The emo bands of the '90s and 2000s have done something that most early punk bands never would have dreamed of: they have inundated listeners with relationship-based themes and a stream of introspective, confessional lyrics. But not every 21st century punk band identifies with that emo aesthetic. Totally rejecting emo's nonstop introspection, This Moment in Black History clearly longs for a nastier, dirtier punk era -- and that in-your-face outlook serves the band well on Midwesterncuttalistick. Drawing on influences (direct or indirect) that range from the Minutemen to Richard Hell to early X, This Moment in Black History pulls no punches; their punk/garage assault is loud, abrasive, raw, primal and devoid of subtlety. These Cleveland residents thrive on noise and distortion, and their material has a very nervous, frantic energy. Some of that nervousness comes from the lead vocals of Chris Kulcsar, who sounds like he's had way too much caffeine -- and his dissonant Moog synthesizer playing only adds to the tension. The Moog isn't the first instrument that comes to mind when one thinks of punk, but in Kulcsar's hands, it becomes a form of sensory assault and sounds every bit as dirty as Buddy Akita's guitar, Mike D'Amico's bass and Lamont Thomas' drums. Recorded in 2003 and released in 2004, Midwesterncuttalistick isn't groundbreaking by 21st century standards; anyone who has been following punk and alternative rock for a long time will find This Moment in Black History to be derivative. But what this 32-minute CD lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with passion and sheer infectiousness -- and for those who are seeking an alternative to emo's endless introspection, Midwesterncuttalistick is an enjoyably brutish option.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson