In a promo video for their new record, No Cure for Death, SECT guitarist James Chang had a few thoughts about the band’s relevance. “The world is in a precarious situation right now, I guess, politically,” he states. “It’s more important maybe now than ever to have a voice, and do what you can as far as showing that there is a dissenting voice.”
“Dissenting voice” is perhaps an understatement given the band and its second LP. Following last year’s self-produced and self-released eponymous debut, NCFD finds the hardcore quintet team up with veteran producer Kurt Ballou. The difference in professional production and engineering is clear from the opening seconds of the record, giving the band’s music clarity without sacrificing its rage.
And what rage it is. Much like their promising debut, SECT tear through ten songs in under 17 minutes, each filtered through some level of seething anger. Vocalist Chris Colohan splits his vitriol between standard hardcore fare (the prison-industrial complex, the prescription drug lobby, and unbridled capitalism) and some less-traveled roads (zombie-ification through technology and hyperpolarization by and in the media). Much of Colohan’s lyrics are short bursts of spittle – i.e. “Swapped out your chains for bars / Emancipation was bad for business/ Return the order, recoup the losses” – but he also has a gift for clever wording that says much in few words: “Crocodile prayers / Carried to full term and beyond.”
Combined with a tantrum-throwing brand of hardcore, it’s a lot of bile to swallow. Perhaps the album’s brevity is for the best. The press release for No Cure for Death declares that for SECT the purpose of hardcore is to “convey an urgency that transcends age, credentials or scene politics [and] to convert desperation into real talk and action.” There’s enough urgency found here, but only time will tell if it results in anything beyond moshing.