Title: Spiritual Poverty
Label: Translation Loss Records
Release Date: 19 August 2022
Format Reviewed: Digital download
It can be easy to fixate on doom and destruction when war, famine, poverty, environmental disaster, and institutionalized corruption can be seen in all directions. When one is succumbing to such dark thoughts, what better soundtrack than some crust punk? On Spiritual Poverty, Minneapolis’ HIVE delivers just the necessary jolt to the system — like a bucket of cold water and a brick to the face.
Newly released on Translation Loss Records, Spiritual Poverty is the follow-up to 2019’s Most Vicious Animal and the third full-length by HIVE. From the first blasted moment of opener “With Roots In Hell” to closer “Hallucination” this is 33 minutes of relentless, pounding bile expelled with grim intensity. Punk rock spirit, raging against social injustice, plus brutalising extreme metal heaviness. Check and check. Let’s go!
One of the first things that makes itself clear on this record is venomous delivery of these dark, down-tuned riffs, backed up tightly wound playing and nasty, gritty production, that’ll make you wonder if you’ve got your mouth taped to an exhaust pipe while you breathe in these grizzled and gnarled tracks.
The album opener brings to mind Napalm Death with its brutal, primal battery, while elsewhere — like the apocalyptic, d-beat style “Remedy” — there are hints at early Neurosis, back when their punk roots were at their most evident but were already showcasing a dark weirdness to their riffs and the booming venom of their vocals. Indeed, guitarist/ vocalist Morgan Carpenter sometimes resembles a mix of Neurosis vocalists Scott Kelly and Dave Edwardson — deep, heavy, rough, and bitter.
Often the delivery is a 100mph hammering assault — like “So It Is Done”, which roars like a speeding car attached with a fishing line and hook that just ripped your cheek off — but this album is more than just speed for speed’s sake. There’s good pacing throughout, like “Metamorphosis” which starts with a single acoustic melody, before transforming into a slow, churning beast like a violent stomach ulcer.
Another cool feature of the record is the occasional, malignant dual guitar lines between Carpenter and guitarist Dan Jensen, used to great effect on “So It Is Done” and “Hallucination” for instance. While a couple of tracks do pass by as a bit more-of-the-same thundering D-beat grimness, for the most part, there’s plenty to keep interested for anyone after a powerful dose of crust punk intensity.
Overall this is a satisfying blast of crust punk rage and disgust delivered with conviction.
7.5/10 Tom Osman
7.5/10: Victory is Possible!
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