Being able to slip into a band’s headspace simply by absorbing their name is something that is a pretty cool thing. You hear the name and immediately get an idea of what’s in front of you, which makes the ride a little more fun because you’re already equipped with some surface knowledge.
There’s no way to hear the name Lifetime Shitlist and not have an instant idea of what’s ahead. The Baltimore-based band has been making a name for themselves the past three years playing shows and flattening audiences (they’re regular visitors to my hometown of Pittsburgh), and their interesting blend of hardcore and doom makes you instantly feel like you’re on the receiving end of a venomous rant. You get steamrolled by their sound, the hair on your arms gets burned off by their intensity, and the vocals make it feel like you’re being ridiculed in front of people, with your face growing beat red in embarrassment. Or instead, maybe you identify with the anger and frustration you’re hearing and realize it’s the same thing going on inside of you.
This is a really interesting band as their sound is as beholden to Black Flag and Poison Idea (who they cover on this album) as it is to Saint Vitus, Motorhead, and High on Fire on their new full-length album “Pneumaticon.” The quartet—vocalist Dave Pennington, guitarist “Metal” Matt Crocco, bassist Ryan Larkin, and drummer/vocalist Ryan Glaiser— are awash in filth and create a sound that is dirty and hefty but also punk-fueled and organically violent. The 10 tracks on this record will give newcomers to Lifetime Shitlist’s sound a nice dose of their blistering power, and it will cement what those of us have known about them for years in that they’re one of the more intriguing, smothering bands on the East Coast.
“Flag Draped Coffins” rips open with a furious blast, gruff vocals spilling out, and a trudging, menacing pace. Pennington’s barks are gruff and mean, later evolving into spirited shouts, and the track thrashes to a finish. “Burned at the Stake” is a sludgy, doomy assault, with the group heading right into the mud, with more howled vocals and everyone tossing fuel on the fire. The back end has a killer solo that sounds classic metal-influenced. “Blood Money” is a quick one, galloping all over, feeling a lot like it was inspired by Matt Pike’s work, as guitars burn and fade. “Horse Drawn” has drums driving hard, riffs bringing thunder, and harsh vocals that sound like accusations. Melodies hide and slip underneath all the chaos, while massive guitars bring the track to an end. “Psychic Vampires” is complete demolition, with a punk-style tirade unleashed and an otherwise mangling good time being had by all.
“Unhinged” is based on a meaty riff, with gurgly howls, music catching fire and burning fast, and more darkened doom moments that add the perfect morbid edge. “Give It Up” is their take on the Poison Idea original, with them delivering this gem with complete, utter violence. “Lip Service Rituals” piles on the mucky guitars, as the music scathes and the playing brings even more treachery to the proceedings. It’s a cool instrumental that gives Pennington a breath and proves the band has some neat tricks up their sleeves. “Negative Polarity” is bashed heavily from the start, with the drums rumbling, the band hitting a thrashy pace, and the vocals being emitted by savage yelp. Sludge meets hardcore later on, with sticky riffs arriving and the band having face-smashing fun. “Another Charade” ends the record with sickening blasts, deep growls that collect dirt, intense chugging, and a fast pace that kicks up dust, leaves you choking, and takes off without a trace.
Lifetime Shitlist’s new album is a clubbing, fierce record, making “Pneumaticon” one you need to check out if you’re into both hardcore and doom, or even just one of those. Their sound is caked with soot, they hit you with one body blow after another, and their reign of horror is only just beginning. If you catch these guys live, watch your ass.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lifetime-Shitlist/153625221342098
To buy the album, go here: https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/pneumaticon
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords