The Third Kind – Man Vs Earth Review

[Artwork drawn by Rich Muller and painted by Frankie Accardi]

Release date: June 26, 2020. Label: Independent.
Metal, punk and hardcore were clearly crossing lines long before the term “crossover” became a common part of our vernacular. For example, it wasn’t at all uncommon to hear kids blaring albums like Vicious Circle (Zero Boys), Morbid Tales, Black Flag’s My War, and Kill ‘Em All at the same skate park or impromptu garage party back in 1984, and that particular time period in general offered up a near endless (seriously, I attempted to tally them) amount of albums that emphasized some level of punk / metal / hardcore cross-pollination to great effect. But when you see the term “crossover” thrown on the table, particularly these days, you can bet the farm that what’s largely getting pushed settles into a camp that owes most everything to what germinated from D.R.I., Agnostic Front, and the Cro-Mags into Leeway, Sick of It All, Ringworm et al. In other words, “don’t you fucking disrespect me” hardcore combined with an aggressive, occasionally melodic form of thrash that’s fairly clean. This is not a complaint, mind you—modern(ish, in the case of the third example) bands such as Power Trip, Foreseen, and Iron Age all stand at the ready to provide a fitting soundtrack to those (often literally) fighting in the streets against oppression of most any sort, but theirs is a cleaner and crisper form of crossover compared to what gets delivered via New York City’s The Third Kind.

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

Posted by Captain

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Handsome & Interesting Man; Just get evil all the time.

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