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Negligent Genocide – Flattening The Curve Award winner

Negligent Genocide
Flattening The Curve
by Mark Machlay at 22 September 2020, 7:06 AM

Here comes the perfect example of what musicians can accomplish during this global pandemic in the 21st century. NEGLIGENT GENOCIDE gathered a group of like-minded buddies – via Zoom and other social-distanced video chat programs – recorded parts individually, collaborated on ideas remotely, and spliced an album together all digitally through the wide-reaching power of the internet. Formed in the spring of 2020 right at the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, old friends that had played in Chicago-area bands for the last 20 years decided to collaborate on something and use the isolation to their benefit. The members were all sent home from their day jobs under the infamous “stay at home” orders beginning in March. Channeling all the clear anger and frustration at the current Trump administration’s questionable response to the virus, the band created “Flattening the Curve”, the often repeated phrase for the reason for our isolation, to save the country from a ballooning number of infections.

Clearly fans of the old school speed/thrash masters METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, and ANTHRAX, this little EP packs quite the punch similar to those old school thrashers. “TV-19” plays as an intro track to the madness with various news soundbites against a pulsing bass drum with occasional rolls and dissonant, ominous guitars squealing in the distance. Then comes the title track “Flattening the Curve” showing their influences strongly with an ANTHRAX – like chanting chorus with subtle but perfectly executed vocal harmonies and blisteringly fast guitar solos. I even think I hear some progressive tendencies – though this may be coincidental – but the furious drum roll intro seems to borrow heavily from the “bag of tricks” described by Mike Portnoy of progressive metallers DREAM THEATER fame. “Incubation” is a more mid-tempo chuggy track but adds gallops to the riffs to keep up the momentum with a soaring intro solo ending on a beautiful dissonance juxtaposed with a more melodic outro solo over a wildly fast riff. “Global Social Distancing” is once again a slower chugging song with triplets interspliced into the riffage. It acts as a bit of anthem building to a nice dual guitar solo. Final track “Midnight Quaratine” continues the trend of starting slow but builds and ebbs in a rhythmically complex way into and out of the chorus. We’re treated to another excellent solo, this time with all the stops pulled out – literally there is a bit of a false stop – before fading out of the exquisite nightmare this group has created.

Designed by drummer Mark Miller, the tongue-in-cheek nature of the cover art belies the beauty of this little EP. When first looking at it, it seems to be styled more in a hardcore punk or even grindcore-like grotesque reality – one part comedic, one part seriously topical. The music is far from that and is a tight, fast, monumentally creative endeavor. The subtle vocal doubling, crushing bass guitar and complex drumming along with the breakneck guitar work is so satisfying to hear in this god-awful terrible year. The only downside to it would be how saturated the guitars are, often muffling unique lyrics making it rather difficult to understand what is being sung. Hopefully, at some point, the band could start playing live because while recordings are great, these songs seem perfectly suited to a live setting and if they ever open up the local Chicago bar scene again, you would be doing yourself a favor to personally take a trip to see these guys live, it’s obvious they would bring so much energy.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. TV-19
2. Flattening the Curve
3. Incubation
4. Global Social Distancing
5. Midnight Quarantine
Lineup:
Edward Nudd – Vocals, Guitars
Bryan Bienias – Guitars, Bass
Mark Miller – Drums
Matt Schneider – Guitars
Record Label: Independent
     


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