A solid genre piece, but not a standout example of the hardcore punk artform.
Ben Patashnik 2009-12-16
In certain circles, Sacramento’s Trash Talk are a very, very big deal indeed. Unfortunately, the circles themselves aren’t too large, being as they are pockets of hardcore punk fans desperate to find that ever harder, faster and nastier band. Gallows are such big fans they’re taking them out on tour, and while Shame, a 29-track summation of their career thus far encompassing three EPs (Plagues, Trash Talk and Walking Disease) and a seven-inch is certainly hard, fast and resolutely nasty, it’s not the genre-defining blast some were hoping for.
But throughout this short feast of viciousness – when a band bolts through 29 songs in 28 minutes, it’s clear they mean business – there’s a pleasing sense that irregardless of their status as underground kings, Trash Talk are going to do nothing other than pummel and riot.
The opening salvo of the instrumental Scatter, the orchestrated brutality of Babylon CA and Flood, the most accurate aural representation of what it feels like to be punched repeatedly in the face yet, confirm this and then some. There’s a swing and heft behind the metallic guitars that gives Manifest Destination its frantic, indiscriminate assault and Worthless Nights the feeling the band are wading knee-deep through sludge in order to give you a hardcore fix.
The tracks culled from their self-titled record are noticeably more lo-fi than those from Plagues and Walking Disease, which may make them impenetrable to all but the most dedicated. Nevertheless, Dig is pleasantly malevolent, while Immaculate Infection’s frenzy has a real bite which blends seamlessly into the collection’s title track, another heads-down beatdown that barely takes a breath before unleashing yet more annihilation.
Shame is an unremitting barrage that wears its hardcore heart on its heavily tattooed sleeve – in fact, it would appear Trash Talk have no shame whatsoever as there isn’t an ounce of compromise here. As a notably violent punk rock album it’s a solid genre piece, but it isn’t a standout of the artform. Nevertheless, it’ll be lapped up, and rightfully so, by angry people in shorts the world over. “We’ll make a name for ourselves by ourselves,” goes Sacramento Is Dead, and its makers are dead right.