Hardcore rockers Tetsuo announce their arrival into the music scene loud and proud on their debut album These Crystals Don’t Burn. The post-punk psychedelic sounds of the local 4-piece band slam through 13 tracks with fierce and reckless abandon akin to the Beastie Boys possessed by the Sex Pistols. Listeners should be forewarned: this is not an album for the faint at heart. It is a jarring, rough and raucous ride that starts with the opening track and doesn’t ease up until the final note of the closing instrumental.
Kicking things off is the frantic thrashing of “Banshee Mansion,” which cuts through the musical landscape like a sharp, jagged knife complete with angry lyrics and crunchy power chords. Tetsuo seem to subscribe to the do-it-yourself aesthetic of punk rock combined with a generous helping of drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll included in the mix to create a style of their own.
“I don’t give a damn about this life/I ain’t no Kurt Cobain/but I can’t complain,” the lead singer proclaims in the set’s most hook laden, accessible track, “Smoking Cigarettes with Famous People.”
They also include plenty of local shout outs in “Approaching Nashville,” which contains such lyrics such as “she puts out for the Christiana/Antioch/Harding Place boys . . . she’s too busy in Smyrna, Tennessee,” making sure the listener is well aware of the band’s regional locality.
Two of the more notable and interesting selections found here are “Horse Girl” and “God’s Announcement.” The almost danceable “Horse Girl” clocks in at just over six minutes during its multiple tempo changes and is quite possibly the most original and inventive of the songs presented here. The latter, “God’s Announcement,” includes an infectious chant-like chorus that is repeated just enough times to ensure the listener has no other choice but to surrender and shout out “guard your heart” again and again.
Although this is clearly an album aimed at a specific audience with a taste for aggressive, hard rock, it is truly a bombastic aural assault that will satiate fans of that genre. What the band members may lack in musicianship, they more than make up for with plenty of attitude and swagger, not to mention an ample amount of explicit, riotous lyrics and out-of-tune guitars thrown in just for good measure.