The Factory Incident – Helmshore EP

The Factory Incident
Helmshore EP

Helmshore is The Factory Incident’s first release, and it clocks in at 15 minutes with each song being exactly five minutes. From listening to the first minute of the first track, its clear these folks are from the DC area. In fact, lead singer John “Stabb” Schroeder was the singer of the now legendary punk/hardcore band Government Issue. The Factory Incident does not carry the typical more abrasive discordant sound of slamming guitars and screaming gut-wrenching vocals. Instead they’ve matured their sound quite a bit and remain mostly melodic with spouts here and there of off-kilter darker guitar work. The vocals are softly sung and very atmospheric but fit nicely with the angularity of the music.
“Get It” starts with a crunching guitar part using varying degrees of light distortion. Its clear there is a lot of intricacy going on throughout the song. The band’s one-sheet states that they incorporate a shoegazer influence melded into post-punk roots. I definitely agree with this description. The guitars remind me of what early Catherine Wheel would have sounded like if they were from Washington DC instead of the U.K. The song continues at a mid-tempo and never really increases in dynamic. But it ends with a nice breakdown of angular guitars.
“Departure” begins with a catchy dark guitar riff and the perfect drum beat incorporating the bell of a ride cymbal. Attention is left to letting the guitar parts ring out and maintaining a dark atmosphere of intertwining guitars. This is not music that one hears and is immediately supposed to grasp. It takes many listens to fully comprehend what these guys are doing. The song continues with crisp clean intricate drumming. Guitars maintain a steady tempo and are only abrasive enough to convey the dark mood of the song. Its depressing music, but it works very well. The vocals are sung only loud enough to get the job done, restraining any pent up aggression. At the end of the track, the intensity builds and these guys show they’re more than capable of rocking out.
The last track, “For Someone Else” starts with a stripped-down bassline and follows by heavier hitting guitars that meander into each other. The vocals enter in and are passionately dark. The guitars keep the listener interested by employing complex rhythmic stops and starts. The vocals are very reminiscent of Broken Hearts are Blue, in the sense that they’re purposely off key.
Overall, The Factory Incident makes an interesting debut but its not a stellar, must-have release. These guys have potential, and I would be interested in hearing what they’ve got up their sleeves for their follow-up record. If they could just change the pace up a bit and make their music a bit more exciting and rocking it might garner them more attention. On a side note, I think the artwork for the CD, which comes in a digi-pack format, works well in conveying the overall mood, tone and aesthetics of the EP.