Expander – Neuropunk Boostergang Review

</INITIATE.PROTOCOL: (coverART.Awesome!) Music always comes first, here at YourLastRitesCorp, Inc. (GIWR on the heavy metal stock exchange; available in units of RiffCoin only.) But we also recognize that the right image will hook us before a note is played. I’ll give you a minute to soak it all in. All set? Good, let’s continue!

</INITIATE.PROTOCOL: {DISCLAIMER-obligatory v.69.420} One cannot say Expander is just pure, agenda-free fun. Controversy has followed the band since their assembly in 2014. There are the brazen moshpit blood collections for their clone program(s). While hiding under an aegis of corporate obligation, Expander’s continued practice of harvesting DNA and cloning fans — with other, more sinister programs accused, but not (yet) confirmed — is only temporarily on hold due to the global pandemic. Perhaps even more nakedly evil, the band has released music on dead media like cassette tapes, despite the advanced technology they worship and clearly have access to. Then there’s the timeleech. (We know you have it, fellas. Surely you’ve seen how music recording and playback evolves during your timejumps. Will your next album be available on CortexImplant, or will you continue to toy with us?)

Release Date: August 21, 2020. Label: Profound Lore.
</INITIATE.PROTOCOL: ||background-exposition|| With their debut album, Endless Computer, capturing lightning on a silicon chip in 2017, pressure is high for Neuropunk Boostergang. Luca Carey returns for the aforementioned cover art, so that particular hook remains sunk. Endless Computer went straight for the throat and thrived on punk speed and crossover thrash exploration. They returned to Kurt Ballou’s GodCity Studios for Neuropunk Boostergang, and the dry guitars, huge bass, natural drums, and ragged vocals are back, baby! So are the lyrics about killing mutants in the wasteland and surviving a hellish future with homemade armor and equipment. Expander were certainly the most unserious and unusual addition to Nuclear War Now! Productions’ roster, and they likely still hold the title at their new home, Profound Lore.

</INITIATE PROTOCOL: //CRITICAL_ANALYSIS// Given that background, it’s no surprise that Neuropunk Boostergang continues right where Endless Computer left off, with speedy and sassy crossover thrash, and mechanical, punky rhythms delivered with just enough humanity to make the whole thing very inviting. Unlike the artwork, which is possible to get thoroughly lost in, the music is just face-value fun. If the first few minutes of opener “Wretched Warez” don’t grab you, the rest certainly won’t either. But if it does? Climb on board! The hypetrain always has room for you.

“Cryptosteal” starts with a nifty little synth and drum machine introduction (aka nintendocore, if you must), warming up softly before the band crashes in at full punk speed. This videogamestyleintroduction pops up on the title track as well. (Fellas, more of this, please!!) “Neuropunk Boostergang” also features a slick call and response between the guitar and bass. Expander still sounds very much like Expander, haggard and intrepid explorers of the future via the time-tested sounds of punk rock, thrash, and hardcore.

In the closer, “Quest for a Future,” the band starts with a reverbed, layered guitar over a thick, exposed bassline. With the track being their longest yet at 8:06, would they venture into space rock territory? Nope, just a fadeout after about a minute, and then Expander launches into the song properly. It feels like a tease, and a missed opportunity to merge another compatible subgenre with their crossover punkmetal killbot. But then nearing the seven-minute mark, the intro returns as an outro, and fits perfectly as a coda to a relentless 42 minutes of thrashing good times.

It is perhaps antithetical to the neuropunkrockethos to suggest accents and artistic flourishes to perfectly good riffs, but the brief synth-tros and distortion-free, melodic intro/outro of the closer are welcome balances to the hard-charging songs. They give a little extra sci-fi pizazz to the album. More bleeps and bloops, or samples of science fiction films, would elevate Expander from “lots of fun; rippin’ tunes” to “holy shit, you HAVE to hear this.” Merely one person’s opinion, of course, but get weird and lean into your themes even more, fellas.

</INITIATE.PROTOCOL: [[“bring ‘er home, boys”]] So, you wanna go fast? You wanna dress up in your tightest red shorts, crossed suspenders, thigh-high boots, and pew-pew some Megacorp drones while you cosplay Zardoz with a squirtgun? You wanna break out your old Powered Ragers (some kids are poor, fuck off) Halloween costume and make a music video on your spacephone with your friends? Expander does too, and in between nefarious timeschemes and running an artisanal, free-range boutique record label (hello, Night Rhythms), they will be playing right along with you.

New Texas Post-War Zone 9 is a dangerous place to go alone, so take Neuropunk Boostergang and install it in your biomech’s audio assault port so you can explore the wastelands with confidence and maximum volume!


Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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