(the infamous) Gehenna IS “Negative Hardcore” (Review)
There are some records that continue to be threatened every year, so much so that they become a thing of myth like Santa Claus or compassionate Republicans. These records are spoken about in hushed whispers, the tension building to a fevered pitch. Think about the weight of that expectation, the longer time passes since the first time the record was spoken of. It would be easy for a band to buckle underneath that kind of weight. And the longer we wait, the more it grows, much like how we felt when we were faced with our first time fucking another human being, and much like that coupling most of the time it ends in a weird stain and crushing disappointment.
It had become a tradition for the last five or six years that I would end whatever "Year End" list with a mention that I was looking forward to the next year bringing (the infamous) Gehenna's Negative Hardcore. I never wanted it to seem like a joke, it truly was how I wanted to ring in each new year. Finally, last November I received confirmation that Negative Hardcore would finally be coming out, it was just taking its sweet time (this time) due to the common backup at the vinyl plant, but it had a label and a tentative release date.
I can think of two examples of records that took an eternity to see release after they were announced: Mysticum's Planet Satan, which took almost twenty years, and the most infamous (no pun intended) long delayed record, possibly of all time, Guns 'N Roses' Chinese Democracy. These are records that, before their release, were mythological in their expectations. Planet Satan was a megalithic record that defied all expectations. Chinese Democracy? It fucking sucked. Which camp does Negative Hardcore fall into?
Isn’t it fucking obvious?
There really wasn't any doubt, not when you look at their discography, which is flawless from back to front, but Negative Hardcore takes all of their aggression, every razor sharp melding of caustic hardcore with American black metal, and dials it all into the deep red. (the infamous) Gehenna say more in ten songs than most bands can say in ten years.
From the opening bombardment of “Where the Worms Do Not Die” (the infamous) Gehenna does not let up until the last note of the closer “Negative Hardcore” (which, coming in at 3:45 is the equivalent of a prog epic considering every other song barely reaches over the minute thirty mark) rings out. “Negative Hardcore” is a violent morass of jet black psychedelia covered in rusty nails and broken glass. This isn’t a “fun record” nor is it a modern “throw me the pass!” hardcore record. This is the type of shit police will find still spinning at a crime scene, the kind they'll talk about on a documentary as being the "worst scene" they ever witnessed.
(the infamous) Gehenna are basically responsible for the genesis of my writing for this site and have been a band I’ve held in the highest esteem for years now, and so, so, if we can humor my ego, my anticipation and expectations for this record were higher than most. Is it what I wanted out of one of my favorite bands? Don’t be a fucking dunce, there was never any doubt. Gehenna have embodied negative hardcore from the beginning and this record is the perfect sonic expression culminating from decades of antisocial disdain and (maybe) a few drinks along the way. You won’t see another record at the top of my list this year, of that you can be certain.
Negative Hardcore is available digitally and you can still preorder the vinyl, alongside a slew of other excellent bands, through the venerable Iron Lung Records.