As Friends Rust – S/T EP

As Friends Rust is from the same town as Hot Water Music. Apparently, Gainesville, Fla. is a hopping place for this style of aggressive hardcore/rock. This band features members of Culture, Morning Again, Roosevelt and Shai Halud, and they show a mixture of all those bands’ sounds. Powerful hardcore and punk influenced rock mixes with a bit of the Gainesville emo-core sound. This band sounds a lot like HWM on this EP without all the rough vocals, but there’s elements of the more punkcore Avail and similar bands to be heard as well.
“Half Friend Town” has a clear Hot Water Music reference. The music is loud and punk-hardcore, and the vocals are sung loudly and gruffly. But the chorus of “those aren’t your only options here” show the band’s more catchy yet aggressive tendencies. “Like Strings” is probably the most aggressive song on the album, loud and in-your-face. This one has more of a punk leaning than hardcore, including the punk-styled vocals and drum beat. It throws in a slower part where the singer just talks, sounding more political and angry before taking off again, totally punk. “Coffee Black” is much more of that aggressive hardcore sound, a bit political and dripping in sarcasm. “The only problem that you’ve got, is the night that Wheel of Fortune’s not,” they sing, angry and self-righteous. And the song slows down to probably the coolest part of the CD, a heavy bass line with the singer repeating, “And the football season is the only reason you stay alive in your primetime beehive.” This is definitely the best track on this album, aggressive and loud without being blaringly fierce yet still seething. “Scapegoat Wets the Whistle” slows down a bit, mixing in more of a popish beat behind the aggressive rock, especially at the chorus, before settling down to an almost groove by the end of the song. And it ends with them singing “And it’s a shame we view this as a loss of faith, or loss of trust. We’ve got all this time, but we’ve got no lives.”
I like this EP from As Friends Rust, mostly because they play that style of ultra-aggressive rock with just enough hooks to keep you rocking. Unfortunately, at times they do sound just a bit too much like Hot Water Music and similar bands. Songs like “Coffee Black” and the more poppy “Scapegoat Wets the Whistle” prove they have a sound of their own, though. Label it what you will, that Gainesville sound is catching on, mostly because it’s loud, fast, and catchy. And don’t be surprised to see As Friends Rust opening for Hot Water Music next show.