Hardcore super-producer Dave Sardy (Helmet, Far, Orange 9mm) fronts New York City's Barkmarket, so it comes as no surprise that the trio serves up some tasty, abrasive rock on their fourth full-length, L Ron. Joined by John Nowlin on bass and Rock Savage on drums, Sardy and co. specialize in taking a melodic idea, scraping it up with sandpaper, and ramming it into the ground repeatedly. It sounds ugly, but it makes for a dynamic hardcore sound. "Visible Cow" opens the album with a detuned acoustic guitar and Sardy's scratchy moan; a tape recorder prattles in the background, almost warning the listener of the impending explosion of distorted slide guitar and pounding drums. Savage beats away on the drums so relentlessly that he must ruin the heads on every track, and Nowlin's low-tuned bass remains a snarling constant in every song. Lyrically, Sardy's distended poetry often has a dark humor about it; lines like "I opened all your mail" ("Feed Me") and "I got a game/it won't take long/we'll list all our beatings in a cursory rhyme" ("How are You") add a dash of laughter to the often humorless scowl across the face of hardcore music. Each song seems to be a unique study in angular, heavy music; "Falling" is a roiling dirge punctuated by stop-start drums, while "Undone" builds a sinister drone off of a surprisingly bluesy core riff. The capper is "Shiner," which starts with a guitar lick that sounds like Sardy is trying to sonically scrape paint off of the hood of his car. Nowlin and Savage tear in behind him and build to a skyrocketing chorus, featuring Sardy wailing at the heaven's, "How do you keep that shine on?" We may never know, but Barkmarket creates quality hardcore rock by keeping the shine distinctly off.
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AllMusic Review by Ted Alvarez