In a day when some punk rock bands will sugar-water life down to get their CDs on the top shelf at Wal-Mart, the NYC-based hardcore punk band Most Precious Blood's lyrics and music gut open life -- real, raw, heavy and hard.
On its latest Trustkill Records CD "Merciless," the five-piece band puts this modern-day mess of a material life under the knife, cutting stripes on everything commercialism in the punk scene and religion fueling war to animal rights and veganism.
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Seen and heard on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball as well as on the pages of Alternative Press and Revolver Magazine, Most Precious Blood has stirred up a lot of noise with its last two albums and their covers, including the 2003 "Our Lady of Annihilation" CD, which depicts a Madonna with a bomb strapped to her chest in the band's protest of people anywhere killing in the name of religion.
That CD was partly inspired by 9/11, as the New York-based band was trying to digest the madness surrounding them (including guitarist Rachel's stint as a med school student assisting the NYC coroner at the World Trade Center).
On "Merciless," the band again blasts a shocker with a graphic, a staged photo of a young man laying dead with mail and dishes piled up. This time, shouting out about the inhumanity of the times: a man dying and nobody caring or stopping their consuming to care.
But it's not shock for shock's sake. There's meat, so to speak, in the words behind the images.
"If you're making things safe and predictable, you're a crappy artist and not being true to the craft," said vocalist and lyricist Rob Fusco, who joined the band of Justin Brannan and Rachel (both on guitars) and Matt Miller (bassist) in 2003. "Think about what we are playing. It's real aggressive and no-holds-barred. Why want to make something safe and gentle when the music is not that, and the music is a reflection of the world that surrounds us, and it is not a pretty face? Why put something pretty on the cover?"
Formed in the summer of 2000 and on Trustkill Records since 2001, Most Precious Blood draws on the intensity and rage of such New York-based hardcore bands as Agnostic Front (which played HYAMP this past year).
The band, which will tour Europe with Turmoil in 2006, is heavily involved with animal rights as outspoken advocates of a vegetarian diet as well as a cruelty-free lifestyle.
On the new CD, the band splays open its vegan beliefs on "Diet for a New America," as well as on comedic snippets between the songs, including a prank call to KFC in which one of the members confuses a worker by ordering "vegan chicken."
"I think a lot of bands now have the form to say things, but don't have anything to say," Fusco said by phone in the van, rolling somewhere outside of Houston. "We're just fortunate in that we have gotten to this level so far, which affords us some unique opportunity to express ourselves as we see fit. That is one of the quintessential ideas of punk rock and hardcore. We are trying to stay honest about that."
One thing Fusco is honest about is showing some sincere props for the band's drummer Colin Kercz, who played on "Merciless" and who has just notched a year with the band -- a small miracle since the band has racked up nearly a dozen drummers.
"He is in it for the long haul," Fusco said. "Our last drummer showed up for the tour with a bag of facepaint, two pornos and a ham sandwich. No toothbrush, no nothing, just wearing pajama bottoms."