SLED – ‘A Better You’.

SLED – Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

A release I have been meaning to sit down with since September, A Better You is the first full-length from a band formerly known as Pinhole Down. Now we’ve addressed that, the band now known as SLED from Jacksonville, Florida have released this debut release with but one aim, to make their own mark on the Skate Punk scene and the already stellar roster currently run by Bird Attack Records, who coincidentally are more involved with SLED than most.

The band contains label founded Garret Watford which itself lends intrigue to this band as we are given light on what the heart of the label itself would bring to fold rather than just what Bird Attack has accrued as a collective unit. SLED have years of experience touring as a unit under their previous moniker which is another detail so important in any prospective interest into this 2017 release.

‘Numb and Dumb’ wastes not a moment in crashing through the doors of those little ears of yours with a fast and melodic Skate Punk intro before lightly-shredded verses alongside relentless classic percussion. Vocally you are led away from the higher pitched melodic delivery in the vein of much of the Skate Punk scene and are instead treated to a style in some ways reminiscent of a fictional mix of Danzig and Graves-era Misfits, if such a vocal-union would ever exist.

‘Let Go’ lends itself further towards this crucial era of Punk-Rock music, as much like its predecessor the stressors of contemporary life are bluntly but intelligently accosted and deconstructed before ‘Wasting Away’ clears its own path. What do I mean? Well, as much as the track carries all the ticked boxes for a Punk-sing-a-long it raises a point made in the band’s bio, that being their admiration of Stoner Rock and their infusion of such. Think on it.

It is now that the band’s vocal tones make more sense, as does the low and sometimes slow rumble they use to bolster their quick-fire Punk-Rock. It is now that little difference to SLED, that you couldn’t quite put your finger on rests easier on your mind as you immerse yourself further in A Better You.

‘Feeble Mind’ is reminiscent of classic No Use For A Name in its 1:50 of fast 90’s Punk and heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics while ‘Recidivist’ hammers away in one of the best of the release with help from Steve Rawles of Canadian veterans Belvedere. ‘Connect The Network’ was the debut single from SLED and with good reason. Much in the vein of the rest of the album, its strong social-political attack does not go unnoticed as it takes the standpoint of corporatism and political power from the top down.

‘Connect The Network’ alongside ‘Wasting Away’ is another choice cut from SLED and a track you’d likely use to showcase the band. ‘They Control’ carries more of this slight but crucial damp-Stoner Rock tone alongside SLED’s more jagged and riff heavy rhythms that add to that looming possibility of a heavier future release.

‘Mono Lake’ sees some memorable shredding (SLEDding?) in another fast blast of Melodic Hardcore leaning melodic Punk-Rock in the longest track on the release. ‘Wrong’ is in blatant disregard of the current order while exploring a marginally slower SLED periodically before the thickly riffed, strongly driven and cathartic release of ‘Print Shop’ closes a stupidly good debut album.

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Matthew Speer

Matt has 2.1 BA in History and is most likely somewhere in his twenties. He enjoys a wide range of music, but has a strong penchant for Punk-Rock. Originally he hails from the Isle Of Wight off the South Coast of England, UK and spends most of his time around England's South-West.

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