Electric Chair: Act of Aggression 12” (Iron Lung Records) After three phenomenal 7”s, we have the debut 12” from Washington’s Electric Chair. Act of Aggression was recorded nearly two years ago and cassette copies started making the rounds during Electric Chair’s European tour last summer, so many of you won’t be hearing Act of Aggression for the first time when you get the vinyl in your hands. As for me, I took a sneak peek when the record made its way to YouTube a while back, but I’ve been saving myself for the wax to arrive. Now that it’s here, I’ve been playing it over and over, soaking in all this record offers. And even though it’s only about fifteen minutes long, it offers quite a lot! On the first few listens, Act of Aggression reminded me of the first Blood Pressure album in how it takes a band that is already very intense and turns every knob to ten until it feels like there isn’t a cubic centimeter of space remaining. Electric Chair is just wailing on this record, every instrument and the vocals in full-bore assault mode. The record channels Electric Chair’s live sets, which feel like chaotic explosions of energy where anything can happen, where a human body or some other random object might slam into you from any direction. It’s overwhelming at first, and it took a few listens for my ear to make sense of it, but you can listen to what any instrument is doing on any given second of Act of Aggression and find that it is creative, exciting, and awesome. A song like “Security Camera” is almost prog in its complexity, but it’s hardcore punk in its power, precision, and intensity. There’s so much going on that listening can feel like wandering around in the woods blindfolded, and the lack of distinct peaks and valleys contributes to the chaotic feeling… Act of Aggression just keeps coming at you, even ending with a fade-out, which makes it seem like after the engineer stopped recording, the band just kept raging into infinity. Even the vocals are subsumed in the melee… it sounds like they have some sort of effect on them and they’re low in the mix, like the band is playing in a sweaty basement with a shitty PA. It sounds good, but it means you have to look at the insert to get any appreciation for the lyrics, which are excellent, a Darby Crash-esque thoughtful and poetic look at a fucked up world. It’s a great record from a band that feels like it’s at the height of its powers. Given the recording is kind of old and the band has continued to gig since then, I imagine it’s not the last Electric Chair record, but how are they going to top this? That’s a question for another day though, because right now Act of Aggression rules my turntable.