Sawchuk - Blackened Hearts, Blackened Minds
Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: May 25, 2012
I can only find a slight chuckle inside of me when trying to listen to the six songs of Sawchuk’s EP Blackened Hearts, Blackened Minds. Not because I think the songs are funny – they are far from it – but it reminds me of hockey history to see a band presumably named after Hall of Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk. But hockey aside, Sawchuk is a very serious, quite honest band when it comes to their take on old-school hardcore of various tempos and arrangements. What this band might lack in progress for the genre, they certainly make up for it in grimy riffs and unchained lyrics – making this a band certainly worth putting on your hardcore radar.
The initial offering of “Betrayal” sets the proper mood with a somber guitar riff, but misfires with clunky songwriting that feels too much like a process of filling-in-the-blank compared to later tracks. “The Man I Used to Be” corrects the issue, and is crunching hardcore that while not particularly standout does sling a catchy guitar riff. Otherwise, tracks like “Tormented” and “Hate & Destroy” show the band following the general hardcore formula of fast verses and well-executed breakdowns, but with strong enough guitar lines to boot. Again, it’s not genre-defining, but Sawchuk have a handle on their craft for the most part and put it on display on these six tracks. The full circle riff that opens and closes the EP brings a moment of cohesion to it all though, making Blackened Hearts, Blackened Minds a strong statement of the band’s passion and emotion.
Worthy of a mosh-pit or two, Sawchuk takes practically everything that is enjoyable about hardcore and puts it in a no-bullshit perspective as far as how they write their songs. Though some time to work out the kinks on songwriting and inject a little variety into the mix wouldn't hurt, the band’s strong foundation is well-placed – making this a solid starting point for both the band and its potential fans.