Florida's gritty cocaine underground, half-hidden prostitution, and everybody's favorite unlicensed Hialeah dentists/plastic surgeons operating from residential garages.

That sets up the final track, a heartfelt acoustic number about a fallen friend called "Pat's Song," and a bonus street-dubbed freestyle rap to round out the 20 minutes of this EP. The Hellhounds are now working on their next release, a tentative split album with Colombia's oldest and finest punk band, I.R.A. This disc is full of the requisite hardcore aggression necessary for roused pogoing and careless moshing; it should keep interest piqued until the split is finished.

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Abel Folgar

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