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Toxic masculinity laid bare - 90%

robotiq, June 22nd, 2022

Holy shit, I forgot about this band. I bought this CD when it came out in 2005. It was a period of my life when I was bored of hardcore and metal. I only bought a handful of records during this time, but I made an exception for a remastered Neglect compilation of rare material from 1992/93. "The Complete Don Fury Sessions" is just that; nineteen songs of hateful, spiteful, sewer-grade New York hardcore. To be honest, I've not listened to this band much in the last fifteen years. The sheer volume of music on this compilation is intimidating, 73 minutes of Neglect can feel like a masochistic exercise.

But Neglect has aged so well. The older I get, the fewer bands I hear that sound like genuine emotional catharsis. This is one such a band. You don't find music like this being made nowadays. This is so raw and bereft of self-consciousness. Emotions are laid bare in the most negative and violent way. This is music that wallows in its own self-loathing and toxic inadequacy. The singer sounds like he is bursting from the core, bellowing suicidal diatribe after suicidal diatribe from his diaphragm. The slow, chugging chords and sense of groove are the perfect match for his lyrics. This is intense music, forged from a nightmarish everyday reality.

Neglect remind me of an earlier New York band, Sheer Terror (and their "Just Can't Hate Enough" debut in particular). Both bands have similar guitar tone, lyrical approach and 'vibe'. They were much heavier than Sheer Terror though. Their songs were longer, more complex, more metallic and less rooted in punk (although I can hear the influence of 80s NYHC bands like Agnostic Front and Crumbsuckers). Neglect were not quite as metal as other bands from their scene/era (i.e., Starkweather, Darkside NYC), but the Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost influences are easy enough to spot. The overall result feels somewhat similar to a New York equivalent of Crowbar or Eyehategod, with less sludge and more bounce, but the same negative energy.

The remarkable thing about this record is the depth and consistency. There is no filler. Almost all the songs are memorable and withstand close scrutiny. There are tons of great riffs and the transitions display a tight sense of rhythm and momentum. The lyrics are delivered in a narrative style with some notable vocal hooks. This isn't the kind of stuff you want to sing aloud on your weekly trip to the supermarket (unless you want to be arrested), but songs like "Fuck Life", "The L.S.S." and "Horror Struck" are charismatic and funny enough to stick. The latter is my favourite track here, its morbid, cartoonish storytelling reminds me of bands like Deceased or Necrophagia. The growl in the middle of this song deserves a special mention, and the way it links into the ultra-heavy riff that follows. The record is packed with these kinds of details.

"The Complete Don Fury Sessions" is a bruising experience. Neglect made their name as a short-format band (with demos, singles and EPs). Paradoxically, the sheer length of this compilation seems to add to the impact. Some of the credit must go to Don Fury himself. He produced the bulk of these songs in the space of a few hours. He was a legendary NYHC producer who knew exactly how to treat a band like Neglect (raw guitar sound, fat bass tone, lots of space for the vocals). His production gives the record a consistency that is lacking in most retrospective compilations. With hindsight, Fury and Neglect created a cohesive monster of record here (regardless of their original intentions). This is a necessity for anyone who likes ugly, heavy hardcore and nasty, sludgy metal.