Snake Tongue No Escape, No Excuse (The Sign Records)

If Sweden’s Snake Tongue resided in North America, they’d surely have been snared by Southern Lord by now: the white hot rage of Scandinavian hardcore is embedded in the DNA of bands like Wartorn and Baptists, and this quintet would fit hand-in-glove in a scene that shows no sign of fading away.

And it’s no surprise that this outfit, who hail from the cities of Linköping and Norrköping, have spent touring time with the likes of Coliseum and All Pigs Must Die. For the band, like many of their counterparts across the Atlantic, inject their crusty aural savagery with d-beat, grind and metal. Plus, some of Niklas and Fredrick P’s more twisted riffing brings to mind Kurt Ballou, the Converge guitarist who mixed Snake Tongue’s debut, Raptor’s Breath.

But let’s not get bogged down with comparisons: this snappy four tracker is full of invention and rhythmic curveballs, Snake Tongue don’t let you settle in, that’s for sure. Corrupted Beat is so far, so Disfear before hurtling headlong into a blackened abyss, propelled by a whirlwind performance by drummer Fredrick D; Dystopian Slumber surrenders to waves of melancholy then erupts with a barrage of blastbeats; Derailed is frenzied, caustic HC, but coated in multiple sonic layers; and The Hammer And The Nail sees Snake Tongue exorcise their demons over a cold, bleak dose of 21st century extremity.

One dimensional it ain’t.

What’s also striking about No Escape, No Excuse is just how taught and tight this quintet are. The intensity is almost frightening, the focus absolute. If you’re playing hardcore in this vein, then you have to go all out. You have to make every second count. And with this EP, Snake Tongue do just that.