Philly’s +HIRS+, pioneers of feminist and queer thrash/grindcore, took it upon themselves to cover a different track every day for the month of October—no small endeavor, particularly when the artists you’re covering range from experimental pop punk outfit Bad Canoes to System of a Down. The 31-track record (excluding the spooky intro and outro) comes off a split with SLOTHSPRING, who offered up an 18-minute track for balance.
It arrived just in time for Halloween, and the intro, which features a chilling instruction on exorcism, is apt. But the nightmarishness isn’t purely seasonal for +HIRS+, who are accustomed to making thrash at its most revved-up. All of these tracks span less than a minute in time, some under 30 seconds, and they diverge so much from the originals that +HIRS+ kept the track list under wraps on their Bandcamp with just a few clues so that listeners could guess what they were covering.
In addition to turning the originals entirely on their heads, the band implements a continual transformation of their own sound between and within tracks. On their cover of Body Betrayal‘s “My Gender Is Queer”, +HIRS+ move deftly from a rapid section with throttling drums and piercing vocals to a steadying break in which they voice a couple of softer lines, and then the song escalates until it burns off into a few lengthy, distorted chords. A cover of longtime queercore band God Is My Co-Pilot‘s “In Too Deep//Rubber or Leather” brings a playful dimension to the album with its layering of crunchy, strained vocals over lower spoken ones and squealing guitars. Meanwhile, transitions between all 31 tracks are smooth, some involving a split second of silence and some bridged by similar instrumentation, so that each song feels a bit like an extension of the last. The final track is a cover of “Yr Time Is Up” by witchcore punks Shady Hawkins, who’ll incidentally be playing their last show ever tomorrow—and it’s a loud, riveting interpretation that explodes into a terrifying reverberation of manic sounds that cuts out in a matter of seconds.
The split is available now on +HIRS+’s Bandcamp.