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*** Churn



The artists formerly known as the Proletariat haven't been having the easiest time with their comeback, despite (or maybe because of) their having been a big deal in town 10 years ago. But this five-song EP shows they're still growing musically, updating their sound enough to justify the name change while retaining enough of the old fury to justify the reunion.

The opening "Media Whore" sounds the most like an old Proletariat track: guitarist Frank Michaels shredding hardcore riffs against a dub-ish rhythm, singer Richard Brown spewing venom at an obvious (if deserving) target. But the remainder of the EP sports a newish sound. The tempos let up enough to allow Michaels to work up some inventively grisly leads; the lyrics are less obviously topical and the songs aren't afraid of a chorus hook. Lest that make it seem they're softening, note that the closing "Heavy Wire Brush" (recorded live at the Middle East) is at least as jarring as anything the old band came up with. If the Proletariat were easily pegged as a political hardcore band, Churn are simply a damn fine punk outfit.

-- Brett Milano

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