Artist: Honest Crooks
Album: Suffer – EP
You will know what it is to hurt—more purely and passionately than you have ever known pain before. With every fresh cut and every dehisced desmosome of your skin—every ounce of blood spilled and every syllable screamed and stretched out over countless seconds—you will hurt more and more. It will build atop itself, towering tall enough to block out the sun and obfuscate everything you can perceive.
And then you will feel nothing.
That is what it is to listen to the latest EP by Australian ten-ton terrors, Honest Crooks. With their tongue-in-cheek name, one might expect something poppy, catchy and fluffy—but that’s far from what awaits the listener once they hit the play button (if the grim album art and dark EP title don’t give it away first). What they get is pain—seven tracks of shrill, soul-smothering terror. Suffer riffs, slams, crushes and chugs its way into the listener’s skull like a series of slugs fired one after another, cracking open bone until the only thing left is shattered bone and splattered cranial pulp. Honest Crooks might have a fun name, but their music is 100% fury in the most invigorating and eviscerating way imaginable.
Suffer is a ludicrous display of pure, unstoppable aggression, even where it takes time to envelope the listener in a brooding, dark and grim atmosphere. Honest Crooks combing elements of slam-tinted heavy hardcore with deathcore and death metal both to create a musical atmosphere that ranges in sharper-than-a-katana to explosive, immense and all-encompassing with little desire for tact or subtlety. Percussionist Jesse Green finds himself at the core of Suffer, inflicting pain with every explosive snare clap on “Force Fed” or the unendingly aggressive number “Imminent Threat.” The group build themselves around Green’s dynamic playing, shifting between lacerating blast beats and blistering, stupidly heavy breakdowns, inducing prolapse after prolapse with fills that quit at the drop of a hat to devolve into devastating heaviness. “Force Fed,” in this respect, is a standout track, as Green works with bassist Lewy Glass to make the climactic sequence of spine-splintering slams hit like a caravan of eighteen wheel semis. This continues when one listens to “Imminent Threat” or “Bone Crusher,” which focus not only on Glass’ booming, bodacious bass and Green’s grisly percussion, but on the riffwork from guitarists Brodie Graham and Calum Johnstone. Graham and Johnstone, while not technically what one would call masters of shred, are indubitably masters of heavy. Where all of the aforementioned tracks do an adept job at displaying their ruthless proclivities, “Denouement” is a more subtle and eerie number that sees the duo working with Glass to create more atmosphere, raising hairs on the back of the listener’s neck. The group are a finely tuned machine designed to do nothing but destroy—and they’re God damned good at it.
With grisly, grotesque instrumentation aplenty, Honest Crooks have no issue striking fear and panic into the listener’s heart with ferocious leads and looming, crushing breakdowns—but frontman Jerry Chard is the very voice of all Hell itself, roaring in harmonious, infernal unison throughout Suffer, and he demands to be heard. “False Gods,” even with its impressive vocal features, is an excellent display of Chard’s crushing talented—but it doesn’t stop there. Other hits, even the album opener, see Chard’s low, gritty register at its top form, stopping at nothing to inflict pain and punishment with every syllable he spits—and features like those on “False Gods” only make an excellent vocal dynamic better. “Force Fed” sees Chard at a slightly more varied and versatile point in his tenure throughout his work with Honest Crooks, adding more range and depth to his belted bellows and burly growls—however his tone remains almost uniformly crushing, keeping the listener pinched under the band’s collective thumb. Chard’s vocal element complements the band’s love of all things heavy, combining styles that fit the slam-tinted segments as well as they add tangible ferocity to the quick, pummeling and circle-pit-inciting segments—especially those throughout the back half of “Force Fed.”
Suffer is a long-awaited release from this group of Aussie annihilators—and with the technical tidbits hidden on “Force Fed” and the overwhelming aggression that defines Honest Crooks’ mentality, it cerainly doesn’t disappoint. Atmosphere and annihilation come together as one on Suffer to grab a handful of quarters and take a swing at the listener’s jaw—whether you get out of the way or take it full force is up to you, but if you choose to Suffer, your mindset will surely be rewarded.
For Fans Of: No Zodiac, Bodysnatcher, Justice for the Damned
By: Connor Welsh