Review: Setsuko – The Shackles of Birth (Dog Knights Productions, Mar 6)

I had a strange experience with The Shackles of Birth today. Towards the end of my first listen, the realization of how awesome it really is sort of crept up on me, a pretty uncommon thing in very in-your-face, immediate music like this. I was confused, until I realized that my delayed acknowledgment of its badassery was due to my brain automatically filing it away as a hardcore classic that I listen to regularly, rather than a new album I just discovered. Yes, the record is that good; it’s short, furious, and to-the-point, the gritty yet dynamic mix bowling you over like a freight train. The Shackles of Birth has everything I could possibly ask for, with vocals that sound more like tortured howls than screams, powerful drums that pound away blasts and d-beats alike, and dissonant, angular guitar interplay that stops things from even coming close to boring. It’s been a long time since I’ve been just plain excited about an album, but this one is seriously an accomplishment. And I guess my brain was mostly right; I will definitely be listening to this regularly, and it is most certainly classic material. You can pick up the physical LP here.

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