Hardcore noise rockers Total Abuse have been in setting the Austin, Texas scene ablaze for nearly a decade. Most definitely spawning countless episodes of moshing, the five-piece are recognized by their aggressive, unrelenting style. The upcoming LP Excluded is a prime example of the group’s no holds barred onslaught of musically-backed fury, whilst bearing a grim lyrical undertone of self-hatred.
Within “DNA Evidence” every slurred lyric of frontman Rusty Kelley’s scream is met with a blare of the drum kit and the cumulative strokes of the guitars to emphasize each syllable. A contrast being “Watching The Paint Dry” in which vocals are eliminated one third of the way through in order to allow the fuzzed out strings to take center stage with their glammed dissonance.
The album’s titular track opens with the gloomy lines “I want to be forgotten/ Drink me away” as “Scabs” contains a dark message of one not being happy with themselves and thus wanting to tear off their own flesh. The self-aimed “total abuse” is unique due to the fact that ordinarily heavier material would more often target enemies to belittle. Total Abuse is instead combating the source directly and focusing in on the problems that have emerged from having animosity towards one’s own self.
The thrash theme of Excluded is consistent with the band’s earlier works, perhaps a bit too consistent. Going back to the 2011 release Prison Sweat, the albums show hardly any growth between the two. Though Excluded does possess noticeably better recordings and production; each instrumental fragment of the final master is clearly defined and perfectly audible in comparison to the blended sounds from previous pieces.