With artwork akin to that of Swans and production costs rivaling those Darkthrone demos, Double Negative's most recent slab of propaganda gloriously reiterates the notion that these four Raleigh veterans are one of the most worth-a-damn hardcore punk bands of this century: A-side "Raw Energy EP" just plain hurts. In a Discharge swirl of blackened noise, the two-and-a-half-minute fit bends and breaks harder and bleaker than anything on The Wonderful and Frightening World of Double Negative, the band's debut LP, released last year by No Way. A clamorous blast, the song is uncompromising and ugly, purportedly recorded live with a single microphone and no overdubs in the band's practice space. From the sound of things, it might as well have been captured in a tin shed in the middle of hurricane country.
The barely decipherable classic leads to slightly easier-to-swallow affairs on the flipside: Together, "Excited About Myself" and "Outstanding Achievements in the Fields of Excellence" are a three-and-a-half-minute surge of DN's signature mangled thrash, recorded by Myriam Martian, aka Jennifer Thomas of Raleigh's Kolyma. More in line with Double Negative's previous output, the B-side is a rough analog wash of crossover rage.
Clear vinyl with a punch-out stencil and a four-panel spread inside? Positively negative, and not to be missed.