Isotope: Midnight Soldier 7" (new)

Rust and Machine Records


Many delays on this one as always with my luck, but the debut single by Oakland's ISOTOPE is finally seeing the light of day. At least it was very much worth the wait, ISOTOPE has already completed 3 tours of US covering the West and East coasts as well as hitting parts of Canada with nothing but a demo tape, yet they have already created quite a commotion and their first time on vinyl represents them at their best. Blasting, hard hitting, gutteral "burning spirits" style hardcore punk with heavy nods to Japanese greats such as DEATH SIDE and BASTARD, yet with their own nasty spin on the genre of course. this record is LOUD. Recorded by Phil Hasha and mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door with cover art by the great Hal Rotter. Members are some Oakland vets that already played in some of your favorite bands and this one is no exception.

Our take: Debut 2-song single from this band out of Oakland, California, and between them and Zero I think they might finally be eroding my prejudice against American bands playing in the burning spirits style. By and large non-Japanese bands who have attempted this style in the past (a big exception being Finland's Selfish) just sound kind of cheesy and/or just don't get it. That's hardly the case with Isotope though. It's a particularly classy move that they don't ape the most instantly identifiable aspect of the Burning Spirits sound: those blazing, Chelsea-esque guitar leads. While there are some fancy little guitar fills here and there on this record, there aren't any real face-melting leads. Instead, Isotope focus their attention on the very complex arrangements, which really ebb and flow and give both of these songs the epic feel that bands like Death Side and Judgement nailed so hard. As for the vocals, they're of the throat-shredding variety and remind me more than a little bit of Warhead in their prime. Top-notch stuff, here.
Tags: 10s burning spirits d-beat hardcore punk recommended