Rorschach – “Remain Sedate / Protestant” Double LP
It’s hard not to over-emphasize the huge importance of this New York/New Jersey band of the early 90s. Certainly, loads of hardcore bands who evolved into the metalcore sound of the late 90s – Botch, Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, etc. – owe Rorschach a massive debt of gratitude. The first release, Remain Sedate was a violent surge of blackened hardcore punk (way blacker than any future black metal); something like Bl’ast!, with added Die Kreuzen chord progressions and Slayer riffs. The result, back then, was completely unlike anything we had heard before, it was both devastating and inspiring. Then came the second full-length, Protestant, taking on more metal influence (Voivod, maybe?) and a twisted technicality way ahead of it’s time. And gone were the raspy vocals – Charles Maggio’s unearthly howl had been drastically changed by ill health into a high-pitched tortured scream. And aptly enough, one of their songs was used in the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty to depict a scene where a suspected terrorist is tortured by loud music. Take heed!