Pittsburgh is a working man’s kind of town. Steel mills, factories, blue collar, kick back a beer and that East Coast attitude that makes most folks uncomfortable to be around. We’ve been there before and personally, it was our kind of place because of that. So the question has to be raised “why haven’t more heavy bands came out of that city?” More well known for churning out jazz legends Bill Ecksine and Kenny Clarke, Pittsburgh probably is overdue for a brutal, kick ass band to make their mark. Granted, there are a few that have been swell in the past such as Vulture or Vitandus, but not to the degree of making us stand up and take notice.
Enter Unit 731. How good is this band? While we were looking for new blood to put into our gymear ala Black Tongue, we found our old friends at Xibalba, but came across Unit 731 and we’ll just say it got us amped up like a motherfucker. Currently signed to Harm Reduction Records, their latest madness, The Hive Mind, is such a baseball bat of viciousness, the Pirates want to sign it to a minor league contract immediately. Combining the ferociousness of slam metal with the down trodden punishment of beatdown hardcore, Unit 731 separates itself from the list of thick and brutal hardcore by understanding it’s not about how many breakdowns you can shove into an album. It’s about WHEN you use them and plastering quality track dynamics across the spectrum to make everything flow. On tracks like “Fear and Punishment” and “The Hog” the music feels like someone is pinning you down and attacking you with a staple gun. With slow churning machine like precision, Unit 731 takes you to hell and back with enough violent energy to power a smal army.
So did we give this shit the gym test? You damn betcha man. After a ruthless chest and ab workout we can say while nothing will probably ever beat Black Tongue’s “Born Hanged” in the weight room, Unit 731 is staying put in the old iPod. We approve so much of this group we not only paid for the album (instead of just streaming it) and even bought a shirt (you’re welcome guys!). Because hey, we’re a blue collar bunch of metalheads ourselves. If you’re looking for the new breed of heavy, Unit 731 is the sledgehammer to smash some bricks with.