Punk music splintered off into so many different categories and sub-genres in the 1980s that now, in 2006, it seems difficult to think of them as all coming from anywhere near the same place. Hardcore was one of those new genres. For many American teenagers, hardcore had the same explosive in-your-face attitude that British punk had in the late ’70s. The music was faster, louder and, eventually, tougher. Until, that is, the 1990s, when bands began taking cues from both hardcore and a fledgling sound called “emo” (short for “emotional hardcore” and in no way connected with what is currently called “emo”). To generalize, band members got skinnier, put their shirts back on and tightened up those baggy jeans; the songs became shorter and shriller; and those outcasts who would have in the ’70s grown a mohawk or in the ’80s shaved their heads instead grew out shaggy bowl cuts and covered themselves in tattoos.
It is out of this scene that Charles Bronson — the band, not the actor — was born. That band was a fast, screaming mess of tall, skinny guys with a lot to say (which you would only know if you read the liner notes). A decade or so after Charles Bronson broke up, vocalist Mark McCoy emerged with another band, Das Oath. The formula is pretty much the same, though it’s a bit more musical. Instead of a few chords banged out insanely fast, there are some progressions and changes. Still, only one song on this album breaks the two-minute mark. (Closer “Mouldering” is listed at ten minutes long, but it’s really just three and a half minutes of music with six and a half minutes of silence.) Make no mistake: This is a hardcore album. And those who like it loud, fast and screaming are in for a fifteen-minute treat.