Milemarker – Changing Caring Humans: 1997-1999 – A Collection of Singles and Compilation Songs

Changing Caring Humans: 1997-1999 – A Collection of Singles and Compilation Songs

I’m not positive that this release was on Lovitt, but it doesn’t matter. Milemarker are one of those strange bands that defies normal classification. They do, however, fall between the realm of hardcore, new age, post-hardcore, and post-rock. Their music is a take on powerful, aggressive hardcore with plenty of synthesizers and other instrumentation as well as studio tricks. If you know them, you probably love them, because they are unique, and in this world of a million bands, anything that’s unique is great.
And so they have this album of compilation tracks, singles, and some odd tuneful doodlings thrown in. This album, if nothing else, shows a much harder, rawer side to the band than their latest release, Frigid Forms Sell. Listen to “Staple,” the kick-off, for example. It’s pretty standard, in-your-face hardcore with some almost metallic-sounding guitar and screamed vocals. Their sound develops from there. “Battleship” has a bit more groove, especially in the heavy bass and more soulful vocals, and the keyboards are showing up. “From Russia With Love” shows the band drifting into a new-wave/hardcore sound, almost sounding like The Make Up went hardcore. The band goes on from there, showing off their blistering hardcore side on “Three Point Throwing Star,” which also shows a hint of emo melodicism, and “IRC to the CIA.” A different version of “Insect Incest” from Frigid Forms Sell demonstrates a more muzzled, angry version of the song. One of the best tracks, “Chronology of the Service Industry,” combines synthesizers and keyboards with blistering, chaotic hardcore for an effect that can really be just this band’s own.
The band also shows their synth/new-wave fixation. “Love + Murder” is more of a 1980’s new-wave song than anything resembling hardcore. “My Ears are Burning” shows off a more mid-90’s emo style, coming across very deep and introspective, slower with off-key vocals. And when the guitars pick up and the screaming starts, I get a whole new respect for the band. There’s also a different and far less cohesive version of “Suicide Machine” from Frigid Forms Sell. “Bombthreat” is about as hardcore and chaotic as the band ever gets, screaming relentlessly over some driving guitar. Then there’s the requisite Pixies cover (“Tame”), which seems to show up on everyone’s compilation, here done to a much more hardcore style. And the band finishes off with “Briefcase,” an 8-minute song that goes from slow and melodic and brooding to fast and driving before spending the last five minutes creaking and groaning, an interesting change for this band.
Love ’em or hate ’em, Milemarker are doing something just a little different. They blend a variety of styles, and that’s especially evident on this collection. You get the hear the band in their rawest and most experimental. And while Frigid Forms Sell is probably the better introduction into this band, this is a nice way to hear all the sides of Milemarker.