[Artwork drawn by Rich Muller and painted by Frankie Accardi]
Man vs Earth is a slightly noisier, more gristly interpretation of crossover that doesn’t neglect the spirit of the gnarlier, punkier bands such as English Dogs (Forward Into Battle) and Raw Power (Screams from the Gutter), plus a healthy pinch of street metal on par with Zoetrope and Warfare (UK). So if you’ve ever found yourself hoping for a traditional NYC hardcore beatdown that also happens to collide head-on with the raw-as-dog-balls scrape of early Voivod, The Third Kind is available and willing to throw that brick into your face.
A song like “Sole Mission” makes it clear the band isn’t exactly in the game to invent new pathways; these are songs that could have fallen directly in line with the racket delivered by the likes of Nuclear Assault, Prong (don’t sneer—Force Fed is a crossover classic), and Killing Time via In-Effect records circa 1988. Vocalist / bassist Rich Muller—who’s no stranger to lending his talents to a slew of NY underground bands, including the like-minded Vise Massacre—“sings” as if he’s choking on radioactive waste, and he scalds his neck from start to finish on this record. Moreover, his bass play sounds appropriately tough and ropy, which becomes even more recognizable through a decent pair of headphones, and certainly upon hitting that classic NYHC breakout approximately 1:30 into the album’s title track.
The riffs throughout Man vs Earth deliver a familiar crunch that would fit just as comfortably on an old Cryptic Slaughter record as they would on the most recent All Out War release, which stands to reason, given the fact that Taras Apuzzo, one of the latter band’s principle guitarists, is responsible for putting The Third Kind together, and this band makes no effort to hide their appreciation for the roots of crossover. Again, this venture is a bit more raw and discordant compared to Apuzzo’s mainstay, which, when paired with Muller’s crude bark and the album’s distinct Sci-fi / doomsday themes, gives the full picture an explicit Voivod side effect.
Also to be commended—and it admittedly feels a bit odd to highlight this as an advantage—is the fact that Man vs Earth does everything it needs to do in an extremely tidy 23 minutes. Get in, throw the fuck down, get out: This has been the ideal punk / hardcore / crossover technique since day one, and it’s an extremely effective method when the fists, kicks and brawling roll steady like one of those classic cartoon clouds of violence. Is The Third Kind’s formula perfectly suited for you? If you’ve read this far, chances are pretty good you’ve already made that determination.
The Third Kind:
• Mike Gordon – guitar
• Brian Shonen – drums
• Taras Apuzzo – guitar
• Rich Muller – bass / vocals