Published Jan 22, 2010Dangers' 2006 release, Anger, was a forthright blast of acrimony encapsulated in traditionally abrasive hardcore. However, where that formula worked just fine, the Southern Californians ― Graf Orlock/Ghostlimb guitarist Justin Smith and long-time colleagues Al Brown (vocals), Tim Culver (bass) and drummer Alex McCleod ― have still managed to improve and augment it exponentially on sophomore effort Messy, Isn't It? Allowing more complexities and deeper, hidden aspects to infiltrate, while still keeping virtually all of the album's 17 songs and two non-music tracks succinct/biting, much of the release displays a finer sense of attention to detail, even if much of the details are blazing by at blinding speeds. Factoring in attenuated bits of well-buried thrash, a greater degree of dynamics and bolder structural diversions into their inherently ravenous beats, jarring gaps and scorching vocals replete with multiple references to other bands and songs, tracks range from the epic ferocity of "I'll Clap When I'm Impressed" through to a sense of patient deconstruction via the half-time harmonic dissolution of "Bottom Of The 9th Ward" and many points in between. Most importantly though, with age has come the wisdom of bitterness. Once again, while Anger was forged in a sense of combative youthfulness, Messy, Isn't It? is rife with passionate, frothing SoCal hardcore fuelled by cynical, cognizant viciousness.
Messy, Isn't It? seems no less pointed or heated that Anger but it's got a lot more snarkiness.
Smith: This record sounds a lot different. It has more depth to it because the first one was straight-ahead, pissed-off hardcore. With this one, we call it "sarcasm," but it has a lot more dynamics. It comes at you as more than just a middle finger like a lot of other bands. It has lots of angles, so it's "snarky," as you put it.
You don't mind that description?
No, I think it's awesome.
The belligerence gives you a lot of new dimensions.
My favourite bands are so sarcastic you don't know they're making fun of you. Some time down the road, you realize what they're singing about and think you're an idiot for not getting it. I like angry stuff, but a little element of sarcasm helps a bit.
Do you feel that because you generally work with the same group of people, but in different configurations, it offers comfort coupled with creativity?
For sure; we've been playing together in various bands for so long, when you add in a new person or put someone in a different situation, new stuff comes out. It can sound like a completely different entity all to itself. It's still in the same types of genres but it's completely new for us. It keeps it interesting.
So that's what brought out the refined aggression here?
Yeah, and it's always interesting to see what will happen when someone else takes over. This has been Al's band since the start, really. The music is always pretty different but it's always the same people.
How did you mange to become so musically vast with this record, compared to the last one? There are longer songs with some interesting dynamic shifts.
There's just over 30 minutes of music, which is a lot for us, given the minute-and-a-half songs we're used to. There are some tunes that are actual song-length on here. Those ones are, well, I'm not much of a fan of technical, chaotic music. I find it lacks, without any Judeo-Christian context, soul. The songs we like on the record have the instruments clicking together quickly but there are others that show some evolution. They draw back a bit but still have weird things about them that make them entertaining to people who really pay attention. You'll hear things you haven't before each time you listen. That's important for me on albums. I love those tiny things that come out over time. It makes an album more worthwhile.
You cover both ends of the spectrum: fast and heavy, while also being a bit more exploratory.
Yeah, some riffs almost feel like Nirvana, but others are thrashy, with a Southern ending. It makes it more interesting than, say, a 35-minute black metal record: one speed and no dynamics. (Vitriol)