Tørsö “Build and Break 7”
Fittingly, the formation of the Bay Area Hardcore troop Tørsö involves the cobbling together of musical appendages from dizzyingly disparate locales. Their Voltron-like conception from scene stalwarts both stateside and abroad began half a decade ago. Bringing together members from godhead acts Punch, Ritual Control, Neo Cons, Everybody Row, Holy, and myriad other mosh crews; their true pummel took shape after they landed stateside. Having already decimated the AHC scene on the festival circuit, they also sharpened their collective fangs on tours with both the mighty Fireburn (RIP Todd Youth) and the re-energized American Nightmare. Their impending ripper of a 7” is a welcome slab of enraged and politicized Hardcore. Pissed, informed, and bruising, it’s a scathing statement of intent.
Following up last year’s stellar full-length “Sono Pronta a Morire”, Tørsö doubles down on the unrelenting nature of the past work and amps up the thudding D-Beat fury as much as it does the rhythmic but unhinged attack of meat and potatoes HxC. The EP starts strong, it’s opening salvo comes with a speedy blast of punk riffing, the perfect compliment to their deft switch into both a 2 step and even a crossover thrash end. Lyrically, they peddle in both the vague and the universal, the internal struggle seeming to be with nihilism itself. My favorite Hardcore, of which this is quickly becoming, tends to vacillate between a doomsayer’s resignation and the punk spirit of resiliency. This is best typified by the title track, which plays as an adamant refusal to be silenced by relentless abuse. Never ones to trade in the trite waters of political punk, their greatest asset is their adept handling of feminism, veganism, anti-fascism, and politics in a manner that wisely avoids sloganeering. The 7” in its entirety is a verbal minefield of punk informed prose, at once direct and cloaked in mystery, a minimalist treatise in aggressive mental health.
Video footage by JVPHOTOANDVIDEO
“Grab a Shovel” is an instant classic, relentlessly pounding HxC backed by rabid swooping divebombs. It calls to mind Exit Order or C.H.E.W. in its blast furnace intensity. Three quarters of the way through, as if ending, everything stops for a brief but fleeting moment of reprieve. It feels as though the choking hand momentarily relents before the manic lurch of punk ire chokes us out. Following with “Repulsion”, we’re immediately shot by another arrow in the Tørsö quiver… NYHC. It showcases their tendency to go mid-paced, the result is a furious banger of 80’s core designed to intimidate and stalk stages to.
Ironically, the final track “Sick Of Fighting” sounds anything but, it’s confrontational and barebones attack recalls the “Negative” vibes of early John Brannon or, more recently Boston Strangler, Green Beret, or the amazing Blood Pressure. Given their adherence to genre, there’s a shocking amount of care given to songcraft and remaining in service to the song. As the song careens violently towards its end, we’re bookended with a final divebomb and guttural yelp.
“Build and Break”, whether intentionally or not, is the 7” I needed right now, a collection of tracks sounding the alarm for self-preservation and battening down of the hatches in the face of cultural apocalypse. 2018 was an absolutely legendary year for Hardcore. With slabs of wax as essential as Tørsö’s “Build and Break”, the future is in pursuit of its own legacy. Get on this. Now.