The Australian hardcore kings return.
After a career spanning almost 25 years, encompassing countless national tours and festival slots, four full-length albums, numerous splits, EP’s and compilations, it’s hard to imagine an Australian band that exists today that’s as prolific, well-loved and influential as Victoria’s Mindsnare. Their potent mix of hardcore-punk urgency and destructive, metallic thrash has made them one of the most often imitated but never replicated bands in Australian hardcore. But, as with any band pushing through their third decade of existence, life often gets in the way.
The last we heard from Mindsnare was 2012’s split EP with legendary crossover outfit Ringworm, while the band’s most recent LP was 2007’s ‘Disturb The Hive’. Suffice to say, dedicated fans have been patiently waiting for new material to surface. However, when drummer Gordy Forman (who also pulls double duty as skinsman for Aussie punk legends Frenzal Rhomb) made an ill-fated decision to stagedive in 2015 and ended up snapping his humerus “in half like a drumstick,” things were looking bleak.
Fast forward to 2017, and the wait is finally over.
The long-promised new material from Mindsnare is here, in the form of the ‘Into Infinity’ & ‘The Holy Bull Rides Fast’ 7-Inches. Rather than releasing an in-between, ‘while-you-wait’ EP with four-five new tracks, Mindsnare has opted for two individual 7-Inches, each release including two new tracks and one cover track. All six tracks were recorded in the same session and share the same credentials: engineered by Jason Fuller at Goat Sound, mixed by Kurt Ballou at God City Studios, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and produced by Jason Fuller and guitarist Beltsy.
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For the originals, ‘Into Infinity’ charges right in with a thick, chunky lead riff and the throat-shredding vocal theatrics of indomitable front-man Matt Maunder. There’s brief, flirtatious moments of heaviness, with rumbling bass from Nigel Melder and Forman’s marching drums, before the track ends with the lead riff cycling back in for a neat finish. Panic-stricken chords open up the harrowing ‘Nowhere To Run,’ as Maunder speaks of a lone wolf back on the hunt, screaming wildly “Nowhere to run! Nowhere to turn! Nowhere to run!” The tempo of the track prowls and stalks its way through cavernous, gang vocal chants as it races to the bridge, just as the tension ramps up the pace with a cavalcade of drums.
Beltsy’s blitzkrieg guitar attack on ‘The Holy Bull Rides Fast’ is undeniably vicious, as Gorman’s breakneck blast beats repeatedly smash the listener into submission. Maunder and Beltsy trade primal vocals and squealing feedback, as the song hurls itself into a hardcore-punk midsection and accelerates wildly to the finale. ‘Not A Lot Gets Forgiven’ slides into the track list with dissonant guitar madness, demonic growls and gut-wrenching screams; a combination that’s rife for windmills, circle pits and the type of mosh pit carnage that’s become Mindsnare’s signature. All before crisp guitar leads, divebombs and a messy beatdown arrive to seal the deal.
As for the covers, the selections highlight two unique aspects of Mindsnare’s sound and provide clues to their collective influences.
On ‘Into Infinity,’ the group cover Motörhead’s underrated classic ‘Mean Machine’ from 1986’s ‘Orgasmatron’. As far as iconic Motörhead tracks go, it’s certainly an eccentric choice, but as soon as the playful lead riff begins – backed up by smashed cymbals and punctured bass – it’s clear that we’re in for a total rock ‘n’ roll banger! Beltsy nails the solo in the bridge and Maunder’s reverb-soaked vocals make a more than fitting replacement for Lemmy (RIP). Turning their attention to German thrash legends Destruction on ‘The Holy Bull Rides Fast,’ the Melbourne gents rip into a blistering rendition of ‘Mad Butcher’ from 1984’s ‘Sentence Of Death’. It’s classic 80’s thrash and it fits Mindsnare like a glove, even when they throw in some trademark beatdown action in the mid-section. As Gorman keeps a fit tempo, Beltsy burns his fingers to charred stumps on the fretboard, making for an exhilarating, three-minute tornado of thrash.
In an article published by Rest Assured zine for Mindsnare’s twentieth anniversary in 2013, Sean Lipsett (Toe To Toe, Downtime, AVO) talked about the band’s impact on the scene, acknowledging that “Mindsnare changed the face of Australian hardcore. So many bands have tried to copy them but they did it first and did it better. They still do. Modern hardcore can bore the shit out of me, but a Mindsnare show still gets my heart pumping.” In the same article, Greg Appleby (Against) calls Mindsnare “the most important band in Australian hardcore” before doubling down and proclaiming: “all hail the true kings of Australian hardcore.”
With accolades like these (and many, many more), there really isn’t anything else to say about this release. Simply put, Mindsnare are sick, they have new tracks out, so you should buy them and listen to them. Fingers crossed for that new LP before 2022!
The ‘Into Infinity’ & ‘The Holy Bull Rides Fast’ 7-inches are available now through Resist Records, and you can purchase both releases here.