In my opinion, Hiretsukan was one of the best hardcore bands in the history of New York, but undoubtedly they were one of the best of the late 90s and early 00s.
It was an awkward time for heavy music; the tail end of the “drop the bottom” Korn/Deftones era, yet before the post-Mastodon metal resurgence that we enjoy today. Indie rock ruled New York and finding venues to play hardcore was limited to ABC No Rio, the old Continental and little else.
Aside from the timing, Hiretsukan also suffered from being too progressive. In this internet age we take for granted the vast amount of creativity we accept and enjoy today. But back then, Hiretsukan was as far from your typical New York hardcore band as you could get. Like most heavy bands, the delved into subject matter
ranging from the personal to the highly charged political, but they somehow were able to blend the most visceral vocals and oddly melodic guitars to create a brand of “noisecore” that's not nearly as annoying as that term.
Oh yeah, and their singer was a girl.
Originally formed just
outside of Washington, D.C. in 1998, the group
solidified its line-up and relocated to New York City in time to record and release the amazing Invasive//Exotic EP for the equally great politico Canadian label G7 Welcoming Committee (remember when the G8 only had 7 countries?). Then they broke up.
As far as I know, they're the only relatively small band on a relatively obscure label, during a relatively shitty time for heavy music, to be begged back from retirement by fans and their label. But that was the case, and in 2005 we finally got to hear a full length in End States. And that was it. The record came out and the band disappeared again. Not literally of course. They did some ensuing tours and I've kept in touch with guitarist Dave Sanders on and off since our 2003 interview. In fact, he's shot photos for us, including our Effi Briest cover. But as a band, well, even their G7 page still leaves off, “End States, Hiretsukan's first full length, is due out in July of 2005.”
So here are two lost gems of a bygone harcore era; “Barrel Roll” from the Invasive//Exotic EP and my favorite Hiretsukan song, “Manual Function”, from their lone full length. Just imagine if we could see these guys (and girl) playing alongside the likes of Liturgy. People would lose their shit.