Bringing a well-realized, multi-faceted and skillfully made hardcore punk album that disregards traditional norms while still paying homage to the genre’s origins is not an easy task, but Negative Blast have surely managed to do just that with their debut LP, Echo Planet. Today, we’re stoked to give you their newest track “Bad Trip”, along with an extensive presentation of their work and full track by track commentary, to tease your senses and get you stoked for the whole thing, premiering on February 10th through Quiet Panic Records!
“’Pulverizing punk ripper’ is indeed a very good way of describing this new song…” —BrooklynVegan
The members’ musical pedigree runs the gamut from 2000s hardcore stalwarts Lewd Acts and Hour of the Wolf to innovative post-punk act [CON•TACT], with the recent addition of Mario Rubalcaba throwing Hot Snakes, Earthless, OFF!, and more into an already impressive list of bona fides.
Negative Blast are as precise as they are left of center. With a knack for mid-tempo dirge that evokes My War-era Black Flag or Pissed Jeans and a darkly atmospheric melodic sensibility that calls to mind contemporary acts such as Gel, Negative Blast are at once of the moment and outside of it entirely. Where other bands might eschew melody, Negative Blast employ it as a foil to their naked aggression, resulting in a sonic push and pull that keeps every second of Echo Planet’s sub-20 minute runtime exciting and engaging.
Hardcore is a thing that is perpetually in motion against itself— steeped in the tradition it seeks to uproot.
In less capable hands, that duality can result in either a boring rehash, or art for its own sake that loses the plot. But on Echo Planet, Negative Blast have masterfully shaped those contradictions into something that is as happy to make you think as it is to punch you in the teeth, and it excels equally at both.
Echo Planet was engineered and mixed by the band’s own Alex Jacobelli at Sunsick Studios, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and will be released on Quiet Panic Records on February 10th, 2023.
“We have a few more shows in the works.” – says the band. “Possibly one in TJ these next months and definitely working on some more all ages things around mid-city SD and South San Diego. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears clean for any new show announcements coming up. We generally keep things up to date on our IG (@negativeblastsd) so peep it, give us a follow, and tell all your dorky friends to do the same. Always open to recommendations for the best Cali burritos around town, so don’t hesitate to shoot a message our way so we can see if you’re telling the truth.”
Catch the band on February 9 in San Diego, CA at The Casbah, with Unsane, Deaf Club
Asked about the title of the album, Negative Blasts admit that the world is so full of noise of all kinds right now.
“War, violence, injustice, division, hatred… things that are so outside of us but at the same time are the very things that humans are more than capable of unleashing.” – they say.
“This constant ringing in the ears can be so desensitizing and isolating that people can find themselves living within inner worlds of their own as a sense of protection. The album was an expression of the frustrations of living in such a world that’s seemingly so advanced yet repetitious of the things we still have yet to learn from. “Echo Planet” was a fitting description for the chaos of the world we live in, and for the worlds we sometimes create in our own minds.”
Expounding more on the lyrical content of this wel condensed wild ride, the band says that the lyrics for the album touch upon different scenarios of being in our own heads while dealing with the challenges of our modern world.
“They’re pissed off, vulgar, energetically intense, and emotionally dense.” – comments the band’s vocalist Rain. “I say the word “fuck” a lot of times throughout the whole album. The loss of a friendship, the loss of sanity while in isolation, the injustice against marginalized people that still exists in the systems currently in place, fear, death and sickness from the virus that changed everything, the overload of social media, the greed of corporate interest and warmongering of national leaders..these are just a few of the topics screamed about in these tunes.”
“In spite of the bleak picture that the lyrical content in the album spells out, we still held out a sense of hope and drive to survive and find it within ourselves to fight another day.
The band sat down with us to give us an interesting track by track rundown below!
The first track in the album is a slow burn of a song called “BOY BLUES.” It opens up with feedback and some snarling vocals and bursts in on some sludgy groove with the anthemic chorus “DON’T WASTE MY TIME. JUST WALK ON BY” The basslines in this one are infectious and provide so much spine to make this song one of the heaviest in the album.
Next up is “TRAUMA BOND” about the hypnotic hold that world leaders have on the populace..the greed that drives them and the exploitation of the common person in the name of the “common good.” How everyday life is lived under some sort of hypnotic spell while the people in power drop bombs on people thousands of miles away who are trying to live their everyday lives in peace. It’s a tight bouncy gallop that begins with a drumroll leading into some awesome spidery guitar work by Alex J and a breakdown that goes hard as fuck.
“CARBON COPY” is a straightforward punk/pub-rock style anthem about staying true to yourself and pushing on in spite of criticisms from people whose lives are based on manufactured ideas. It pays tribute to older punk styles like the Ramones and Stiff Little Fingers. This was a lot of fun to write and work on. We took lots of influences from different places, from Le Tigre, to 90s Hip-Hop like Wu Tang in terms of the vocal delivery.
“BAD TRIP” was the working title of the song that eventually became its actual title. It’s relentless, psychotic and unhinged, and I wrote most of the lyrics leading up to and while I was hallucinating, fatigued, fucked up and paranoid with COVID. It’s a song essentially about going batshit crazy, frustrated, and sick for weeks and not being able to do anything about it…a bad fucking trip.
The next side opens up with the title track “ECHO PLANET.” A driving mid-tempo drum beat sets the stage for some chordal attack from the guitars. The steady tempo and driving nature of the song is a perfect juxtaposition against the vocals screaming about a world falling the fuck apart while we fall apart in our own heads getting ready for work the next day.
“NO TRUST” is a nihilistic 80s hardcore inspired rocker that has a little bit more melody but doesn’t at all manage to lose out on its intensity. It’s a song about losing faith and trust in humanity and wanting to find our own way of living. Lots of gnarly drum fills in this one and no signs of slowdown. Perfect song to listen to while cutting someone off on the 805 freeway while driving to your next Tinder date.
“THE KING IN VANCOUVER” is a song showing love to the friends we make and lose while on our own life paths. To look back on both the good times and bad with a sense of bittersweet fondness and to know that these times were what made us who we are and what drives us to survive. The guitar parts are different than most of the album, with a jangly ringiness that hearkens to an emotive nostalgia.
The album closes out with “EGGHEAD,” with a 60’s garage-rock style riff with a heavy four-on-the-floor rhythm that gives it its hardcore sensibility. It was funny when we were writing this song because Pat vehemently insisted on keeping the middle bridge/breakdown part while Alex wasn’t feeling it and wanted to scrap it. We spent some time nerding out on it and made a few tweaks to the delivery so Pat got his way. You happy now Pat?