Like a pissed-off, mistreated dog, Travis Reilly yelps, "This is how downward spirals start!" Then he growls, "This is a convoluted attempt to find some source of hope." Later, he barks, "This is the best and worst things will ever get." Reilly's Long Island-based hardcore outfit, This Is Hell, seems to know a whole lot about what "this" is. In this case, it's hurtling, relentless rock that manages to be simultaneously nihilistic, idealistic and existentialist. While Rick Jimenez and Joe Osolin pit their guitars against each other in mortal combat, drummer Dan Bourke and bassist Jeff Tiu pummel their instruments with unwavering determination. Leaving behind a spattered trail of blood and tears that would make Glenn Danzig proud, the New York quintet rides roughshod over Sick of It All's hallowed turf with fire-forged riffs, punk couldn't-care-less-ness and an oddly disconsolate fury. Too tough for emo, too sensitive for punk, this is thematically complex, musically ferocious hardcore. In other words, This Is Hell.
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