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CD Review: Hostility – Set in Stone

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By: Navjot Kaur Sobti

Let’s be forthright. When I think “Hostility,” I think: Pantera. Hardcore. Pounding fists, and uncontrollable fits of vulgar, unrestrained rage. So, when I cranked up California-based Hostility’s Set in Stone, I got a nice taste of the old, stop-pull-kick back into gear power-packed aggression that we’d be damned to be denied from a band with such a promising appellation.

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From track one, “Leader of the Rejects,” the seeming breakdown that opens the song has us thrown into the circle of flailing riffs, drum-beats pounding fists into the dirt, and boiling drops of vitriolic bass-lines that get vomit and adrenaline flipping in your gut. Amidst the assault of ruthless instruments, you get a little break with the pockets of sweet, hell-sent sweeps and drop-tuned solos that got the hairs crawling on the back of my neck (“Hard Luck” is right, giving you a newfound appreciation for 10 second solo-type injections – amidst drums that threaten to swallow the song whole). “Aces and Eights” showcases the band’s commitment to the modern hardcore sound, which would work well for a live-show, but is one aspect that treads the line of cliché, so too the pretty un-experimental vocals that accompany a set of repeated riffs within the same track.

Just when I feared the repeated hardcore riff would emerge as a staple of the album, I got a few dosages of undeniable technicality in such tracks as the “Baton Symphony” and “My Terms.” And though this is a genre I usually find immature and uninspiring, Hostility is a good wake-up call; if you could infuse the subtly rock and roll, demonized flavors of the South (a la Vulgar Display of Power) with a fuck-you unpredictability of each chord progression, you got yourself a perfect concoction and testament to the originality and fury that gave birth to the black and blue, un-sedated animal that is hardcore: reincarnated by and within this 11-track record that’s sure to be Set in Stone.

For more on Hostility, visit their MySpace page

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