Matriarch – Hold & Release
Self Released (2018)
By Sean Jewell
The first time I heard “Wits End,” the opening track to Matriarch’s debut metal massacre, my throat tightened and my eyes welled up with tears. Living helplessly among the political tragedies and trashfires of the last few years, this is the jagged, aggro-punk I’ve been needing to hear.
There’s a hardcore nostalgia, and intense gratification to their metal riffs and shouted vocals. What’s got you rubbed raw? Imperialism? The patriarchy? This four piece’s punch-the-floor chords are for you.
For months I’ve been wondering when music’s meter will begin to rise to match the collective political angst. It comes in spurts, a song here, an album there – but Matriarch is built around the specific angst I’m talking about. It’s four womxn in fighting formation, dealing with all manner of bullshit.
True to post-modernism Matriarch even goes to bat for Mother Earth on “Fracking,” and deals with local gentrification on “Ballard.” Lead singer Rachel LeBlanc’s voice is presented without affectation, and her yell is vindicating, tough. Matriarch also supplies enough hooks and riffs to inculcate you in their purpose: on “Wits End” sludgy electric and the message “I am not afraid anymore,” on “Scene Queen” angular electric and rumbling bass and the scream-along “What is deemed cool?”
Mostly though I love the guitar shrieks and urgent, stabbing riff that accompanies the constant refrain “Kill your local alpha male” on “KYLAM.” – (8/10)