Release: Live at Whole Lotta Love
Date of release: 20/06/2018
Genre: Hardcore punk
Reviewer: Brock Ford
For Fans Of: Sick of it All, H20, Gorilla Biscuits, 50 Lions,
A live album can go one of either two ways:
it displays a band with a lot of energy, truly doing what they love.
it shows a band who can’t stay in time and seem they are just going through the motions.
While a lot of bands choose to bring out live albums, I would say I have seen more falling into the second category than the first. The live album is a hard one to crack.
California punk rockers Strung Out released a live album in 2003, titled "Live in a Dive". Prior to this I had no real fascination with the band. They just seemed like any other California punk band to me. But this record changed how I saw them. It offered me an insight into the passion of the band, and I never looked back, loving all their releases since.
Undamaged are a relative new 4-piece outfit doing their thang down in Melbourne town. The first release from the hardcore punkers is a live recording from Whole Lotta Love.
Now, while I can’t say this release had the same effect on me as "Live in a Dive", I think it offers a little of what the band has to offer, and showcases some raw talent.
Comprising 4 heart-felt, energetic tracks, and coming in at just over 6 minutes, the release is full of energy. 'What A Mess' kicks things off, and while it takes a few seconds for things to come together, the deep guitar tones mould well with fast kicks and high hats, creating a classic hardcore sound. The energy is obvious, but things just needed to be a little tighter to bring it all together.
Second track 'Depression', kicks off where the opening track ends - if anything a little too much like the opening track (I actually had to check to see it was the second track). Once things get going though, and the backing vocals come in, I begin to sense something I can get behind. It’s the backing vox and gang vocals that really make this track, and the melodies here sit as a highlight on the release for me. I feel this is the sound they should pursue.
The 40 second 'Obligate Parasite' is a definitely step in the right direction, and while it is the shortest track, I feel it is the best track. Rampant drumming and semi-melodic screaming combine to compact a fast-paced, vigorous track.
'The Mysterious Circumstances Around the Death of Little Stevie' is the final track, which kicks off with a very similar riff to the opening track. Again, it comes out of it though, and the sound hits hard after that, but I feel more diversity, and a mix of guitar tones (I know, that goes against the whole hardcore-extreme-overdrive thing, but this ain’t 1985 New York), would offer a more holistic sound. Having said that, the chorus to this track definitely flows the best, with guitar and vox complementing each other like two buds, 6 beers in, around a backyard outdoor setting.
In the whole, this is a great introduction to a band obviously containing a great deal of energy and an agenda to match. Some fine tuning on the timing and technical side would make them a force to be reckoned with.
Would You Go And See Them (WYGAST): 3/5
Personal Enjoyment: 5.5/10