A horrible hack

The Assistant - The Scarlet Letter


Year Released: 2002
Format: 7"
Label: Alone
Reviewed by Alex Deller on Jun 13, 2007
The Assistant are a fearsome mess of seasick noise, playing contorted, grind-inflected screamo chaos that continues the trajectory You & I were on circa their final album. Anything and everything's squashed onto their side of this record, from harsh screams, tortured yells (hell, I think every member of this band sings at one point or another…), twinkly mellow parts and one riff that sounds like it could almost have been lifted from an Eyehategod song, drawn out and bludgeoning for a couple of seconds before descending into yet more spiralling insanity. Pretty damn good.

The Scarlet Letter seem to be caught somewhere between the realms of average screamo and average chuggy hardcore. Not, it has to be said, a particularly greatplace to be. Some of it's skronky and manic while other parts sound like a lo-fi Strife or something. Gruff vocals (like Leatherface meets Swiz?), prominent basslines, pick scrapes, strange back-up vocals... So far, so standard. Lyrics cover the time-honoured topics of racism, work being evil and DIY hardcore being a good thing. Again, all rather solid and standard, meaning the Scarlet Letter lose out wholesale to their buddies on the flip. Oh well.

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