The Drop

Supporting Caste
G7 Welcoming Committee

One of the best bands that Fat Wreck Chords had on its roster in the mid-1990s was Propagandhi. The Canadian trio was one of my first introductions to a punk band that didn’t focus solely on girls and broken hearts. Instead, these guys were pissed off about almost everything. They hated the government, they were pro-animal rights and anti-religion. It was like a dream come true. With the new album Supporting Caste, the band proves they are still full of piss and vinegar. They were never big on the typical second-wave punk sound made famous by NOFX and Lagwagon, and this release only goes to show they’ve been immersed in far more ’80s thrash metal than anything else. Songs such as “Dear Coach’s Corner” and “Human(e) Meat” find a nice balance between the two styles, while “This is Your Life” sounds like it could be an outtake from a long-lost Slayer demo. Propagandhi still has the talent to hang with the big boys and will be welcomed with open arms any time they decide they’re angry enough to make a new record.

Pulling Teeth
Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions

When Converge front man Jacob Bannon started Deathwish Inc., he intended for it to be a little boutique label to help smaller bands gain recognition. Years later, it’s become the gold standard of independent record labels and home to some of the best bands in the metal-hardcore genre. Pulling Teeth’s new five-track EP, Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions, has its roots firmly planted in the doom-metal sound that Integrity pioneered for Victory Records (back when Victory had dignity), but still manage to mix in just enough of their own sound to make them stand apart from the dozens of other copycat acts going around. “Bloodwolves” stands out as the perfect example with its rapid-fire brutality and face-melting guitar solos. The second half of the song slows down and leads into quiet doom, showing that no matter what genre Pulling Teeth wants to play, they do it just right.

Scale the Summit
Carving Desert Canyons
Prosthetic Records

Instrumental metal bands have started popping up with increasing frequency during the past couple of years, but they’re not as welcome as they think. Scale the Summit plays a more up-tempo style and it fits more in the pop/metal/screamo genre than anything else. But where instrumental bands such as Pelican excel, they fill the moments in each song so well that the vocals are never missed or expected. Scale the Summit does the exact opposite. The way they structure the songs makes the listener feel that a whiny, sing-songy voice is just after the next measure8212;only it never comes. The guys in the band are talented musicians and they have a knack for writing catchy riffs, but those riffs are overplayed and the songs sound too busy. It’s as if the band is trying to make up for the fact that there is no vocalist8212;and that shouldn’t be the point of an instrumental band.