Austerity Program Terra Nova

Living up to their chosen monikers, New York City’s the Austerity Program are certainly spare — a guitar and bass combo — and their four-song debut EP certainly covers "new ground”: experimental hardcore with a drum machine. They even named their seven- to nine-minute tracks with just numbers instead of pithy song titles like Botch or Coalesce. Problem is the music is too droning with virtually no memorable hooks, as if the Melvins went techno. The sparse, pubescent vocals in the opener "Song 8” don’t seem confident enough to warrant guitarist Justin Foley being a front-man, as he wavers too much to be taken seriously as a hardcore voice. The metronomic beat in "Song 4” teases throughout the tune, wanting to kick in but never stepping out of its programmed corral. "Song 11” begins with King Crimson-esque chord repetition but builds to a noisy, Fudge Tunnel-ing frenzy. Like an embryonic Theory Of Ruin, Terra Nova does an awful lot in a very confined space, though this is sadly the first un-cool Hydra Head release in quite a while. (Hydra Head)