The Monday Grind: Heal Your Monday Blues With HEALER
It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with Healer’s self-titled EP.
Well, two things we’re back on: Nerve Altar and powerviolence. If you read the column, you know I’ve gushed about bands like Chepang and Stimulant. Hell, the latter even made my best of 2017 list. And though Nerve Altar doesn’t churn out records en masse, they put out great stuff. Today’s feature came out in 2015, and if something sticks with me for more than a few months in the ADHD nature of the internet, that’s saying something.
Healer hails out of Buffalo, NY and plays powerviolence like you’d expect it: erratic and punk-driven with plenty of grindy bits. It’s twelve tracks in ten-minutes; powerviolence the way it’s meant to be played.
There was a point in the mid-2000s where the question of what powerviolence was was suddenly pouring into the hardcore community. A brief time where people were rediscovering Spazz, Infest, No Comment, Crossed Out, etc. and trying to find a fucking .zip of that goddamn Neanderthal release. But there was also a brief question of whether bands like Ceremony and Trash Talk were powerviolence bands (they’re not). I can finally say though, that an actual powerviolence band reminds me of Ceremony. At least vocally, Healer has that going on. There are plenty of sections on here that sound like Violence, Violence-era Ross Farrar. A lengthy anecdote to get to this bit but whatever. Vocally, the album is gruff and great.
However, what this album truly is, is a solid piece of grinding punk. There’s no revolution here, nothing that’s about to turn powerviolence on its head, it’s just an incredibly solid composition. The opener “Fundamentalists” lays down the, well, fundamentals. It’s blasting as hell, breaks unevenly, and stays punk throughout. It sets a perfect tone for the rest of the record.
Meanwhile, tracks like “Paid Vacation” are longer compositions. Something that goes through the motions, yeah, but it lingers on sections a little longer. It gives the album focus early on, which works to the advantage of the record’s flow. “Stand in Line” follows it and solidifies the notion while still remaining erratic.
Look, Healer take no prisoners and no bullshit. The EP is brief but satisfying as all hell. The riffage on here is killer. This is the kind of record that you just take as a whole and run with it a few times. If you like powerviolence, this release is right up your alley. And hey, the band finished their full-length in November of last year so hopefully we’ll see some action soon.