Stiff Meds Tales From the Slab LP

I wanted to like this album. I really, really did. I love the album art, and I’m a sucker for any hardcore band with sub-minute-long songs. Before I start with my griping, I will say that the drummer on this album is incredible. Fast and tight as hell. I had to do a little research to make sure it wasn’t a drum machine—I really wish they were louder in the mix. There is absolutely no low end on this album. Every song sounds weak. The bass and drums are tinny, and the treble is turned up way too loud. In fact, the bass is so low in the mix that I sometimes can’t even tell that it’s there. The singer is just not built for this style of music. They drench his vocals in some weird compression effect that, again, eliminates the low end and makes it sound way too airy. I assume it’s supposed to make his voice raw and grittier, but it only makes it sound like he’s trying to clear his throat constantly. During “Torn Out,” the tenth track on the album, there’s a portion where he speaks the lyrics, and it honestly sounds better than his attempt to do the tough-guy vocals. Very paint-by-numbers hardcore here. Nothing feels fresh, and they really over do it with the samples, placing them directly in the middle of the song where it causes a giant clusterfuck, sounding sloppy and disjointed. STIFF MEDS has the talent. I just don’t know if it’s conducive to this type of songwriting.