Sometimes relocating to California brings out a musician’s sunny side, but that’s not the case with Stephen McBean. Black Mountain/Pink Mountaintops lead man’s newest project is the go-for-broke L.A.-based Obliterations, expert at firing out angry, seething, dark hardcore punk à la Black Flag.
McBean fans have been anticipating their debut full-length album for over a year. It’s nothing like the Vancouver native’s usual heavy but laid-back psych rock fare. Nor is his laconic drawl ever on offer. Instead, Sam James Velde from L.A. hard rockers Night Horse and Bluebird spits out harsh vocals, ripping his throat apart on all 13 songs.
Bleach-evoking grunge can be heard in the thick and low-slung bass lines, courtesy of Austin Barber (Saviours, Travelling Eyelids), while Flo Schanze (Dudeman, Sonofold) cranks out super-tight rapid-fire rhythms. Tunes are fast, brief and vicious, though the band claims to be as inspired by Black Sabbath as Black Flag, an influence primarily heard in McBean’s titanic guitar riffage.
Worth the wait.
Top track: Ad Nauseam