Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cold Sweat

Cold Sweat is arguably the best hardcore punk band to ever come from the Pacific Northwest.

The band's time was not long, but in the scheme of hardcore it seems that the best bands never last long. Cold Sweat came and went but the members of the band took their talents and went on to many a great project. Vocalist Shaun Dean would later feature for Austin's Repercussions & Boston's Men's Interest. Drummer Jensen Ward would go on to lead the inimitable Iron Lung as well as Walls with ex-Cold Sweat man Nick Turner. Pedigrees considered, Cold Sweat becomes an even more fascinating project. Much like the 1995 Ajax side that would win the European Cup, Cold Sweat was a group of young talents coming together and achieving at the highest level.

Cold Sweat's sound can't be simply described as "this kind of hardcore" or "utilizing this brand of punk." To try and characterize Cold Sweat like that would be a gross injustice. Cold Sweat's guitar work is drenched in feedback while still carrying itself as forceful. The drums are what you would come to expect from Jensen. Jensen is arguably one of the best drummers in the history of hardcore. If Cold Sweat doesn't make this fact clear to you, Iron Lung sure as hell will. The vocals are what stand out most. Shaun Dean's vocals for Cold Sweat sound tortured. I don't mean tortured like "I have some unspoken trauma and my demons now torture me internally." I mean tortured like "I have demons, I know them and now you will too." They're terrifying. For what it's worth if you've ever seen a Shaun Dean project live, you'd understand that statement isn't hyperbole. When the music starts, he is terrifying.

Cold Sweat is one of the best USHC bands of the last fifteen years. A lot of readers will probably say "I have no idea who Cold Sweat is." For a frame of reference, if you caught yourself at a Chaos In Tejas festival, one of the USHC bands of the day that everyone universally swore by was Cold Sweat. They're punishing. The sound is pain, negativity, hostility, acrimony harnessed on to record. Very few hardcore bands have been able to capture that. This is both of their albums Blinded & Severed Ties.

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