Friday, April 3, 2015

The Long Hundred 001/100: Logical Nonsense - Expand the Hive

…in which a group of metal-loving punks emerge from the New Mexico desert to announce the coming crustpocalypse.

Strange as it sounds, there was a time when wearing black and having long hair at a hardcore show could be an uncomfortable experience. As someone who wore his hesherdom (and hair) with pride, I remember when hardcore kids would turn around to look at me quizzically before nudging their friends to do the same. Being a metalhead basically meant I was an outsider my first few months seeing hardcore shows in the States.

Maybe that's why I felt an affinity for Logical Nonsense when they played CBGBs in the fall of 1997. With their black jackets and slicked back mohawks, they didn’t look like hardcore kids so much as refugees from Thunderdome. They seemed to enjoy their outsider status: Between blasts of savage noise, they heckled the New York crowd for its crossed arms ambivalence and poked fun at straight edge kids. I approached the band after their set, offered to help them load out their gear, and then promptly knocked their guitars over when I did. So much for ingratiating myself.

I discovered Logical Nonsense in the closing months of high school; a friend had lent me a copy of the Extent zine, and the song "Red Knuckles" was included on the accompanying comp. Without much knowledge of punk or hardcore and no other reference point, the only thing I could compare it to was old Napalm Death (in my defense, Mike Miller's vocals have more in common with Lee Dorrian's bark than the shrill yelping that was endemic of hardcore at the time). In interviews, the band resisted comparisons to Napalm and Sepultura, but unabashedly praised Neurosis; indeed, the slow sections and ominous samples speak plainly to the influence of The Word As Law and Souls at Zero. To their credit, though, Logical Nonsense made old Neurosis sound as threatening as a stack of pancakes. Nearly 20 years later, Expand the Hive is unbelievable abrasive, a sandblasting blur of rampaging drums and barely discernible riffs.

Despite being signed to Alternative Tentacles and positive coverage from the likes of Terrorizer and Metal Maniacs, the band broke up just as they were on the cusp of bigger things. In the years that followed, crust itself underwent a metamorphosis into something darker and more apocalyptic [thanks in large part to Tragedy]. I've heard my share of crust albums since then, but few hit with the fury that Logical Nonsense brought with them wherever they went. As power violence bands like Nails and Full of Hell obliterate the boundaries between hardcore, grindcore, and death metal, I realize Logical Nonsense gave a glimpse into a future full of kids like me who had no use for the boundaries between genres, and just wanted nihilism and rage distilled to its purest form. They may not have set the hardcore world on fire at the time, but maybe the members of Logical Nonsense can take solace in the fact that they expanded their hive by at least one hesher.