The Setup 
Tuned To Drop Dead
~reviewed by Matthew Heilman

Though the titles of the album might suggest another ironic Indie rock outfit with a strange sense of humour, the music is a completely different and lurid story.  The Setup is a completely unrestrained and venomous hardcore act from Richmond VA (odd how it seems like nearly every band I’ve reviewed this month has been from Richmond VA). At any rate, this is some seriously heavy and violent stuff, detuned and cold guitars crunch and squeal with admirable dissonance, anchored by swinging, dry-toned precision drumming.  Unhinged screams roar with poisoned urgency atop it all, with surprisingly in-depth lyrics which read more like diary entries, describing personal scenarios, confrontations, memories, and conflicts that are not as eloquently expressed or expected from the ambiguous titles.

“Flux Capictor” stands out with wonderfully eerie and disharmonic overdriven guitars ring out beneath the raging screams and mammoth bottom-heavy crunch.  Unlike contemporary and more popular hardcore groups, The Setup lacks the obnoxious bravado and machismo.  This is not only much more detached, colder, and nightmarish in comparison to the band’s currently dominating MTV2’s resurrected Headbanger’s Ball show, but its more authentic. “That’s Not Irony” is a pummeling offering, spearheaded by great tribal drumming and exploding into a brash sonic assault.  “Irony” appropriately enough is an acoustic interlude, though the unsettling and raw emotions throughout the disc are only unplugged and still haunt the song with unease.  The album closes with a frantic and faithful cover of Sepultura’s classic “Refuse/Resist” and when the final note rang out, I felt a greater sense of panic than when I listen to Sepultura, which I can only assume is a mark of success.

While I am no expert on hardcore, and have always felt much of it contrived, I hadn’t heard anything remotely like this in quite sometime.  I think angst-ridden folks would definitely find some value here.  If you are looking for some dark, unnerving metalcore than you need not look any further than The Setup.

Track List:
1.) From Detroit To The West End
2.) Dude, Where’s My Scarf?
3.) Flux Capacitor
4.) That’s Not Irony
5.) Irony
6.) I Call Samesies
7.) Are You Going To Tell An Orc What To Do?
8.) Refuse/Resist

The Setup is:
Christopher Harding Kirby
David Shannon Cisco
John Richmond Martin
Lawrence Eugene Byard

The Setup – Official Site:

Action Driver Records: