Featuring members from Hatebreed and Earth Crisis among other hardcore notables, Rag Men are surely worthy of the dubious “super group” tag. Thankfully, they use their abilities for good. This self-titled debut album borrows much from the band members’ pasts, but seeing that those bands represented quite different approaches to hardcore punk, it’s hard to pin-point specific influences.
Rag Men like their hardcore served with a sense of rock ‘n’ roll attitude, and as such, this album is a confrontational and hard affair: brutal but with a solid groove and tight, uniform performances. The songwriting isn’t always top notch, but even the lesser tracks are rescued by the band’s impassioned performance and sheer attitude. Kicking off with old-school inspired hardcore punk, Rag Men save their best stuff for the album’s second half, with the doom-y “Obstacles” and the crushing “Possession” being two of the album’s finest and most convincing moments.
The band creates a churning, massive wall of sound, and still manages to focus on making things stick in a solid, tense manner. You wouldn’t expect less from a band with such a lineage, and the next album should be even better. As for now, though, this will do just fine.