False Flag is six tracks of bulldozing mayhem showcasing the best of Boddicker’s meld of thrashing grind and neck-snapping hardcore so far. Each song sharpened to a deadly edge, with attitude and vocal attack that sears. In short it’s awesome.
Put this shit on and channel some of the excruciating tension Michael and Nick felt in that hut playing Russian roulette.
While Boddicker have been extremely busy this year, even dropping four releases in June alone (albeit with a few overlapping tracks), I’ve been pretty much locked-down on False Flag. I’m enjoying some of what I hear on Crime Upheaval and the splits but the few tracks that transfer over from Flase Flag do not have the same impact as they do here. Production is a big part of it but the execution is slightly different as well.
Anyway the new material maintains a vicious stance and I’m just very pleased with what they’ve done here. A strong expression of thrashy, death-like hardcore that has a sickening crunch.
The four members sure throw a good deal of weight around. Moving past the immediately throttling guitar tone and unruly percussion which should knock you over, the fuckin vocals are noteworthy outside of the expected snarling energy.
This may be a stretch but there’s a few moments where the style he has, this disturbed, strained roars, vaguely reminds me of that scene in Alien: Resurrection where the hybrid newborn gets sucked out the Betty’s window. Pained shrieks as organs spill, though here the guy is much more hoarse and, you know, largely discernible. Like New Lows this is a strong aspect of the release even if a bit more distant in the mix.
Pretty much all the tracks here slay however there’s a couple I fuckin’ love. One of those happens to kick this cassette off, titled “Halo of Bullets”. From the opening gravelly torrent of guitar the appeal is clear. Hostility, friction and filth flying from the gripping riffs. This track has an enormous groove that torches the rest of the track following two tight sections, being further laced with hate spewed from the vocalist’s corrosive tone.
This is also one of the songs found on Crime Upheaval and their split with Parasitic Twins, and while it’s virtually the same there’s something about how this one was recorded that makes the Fasle Flag version much more satisfying. Especially the last section of the track.
That crusher is followed by “Flesh Eulogy” which brings the grind into the mix heavily for the first few moments. When vicious breakdown comes collapsing down not long after this track becomes far slower. It gets really good without overstaying. The switch is heavy and really well timed, and partly shows off their grasp of both the gritty thrashing death and chainsaw ripping sludge-like dips.
“Gun Walker” changes the pace back to thrash, erupting from catchy riff into muddy grind and back, sounding very energetic and clocking in as the shortest of the tape. There’s no pause here. Just straight whirlwind thrash.
Flip the tape and you’re hit with “Amoral Axiom”, another monster and a favorite. A chunky intro with a nice beat leads to lashing grind once more. Urgent riffs really ripping into the fast paced territory for a bit, scratchy with a crashing gallop behind it.
The final leg of this track is another brutal section, a riff with some simple but satisfyingly groovy hammer-ons sounding ugly and tangled between the chunky palm muted strikes. The vocals get mad strained here too.
Like “Halo of Bullets” it was later recorded for another record, specifically a split with Parasitic Twins.
Next is the blitz titled “High Value Target” which can also be found on their split with Late August. Thrash until death for the first rhythm, and then into a few threads of hardcore. It’s a little more upbeat than anything else so far but still appropriately dusty and sharp. There’s a slight change nearing the end where a little more chaos seeps in but it’s cut off quick.
“War Party” is the finale of this tape and like the prior track was re-recorded for their split. A slow riff sets up this song nicely, churning and tightening before circling back on itself as the roars start to peak in, along with the bass and drums. Getting thicker and louder by the half-way mark, only to drop back to the single channel build from the start. Then the last quarter is a mid-paced thrash-out to round it all out.
So this is Ritual Knife‘s first release and it’s commendable. Professionally duplicated, the tape is limited to 100 copies so if you like what you hear get on it. It’s housed nicely in flat red shell with print on both sides and a double j-card with the movie image, credits and band info as well as the AR’s and hooded figure art. No lyrics.
Fans of fast and furious thrashy shit with ugly vocals should give this a chance. I picked up my copy from Caligari Records but you can also grab it from bandcamp or Broken Limbs Recordings. I’ve been consistently putting this in rotation with the new New Lows EP, that first Black Mask demo and the new SHIT LUCK, and fuck does it flow well.