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Faith / Void

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Shared with fellow D.C. hardcore types Void, the Split LP (aka Faith/Void) shows both bands putting out quick, fiery, and righteous (perhaps at times self-righteous) high-speed punk. Some have argued that the recordings here created '80s thrash metal, at least in terms of selected tempos -- on that level alone, it's hard to disagree. Faith's side shows the quartet tearing through expected subjects and musical matters with an energy that elevates it above more run-of-the-mill acts. Alec MacKaye doesn't have as immediately commanding or recognizable a voice as brother Ian, but he's not suffering from being too shy, spitting out what needs to be heard with ire (the kiss-off of "You're X'd" especially crackles with ire). Don Zientara's recording and co-production buries Ivor Hanson's drumming at points, but really brings out Michael Hampton's guitar -- it's both satisfyingly full and utterly corrosive, like an acid drip with feedback to boot. Chris Bald's low-bass rumble sounds felt more than heard, but gives a good bottom end to the proceedings -- its absence would be noticeable, but Zientara's placing of it in the mix mixes subtlety and punch. Some sharp production touches, like the echo on MacKaye's voice on songs like "Confusion Is the End, " flesh out the proceedings even further. As for Void, that particular foursome sounds even less controlled -- guitarist Bubba Dupree peels off some distorted, amazing solos that ought not to exist and yet clearly can be heard. John Weiffenbach's lyrical focus on death, destruction, and more besides just amps up the raging fire of things ever further. Zientara for whatever reason captured Sean Finnegan's drum work far more effectively than he did with Faith, and the overall end result is brute "f*ck you" live-wire delivery of 12 amazing songs. Fun bonus -- the bizarro squiggly chorus on "Organized Sports." ~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide

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