Forced Entry 

Local trangressors On Command take no prisoners

Local trangressors On Command take no prisoners

Camaro rock put through a paper shredder, then laced with cocaine" is how singer Mike Raber refers to the sound of his band, On Command. Gathering members from the ashes of the now defunct Asschapel and Fuck Fuck Goose and coopting a guitarist from Lambchop, On Command are the most visible name in the Nashville punk scene, a vibrant and thriving assortment of aggression and artistry that could quite possibly be the next big scene among the city's exhaustively stratified music factions. They are a levelheaded group of individuals who have hit upon an endearing combination of slaughter, swagger, bastardry and personality, a synthesis they demonstrate with their unrestrained live performances.

Guitarrorists Dallas Thomas and William Tyler (who's replaced Jay Phillips, the guitarist on the album) have both chops and force, and lead vocalist and attention/abuse magnet Raber has his onstage persona honed perfectly to the cusp of performance art, but the anchor for this five-piece sonic assault is its rhythm section. Bassist Soda and drummer Adrian Leonard give On Command cohesion, laying down a relentless pulse for the guitarists and Raber to play in.

Guitars make heads go bang, to be certain, but the rhythm section is what makes bodies shake. This is the one problem with the band's eponymous record, which seems to have been mastered with very little low end. Is it a record-killing mistake? Certainly not, as no amount of knob-twisting and equalization can diminish the roar of fusillades like "Fuck With Disdain" or "I Like Chocolate." Nevertheless, the record does not encompass the textures and sounds that get thrown down when these five unleash their disruptive assault.

What the record does well is let the listener get into the dark realms of human existence that On Command explore. The homosexual gang-rape epic "Forced Entry," for example, works both as a meditation on internalized shame and as a mockery of the homophobia that plagues so much guitar-based music. It is this duality that enables On Command to fortify their fans with sincere thrashers and those jonesing for an irony fix; they are an easy band to like.

Even when blasting the brainstem with tales of murder, mania and nihilistic perversion, there is a sense of progression in these songs. One typical complaint about punk music is that its focused-burst style of playing and often unintelligible lyrics make it impossible to get any sense of musicality. It is a testament to On Command, whether onstage or on record, that this is not the case. "Expect a world of shit," as one of their titles goes, but expectations are best set to a higher caliber.

—Jason Shawhan


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