Satisfied, Chasing Progress (Self-Released, 2021)

Georgia hardcore band Satisfied crunched the numbers and, as it turns out, satisfaction is actually not the death of desire. In fact, the current iteration of the band finds them neither content nor complacent but triumphant.

Their demo dropped in the fall of 2019 and they managed a grip of raging live sets before befalling the same fate of the dreaded shuttering of venues nationwide. The level-up on their latest is the sound of actualization often reached for but rarely caught. 

New EP Chasing Progress starts with the clattering build of “Satisfied II.” Almost custom built as an intro track, it has the odd minute or so of recognizable build that’ll send folks scrambling back inside after the last band’s set. It’s awash in a squall of noise and discordant feedback.

Taking the scenic route allows the band to slow build the epic sensibility that’s ultimately the strength of this album. The noted uptick in both nuance and sequencing pays off when at last the dam bursts, flooding the listener with impassioned and fast melodic hardcore. 

As the opener bleeds out into track two, “Recycled Passion” is anything but reused or leftover. There’s a sneaky pace to the limber and furious drumming that genuinely surprises even on a relisten. There’s an urgency and tension to the vocal cadence that calls to mind Verse and their ilk. Though certainly not clean, the clarity of voice eschews the indecipherable for something no less intense but far more affecting. 

There’s an antagonistic hiss that permeates the recording. Everything feels breathless and more intense, which makes track three’s slowdown all the more appreciated. To these ears, “Problem Child” is the EP’s centerpiece, a moody and varied piece of melodic catharsis.

Featuring both the band’s best employment of backing vocals and crushing riffs, it also finds time to toss in a moment of spoken word that lends a bit of Modern Life Is War’s narrative scope to the proceedings. That said, there’s also a great deal of post-hardcore’s more bent and unexpected instrumentation beneath it all. This song rules. 

The title track “Chasing Progress” is thrilling, spending half of its 60-second runtime ripping a sidewinding guitar riff that’d actually please fans of High on Fire. The band’s rollicking groove calls to mind latter day Hope Con and it’s ultimately a minute of left hooks that set up the KO that is “Transparency.” The latter is an absolute rager highlighted by serious flare and guitar chops.

Photo: Kristin Farahdel

It’s not all histrionics, however, as the band always seems to be in service to the songs themselves. Again, there’s a drama that permeates the track, perhaps due to another well placed and plain spoken passage. 

Closer “Father’s Day” antes up in the battle for the title of best song on the EP. Again vaulting into the fray with pained and panicked feedback, this is the band’s heaviest of moments. Check the 1:15 mark to get straight up leveled. Pairing a low-end breakdown with bellicose and burly backing barks, Chasing Progress goes out like a lion… teeth bared and ready to be declared king. 

Satisfaction rarely sounds this good. 

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