Monstrous and insistent, S.O.S.’s I Owe You Nothing is perfect music for banging your head against the wall repeatedly. Of course, that’s pretty much the point.
S.O.S. is kind of a supergroup, I guess. It features vocalist Scott Vogel (Terror), guitarist Sam Trapkin (Trapped Under Ice), guitarist Matt Henderson (Agnostic Front), bassist Chris Beattie (Hatebreed), and drummer Nick Jett (Terror). Many of these guys are still hammering away in their other bands, so you could call this a super-duper side project. Whatever.
I Owe You Nothing is their debut EP and it will take up around 11 minutes of your time. The punishment, however, will continue long after the barrage of “Choking on Dust” concludes.
After an intro tune that is actually interesting and actually instrumental (“Decontrol”), S.O.S. lunges into hardcore territory fist-first with the crushing “Keep Me Outside.” The song is 1:15 long and it opens with some chunky bass before veering off rapidly to a pit-swirling hardcore romp. Vogel tears his throat wide open and a mass of feedback changes the pace somewhat, but there isn’t really enough time to go anywhere.
“Part of the Disease” is great for breaking stuff, I assume. It crashes and rattles around, complete with fist-raising lyrics like “Why don’t you get the fuck away from me?” Will do.
The tough guy hardcore stuff continues throughout the album and nothing here is introspective or particularly thoughtful. Naturally, the aim of a group like S.O.S. is to drill, baby, drill, and they do just that all over this EP.
The thing is that nothing on I Owe You Nothing is exceptional. Without some creativity, this kind of music just melts together and minor details, like the way a particular drummer uses fills for instance, are the only devices worthwhile for telling these dudes apart.
Of course, if you’re livid and shirtless enough, I Owe You Nothing will probably be for you. It’s a solid EP and not at all abhorrent, but it’s not innovative or interesting enough to be worth much more beyond an initial listen. Those looking for some seriously satisfying hardcore would probably be best served sticking to the better and more stimulating host bands (Hatebreed, Terror, etc.).