Published Jul 04, 2018Hardcore music — to some degree of fault — is an often vapid resolve for the truth without posing the vital questions. Mil-Spec navigate in a "post-truth world" where they might not find the answers, but certainly plead and ponder. The Toronto band's Lockin' Out Records debut, Changes, is a significant hardcore-punk proclamation armed with a sagacious emotion.
Mil-Spec reflect in spacious but tender lyrical disposition. Contemplating the hostility of man on "All Against All," vocalist Andrew Peden utters "We know compassion is instrumental / In a system where it's either him or me" while "If You Could Read My Mind" asserts to make amends with one's self — to "see me as I really am." The tracks are as musically poignant as they are enraged, but transcend hardcore entirely via a brooding instrumental trance courtesy of Wilkes-Barre hip-hop act Fantasy Camp.
Peden's voice possesses an authentic pain on "False Spring" that is both endearing and cathartic, while drummer Jacob Hellas' exhilarating tempos show a dynamic chemistry alongside Dan Darrah's guitar melodies throughout "In the Loop." With deserved credit to the production force of Dylan Frankland and Arthur Rizk, Darrah's lead parts often sound spacy and unworldly.
Mil-Spec touch on hardcore antiquity, meeting somewhere between the momentous works of Fury and no-frills vitality of Mental, but are mostly progressive in sound and thought. Changes is a work of discerning physical and emotional labour, but spend too much time comparing Mil-Spec to something they are not and you will miss out on their poetic and devastating contrast. (Lockin' Out)