Mindsnare - Unholy Rush - (8.5/10)
Published on June 12, 2017
Following the release of 2007’s Disturb The Hive, Australian hardcore legends, Mindsnare seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. They cropped up again, briefly, in 2011, to release the Your Soul Belongs To Us… split with Ringworm; but, other than that, it’s been more-or-less radio silence. Then, back at the end of March, the band dropped their brand new album, Unholy Rush—ostensibly out of nowhere.
1 Unfortunately, the inexplicably popular Northlane decided to pull the exact same stunt on the same day: surprise releasing their new album Mesmer; and the advent of Unholy Rush was all but swallowed up in their countrymen’s more prolific wake. Yet, while Mesmer proved an uninspiring release that even seems to have underwhelmed that band’s formidable fanbase, Unholy Rush sees Mindsnare back at the top of their game; just as confronting and abrasive as ever.
This sixth full-length release is a more than worthy addition to Mindsnare’s virtually-faultless legacy. With their previous release, 2007’s Disturb The Hive, the Aussie bruisers had pushed the crossover element of their sound to the point where they where they’d pretty much just become a straight-up thrash metal band. Unholy Rush maintains that record’s sense of speed and urgency. However, overall it sits more comfortably between the frantic hardcore of 2001’s Hanged Choked Wrists Slit and the pulverizing metallic charge of 2004’s The Death. Although Mindsnare are yet to put their name to anything that might be considered sub-par, these two records are generally considered to be the band’s strongest offerings, and represent the peak of their hardcore heritage and the more metallic terrains they would delve into in the later (now middle) period of their career. Throwing back to this period in the band’s history seems to have been a conscious decision, according to their guitarist and main songwriter “Beltsy” (ex-Blood Duster); and by cementing the record’s sound between these two pivotal releases means that Unholy Rush gets to pull from the best of both eras.
Wile the material on The Death and Disturb The Hive came off more like metal songs being played by a hardcore band, Unholy Rush flips the tables by well and truly sounding like a bunch of metal musicians playing hardcore. While their characteristic hardcore rawness remains firmly intact here, there’s an added sense of darkness and a more oppressive aggression that gives this album a distinctly more metallic edge than Mindsnare have boasted in the past. This is a record that has far more to do with crusty underground speed metal (i.e. stuff Shawn likes) than it does to any aggravated punk rock anthems. …which may be true of the hardcore scene as a whole by this point. Probably the biggest movement to emerge within the hardcore during Mindsnare’s absence was the advent of “Entombed-core” and, while the band seem to have been largely unaffected by this trend, there’s no denying the similarity of the opening riff of “Into Infinity” to that of Black Breath’s “Home of The Grave”—from what still remains the best example of that particular sub-sub-genre, 2012’s Sentenced To Life. The album was also mixed (although not produced) by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, who produced that record and has essentially the defacto king of this scene by now. Yet, outside of this one nod to contemporary trends, Unholy Rush remains decidedly old-school in its rabid, metallic approach.
Everything about Unholy Rush screams “throwback”. Yet there is nothing tired or nostalgic about it. Despite its overtly morbid imagery, every single moment of this album is brimming with vitality. This latest offering not prove to be as essential a release as The Death or Hanged Choked Wrists Slit, or even 1996’s Credulity, have proven themselves to be, but it’s a hell of a ride and irrefutably proves that Mindsnare haven’t lost an ounce of pace during their absence.
*Apologies it has taken me so long to bring this record to your attention. However, it apparently just got a second vinyl pressing over at the Resist Records store, or you can pick up a digital copy of Unholy Rush along with the rest of their substantial discography (sans their elusive 1995 debut, Under Fire) for a bargain over at their Bandcamp page.
1 Technically they did release two “teaser” EPs, Into Infinity and Mad Butcher, earlier in the month, but only like two or three people ever knew about those, so…