G.U.N. G.U.N. LP

When I first heard the demo from Nashville’s G.U.N. a few years ago, it was a “whoa” moment, the kind that compels immediate second and third listens. It sounded much more like something I’d catch on an ’80s skate video than a tape that came out in 2019, and the band officially had my attention. So, when I saw their LP was suddenly up for pre-order earlier this year, I pulled the trigger without hesitation. As it turns out, that sharp little four-song demo did little to prepare me for the misanthropic masterpiece that would eventually show up at my house. Wrapped in the gritty cartoon artwork of Reed Kavanah, the album is a refreshing blast of nastiness in the often too-careful climate of today. Brutish with the blunt force of classic BLACK FLAG, the music is audible frustration, loaded with riffs out the ass, and paired with a savage and satisfying dark honesty. The lyrics paint grim and realistic pictures, revealing the primitive thoughts and urges of the hidden sociopath inside all of us and at times teetering dangerously close to BRAINBOMBS levels of depravity. On songs like “Sadistfaction” and the punishing “Dangerous Game,” they’re really not pulling any punches, holding a mirror up to the inherent perversion and violence of our “Sick, Sad World.” If it all gets a little too thick, you can zoom out and disregard the particulars of the content, and it’s still some freakishly gripping punk noise. This is ripping, hook-heavy hardcore laced with an unabashed ugliness, and it’s an addictive combination, a promising debut, and an obvious pick for best of 2023 lists.