As a reviewer, I think it’s time for me to break away from the recent ones a bit and actually talk about one of my favorite records ever made ages ago.
Back in early 2010s, I came across Hiretsukan as I was scrolling through Wikipedia and decided to check them out, just out of curiosity. I have listened to one of their songs, “Manual Function”, and, wow, I was blown away. The sad thing is that there weren’t any lyrics online, so I had to buy their CD, “End States”, on eBay. It came! I opened it and played the whole thing with the lyrics booklet in my hands. I will never forget the moment of appreciation I have with this album.
Hiretsukan (meaning “vicious man” or “despicable person”) was a melodic hardcore / screamo quartet that formed in 1998 just outside Washington D.C. The band comprised of Michelle Proffit (Vocals), Dave Sanders (Guitar, Vocals), Derek Wimble (Bass) and Justin Williams (Drums). They recorded their “Brown Bag” demo in 2000, then released their EP “Invasive//Exotic” in 2002, before breaking up after a small tour.
Then, the legendary Propagandhi’s label G7 Welcoming Committee, convinced the band to get back together in order to record their full-length album that they released in 2005, called “End States”, which they promoted on their tour. After that, they broke up again.
In “End States”, Hiretsukan breaks out like an irresistible marching band that provides a vengeful, take-no-prisoners sound so loud, yet so powerful enough for listeners to get personally involved. While the band’s instruments take on a simplistic, highly energetic yet melodic hardcore approach with interesting rhythmic changes (in comparison to the more typical hardcore approach in “Invasive//Exotic”), the album’s most notable quality is of vocals by Michelle Proffit, who screeches her words mercilessly ranging from political and personal topics, backed up with desperate yells and yelps by Dave Sanders. Tracks such as “Manual Function”, “Song for Wilhelmina Vautrin”, “19 Year Barrier” will hold you breathless till your heart stops beating.
In recent years, it has been forgotten by many in the hardcore scene, which is a real shame. Hiretsukan had brought something so visceral, so refreshing and raw, that even if it’s something so simplistic, you can still feel the power in it. All in all, “End States” is what I consider in three words: Underrated hardcore masterpiece.