For a time, Deez Nuts could’ve been considered one of the least essential bands in hardcore, doling out handfuls of party-core with each release that were big on bounce but severely low on ideas or brains. And while after four albums of the stuff might seem a while for the idea of a much-needed shake-up to click, the main thing is that it’s actually happened. Thus we get Binge & Purgatory, the Aussies’ fifth full-length that brings their neverending party to a close, as well as expanding their musical palette with punk and metal alongside their regular hardcore / hip-hop fusion.
But while Binge & Purgatory does feel like something of a step up, it’s hard to call it much of an improvement, mainly because it feels bitty, unnecessarily slight and finds it hard to hold attention for any extended period of time. But even so, Deez Nuts manage to make a smoother, more successful transition than any lesser band could pull off, even without the work that still needs to be put in to make this really fly. A big factor of this comes in the swagger and attitude that Deez Nuts command, with the meaty guitar grooves and JJ Peters’ rasped spitting. It gives Binge & Purgatory the sense of propulsion it needs, especially when it turns away from full-throttle hardcore mode. As mid-paced as tracks like Antidote and Break Out can seem, the grit and groove that goes into them accentuates their aggro punch (not to mention a guitar tone with enough weight to carry it), while parts of Remedy and Do Not As I Do have the sort of confrontational toughness that this sort of street-level thrives on.
It’s just a shame that Deez Nuts don’t do more with it. Make no mistake, the sprinklings of punk and metal can be heard (particularly in the case of the latter), but the overriding direction is one of boilerplate metallic hardcore that really begins to fall into a rut. And that’s the worst thing that can happen, particularly on this album, Deez Nuts’ first opportunity to flex some lyrical skill and move away from The typecast party band. The content has undergone its fair share of lyrical evolution too, ranging from Peters’ contemplation of existentialism on Purgatory to chiding an industry whose primary aim is to make stars rather than honest music on Commas And Zeros. But with such limited instrumentation, these new ideas feel pushed to the back, and given how only three of these thirteen tracks break the three minute mark, there’s the niggling feeling that some more developed may have yielded stronger results.
But even so, this isn’t a bad album. It would’ve been nice to see Deez Nuts try something a bit more sonically diverse to go along with their timely lyrical overhaul, but Binge & Purgatory still does hardcore decently, and in a way that will almost certainly please any fans. And besides, this is only the first step – with the acknowledgment that Deez Nuts do want to advance themselves as a band, surely the same sort of musical evolution is next on the cards, right?
For fans of: Your Demise, Madball, Obey The Brave
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Binge & Purgatory’ by Deez Nuts is out now on Century Media Records.