Review: Vasoconstriction – Occupation (self-released, Jan 13)

The opening track to Vasoconstriction’s new Occupation EP, “Dixie Cups,” deserves recognition purely for how much of a bait and switch it is. Up until around the one minute mark, I wasn’t even close to sold. Grind is a genre that’s unfortunately dominated by cliches, and the opening with a misanthropic spoken word sample into a tremolo guitar intro is definitely one of them. But the New Jersey three piece throws expectations into the incinerator with the furious d-beat riff that kicks in halfway through the track, immediately putting the immense energy and aggression they bring to the table on display. That penchant for sudden, unexpected changes in dynamics crops up many other times throughout Occupation, from the free chords that disrupt the palm-muted chugging on “Springer” (and the three-second blast outro on the same track) to the unapologetic crashing-through of “Brittle Bodies,” possibly the EP’s fastest and most unrelenting cut. Occupation is a refreshing and passionate studio debut from Vasoconstriction, with as much speed and screams as a kid could ask for.