Southern Lord Records have assembled a pretty solid roster when it comes to the darker side of hardcore. Among their high volume of metal releases they have put out a lot of solid metallic hardcore by Nails, Xibalba, All Pigs Must Die and Black Breath to name a few. The latest edition to this elite group is Vancouver's Baptists and their debut LP Bushcraft.

I was previously familiar with the band from their 2010 EP, Black Dawn. It was decent, but the album artwork caught my attention more than the music itself. Actually now that I have done some research I don't even see anyone acknowledging this EP exists. Maybe I'm mistaken and they are two different bands. Anyway, with the release of Bushcraft these guys have stepped up the intensity and the quality their d-beat influenced hardcore.

The urgency and abrasiveness on this record is evident right from the opening track "Betterment". The drumming on this album is non-stop to keep up with the riffs and vocals. It is rare that the band takes a break to let you breathe before they put their foot back on the gas and unleash more of their furious blend of metallic hardcore.

Given that the production was done by Kurt Ballou of Converge brings the inevitable comparison to his own band. In this case it is completely warranted though, Baptists riffs tread familiar territory that Converge has claimed as their own. That isn't to say the band is a clone at all though. They add enough d-beat and a lot of familiar components of label mates All Pigs Must Die that keep their sound unique enough to stand on their own.

There are a thousand bands I could list as similar comparisons. Take the aforementioned as well as Cursed, Botch, Coliseum, Coalesce, Trap Them, etc and you will find Baptists somewhere among them. They aren't at the top of that list yet, but if they keep up this kind of output they could very well find themselves among the elite of the genre.