For a number of quite obvious reasons, it’s not very often that I compare myself to Arnold ‘The Governator’ Schwarzenegger, nor for that matter Hulk ‘The Hulk’ Hogan or perhaps for younger readers Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. However, listening to the debut album ‘Worldwide’ by the much travelled The Death Set, got me thinking of the pumped-up trio of Strongmen-turned-actors - more specifically the fish-out-of-water genre of films that each turned their not inconsiderable hand to. I’m thinking Arnie’s Kindergarten Cop, the Hulk’s Mr Nanny and The Rock’s recent fodder Game Plan, each of which feature our macho and mature heroes lost and cut adrift in a world of small children and high energy.
I’ll make no claim to macho, but am inevitably maturing and on first listen found Worldwide a disorientating experience, like finding yourself in a classroom of screaming kids and an empty crate of red bull. Making the Go Team sound middle of the road - it’s hard to stomach in one sitting. 18 songs in 26 minutes gives you an idea of the frenetic pace and energy of the album.
The band were spawned in Australia, temporarily based themselves in Brooklyn before settling in Baltimore, attracted by the city’s abandoned factories and their potential for holding kick-ass parties, and it’s seeing footage and photos of those kick-ass parties (ie Live shows) that help paint a bigger picture as to what The Death Set are all about. It’s a raucous affair, with the band placing themselves out on the floor, amongst the fans, with no shortage of blood, sweat and beer. They bring to mind the photos of Glen E. Friedman, who documented the US Hardcore scene of the early 80's – whereas punk back then was played at breakneck speed and driven by anger, The Death Set play at breakneck speed, but seem to be angry at anger, naming as they do, comedy and positivity as major influences.
I regard a bunch of those Hardcore bands as early personal favourites (Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, Black Flag). but there is no way I could maintain that pace and energy and inyourfacefuckyouness as the years pass. So, The Death Set, whilst cajoling a bit of nostalgia, aren’t going to be on heavy rotation in chimpovich palace, which of course is my problem and not theirs. Whilst they’re burning down the scene and hosting kick-ass parties, I’ll be lamely heading to the gym, trying to transform this gut into something nowhere near approaching Hulk, Rock and Arnie proportions.