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Turbogeist - Ancient Secrets

Hardcore for the end of the world...

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating



Ancient Secrets

Spinefarm Records
In the music world, there's something to be said for pedigree. Many great musicians have created offspring that went off to have their own success by walking in the footsteps of their parents, and flaunting the family name. There was Jakob Dylan, Julian and Sean Lennon, Kelly Osbourne, Hannah Montana and... OK, while maybe those are bad examples of talent, but they're good examples to illustrate that there have been musicians who've achieved a modicum of success by flogging their surnames for all their worth in a way that allows them to make a money grab based purely on familial connections.

But what happens when one of these offspring comes along that's really good? Especially in a sound that drastically veers from the sound of his father? And then, to top it all off, said offspring decides to play the game with credibility by downplaying the parental connection?

Then you'd have Turbogeist.

Fronted by Jimmy Jagger, the son of that one guy with the same last name, the band is building itself up based on the quality of their sound. Downplaying Jimmy's connection to his famous father (in fact, he tends to only bill himself by his first name), it seems that I've already said more about his familial connection than he tends to, although he doesn't hide from it, as he told Spinner:

I know people will recognize my name; that's pretty impossible to avoid. I have no shame about my background and I'm not shying away from it, but I'd rather be judged personally on my own merit.

And he has definite merit and serious credibility in his executuion. With Turbogeist, his band bears no resemblance to anything connected with his progenitor either, playing a sound that simultaneously draws influence from three decades of music, from '70s punk to '80s hardcore to '90s grunge with a liberal dose of trashy glam, representing music as it's evolved over the decades.

And they're using that sound to prepare us for the end of the world.

Dealing with apocalyptic themes as well as what Jimmy describes as "our obsession with all things fantastical and cryptic," the Ancient Secrets EP is opening up the end times with reckless aggression. Crafted in a year that found the band obsessed with conspiracy theories, comic books and the all-encompassing rumor that the Mayans had predicted an upcoming end for all humanity, the downfall for us all carries through the entire EP. And with five tracks that clock in at about 14 minutes, that end is going to come fast. And heavy.

Ancient Secrets EP opens with "Mermaid's Revenge," a track about our attempts to conquer nature, and while the title may conjure up elements of that Metalocalypse episode where the band decided to record their album under the ocean (although their song was called "Memaider"), it's not an overblown metallic track, but rather a driving mix of punk rock and roll tune that nods toward its oi! as well as the punk stylings of both the Replacements and the grungy rock elements of Nirvana. And the chorus of "you're not human anymore," is both bleak and addictive.

From there it's on to "Zero Friends," a tune about the bleak state of your Facebook account, and the idea that social networking is degrading real societal connection. It drives even faster than the first track, celebrating hardcore influences with a heady dose of trashy glam rock, and while it may be about social networking, the recurring refrain of "I got zero friends" seems to celebrate the self-deprecation of old punk classics with a dash of cynical nihilism. It's a classic theme retooled for the digital age.

The raw sound of "Black Hole" continues to mix the trashy sound into the classic hardcore element, and the closing track of the Ancient Secrets EP is a pure thrash-heavy hardcore about a descending plague of the rodents that it depicts in its title. But it's the track that is sandwiched between the two that blows them into oblivian. Right there Turbogeist has slapped a cover of Greg Sage and the Wiper's "Up Front," and it's a fast furious cover. With a viciously propelled bass line and a frenetic punk energy, the band slaps down a sound that will most definitely slap you up until the end times.

The apocalyptic themes are all pretty tongue-in-cheek, and it's readily apparent that their obsession wasn't one of true self-absorbed nihilism. Proof of that is in the fact that Turbogeist already has another record in the can prepped for an upcoming release, and this writer is pretty stoked to hear how they'll further their sound. That, along with the fact that Jimmy is cultivating his career on his own terms with his own sound is proof that the band is taking time to build themselves with credibility, rather than name dropping his dad in order to go for a fast pop star cash haul to line the band's pockets with enough payola to get them through Armageddon.

Release Date: March 12, 2013

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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