Quest for Fire’s Scorching Hardcore
After hearing a number of the songs
that Quest for Fire recently recorded with ber-producer Shane Hochstetler at
his Howl Street Recordings, I would have to put the group at the top of the
list of these excellent Milwaukee-based bands. Like many of their brethren in
the city, Quest for Fire draws liberally from the history of Midwestern
hardcore punk: Songs such as “Life Sucks JWGFU” and “Billion Strong Swarm”
wouldn’t sound out of place on a mixtape with the likes of The Necros, The Fix,
and Die Kreuzen. But there is also a Greg Ginn-inspired feel to the guitar
leads on such tracks, a comparison that the band would undoubtedly welcome.
After all, on their MySpace page Quest for Fire colorfully describes their
sound as “Black Flag smoking salvia,” a psychoactive plant that often induces
All of these influences come together
masterfully on “Finding Dead Bodies on Accident.” On this track you can hear
the needle moving into the red as all players push themselves to the limit. The
feedback squeals present here are not added for effect or decoration—they are
what you get when the guitar is pushed to its breaking point (a similar feel is
present in the start-and-stop pummeling of “Star Child”). Thankfully, such
songs never fully come undone, as the band knows when to pull back and move
into a breath-catching breakdown.
Despite the pure power of Quest for
Fire’s effective thrash, I am most intrigued by the band’s “Hive Queen” and
“cthulhu,” two songs that clock in at over three minutes. In hardcore punk time
three minutes can seem like an eternity, yet here it doesn’t seem long enough;
in fact, I wanted to hear more. On “Hive Queen,” a mid-tempo rocker, the band sounds
as if it is drawing from such Man’s Ruin acts as Fu Manchu and Nebula. A
wah-wah pedal is employed to great effect as the band settles into a searing
groove. A similar aesthetic is present on “cthulhu.” Yet on this track the band
marries this more rock-and-roll vibe with their love of fast-and-loud punk.
Such a marriage comes across as a strange yet compelling blend, one that I hope
the band continues to explore.
Quest for Fire plays a release show for their self-titled LP on Wednesday, June 23, at the Borg Ward Collective with Genesis Climber, Jeff the Brotherhood and Dear Astronaut.