Animosity – Shut It Down Review

Originally written by Erik Thomas

Just when I think hardcore is getting stale, and I’m waiting for that one album that will officially declare hardcore a dead genre, along comes San Francisco’s Animosity with an album that instead strengthens the genre’s clutch on me. A 22-minute assault of ear bleeding proportions, Animosity take all the frustration, despair, and anger of hardcore and mix it in a blender with thrash, grindcore, and death metal. The overall sound is a lot like a less chaotic The Red Chord, with the same hardcore machismo pulsing through the vicious riffing and scattershot percussion.

Shut it Down also features one of the more brutal productions I’ve heard in any extreme genre, with a bottom end and caustic guitar tone that made me thankful of the album’s brevity. I will admit, though, that the snare sounds a little high in the mix. While not as gutturally melodic as, say, Nehemiah or as utterly devastating as Blood Has Been Shed, Animosity treads a fine line between the finite metalcore-isms that have flooded the scene with an utterly monstrous focus on angular, mountainous riffs. Coupled with the subterranean growls that accompany the expected emo scream, the overall effect is one that many short haired hardcore kids may find too harsh. I expect many expectant ninja moshers have been reduced to standing in awe at an Animosity show expecting a predictable stompfest. Truth be told, Animosity would fit on any bill from punk all the way to grindcore, and leave the scene with all attendees more than blown away.

After the brief intro, Animosity lurch into their flagship song, the lengthy (2:54-the albums second longest cut) “Grey Skies”, a mammoth song that encapsulates the ferocious melody of East Coast hardcore and coats it with some West Coast groove. Shut it Down has no ballads and no touchy-feely acoustics, so there is little respite from the weight of Animosity’s sound. Just absorb the punishing death metal blows of “Terminal Existence”, “Fake Blood”, and “Anti-Kingdom”, take some Excedrin, and move on.

I’d love to sit here and embellish the sound that assails me as I cringe through each jugular ripping chord, but the fact of the matter is that this shit is savage. No matter what genre it gets forcefully squeezed into, no amount of my written bullshit conveys the weight of this album. The only possible weakness I can see with this is that death metal heads and grindcore freaks will disregard it as just another hardcore ‘mosh fest’, when the reality is that this album destroys a lot of the second rate death metal that’s out there right now. Also, the songs all sound similar in their ferocity, with none of the tracks really leaping out as standouts or classic – its all one long 22 minute bludgeoning attack. Take that as a weakness or strength.

Do yourself a favor: lower your blinders, find this album, and enjoy its extremity for what it is. Oh yeah, did I mention that the band is only in their teens? Fuck me; this lot is going to make waves as the hardcore equivalent of Decapitated.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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