Newcastle’s latest Hardcore reprobates Starve To Survive are back after a whole three years with a new EP, Have Me To Waste (Caliber), hoping to make their own statement of intent and garner some of the attention that the northern Hardcore scene generates, specifically Loathe and God Complex who have been turning more than a few heads over the past year.
‘Back & Forth’ sets the tone from the start with a bendy, dissonant riff and we’re treated to our first, but certainly not last, synth-backed breakdown. The title track follows a similar framework, and with their crashing symbols, grooving rhythm section and smattering of mosh calls, you can tell right away that these songs will be fun live, if not wholly original. When Starve To Survive do try something new, it feels like it belongs on a completely different record, like the Industrial-inspired and electronic breaks on ‘Twinge’ that feel like they’re meant to build atmosphere but only come across as jarring when a tinny Tech Metal riff breaks the mood.
Harry Rule (God Complex) lends his savage, spiteful bark to lead single ‘Dismal’, but sadly it gives us a glimpse of the kind of down-trodden, guttural sound that the EP lacks as a whole and could have benefited from to give it more lasting impact. Connor Sweeney of Loathe has done a decent job with the production and tracks like closer ‘Resolute’ let out the kind of direct aggression we’ve been craving, but it doesn’t feel like these ideas have been pushed far enough, particularly when ‘Resolute’ is only ninety seconds and relies far too heavily on electronic ambience when it could be smacking you in the face.
At its most energetic, Have Me To Waste is a belligerent slab of bouncing, palm-muted riffs and beatdowns. While it misses the mark on some occasions with a few oddball stylistic choices and its reliance on recycling ideas across its short run time, its faults feel symptomatic of youthful ambition rather than any lack of skill. There are certainly worse ways to waste twenty minutes.
5 / 10