Hardcore. Fred Durst’s arrogant glare below his perfectly tilted hat and above his fisted, tattooed covered hands. Or Korn with their Adidas covered bodies and catchy woe-is-me lyrics. Then there’s Linkin Park, the band created by a scheming record company with a formula for profit.
This is what “hardcore” has become for the masses. F-Minus, birthed in Huntington Beach, attempt to wipe out this perception by following in the steps of such renowned hardcore acts as Agnostic Front.
F- Minus live up to their reputation for fast, split-second songs on Wake Up Screaming with their 15-song record lasting a whole 36 minutes. They spare the long, repeating chorus lines for an intense spitting against societal values and the down and out life. They even manage to stay away from a commercialized sound that could have resulted from recording with Steve Albini of Nirvana and the Pixies fame.
There is one noticeably unusual quality in F-Minus, the shared spotlight between singers Brad Logan and Erica Daking. There are few woman singers in the hardcore world, which is usually a good thing. A woman’s voice often cannot carry the intensity of a man’s or deepen to even a remotely similar level. This does not apply to Daking, who belts out enough of a deep, rough ferocity that it is hard to differentiate between the two voices.
The first four tracks drown out into a simple, repetitive beat of life-sucks songs. It isn’t until the fifth song, “Mother of Suffering,” that the feeling and personality of F-Minus strongly appears. The song is a steady build-up of pounding beats to rile you against our machine-drone society with, “Lay our children’s mind to waste. And begin with our own sanity. Avoid looking into our hearts, to ever really think or feel.”
“Mother of Suffering” and “The Mind” alternate between the two singers, giving a depth only possible from the alternating tones of a woman and man’s voice. They also break from the fast-paced sounds to a slower, bass-filled throbbing for a quick breather.
Songs range from the critique of society in “Brand Loyalty” with “You don’t have a thought we haven’t placed in your head” to the anger-induced “Controversy (world of shit)” with “and the world is full of shit, they love to throw you in it and watch you drown.”
With most of the seemingly 2-second songs consisting of a similar fast, simple, yet in-your-face beat, MTV hardcore fans should beware.