DNF - Hurt EP
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Record Label: No Idea/High Anxiety
Gritty and unapologetic, DNF’s first vinyl offering in their five years of existence surely doesn’t disappoint given the respectable caliber of bands they draw from. Featuring members of both Trash Talk and Touche Amore doesn’t hurt, but this is a band that takes on a sound a bit more like the former than the latter. Even so, the eight track EP Hurt never lets up in its furious drumming and in-your-face vocals as DNF show us they are worth the time they spend together – even as a side project.
Mixing bouts of doomy sludge with passages of breakneck tempo hardcore, Hurt comes together as a bit of a melding pot of sound. Whether it is the Converge-like sludge lines in the end of the title track, or the pissed off, yet very Ceremony-esqe vocals throughout, Hurt does a splendid job of staying abrasive without overstaying their copious influences. The mostly instrumental doom-and-gloom nature of “Homesick” is a prime example of the underlying vibes of this EP, as even when the tempo is amped up the mood is still dark and deliberate as the end of this track shows when the blitzkrieg of drums kicks in. The occasional rhythmic pummeling is also present (“Homesick”, “Virgin”) to help break up the compression of notes being slammed into your ears. “Waste” makes for an interesting closer as well, with the generally lacking melodic guitar line opening the tune before unleashing a final broken jar of fury behind relentless guitars and rasped vocals.
What really makes it work though is the near back and forth battle of timbres, as DNF never quite settles into one facade long enough to leave the other forgotten. The grimy, guitar-driven ‘breakdowns’, if we must call them that, seem almost like a breath of fresh air from the constant hammering of drums and buzzsaw guitars most of these tracks feature. The sandwich of sorts in “Timid” – boasting a drawn out middle section with huge guitars strummed in slow-motion – builds and maintains a sense of dastardly tension as the lyrics finish out with ‘I’ll be fucking fine’ before kicking us into a few seconds of bursting drums to finish it out. Even more impressive is what DNF are able to do between the passages of blistering hardcore is mostly done in two-minutes or less – on top of never really sticking to one formula as far as placing these drawn out riffs.
The only thing perhaps holding Hurt from being more enjoyable than it is would be a knack for sticking to the same rhythm backing for most of the up-tempo sections of this EP. It would be nice to hear these guys perhaps do a little bit more to change it up, but from a standpoint of getting heads bobbing while listening, Hurt will be difficult to say no to.
It is difficult to call an EP perfect especially in a realm of music where it is difficult to truly forge new ground anymore. But DNF’s Hurt is everything you could ask an unpolished, brash hardcore band to be. Fierce and never standing still, Hurt is impressive to the ears in the ability to craft something that is both ridiculously harsh yet honestly memorable in the process.