Sirhan Sirhan – Blood

San Diego spawned one of the most powerful, albeit short-lived, scenes when such bands as Antioch Arrow blew away audiences with their mid-90s spazzcore/screamo. Sirhan Sirhan, a decade later, points San Diego in a different direction: much of Blood sounds like early Sub Pop (cf., Mudhoney) with hints of UK hardcore (cf., Discharge). The Antioch musical chaos has been replaced with rather predictable power chords, the anxiety has been channeled into anger, and the product is something perhaps most akin to Black Flag jamming with Leatherface. If I were more versed in metal, I might be able to cite the metal bands that play into the band’s influences – because those influences are also certainly in there somewhere.

That’s a lot of name dropping, but it’s meant to show the diversity of influences that play into Sirhan Sirhan’s sonic stew. The band knows how to rock hard but has enough dexterity to keep things non-linear when it might otherwise get a little tedious and predictable. It sounds somewhat dated, but depending on your point of view its sound could be pegged to the early or late 80s as easily as it could the early or mid 90s.

When “Surgery” starts up, it’s Greg Ginn guitars and Last of the Juanitas drumming. It hits on straight hardcore in its “choruses” but only for a few seconds. “Time To Bleed”? Well, damn if it doesn’t sound like Millions of Dead Cops. But MDC never put delay on its vocals or could have appropriated the gruff vocal grunts of the metal that followed it (or, preceded it – Lemmy beware). Same goes for “Blood,” with its frenetic hardcore pace and shredding guitars.

This supercharged trio plays as a tight, tight unit. And to its credit, the band does hit like a sledgehammer and must be something to see when it plays shows. If the pummeling feels familiar, it’s probably a forgivable offense. It’s a decent ride through punk history in its many incarnations. “Remove My Eyes” alone hits on so many of these touchpoints that it’s hard not to enjoy it at some level. It’s like a guilty pleasure.