Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Not to be all Wikipedia or anything, but when you tag yourself as "progressive crust," my ear hair perks up. You're willingly throwing yourself into the ring with some of the best bands in the history of the planet, (quibble if you want) Crass, Nausea, Antischism, Neurosis, Disorder, Disrupt, Discharge, Tragedy, Man is the Bastard, Capitalist Casualties, Iron Lung, No Statik, Replica, Exilent, etc. I've obviously dated myself with this list, and, admittedly, this is a shallow list and maybe some of those stretch the genre, but we're not really concerned about that. Crust is one of those mesmerizing genres that even with the weight of consumerism trying to appropriate its aesthetic, the music continually shuns the shackles. Big talk ... maybe. Seriously, fashionistas may adopt the drapery, but there is no way the lifestyle, the ethics, or the music can be easily translated into something that your Screeching Weasel or Katy Perry fan is going to embrace.

At its best, crust serves to keep the rest of the punk rock / DIY community honest. Enter Salt Lake City's Cult Leader. They're brutally honest, unapologetically heavy, and trench-tested dissonant hardcore. Pushing at the boundaries, Cult Leader moves away from the straight up political by turning it inward, allowing for their individual perspectives to do the talking more than the, at times, canned and often repeated slams against an opaque and distant system. As always, it's refreshing the more abrasive it is, openly challenging you to embrace and live the ethics you've chosen. With tracks ranging from around a minute to close to seven minutes, they span the entire crust spectrum. You get it. I know. You wouldn't be looking at this if you didn't. Whatever my family and friends listen to when they throw my ashes into the proverbial wind or off the proverbial cliff, you can bet the aggressive, no-prisoner, oddly pacifist, atheist-in-a-foxhole blend of bands like Cult Leader will be on the playlist.

So that's it. I used a band to massage my ego. Rather than writing while I listened, I strolled down a few soggy / foggy memories of alleys and skateboards, of venues with shoddy doormen, of basement and backyard shows, of friends that I've lost contact with or lost completely, of those bands that lasted a minute or those Wordsworthian bands that didn't end soon enough, of the countless the-world-is-going-to-be-okay-because-we're-still-angry smiles that bands like Cult Leader bring to my face. Why every cynical remark I make is layered with hope. In the end, it's not up to me or you or some blogger to tell you what's up; it's up to the music. Cult Leader shreds, and they aren't about to let you wave some anarcho-banner or flaunt your patches without coaxing you into feeling why reality is worth it, why unhinged anger and frustration have a place, or why we all feel that faint glimmer of hope when music offers you the potential that everything cannot be commodified. Thanks for shattering our shackles, Cult Leader.

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