Long Island punk veterans The Great Lie have released a convincing EP that sounds more like a metal record. Out independently since April 18, 2020, Defying Extinction hits the sweet spot between brutality and musicianship, and its thirteen-minute runtime is just right to avoid hearing fatigue from Kerry Merkle’s grating vocal style.
Thunderous bass introduces us to the opening track “A Game of Horseshoes,” after which Scarola’s aggressive and wailing vocals jars us into the soundscape of Defying Extinction. It’s the longest track of this EP at 2:40, and a convincing opener. Follow-up “This Is B******t” justifies the NYC Punk label with aggressive gang vocals while maintaining the heavy metal instrumental style.
This EP is sonically consistent from start to finish. There’s nothing super fancy because there doesn’t need to be. A rock-solid rhythm section composed of drummer John LaFata and bassist Scott Martin seals the deal. They really shine all the way through, and the record wouldn’t have been the same without them. Guitarist Gerry Giacalone and his bandmates gave this record a dark, brooding musical structure with plenty of “blue note” chord progressions à la Black Sabbath, thus defying the punk label. I loved the blend!
For a non-punk-connoisseur like myself, the most direct comparison may surprise you; a combination of vocal style, composition, and production reminded me of Florida death metal legends Atheist. On the punk/rock side of things, the band credits producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Unsane) as being responsible for their “raw intensity and aggressive precision.” That description is spot on to my ears.
The more I listen, the more I think this EP is a bit of a hidden gem. Seemingly without breaking a sweat, The Great Lie blend the best bits of punk and metal convincingly. I’m not a fan of the screechy vocal style, but that is strictly a matter of preference. Aside from that, I can’t find any artistically groundbreaking material here, just an expertly blended sampler of the best of punk & metal. Nevertheless, this one is worth a listen for fans of those styles of music.
Written by Henri Brillon
*edited by Danielle Kenedy