Millsted redefines punk hardcore with “Harlem”

"Harlem" by hardcore-punk outfit Millsted

“Harlem” by hardcore-punk outfit Millsted

In the 2012 online video “Kill the Sound: The Millsted Reunion,” the noise-hardcore-punk band talks about the struggles they’ve faced as a band, such as personal turmoil and issues between members. Many bands, when times get rough, would easily call it a day, or  splinter off into separate groups and move on.

Brooklyn-ites Millsted, with their eight-song LP “Harlem,” shows they’re back, still together, and ready to kill it some more.

Millsted, who call themselves “The Larry David of Hardcore” started in 2003 and released two albums, “Umm….Yea” in 2008 and “The Great Adventures of the Gold Red Rocket” in 2009.

Vocalist Kevin Uffre is at full throttle on “Harlem.” His manic-depressive shredding is a perfect bedfellow for Pete Belloli’s drums, which drill tightly through each song. Uffre comes down from the clouds once in a while to bring more mind-bending lyrics, while bassist Samuel Fernandez keeps it all steady. The work from guitarists Chrisopher Carambot and Robert Dume is actually a lot more varied than what you would expect from a hardcore punk band.

Most of the songs on “Harlem” are blissfully brief; having more would just be overkill for the power that explodes from each song. Millsted realizes that delicate but all-important distinction.

The exception is “Seafoam Lovers.” At an unheard-of 9 minutes for a punk song, it’s actually more of a quiet pyschedelic odyssey that was born from some dark underworld.

Millsted’s songs sometimes brings out the wackiness of Dead Kennedys, such as on “Televangelist,” where Uffre sounds eerily and unabashedly like Jello Biafra.

The single “Coyote,” with its anthem bark, is one of the harder songs from “Harlem,” and belies the melodic variety that is just underneath.

There’s a lot of depth to “Harlem,” so much so that it could almost qualify as a crossover hardcore punk/progressive/psychedelic album.

Millsted proves they’re hardcore pioneers who happily refuse to stay boxed in to one pure genre — this may be the key to their not-so-secret success.

Upcoming shows are Aug. 10 and Sept. 17 at The Grand Victory in Brooklyn.

Listen to Millsted’s “Harlem” on Bandcamp or Soundcloud.

Dig it or Ditch it: Dig it, for those who like unconventional hardcore.

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Filed under Hardcore punk, Punk-rock, Review

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