Iceland’s Muck proves hardcore can be many things. It was not until Jacob Bannon screamed at me in 1997 that I was calling it my right, while he was calling it my weakness, that I accepted hardcore as anything that did not sound like The Age of Quarrel. Fast forward 18 years, and every other punk south of Scandinavia is trying to be black metal, while Iceland and Norway’s hardcore scenes flourish. Kids, it’s ok to just be hardcore and bring some metal to the party. But website I won’t mention, it’s not ok to get my hopes up for some black metal when an album is hardcore. Don’t fear my Darkthrone shirt, just tell me it’s hardcore and I might dig it.
Muck’s Your Joyous Future might sound like Motörhead jamming with Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies, but the first thing that struck me about their sound was the bass tone. It’s has thump in all the right places. The Motörheady rock ‘n roll elements that bring out the drunk party vibe will make fans of Kvelertak crack open a cold one. Then beginning of “My City” hits like one of the Amp Rep post-hardcore bands like Unsane, adding dashes of punk spasms, layered with the Mike Muir that the sung vocals continue to indulge in. But these guys aren’t fully enrolled in the Suicidal army, as they can also rage into a Black Flag-meets-Converge attack on the song “Time.” Keep in mind, there is not a tremolo-picked string or blast beat for miles. The only dissonance still comes in the reckless Amp Rep noise rock of “Blind and Bent.” The banging thumps into the very Bleach-era Nirvana tribute “Waiting.” The same site that said these guys were black metal also said they had post-punk elements, so I guess they missed out on the 90’s and confused post-punk with grunge. Muck does get a little darker on the ominous “Martrod,” but it is more of a sludge affair than anything that’s going to get me to put down my copy of Pornography.
Muck has a good take on old school hardcore, and the other elements teach the old dog new tricks. There are ten seconds to the song “Blissless” which might be, could be construed as black metal. But I have never considered putting it in any orifice for ten seconds to be actual sex. Same goes for blast beats and black metal. It doesn’t spoil the album’s fun; the punk ruckus on “Here Comes the Man” makes me think of what Fugazi might have sounded like if they did drugs. The chords are more sonic, but not black metal, just fast indie rock. I fought against my expectations going into this one, but eventually the album wedged itself into my earbuds for the rest of the afternoon. If you are bored with your current hardcore album collection and want something different to freshen it up a bit, this album is worth your afternoon, as it had me wanting to go buy another skateboard.