Red Death is a thrash band raised on hardcore — its metallic riffs not only smash a crusty d-beat but also shout a punk ethos. On the group's second LP, Formidable Darkness, you can still hear the crossover thrash-boogie of early Corrosion Of Conformity and apocalyptic chaos of Slayer that defined its debut album Permanent Exile, but now with help from producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip's Nightmare Logic, Code Orange's Forever), Red Death swings like a sledgehammer through concrete.
As the new wave of D.C. hardcore (NWODCHC if you're nasty) continues to spiral and mature, recklessly stage-diving new blood into a genre that tends to look backward, the bands that seemingly form every week are becoming a reminder that a "scene" doesn't just mean shared sound, but shared ideas. The recently split-up Pure Disgust's self-titled 2016 record was particularly unflinching against systemic racism, from the school-to-prison "Pipeline" that young black men can find difficult to escape, culminating in "White Silence" ("White silence is compliance / White silence is violence").
The members of Red Death have heard their peers and answer with the song "Parasite's Paradise," a burly piece of thrash that not only wrecks everything in its path, but takes direct aim at the systemic flaws that ignore black lives:
"Have a look outside
You'll see a nation in pain with nowhere to hide
People of color are losing their lives
Just for being alive like you and I
Those in power sit and stare
As badges flash and gunshots blare
Perhaps a revolt of our own
Will adjourn destruction
All flesh and bone"
"It's a parasite's paradise," later Chad Troncale chants over Ace Mendoza's searing riff. "It's time to tear it down."