Having seen Lansing’s Fisherking live twice, first opening for Lemuria in July and more recently earlier this month opening for Agnostic Front, they impressed me with their energetic live show. Guitarist Ben Jenson adds a passion to the band’s sets with his  flying and flailing axe wielding that many of their contemporaries lack. Drummer Alex Corey employs the standard beats found in hardcore punk but punishes his drum kit like it killed someone. He hits the drums with the ferocity of an exploding pipebomb. Finally, singer/bassist Ryan Holmes is a shouter. All of his lyrics are shouted but with an intensity that almost scares you. When he’s on the mic, he puts on look like if you cross his path, you will get jumped.

How does their debut EP “Forget It” compare with their live show?  Well, it’s something you won’t forget and will, in fact, want to look out for. “Searching for Something New” starts off almost thrashy in the guitar’s chugging pattern. Then it goes into all out hardcore greatness. At just over one minute and 30 seconds, the song doesn’t feel rushed. It blasts through each part but with a tenacity and vibrato that makes it feel like it lasts longer. There is an unmistakable swagger in the band’s playing.

“Right is Wrong” hits on the same musical territory as “Searching” but brings in palm muted guitars during the verses. Not a brand new innovation in hardcore, but it makes the song a little bit different than its predecessor. “No Faith in Me” begins with a sample of a conversation. I’m not sure where it comes from but it ‘s cool that the band decided to use a sample. It’s interesting and refreshing. The song also features a guitar solo by Jenson which in uncharacteristically slowed down and melodic in its execution. No fast, blazing solos here.

“Nothing Less” features a guitar line that is addictive to hear and I bet, fun to play live for Jenson. It’s catchy and hooks you into the song. As Holmes shouts his lyrics, the verse guitars and the drums keep the pace and rhythm quite well. “Anxiety” is the most musically diverse track on this EP. Starting with an almost ska-esque guitar line and fast, high-hat laden drum line, Holmes shouts out “There was a time when I felt alone/I felt no comfort in my own home” in a way that makes you feel like he’s angry at someone or some past transgression in his life that he wanted to get out in his lyrics. During the verses, drummer Corey employs the standard snare-bass drum beat done a million times before. What feels different, and ultimately adds, to his approach is that the other instruments, bass and guitar, play just as big a role as the drums. Often that particular drum beat gets the most attention from the hardcore listener but the guitar and bass stand tall, riffing their way through each verse like a wild fire.

The title track, “Forget It”, features guitarist Jenson going all out on the guitar solo. He plays blazingly fast, which is a departure from the solo on “No Faith in Me”. Other than that, the song feels like the rest of the EP. All of the aforementioned rhythmic ideas from the drums to the chugging, thrashy guitars tread through from the beginning of the EP to the end. There is even a breakdown that has a metal tinge to it. The EP feels like it ends not with a bang but a whimper, literally. The track fades out, which kills a lot of the momentum Jenson’s guitar solo and the final verse brought toward the end of the song.

“You just can’t tell me what to believe” are the last words shouted out on the EP. These are fitting words to sum up this EP. I want to tell you to believe that this EP is something different from the general hardcore scene but it really isn’t. What I can tell you is that this band has potential within the hardcore scene and will continue to grow in popularity. However, non-hardcore fans looking to get into the local hardcore scene may find this EP to be nothing new. But, I won’t tell you what to believe. Go check this out for yourself.