[sic] Magazine

Banshee – Caw!

Originally self-released last year and now re-released via Cardinal Fuzz, Caw! is the debut LP from many-limbed Boston psych-punk band Banshee and it’s a metallic ball of fists that draws from early thrash and supercharged hard-rock just as often as it does from apoplectic proto-punk strut. Featuring members from a bunch of local singles-only hardcore bands, it’s an appropriately intense whirlwind of an album captured in questionable fidelity straight after it clawed its way through some grimy basement floor. Unsatisfied with the ensuing racket, these Banshee sadists then set about rock’s twitching corpse with pure discordance and bad-tripping freak-out.

Opening with a hail Mary of blown-out noise, a flick-knife growl of guitar gouges its way through the chaos as the bass drops likes anvils, this psych-punk hoot slaying all before it as the walls come down and the falling windows are stamped into dust. On the heavy-lidded “Dance Of The Dead”, a 60s jangle loses it way and stumbles into this droning opium den at the precise moment the Hell’s Angels started cracking heads at Altamont, a wah frenzy capturing the absolute panic and violence to a T. A steely jawed mega-riff then does the damage on the deliciously dark “Devil’s Eyes”, the revved-up snarl of a vocal coming straight from Beelzebub himself. Sabbath-style bluster quickly becomes primitive psych pummelling, the kick-ass jam stealthily storming your stereo and setting your speakers ablaze as if it were a siege before closing out with ritual chant and hand rattles because why not?!

Slowing to a sludge at this point, spacey scorches blast “Inside The Walls” skywards right on cue for three-minute ripper “Lookin’ Good”, which lands like The Stooges and MC5 duking it out to board Hawkwind’s interstellar module as Armageddon’s infernos rage behind them. Doling out its own brand of street justice to close, “Cop Caller” updates the practice of hanging, drawing and quartering to first smash the face with brute-force sonics and then melt it clean off with incandescent riffs, bludgeoning some more by way of extra-heavy Sabbath punishment, slicing the whole thing into four with a coup de grace built out of the sharpest solos this side of the Charles river.

Yes, Caw! sounds like one of those demos that’s passed around like legend for a couple of decades before being rediscovered by the in-crowd and which then everyone loses their shit over much later on (just like that Simply Saucer LP that In The Red did the honours with recently – in fact it’s a surprise this record isn’t being re-released by In The Red, but we digress). Get on board early this time around (even if you’re already a year late).

Best track: “Lookin’ Good”

~Caw! is out now via Cardinal Fuzz.~