I am assuming for the sake of a good intro that the name 1000 Yard Stare is a reference from Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket which is simply the best god damn movie I have ever seen. Assuming that fact and considering that 1000 Yard Stare not only gave me this CD but got me into their show for free, that's one star earned before the CD even hit track one. As soon as it did hit that track though, my speakers started rattling, my girlfriend left the room, and my stuff started coming off the shelves. If I had turned the volume up to ten, I'm sure I probably could have set off a few car alarms as well, but even anarchists have a sense of decency. The freight train that just wrecked my speakers is known as Thousand Yard Stare and this is their 4 song manifesto, a prequel of greater things to come with the release of their first full-length in January 2000. As an initial offering, I have to admit that itís rough in a few places, but this is light years ahead of what most young bands are doing with their time. A lot of this is no doubt thanks to the quality production work by Ryan Murphy of none other than Cutthroat and some guy named Chuck Pogan. If I ever see Ryan Murphy or this Chuck Pogan guy I will buy them each a beer, because this is a very professional job for what is essentially a demo CD.
For anyone who hasn't seen the movie, 1000 Yard Stare is a marine term for seasoned combat troops. Supposedly anyone who's "been in the shit for too long" has the thousand yard stare, as if they're looking right through you, always watching the perimeter. Conceptually the name fits the music very well. 1000 Yard stare indeed sound like they've been in the shit for too long and seen too much of this world. The lyrics continually evoke this sense of looking beyond and knowing what other people don't see. Musically, it is very heavy rhythmic hardcore at heart with clean vocals thrown into the mix. About half the vocals alternate off between the traditional (but very well executed) napalm scorched screaming and totally clean, almost spoken word vocals. The band is tight heavy and brutal. They are at their best when they are playing fast and furious. As a young band, they have yet to master the dynamics of what they are trying to do and it falters in a few places. The clean vocals have a lot of potential, they are an unstable edgy kind of vocal that invites comparison to the psychotic Boston hardcore band Honkeyball. Sometimes like in Slip they drone on for too long when a nice fit of screaming would help to break it up a bit, but I see the atmosphere they are trying for. Musically the only real downside is that they alternate too many styles. Songs like Life Model Decay would be stronger if the music didn't slow down and speed up too many times. Continuity is a problem because of this. Most of this is a matter of personal taste more than anything else, and I'm pretty damn sure that the style will be a lot more solid as they evolve. Just a case of a young band trying for dynamics that will come naturally in time.
When they're at their finest, this band captures a ferocity and aggression that is rarely seen anymore. The first track, Limitations is the exact opposite of what its name infers. The proper title here would be Devastations. The guitar just kicks in and the singer fucking screams like a madman. This song annihilates everything in its path, fast and brutal the way hardcore is played by people who give a damn. Same thing goes for Replace where the bass and drums just lock with the guitar and you actually feel like the music is tearing its way out of your speakers to destroy everything it sees. The rhythm is tight and restrains perfectly for bouts of furious aggression. This is where the dynamics work and the result is amazing. If I had to make comparisons for the sake of reference I would say that musically 1000 Yard stare is like Pantera's tour bus colliding with Clutch's dodge swinger outside of a Boston bar where Honkeyball is playing second bill to Acid Bath and Fear Factory. That's a long complicated analogy to make, but try to visualize it if you can.For a demo this is extremely well made and promises great things in the future. This is a band that has its shit together and knows how hardcore and metal should be done. They sound like a veteran band trapped inside a 4-song demo band, screaming to get out and wreck every single club in Albany. In other words, they may only be fresh field marines, but they've already fucking got the 1000 Yard Stare. So if you like your hardcore served with a good kick in the teeth, see them live and definitely pick up their new album. * * * * Reviewed: October, 1999 Contact Info: BSE3396@aol.com518-829-7770