Gunnar Rapido / Akroid Gritty Dangles

There are far too few hardcore bands in Toronto, ON taking a more frantic, unconventional approach to songwriting, although thankfully a handful of the better artists are banding together and blessing the community with fine releases such as this one. Akroid are coming hot off the release of their Distress EP, and Gunnar Rapido prove to be a more than adequate match for one of Toronto's best up-and-coming acts. While both bands share a stripped-down, noise rock-inspired aesthetic, they take noticeably different approaches to accomplishing their musical goals. Gunnar Rapido feature no guitars and a distinctive dual-bass jangle, taking a few cues from classic screamo, blending a low-fi crunch with sparse, choppy groove and passionately delivered, throaty vocals. Akroid's sound comes closer to the Jesus Lizard or Young Widows, contains guitar and is a little less minimal. Touches of early Blood Brothers are invoked vocally without crossing into bratty annoyance, complementing the math-y stagger of their rhythms and raw crispness of their production. Both bands also take a stab at covering each other's material, illustrating the similarities in their songwriting approaches, if not delivery. Along with Vilipend, Titan and Starring Janet Leigh, Gunnar Rapido and Akroid seem poised to jumpstart a new era of quality and productivity in Southern Ontario. (Gorgeous Industries)