Integrity and Ringworm may be the first names that come to mind when people think of Cleveland’s landmark contributions to the inventive fusion of hardcore punk and metal, but those names don’t exhaust the town’s hotbed of vicious talent. Witness the new EP Humanity Pandemic by Punching Moses. For this listener, it’s been a revelation.
The opening instrumental track “Intro-Venous” may get your mind thinking in a certain direction. Slow, morbid, and heavy, with dismal guitar harmonies and a squalling, bluesy guitar solo, it might lead you to think you’re in for a really good dose of stoner doom — and then the double-bass kicks in and the riffs start to jab in a flurry. Even then, you don’t realize until looking back at the song after finishing the EP that you’ve just been teetering on the edge of an inferno. The rest of the songs hit you from behind and shove you all the way into the flames.