by Rebecca Satellite
When you imagine a band of three scraggily 30-something dudes playing post-hardcore in Chicago’s tight-knit DIY scene, you might not picture a band like Ribbonhead, whose offstage demeanor is more understated nerdiness than imposing machismo. It’s hard to believe, because their live show is a delivery of near-violent, rapid-fire heaviness played with so little inhibition that I’ve witnessed vocalist/guitarist Joshua Glass break his nose mid-performance and play out the show as if it were all part of the act.
To the surprise (and delight) of fans, Ribbonhead sneakily released an EP to Bandcamp this week. Engineered and mixed by Dylan Piskula of fellow heavyweight noisemakers DEN (and featuring guest vocals by DEN’s own Adam Harris on the murky, tension-building “Gutfuck”), the album was tracked live, and manages to convey the brute force vitality that fans have come to expect. Glass is joined by bassist Lee Zickwolf and drummer John Sant, the latter two having formed Ribbonhead in 2014.
The EP’s title, I Must Have Peace, And This Is The Only Way, takes its name from a James Whale quote, which Sant describes as a declaration on creativity as a rebellious act: “Being creative and putting stuff out feels kinda like its own rejection of the world as a whole.” We’ll take that rejection any day if it means writhing screams, feedback-drenched dissonance, and a relentless onslaught of gut-punch fills over a sludge-fueled underbelly.