Release Date: Feb 10, 2015
Record label: Epitaph
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Heavy Metal, Noise-Rock, Hardcore Punk, Punk Metal
It's not easy to describe Retox to someone that isn't familiar with the band's bursts of noise and fury. Formed in 2011 by members of The Locust and Festival of Dead Deer, Retox pushes forward with the former's violent power (sans pod-people uniforms), creating a wall of sound that dares the listener to take even try and take a breath. Their third full-length release, Beneath California, continues along those same lines, producing a record with an aggression reminiscent of early Southern California hardcore.With 12 songs clocking in at just over 20 minutes, the band is a study in intensity.
Man, I love the bubble that Retox operate in, delivering their crazed punk noise with never-ending amounts of energy, really remaining hip and cool precisely because they're not. It's a fact that is as circular and mind-numbing as the band's messed-up noise-punk, which here scrambles and bounces and grates as gloriously as ever: "We Know Who's the Prick" may as well be a lost Swing Kids tune, and the mania of "Death Will Change Your Life" sums up the chaos nicely, the band members proving that they are lifers at this kind of punk provocation. "Without Money, We'd All Be Rich" proves this band is more than cute song titles with its aggravating punk, while "You're Only a Crook If You Get Caught" grinds and pummels like Clikatat Ikatowi is a name that still matters.
On their second LP for Epitaph, San Diego-based hardcore act Retox continue to whittle away any extraneous trimmings, delivering a needle-sharp set that is brutal, fast, and rigidly concise. Frontman Justin Pearson (the Locust, Swing Kids, Head Wound City) is a pretty major figure in the realm of noise rock, punk, hardcore, and its various related subgenres dating back to the early '90s, and the fact that he and his bandmates can still manage to burn with such blazing intensity is a testament to both their acute focus and some deep reservoirs of personal fury. Short and sweet, few of the songs have any sort of intro that doesn't begin with Pearson screaming and, while in keeping with the hardcore ethos, there are elements of math rock, grindcore, old-school thrash, and powerviolence scattered throughout the album's 12 cuts.
Retox's third album gets in and then out like a bandit in the night. The San Diego/L.A. punk band is ferocious and pissed off about big data, backstabbing, societal fucked-upness, death, the apocalypse. They convey their rage through brief songs (mostly under two minutes) featuring Justin Pearson's furious scream-singing and noise riffs that dazzle while splitting an anvil over your head.