By Robert Dean
When it comes to the history of hardcore music, there are a few periods that matter: the first wave of the 1980’s with bands like Black Flag paving the way for CroMags, Madball, Sick of It All, Leeway, etc. Then, there’s a second wave of bands from the late 90’s, early 00’s who took the presence of mind from the first wave bands and reinvented the genre but only with a lot more metal influence.
While yes, there are a lot of bands in the gray area (Burn, Converge, Trial, Unbroken) of timeframe - there are a few from the East Coast who were on fire during this later period: Indecision, Cave In, Snapcase, to name a few. But, one band managed to write an all time, headbanging, freak out mosh classic that a lot of people don’t know about: The Process Of and that band was Turmoil.
Honestly, I can’t give you an in-depth history of Turmoil. They’re one of the few bands who aren’t steeped in nostalgia, hocking their shirts, stickers and whatever represses of their records that are available. You can’t find much about them online. The Facebook is barely managed, and none of the members seem all too keen on living by the history of their younger selves. All I know about Turmoil is they were from Philly, and they killed.
The Process Of is twelve tracks that slit throats and offer no solace of reason or rectitude. For any angry kid of my generation, it serves as a fantastic album that encapsulated a time when you had to tour to get kids to know your music, and you had to sell cd’s to get the next show. The record sounds mad. It sounds desperate, and it sounds hungry. It’s a considerable shame Turmoil never managed to get the mix right with their ability to land big tours and get the band in a financially fortunate position because if you put on The Process Of in your car and don’t want to murder everyone when the opening of Playing Dead hits, you’re not human. And you’re certainly not metal.
The Process Of stands the test of time because it doesn’t feel churned out. Instead, it feels birthed – like it was a parting gift to the world, a final statement. The band wasn’t big; they were lucky to get VFW halls or gym’s in whatever town they played, but goddamn if the record doesn’t feel like a statement of absolution. The guitar work is airtight, the drums are intricate, but the perfect blend of fast punk sensibilities married with metal progressions. The vocals, though. The frantic, angry sound of Jon Gula’s tenor is what brings this record home - the viciousness is palpable and compelling because of its genuineness.
If you’re a metal dude, or someone with a history with hardcore music and this one slipped past you, hunt it down. The CDs should be easy to find online, and the vinyl was repressed a few years back (I’m still trying to find one. You got one, holler at ya boi.) The Process Of is an incredible statement of what hardcore felt like when it was a music that bubbled up from the streets. We didn’t have the Internet to rely on. We had to go to shows or read zines to get our gossip. The Process Of sounds like a band living hand to mouth and writing a record that had to carry their good fortunes or else.
Now get off my lawn and buy everything you can with Turmoil’s name on it. They deserve to be in the greater conversation with bands who defined that era of hardcore music. It’s frankly fucking criminal they aren’t.