Goner (Metal Blade)
by Mike Delano
You know that classic scene at the beginning of Flirting with Disaster when Ben Stiller is wondering who his father is and he thinks it might be a shirtless old guy who picks through sidewalk trash and gives double middle fingers to passersby? Repeated exposure to Early Graves‘ new record Goner will not only turn you into that crazy guy, it may push you to the next level, wherein you roam aimlessly, smeared with feces in your birthday suit, flipping the world the bird. I thought the new Exodus record would be unmatched in 2010 for pure, condensed hatred, but Goner has it beat by a mile. It’s gnarly, ugly, and ferocious. One would expect a steady outpouring of misanthropy with song titles like “Faith Is Shit” and “Rot,” but it’s impossible not to be exhausted even at the halfway point of this 25-minute album, let alone by the time later standouts “Trauma” and “Give Up” introduce you to new levels of pure intensity. It’s a harrowing ride, but it’s worth it. To hear this kind of raw honesty delivered with such clarity is rare, and the recent death of vocalist Makh Daniels (he died in a van accident weeks after the album was released) is sad news during a time when the band would otherwise be on a triumphant march onward and upward.