If you’ve been following Quebec City’s MHEDVED for the last couple of years, their latest EP Dust Lungs will feel like a welcome, subtle progression – definitely not breaking new ground or pushing any sonic boundaries, but a solid effort nonetheless. Nine minutes of straight-forward, driving hardcore punk with some seriously violent undertones. As stated on their Bandcamp page, “sometimes you just want to set some things on fire.”
Kicking off with the title track, they pummel through a series of wonderfully abrasive, uptempo-to-half-time riffs in classic hardcore fashion. Everything is up front and aimed at your head. The vocals are simplistic yet gripping, and the entire mix has been distorted to hell and back. Like the best Poison the Well songs, they strike a careful balance here between all-out aggression and tasteful dynamics with the bridge section providing some depth and relative contrast to the rest of the track.
“New Lows” follows suit and runs a neat 1:11, mainly a two-step groove with the same wall of blown-out guitars. The band then tears through “To The Wolves” with the power and urgency I’d normally reserve for the likes of Kennedy or Trash Talk. It’s a tune that begs to be played loud at all hours of the night.
The closing number “Weight” is a great song if you can get past the oddly-presented introduction. Beyond that, its pacing and arrangement are interesting and well-developed, adding another dimension to this four-song EP. The vocal delivery is dangerous and sincere, full of desperation: “Go on […] push me […] until my vision narrows.” These guys aren’t fucking around.
It should be mentioned that while the lo-fi treatment throughout this EP does provide some heaviness and authenticity, the record is still a step backwards sonically from their previous release, 2016’s Endless Voids. With the songwriting being quite good on this one, a little more impact and clarity would have gone a long way towards differentiating it from so many other records in similar styles.
All in all, MHEDVED have put out an emphatic reminder of where they stand musically – some fine moments, unmistakable intensity and brutish power make Dust Lungs an EP that deserves a listen.
Written by Mickey Ellsworth
*edited by Kate Erickson