In many respects Cornwall is an idyllic place: miles of rugged coastline, beautiful beaches and sleepy fishing villages populated in the summer by pasty-munching tourists. It has a culture and vibe that sets it apart from the rest of England and can, in some respects, feel like a foreign country. Despite all of this, it isn’t impervious of the ravages of the last couple of years and, as war now rages in Ukraine, there is still an undercurrent of rage that can’t be ignored and this is no better typified than local hardcore legends Rash Decision.
It has been 4 years since their last album Karoshi hit the streets, an almost unthinkable length of time for a band that are, without doubt, one of the hardest working punk bands in the country. Obviously the pandemic and repeated lockdowns hasn’t helped, but it has given them the breathing space and the backdrop to create an album of savage intensity that builds on where they left off with Karoshi but does add some new twists to their well defined crossover thrash racket.
There is something about their sound that takes me back to the heady days of my teenage years in the 80’s when I was jointly obsessed by thrash metal and punk rock, and there existed a plethora of bands that pulled from both camps to create a raging blast that married the dexterity, speed and sound of thrash with the intensity, politics and rage of punk. Bands such as D.R.I., early C.O.C., Agnostic Front, Acrophet, Excel and Suicidal Tendencies created something that in 2022 Rash Decision are owning with aplomb. The RD sound is complex, brimming with technical riffs and rhythmic twists and turns, without sacrificing any of the impact of their ferocious assault. They can switch in an instant from G force-inducing velocity to a grinding breakdown. Add to that their use of a multi-vocal attack that swings from a guttural roar to a cleaner, more traditional punk rant, to intimidating gang chants. At times there is even a hint of melody that creeps through the onslaught … that may have been by accident, though. Whatever, it works and it keeps the listener on their toes.
Lyrically … well, the last two years, humanity’s failings and the political state of not just the UK, but the world, continue to provide more than enough fodder for any hardcore band, and Rash Decision drink deep from the well of inspiration in the 18 tracks on offer here. They are, however, not a band without humour as Holiday in Cambornia tips a nod to one of Cornwall’s less salubrious destinations, Camborne, and My Cunt’s Cunting Cunted shows that time spent with their touring buddies Pizzatramp has almost certainly rubbed off. Needless to say, this isn’t an album to play to your kids!
At the time of writing this we are only two and a half months into 2022. The world continues to be a pretty awful place and Rash Decision have used the last two years to hold a full-sized mirror up to its inadequacies through this album. Will the world improve? Probably not, but at least we still have Rash Decision, and this album fulfils a real need as both an outlet for justifiable rage one minute, and making you laugh and remember that some humans are pretty cool the next. I’m going to stick it on my albums of the year list, partly because they’re Cornish, partly because they’re good people and mostly because it’s a fucking belter!
Year of The Silence is out now on Dead Invoices Records, Pumpkin Records and No Time Records. Grab a copy direct from the band here. Have a listen to our podcast with Si Walker, Rash’s guitarist, while you’re at it.
Review by Ollie Stygall.
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