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Album Review

Wrangler Brutes features Sam McPheeters from Born Against, as well as Andy Coronado (Monorchid) on guitar, and a rhythm section of bassist Cundo Si Murad and drummer Brooks Headley. Zulu, their Kill Rock Stars debut, is throwback hardcore and thrash in the truest sense, in that it's a manic and vicious album that's also erudite and hilarious. (The cover drawing, perhaps the best of 2004, is subtitled, "The bird, the dog, and the shirt are attacking the skinhead.") Songs start on a dime and end just as abruptly, and though McPheeter's grainy screams and left-field yells are in the forefront, each player on Zulu carves his own niche. Coronado's guitar is cutting and whining, a wounded animal or a rabid dog, depending on the song. The rhythm section is equally powerful, recalling vintage Black Flag in their mastery of stop, start, and sludge. Recorded by Steve Albini in the heated political climate of 2004, it's not surprising to find tracks like "Homosexual President" or the raucous 48-second rant "S**t Search." But Wrangler Brutes dig deeper than righteous politicking, offering an indictment of rising gas costs in "Forty Five Dollars" ("At what point do people start having fistfights over this?"), expressing their dislike of Israeli politician Ariel Sharon (the stingingly brief "Garbage Can"), and taking slimy middle managers to task on "Management Sheen." The songs are structurally simplistic but completely visceral, helping the subject matter to ring among the slicing guitar chords and thick bottom end. "Unmentionables" is a standout, too; with its spoken verses and shouted chorus, it's another nod to the earliest days of hardcore. Plus, it contains a great catch phrase — "You look like somebody just crapped on your kiosk!" Sure to please the hardcore and thrash veterans, and guaranteed to show the new kids how it's done, Wrangler Brutes' Zulu is the best kind of throwback, because it makes the old sound vital again.


Formed: 2001 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The vibrant and defiant thrash/hardcore unit Wrangler Brutes formed in 2001 in Los Angeles, CA around scene veterans Sam McPheeters (ex-vocalist of Born Against and Men's Recovery Project), guitarist Andy Coronado (Skull Control, Monorchid), drummer Brooks Headley (Born Against, Universal Order of Armageddon), and bassist Cundo Si Murad (Nazti Skins). The band released an eponymous, cassette-only demo on their own before being tapped by Kill Rock Stars for their proper debut, which they then recorded...
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Zulu, Wrangler Brutes
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