Look: Big, dumb riffs are harder than you think. Palm-muted chugs and sidewinder pull-offs can rate on a scale of Honda Accord (safe, reliable, standard) to El Camino (muscular, mean, wild) depending on the driver who's stomping on the sonic gas pedal. Hair Puller was founded on this premise, and its 101 MPH sludge will pulverize your headbanging skull.
After a demo and split EP with Dead Tropics, the Portland trio is ready to release its debut album, Old Friend. After 30 seconds of rolling drums and sustained power chords, the title track pummels into action with a sludgy riff and a cyclonic rhythm section that owes more to hardcore than metal. The effect is something like early Kylesa or even Code Orange — Hair Puller's dueling vocals contribute to the chaos — but stripped to its rawest primeval essentials. It's the stuff of whiplash, served up in less than two minutes.
Old Friend comes out Nov. 16 via Nadine Records.