Peasant – Dead Hand Review

peasant-dead-handIt has been roughly a month since Cape Town’s Peasant unleashed their much anticipated debut EP, Dead Hand. Having regrettably missed them open for Comeback Kid on their recent tour of South Africa, I hurriedly clicked online on the morning of its release to download the EP from Bandcamp and by nine o’clock I was at the office, sipping on a cup of coffee with some damn fine, blistering hardcore blaring through my headphones!

Individually, this four piece are no newcomers to the underground music scene and their past experience shows on this six track EP. Weighing in with a total time of under 9 minutes, this DIY hardcore punk outfit, play fast, passionate, well directed metallic hardcore. Their sound; seamlessly and unrepentantly bringing together darker elements of heavy music, often drawing comparisons to atmospheres more familiar to the sludge & crust genres.

The aptly titled opening track, “Prelude”, lures the listener in to the ominous sound of a guitar faintly strummed; drenched in reverb, it’s a sound reminiscent to that heard on a Doomriders release. The opening screams and slow, down-tempo riffs of “Ender” bring an abrupt end to the album intro and it’s not long before an all-out aural assault steamrolls itself into full effect. Don’t expect to hear any predictable verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structures here, from a slow sludge inspired intro, to a thrashy tempo change, “Ender” is dominated by hard hitting riffs that provide the perfect backdrop for Byron’s weighty set of vocals.

peasant-promo-2014At just fifty seven seconds long, the short, fast paced “Backslider”, re-introduces a more straight up hardcore punk sound back to the release, reaffirming and reminding the listener that aside from the variety of influences that inspire their sound, at its core Peasant is still a hardcore band.

The fading chant of “What Will Save Your Ass…” brings the slow paced guitar chugging and atmospheric drone of “Peasant” to a close before it’s back to a more traditional hardcore sound on one of my favourite tracks on the EP, “Done”. The title track, “Dead Hand”, brings an end to the 6 track EP. The down-tempo chugging of guitar riffs, underlying drone and hardcore vocal style is somewhat reminiscent of the slower material from Oathbreaker. In fact, much of this EP had me drawing comparisons to some of my personal favourite bands currently signed to Deathwishinc. I am by no means taking anything away from this release by drawing any comparisons, I believe Peasant have set a precedent with the release of Dead Hand and are a refreshing addition to an already encouraging and emerging local underground scene.

Watch Peasant‘s video for “Ender” below:

Dead Hand is available for download on Peasant‘s Bandcamp page.
Peasant “Dead Hand ” vinyl available from 1 July.