And just like that, in 8 minutes, G.L.O.S.S. remind me of exactly why hardcore was such a big part of me growing up, and why the genre continues to mean so much to so many. It’s not just the music – as utterly thrilling and energetic as it is – but the fact that these five songs are about things that matter highlights just why hardcore is so important. In few other genres could you ever imagine coming across a record talking about trans experiences and rights with such passion and honesty. Put simply, this kind of music is important. The songwriting and playing would make it worth your time regardless of lyrical content and experiences of the members, but when paired with something so important, it makes this demo something really worth paying attention to. It may be the most punk thing I’ve heard in years, and it’s incredibly empowering.
The “take no shit” attitude – if not already clear from the cover and band name – is made plain in the introduction to “G.L.O.S.S. (We’re From The Future)” – “Now they tell us we aren’t girls / Our femininity doesn’t fit / We’re fucking future girls living outside society’s shit!”. Backed by some of the most furious-yet-tuneful hardcore I’ve heard in quite some time, there’s no let-up in the attitude, the band carving their own space in the scene, not giving a single fuck what anyone else thinks. “We don’t need validation from them / They think they’re the shit but they can’t handle hard femmes.”
Each and every one of the songs on here is an ode to trans-empowerment, critical of society’s construction of gender and sexuality, and sure to upset those who can’t accept that such concepts are fluid, not binary. “Masculine Artifice” mixes pounding hardcore with small spoken word breaks and empowering statements – “Trans girls be free!” – to great effect, culminating in the cathartic shouts of “Get off my back!” towards the end. “Outcast Stomp” is as vicious as you’d hope with such a title, aggressive in its desire to reach out to those who are so often marginalized (“For all the transgender ladies in constant transition”) – it’s not often you’ll hear something that is so simultaneously aggressive and compassionate. “Lined Lips And Spiked Bats” keeps things going, throwing in some glorious punk rock guitar soloing for good measure, and leaving no illusion as to the band’s desire to “take femininity back” and create a space of their own.
Closer “Targets Of Men” is perhaps my favourite track, though. Turning insults back on those who would hurl them (“”Tranny” / “Shemale” / “Faggot” / “Whore” / “But I’m a flawless bitch and you’re a fucking bore”), and reinforcing something that should not need to be stated, but sadly does, it’s so gloriously empowering it’s almost impossible not to get swept along. “I don’t remember inviting your words / I don’t remember inviting your gaze / I’d never ask your opinion of shit / My body / My rules / Get on with it.” If you have an issue with that, then it’s your problem, not theirs.
I’m aware I’ve focused a lot on the lyrics in this review, but that’s because the words and vocals are so, so important to this demo, and deserve to be highlighted. I don’t recall the last time I heard a hardcore record that was so passionate and sincere, so unapologetic and empowering in its rejection not only of mainstream society and gender roles, but also of hardcore stereotypes and expectations. Sure, you might argue that the music might not be all that groundbreaking, but that’s beside the point (especially when you consider just how good and energetic these songs are, even without the vocals). If I hear a more passionate, or more important, hardcore demo this year, I’ll be amazed.
Demo can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp. The cassette version is sold out; the 7″ version does not have a release date set as far as I can tell, so keep checking the above links for news.