The Great Lie
All Roads Lead to Where You Stand EP

Pummeling old school hardcore meets punk straight from the genre’s birthzone (Long Island, NY) is what The Great Lie offers up on their debut EP, All Roads Lead to Where You Stand.  Featuring the exclamatory holler of John Wilkes Booth’s main set of pipes Kerry Merkle, a thick rhythm section and a nasty twin guitar attack that’s unafraid of embracing speedy riff aggression that descends into ugly, sludgy downshifts; this quintet of dudes and tunes is constantly moving and shaking thanks to the power of the players.  They get their point across quickly but allow the songs enough room to breathe so memorable parts roll in your ears with the force of tank treads, leaving a helluva an impression in their wake.  Reminding me of Agnostic Front, Cause for Alarm, Black Flag, Jerry’s Kids, Unsane and Raw Radar War, this is some pissed off pain made to order.

“Boston Jugular” rips into a seething pure punk guitar blast set atop a NY style hardcore drum attack that merges with the Swedish d-beat.  Merkle’s wailing holler steamrolls into a strangulated battle cry as the midsection of the song shifts into a stop/start sludgy chug that ends up spilling over into a rumbling n’ grinding, thrash-y finale.  Scott’s bass is yet another secret weapon in the mix; being clearly audible the entire track and providing low slung burst fire throughout.  His viscous, mucous-thick tone violently shoves forward the pissed-off gang vocal trades heard during “Progression Aggression” when the guitars drop out noticeably.  Guitarists Mike and Gerry then kick back into overdrive with a rocked-out “Fast” Eddie bent before the music goes tumbling down into a gutterball of crushing, teeth-gnashed sludge.  John’s lightning fast lil’ rolls on the toms and steady beats keep this thing from unhinging, as his smacks are always right on the mark; crashing into your chin with pure brass.

One of my favorite tracks on the EP, “Lie where you stand” frequently balances knuckle-dragging, slow n’ sleazy hatred with faster adrenaline-soaked riffs that eventually culminate in some noisy lead guitar bits.  The ripping, punching vocal insanity and high-speed riff rape of “Closer to the Grave” is also a real smasher that engages in some noisy breaks that bring in a tinge of Am-Rep atmosphere that mix up the action nicely but doesn’t linger as the music erupts in raging hardcore punk fury thereafter.  Musical auras keep swapping at will until an eerie, white-noise squall of guitars appears that furthers the noise-rock visages alongside some bass grooves pumped full of hogfat.  Manic drumming keeps heavy on the taut snare fills in order to maintain plenty of catchy abrasion.  Closer “Do More, Say Less” is a classic piece of crusty hardcore punk if there ever was one, right down to its grumbling lead bass part, multi-headed vocal madness and infectious paint peeler riffs.

The Great Lie loves you up fast and leaves you wet on this EP.  Each of the 5 tracks has plenty of individual strengths that congeal into a dense and impactful whole.  The songwriting is memorable and I love the strained, pained yelling vocals from Kerry (it’s definitely towards the more extreme end of his work in JWB).  Crusty punk and hardcore nuts should certainly give this one a try…I know I dug it plenty.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
January 16th, 2019

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