[sic] Magazine

White Dog – Sydney Limits

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Much smarter than their smash-and-grab hardcore may initially appear, White Dog are nevertheless very angry. Angry at the establishment and downright apoplectic at Sydney’s famously high cost of living and at subsequently having to eke out theirs on the fringes of society, an energy that undoubtedly spawned their debut album’s clever title (a subversion, of course, of the traditional “city limits”, as well as hiding a healthy dose of double meaning – for limits, read aspirations).

Recorded in just one day, Sydney Limits slots seamlessly into the annals of perfect punk. Sixteen tracks of no-messing hardcore that fly by in less than thirty minutes and led by the shoutiest of rasping frontmen, it’s an album that can’t help but be informed by the old-school classics like Black Flag, but it has the variety not to rely on outright mimicry too. Though they’re often quickly destroyed by full-throttle tempos, listen carefully and you’ll hear, for example, brief concessions to mathy complexity, nuanced near-metal and marauding drum parts, as well as razor-sharp passages of guitar that cut clearly through the maelstrom.

Menacing wind-ups lead to inevitable minute-long blasts of skate thrash. “Beyond Repair” revels in its dilapidation, holding back at times before going in for the kill. Sludgy chug is deployed at intervals throughout for the same effect. Discordant feedback and tortured guitar fight for the attention during the intense “Turnip”, while a throaty bassline introduces “Pound For Pound”, entrance music for some wiry, punch-drunk streetfighter. “Hard For You” might be about life’s struggles; it might be about boners.

The super-tight “Black & White”, however, has driving tunnel-vision that even an incoming asteroid wouldn’t cause to deviate. Finally, boneheaded album stand-out “No Good”, coincidentally also its longest statement at 156 seconds, is quick-out-of-the-traps crossover thrash à la Zig Zags that, along with the rest of the lean run-time, helps Sydney Limits whip itself into such a frenzy of fists as to threaten to spin off the turntable altogether. Lock it down and crank it loud.

Best track: “No Good”

~Sydney Limits is released January 20th 2017 via Agitated. The LP version is limited to 500 copies, is cut at 45 rpm and comes with a download.~

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