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When Don Giovanni Records started in 2003, one major goal for the label was to foster a greater sense of awareness of bands from New Brunswick in an effort to get them heard and their music distributed beyond the local scene and area. Before that goal, or the label, even developed, co-founder Joe Steinhardt was dying to put out the first full length by Stormshadow, a short-lived New Brunswick punk band who provided a microcosmic look into much of what was, and has continued to be, so great about the New Brunswick, NJ punk scene.
Previously available exclusively via a limited run of CD-Rs, which the band made to sell at their last show, Stormshadow’s Set On Destroy has finally been issued. The album's 16 tracks are mostly under 2 minutes each, all tight hardcore punk with scream-along melodies, dissonant riffs, and lyrics that mix the political with the personal. The record opens with "Switched On", a quick intro to the record's tendency to make unexpected turns from harsh hardcore screams to melodic pop-punk lines. "Watson Break" recalls the most vital aspects of sing-song anti-authoritarian folk-punk, while "Stainless Stealing & the Wage Gap" is an aggressive and honest discussion of economic injustice that could have been the soundtrack to the Occupy movement marches of fall 2011, asking "Profit over people, what is life's value?" then reminding that "the real war is for the mind" and concluding: "Life shouldn't be so cheap / never ever accept defeat." Like the other tracks presented here, though written and recorded over a decade ago, its energy feels just as pressing in 2013.
Set On Destroy is angry and anthemic throughout, a distillation of what's always so empowering about this breed of explosive music.