Lewd Acts - Black Eye Blues
Deathwish Inc.
Modern Hardcore/Punk
11 songs (28:41)
Release year: 0
Deathwish Inc.
Reviewed by Phil

How can Lewd Acts be this full of angst and anger when they’re from sunny San Diego, California? San Diego has perfect weather, gorgeous women, tons of beaches and quick access to Tijuana. So where’s the rub? Really, let’s lighten up, guys. Go spend the day at the beach, knock back some cold Pabst Blue Ribbons and feel better in the morning. No? Well then, record an 11 song punk/hardcore album with Kurt Ballou of Converge engineering instead…see if I care.

After a string of seven inches, Lewd Acts is releasing Black Eye Blues on Deathwish Inc., and the full-length album is an intense affair. After a brooding intro track, Wide Black Eyes kicks in at full speed and never slows down. Lewd Act’s drummer seems quite comfortable carrying a song while playing at the speed of light. The next song, Nightcrawlers, starts off just as chaotic. The high, frantic guitar riff puts the listener on edge, but the drums again end up stealing the spotlight. Even though the song moves at 90 miles a minute, the drummer manages to squeeze in a million fills and breakdowns. Up next are two companion tracks – You Don’t Need Me and I Don’t Need You. You Don’t Need Me is 42 seconds of fury where the low, pounding riff and the busy drumming serve as back up for the gruff vocals. I Don’t Need You is the first song on the album to break the three minute mark. For the first minute, it sticks with Lewd Act’s crushing speed attack; then the song comes to a halt. A simple, muted riff comes in solo, and soon the bass joins along with some cymbal taps. Next, it’s solo guitar until the two-minute mark; then the drums come in and turn the riff into a full band breakdown. The vocalist spits a nasty diatribe over the heavy, mid-paced riff for the final 90 seconds of the song.

Penmanship Sailed is an ambitious track that is over five minutes long, but it isn’t a droner. Instead, the band uses the length to add a number of interesting tempo changes. The song starts with an unrelenting riff/drums combo. After 29 seconds, the pace slows and the kick drum absolutely takes over the song. The guitars, bass and vocals build on the drum part to create an emotional atmosphere for a full minute. At the minute and a half mark, the song goes down to guitar and bass again. The section builds, and the drums and vocals kick back in at 2:07. The drumbeat lets up at 2:40, and the guitar rides an occasional open chord. The song is back down to basics for a few seconds before the drums change the tempo again. The toms pound solo, and the guitars eventually join in. Finally, all instruments are present for a full on, minute long hardcore finale.

Rock Gut Charlie is a blur of a track with more fast drumming and speedy riffs. My Father Was a Locomotive is a broody, mid-paced number. The music takes a back seat to the growled vocals until the final minute of the song. Album closer Nowhere To Go is an instrumental for the first four minutes. The guitar line simmers and grows into a powerful riff. The song builds and the vocals are added. The deliberate tempo and barked vocals give the song a weight that the other songs on the album seem to be missing.

Black Eye Blues is an interesting album, but I’m not sure how it will stand up to repeat listening. The majority of the songs on the album are sound alike tracks, and Converge would probably be the easiest comparison. It’s especially frustrating because Penmanship Sailed and Nowhere To Go show Lewd Acts can create complex hardcore mini-movements that are unique and challenging. I just wish there were more examples of this style on the album.

Killing Songs :
Penmanship Sailed, Nowhere To Go
Phil quoted 67 / 100
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