People often ask, “What defines good music?”
It’s an interesting question, however it’s one that needs augmentation. The question should be, “What defines good music for you?”
No one has a right to decide what’s good or not for others. In the heyday of tastemakers and critique, this was a tenuous subject, but in a day and age where there’s next to nothing whereby artists are fiscally compensated for their art, in 2021 it can be argued that the idea of fandom outweighs tastemaker culture.
So, what defines good music for you?
The answers will vary, of course. In my case, defining good music is measured by its ability to unleash the isolated parts of your soul. Whether it can slide into your conscience and spark your senses into an unprecedented, wild frenzy. Whether it grab you by the scruff of the neck and demand your attention.
Not always at the same time, although the best of the best often command all three examples.
Hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Slant most certainly provoke the senses in the fiercest way possible. While directing a few head nods to the past, their brand of unhinged hardcore punk is something wholeheartedly ingrained in the present.
Backed by a razor-sharp rhythm section and exploding guitars that illuminate the night sky, Slant is fronted by Yeji (in pure punk fashion, we only know the forenames of each band member). This doesn’t detract from the simple fact that she gives one of the finest performances of 2021 on the band’s debut long-player, 1집.
Yeji’s primitive roar is a like a gold rush all the way through 1집, raging with purity and releasing an inner tension of nuclear proportions.
We are greeted by Yeji’s enraged, murderous roar 20 seconds into Enemy. Striking with immediate gusto, Enemy is fast, furious, and splintered in raw anger; it’s the kind of song that makes you want to launch out of your own skin.
It bleeds into Terminal which is the kind of song that incites riots, exploring the extremities of ’80s hardcore touchstones.
And speaking of, How Did it Feel is like an extension of Damaged-era Black Flag with a feminine injection of unadulterated ferocity. So, too, Stagnation and the retina scorching Effigy, but with more of a homage to the venerable Minor Threat.
The tormented hellfire of Travesty crosses over to the terrains of metal, anchored by a bass line that feels like you’re getting whiplashed by a chain.
The feral spasm of Violent Minds, the uncultivated speed-punk of Modern Addictions and closing riff-a-rolla rage of Casualty are unremitting tidal surges of noise. No-nonsense, slam-dancing anthems that are like a fly kick to the face.
1집 is an example of a band leaving nothing behind, dispensing the kind of angst that has – over the past two years – gone MIA, drowned out by a plethora of aggy psych Oh Sees imitators. Yes, there has been anger, but none of it has hit the heights of what Slant reach on this record.
You won’t experience a better 16 minutes all year. It’s the kind of glorious maelstrom where you can escape from all your bullshit worries in the world and become truly immersed in Slant’s instead.
1집 is out now via Iron Lung Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.