I mentioned a little while back that hardcore tends to be a very serious business, and a band’s prowess tends to be measured against the instigation of violence and how savagely you can play your instrument. All that raw, frenetic carnage is highly enjoyable at the best of times, but every now and again, the overbearing lust for bloodshed becomes too much. There’s very little laughter in between the roundhouse kicks and flailing fists. So I’ll reiterate again that when bands that tick most of the boxes for hardcore principles, but keep their tongues firmly in cheek, it makes the genre a little less like the display of machismo it’s pretty much portrayed as. After all, if you’re from Portland, Oregon and you name your band Gaytheist, you can’t expect to not raise eyebrows. Although they don’t so much as keep tongue in cheek, as swallow it trying. Let’s be honest here, when you pen rip-roaring stompers with such memorable titles like Elderly Assassin, I’m Procrastinate And I Vote and Poocano, it’s hard not to assume what you’re getting yourself in for. But what exactly are you getting yourself in for? A fiery punk buzzsaw built for speed, parts venomous, parts deranged, but everything defiant in the face of decency. Hold Me… But Not So Tight, their long player from 2013, speaks volumes for this sentiment, having an image of a pair of embracing lizards and one is suggestively licking the other. Anyway, to Manhattan, opening with a grinding bassline, that lurks underneath the build-up of pounding drums at pace, blazing guitar bathed in distortion and a mildly humorous yet mildly concerning social commentary on New York’s most densely populated district. Although, blink and you’ll miss it. You may argue that it just gets going, but they pack quality into those two minutes, that several visitations are required to soak in thoroughly. See, laughter is one of the keys to life, and if Gaytheist aren’t entertaining, then they are at least giving the stone-faced hardcore genre a permanent marker moustache whilst it’s unconscious.

Hold Me…, 2012 album Stealth Beats, a live album and some singles can be purchased from their Bandcamp page, from very reasonable prices. They also have some split EPs with a few other bands that are worth checking out, and I believe are somewhere in Bandcamp too.

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