April 19, 2012

Album Review: DNF's Hurt EP

DNF have been around just as long as two of its band members' more well-known projects (that being Sam Bosson's Trash Talk and Elliott Babin's Touché Amoré,) but it's taken the Cali-based powerviolence act several years and one brief hiatus to re-focus their efforts and gut out a place for DNF alone inside the hardcore arena. Six years after forming, Bosson and Babin alongside Chad Kawashima and Kyle Takahashi have finally found the time in between busy road lives and recording responsibilities to give DNF its own loud soap box to stand on with the release of their debut EP Hurt.

When the band came together in 2006, not only were they operating under the not-so-serious video game-homaging longhand of Duke Nukem Forever, but Babin and Elliott probably weren't aware of just how far Touché Amoré and Trash Talk would lead them over the years. It always adds a layer of credibility to a band when it features members of other mentionable acts, but in the realm of hardcore, DNF share little overlap with either members' side pieces, making DNF that much more noteworthy. It's ridiculously overdue that they've never formally released any material in the six years together until Hurt, and any reputation generated for the SoCal grind makers amid their peers has arrived solely from delivering intense, physical live shows throughout the west coast.

Perhaps that's also to their favor, as Hurt contains DNF's raw energy inside 8 short, explosive tracks for a world who has yet to witness it first hand. Imagining a hardcore band with a Trash Talk member that assaults the stereo with more impact than the Sacramento quintet can seems like an implausible task, but feeding off hyper-speed tempos and ear-ringing rattle leaves little room to contemplate the notion over the 12 minute listen. Aside from the sludgy tumbler "Homesick", Hurt lays heavily into a carnal display of audio dismemberment that by end, leaves you a bit fucked in the head. It's an awesome, dizzying feeling if you're looking to for a quick hardcore bender, but unlike local punk contemporaries Joyce Manor who are using brevity to their benefit, you can't help but wonder how much more lasting of an impression DNF's powerviolence panache could hold if Hurt had been given a bit more room to breathe. Given its members' other time consuming endeavors, try not to hold it against DNF too much.

DNF's Hurt EP is available now on High Anxiety / No Idea Records.

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