Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rorschach – Autopsy

Gern Blandsten

In the big picture of NYHC (read: Tri-State HC), New Jersey’s Rorschach were an anomaly. They also turned the hardcore scene on its collective side, nationally. They were not Agnostic Front-style beatdown hardcore. Nor were they Lower-East-Side, activist hardcore, although they did frequently play at Manhattan’s famed DIY venue ABC No Rio. Instead, Rorschach played a discordant brand of hardcore, as heavy as any metal band, but with the musically adventurous spirit of post-Damaged Black Flag. In short, Rorschach is responsible for virtually all the weird hardcore made since the early 90s.

Autopsy is a discography featuring most of the material released by Rorschach: the Remain Sedate and Protestant LPs, split EPs with 1.6 Band and Neanderthal and four compilation tracks. The band’s music is simultaneously hyperactive and morose. Charles Maggio’s voice has the same desperate quality of The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow. Fans of useless hardcore trivia will be thrilled to know that, following the demise of Rorschach, the members later played in killer bands like Deadguy and Kiss It Goodbye. Drummer Andrew Gormley would later move to Seattle and form the ungodly Playing Enemy.

Of the two LPs on Autopsy, Remain Sedate is faster and more discordant than Protestant, which has a thick sound and almost veers into sludge territory. If you’ve never heard Rorschach before, this is the favorite band of all of your favorite bands. If you already know Rorschach, then you already know what’s up. This one is a must have.

Playing Enemy broke up this year. It's a bummer but, on the other hand, Autopsy sounds as fresh as ever. -Brian No Funeral, 21Dec13.


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