Slamming with controversial issues ranging from police brutality, sexual assault, corrupt pharmaceutical corporations, and war crimes threaded together with metallic guitar riffs that pack a major blow, Police State is one of the best hardcore EPs I’ve heard in the past few years. I’ve had the extreme pleasure of seeing these guys perform in an Elk’s Lodge up in Ogden that my band at the time was playing, and I was immediately hooked—frontman Keyton Daniels had such a demanding stage presence with his vocals and his provocative ranting of all the issues that surrounded the band’s songs.
The EP begins fittingly enough with “Intro” that doesn’t wait for you to get settled, it wallops you in the face with pounding riffs that make you want to slam your head into oblivion. It traverses over into the song “Wake Up” with a rallying chorus in the introduction blatantly stated as “Wake the fuck up! Wake the fuck up now! It’s time for us to stop fucking around! Live for yourself not anyone else, live for yourself not someone else!” The song then continues into the subjects of people blindly agreeing to what they hear on any given media outlet and don’t have the audacity to think for themselves.
“Kill the Greek” expresses extreme hatred for fraternity members who think it’s okay to sexually violate anyone. “Bystander” is a 57 second, rally-inducing number that calls for taking the law in your own hands when you see injustice. My personal favorite “Cancer Inc.” calls out the fractured health industry and how doctors and pharmacists are making a profit off other people’s misery and sickness—there’s a conspiracy theory that doctors have discovered a cure for cancer but won’t distribute it to the masses because “each day you get more wealthy by prolonging death.”
Speaking of profit, “Authority” touches on another instance of Shadenfreude, those who get pleasure from bombing their enemies with clever lyrics like “Put another war on the credit card, the poor will rot until their thoughts are gone” and powerful backing vocals done by Jessica Newby of the band Casket. “Mouthrunner” focuses on the alleged keyboard warriors that use social media for ruining people’s lives. The closing, title track hammers out this EP fittingly enough with imagery of the increasing police brutality in this country with lyrical buildup of “a motherfucker with a gun decides my fate, fuck America the police state!” and charges headstrong into brutality with its breakdown topped off with some extreme guttural vocals from Andrew Hileman of the band I Am.
All summed up, Martial Law’s Police State is a torrential EP—its songs are short and to the point, its music is heavy and keeps you hooked, and its messages intensely blunt. Martial Law has the unfiltered hardline mentality of Slapshot, the politically draped lyricism of Rage Against the Machine, and the towering ferocity Expire. In a time where America is in a state of political duress, this is when political hardcore is looked to for guidance, and Martial Law is a band that needs to be heard.