While the hardcore scene remains locked in an ever decreasing spiral of recycled riffs, manufactured aggression and plastic political slogans, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. One band who did manage to rise above the mediocre was Baltimore, Maryland’s Pulling Teeth who released a selection of boisterous yet quirky albums/EP’s and splits before disbanding in 2012. Thankfully Mitch Roemer, one of the driving forces behind this underappreciated band has resurfaced with Old Lines with former Ruiner member Jake Berry and a few others along for the ride. On their second full-length “No Child Left Behind” they pretty much pick up where their former bands left off; a decision that looks likely to pay dividends.
As fans of the aforementioned acts may ascertain, there’s very little fucking about on the 22-odd minutes captured here; it’s strictly vicious D-Beat laced hardcore all the way with hoarse, barked vocals that tell tales of social alienation and political oppression. It’s all been done a million times before and if Kurt Ballou didn’t produce it, you can bet your last few bucks that the band own at least half a dozen records that he was involved in, be that behind the desk or with a guitar. The Converge influence is obvious in tracks like the raging ‘The Quick Sales’ and the bombastic driving riffs of ‘Cold Teeth’ which surge with a barely restrained fury. ‘Traps’ is 80 seconds of pure Trap Them worship (surely that was just a working song-title that stuck) while the discordant harshness and random samples of ‘Paint Them in Gold’ allows the band to branch out slightly and explore different tempos and moods.
Shot full with enough righteous anger to fuel a riot outside your local Supermarket and refreshingly free of the Entombed-aping guitar sound that has become so de rigueur in bands of this ilk, “No Child Left Behind” is a satisfying blast of rage from some still disaffected old-heads who have been there, bought the Black Flag t-shirt and still have plenty to shout about.