ALBUM REVIEW: Regional Justice Center – Crime And Punishment

Release Date: March 5th 2021
Label: Closed Casket Activities
Website: None available
Facebook: None available


For the uninitiated, Regional Justice Center primarily operates as a one-man powerviolence onslaught, directed by Ian Shelton. Surrounded by a shifting array of members, Shelton‘s singular, abrupt vision has continued to gestate and mutate through a slew of aggressive releases, starting with 2018’s intense full-length debut, ‘World Of Inconvenience’.

Over the past year of lockdown, with the livelihoods of musicians thrown into complete disarray, it was of little surprise and great pleasure to fans of viciousness to firstly be treated to ‘KKK TATTOO’, a crushing, anti-racism opus dealing with Shelton‘s tenuous relationship with his father, and how easily one can be led down a path of dangerous ignorance. Now, a four-minute cut wouldn’t usually be regarded as opus-standard, but when considering the band’s traditional minute-long bursts of frantic aggression, it served as quite the subversive mammoth.

‘Regional Justice Center’ followed shortly after, a two-track sonic clusterfuck written in collaboration with Justice Tripp of Trapped Under Ice and Angel Du$t, ignoring the frontman’s current pop sensibilities to remind listeners that you can take the boy out of hardcore, but you can’t take hardcore from the boy.

Shelton‘s creative momentum is inspired by several factors, none arguably more intrinsic than the incarceration of his brother, which brought the gravity and realism of the archaic, judicial system directly to the man’s door. With the downward spiral of American politics, outdated prison structures, and an increasingly radical, racial attitude becoming the norm, ‘Crime And Punishment’ is a feral reaction to the state of modern America and the world at large.

From the droning repetition of the title by a sheltered, patronising voice, ‘Taught To Steal’ is a bruising, crippling opener that cuts through the black and white ether, adorning the artwork with a rusted switchblade.

Less a balance, and more a catalytic cacophony ensues with cuts ranging from suffocating, caustic, utterly pummelling violence, like the blasting venom of ‘Dust Off’, to more traditional hardcore slamming like that found on ‘Inhuman Joy’.

It’s the three-act structure of ‘Conquest’, ‘Concrete’, and ‘Solvent’, that serves as the most monumental and decimating point of a truly abrasive thirteen-minute runtime.

Running a gamut of vicious hardcore, crusted breakdowns, and dizzying spells of dissonance, Regional Justice Center stage a full-scale audible assault levied at the marginalising powers that be, pleading, demanding, and threatening in need of some true justice, rationale, and humanity in an increasingly closed off world. A final solitary drum chant closes out the proceedings, and can’t help but feel like the marching pattern of an ensuing revolution.