United Nations United Nations
Release Date: September 9, 2008
Record Label: Eyeball
When the idea of a scene supergroup rocking out to screamo, grind, and power-violence tunes was first mentioned in 2004 by Daryl Palumbo (Glassjaw, Head Automatica) and Geoff Rickly, girl jeans across the nation become even tighter. But years passed, Ricklys main group, Thursday released another album and got dropped by Island, while Palumbo released another Head Automatica album and kept promising fans a new Glassjaw record. While this project, named United Nations, would be hinted at here or there with a mention of Converge drummer Ben Koller being a part of the act, it never grew serious legs and many fans and critics, including this reviewer, thought this band and release would never see the light of day.
But now, almost four years later, United Nations have finally released their self-titled debut on Eyeball Records. Since Ricklys primary band, Thursday, isnt under contract, he is the only member who can legally appear in press materials, but the public knows that Palumbo (along with Rickly) is providing the deep growls while Koller, Chree Conger (former The Number Twelve Looks Like You drummer), Made Out Of Babies bassit Eric Cooper, and Jonah Bayer of The Lovekill are all rumored to be on the album as well. Together, they have composed an album that clocks in just over 25 minutes, unleashing a fury of sonic wailing, crunching guitars, and political themes. Basically, this is best collaboration/supergroup since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles joined forces with Vanilla Ice to create Ninja Rap.
The chaos begins with The Spinning Heart of the Yo-Yo Lobby, a 57 second beatdown featuring a call and return between (what can be assumed to be) Palumbos shredding screams and Ricklys signature cry. Resolution #9 immediately kicks in with furious drumming thatll break necks while including, if just barely, some melody. The thrashing of the guitar chords and drumming will make it seem like the Karate Kid is kicking ass inside your brain.
Filmed In Front Of A Live Studio Audience starts with static and news voiceovers supplying the background, as Rickly softly sings over a naked guitar chord that quickly pumps into the machine gun repetition of the drums. This track has a definite slower pace that the previous ones, but lyrically, it hits hard. Subliminal Testing has a slight industrial vibe to it, as it sludges along with Palumbo (assumed) and Rickly's bark in the background. The finale, Say Goodbye to General Figment of the USS Imagination, bursts with anxiety and pandemonium, determined to leave a final impression on the listener. The guitars clash and the vocals rip right through you. It then takes an interesting twist, as it slows down and outros with a nicely composed sax solo, ending the album on a unique note.
In the end, I believe Rickly, Palumbo, and company accomplished what they wanted to with this album. It sends a message, gives you a wedgie, and takes your lunch money, while maintaining a raw yet huge sound. The uneducated will call it grindcore, but it has a little too much structure to be defined as that, as, really, it sounds like Thursday with a tinge of Converge and The Number 12 thrown in. But that doesnt bother me, as I enjoy all three of those bands. It may bother the screamo/grind elitists, wholl look for any chance to argue, dismiss, and rip the stereotypical AP.net scenester wholl claim this record as OMG SO HARDCORE!!! As for me, I could care less what genre this supergroup falls under, as Ill sit back, crank this record to 11 on the volume dial, and enjoy the fireworks in the Music forum.