Menace: Impact Velocity

Your new soundtrack to feeling sorry for yourself.


Impact Velocity

Label: Season of Mist
US release date: 2014-03-18
UK release date: 2014-03-17

There are some good songs on Impact Velocity, the debut full length from Mitch Harris (Napalm Death) side project Menace, but there is also plenty of well-worn cliché, empty posturing and tiresome sad-guy blather. In other words, it’s a heavy metal record designed for disillusioned 15-year-olds (is there any other kind?) and as such, it delivers as expected. There is no boundary-pushing here, either musically or lyrically, and that’s fine. Sometimes you want to rock out and not think about it too much. Impact Velocity is the sonic equivalent of a comfortable shirt that you’ve worn so many times it’s nearly worn through, and you really ought to donate to Goodwill. But what the hell, it’s so reassuring and familiar, you slip it on one more time.

Opening track “I Live With Your Ghost” is the strongest tune here, possessing a snappy, sizzling guitar line, some nice double-time drumming, and lyrics that would make a high school sophomore proud: “I live with your ghost, I live with your ghost / Just like a virus infecting its host.” If that rhyming couplet doesn’t do it for you, well, maybe you should move along to some Bon Iver or something.

Follow-up tune “Painted Rust” slows the tempo and brings in the synths, for no apparent reason. It’s a little early in the album to bring in a slow tune, but hey, Menace is out to usurp your expectations in every way. Just kidding. Lyrics here continue along the lines of “I’m really unhappy”, which seems to be a theme throughout the record. Just check the song titles: “I Won’t See the Sun”, “Drowning in Density”, “Malicious Code”, and of course the bonus track “Insult to Injury”.

There’s more than a little nu-metal influence here, which is too bad, as nu-metal sucks. But the influence is mainly heard in Harris's whiny vocals and a certain reliance on scratchy guitar tones to indicate, oh hell I don’t know, intense emotional pain or something. When Harris stops whining about how bad he feels about everything, and the band let themselves rock out a bit, things get considerably better. Besides the opening track, this happens most noticeably on “I Won’t See the Sun”, which benefits from a straightforward, bash-on-the-trash-cans rhythm and a muscular guitar riff. Even better is “Drowning In Density”, whose snaky guitar line sounds an awful lot like a rock band should, at least when it’s not being derailed by the vocalist’s incessant self-pity.

There are few if any lead breaks in these songs, so six-string freaks will need to look elsewhere for their daily dose of guitar noodling. On the other hand, the songs are constructed of great slabs of distorted riffage, so there’s plenty of that to go around. The band does itself no favors by including 13 tracks on the album, as listener fatigue sets in halfway through, and the back half of the record brings nothing new.

It’s too bad about Harris's vocals, because the other musicians here have skills enough, but the whole effort is dragged down by the frontman’s one-note bleating. It’s tough to recommend Menace to listeners seeking an interesting and inventive foray into heavy rock and metal. Pissed off 15-year-olds might like it, though.


So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.