In 2017, NOT FOR THE WEAK had the pleasure of releasing our first piece of wax with the release of LETHAL MEANS debut EP, “CONSTANT FEAR”. Three years later and in the midst of the world’s destruction, LETHAL is back to drop their atomic follow up and NFTW’s first LP release. “ZERO SUM GAME” features eight tracks of top-shelf Scandinavian D-Beat that pays heavy respects to Anti Cimex whilst still maintaining a hard USHC edge. Powerful bass and drums, blazing leads, and primal vocals belted over flawlessly aggressive and catchy guitar hooks. Polished off with a Master brought to you by the one and only Will Killingsworth, this is by far the bands best material to date and well worth the wait!
Our take: Not for the Weak Records put out a 7” from Virginia Beach’s Lethal Means back in 2017, and now here’s the debut full-length. I’m not sure I listened to the 7”, and maybe if I had this LP might not have blindsided me so hard. To me, it sounds like Zero Sum Game splits the difference between the Cro-Mags’ Age of Quarrel and bruising d-beat in the later Anti-Cimex / Japanese hardcore mold. On paper, that sounds like something I wouldn’t like, but that’s because most bands who get compared to the Cro-Mags borrow that band’s mid-paced and mosh parts; Lethal Means, however, sound like the Cro-Mags to me because they have a similar galloping rhythm rooted in the early Bad Brains material. When you combine that with Japanese hardcore-style blistering solos (see the title track, “Means to an End,” or the Death Side-esque closer “Life Cannot Be Owned”) and the gritty production of Cimex-influenced crust, you have a record that is powerful, exciting, and original. The tougher vibes here might scare off some dyed in the wool crusties, but man… I think this record is a top-to-bottom ripper. If you enjoyed last year’s full-length from Richmond’s Destruct, Zero Sum Game is a must-listen.