Ugly Law
Double Negative

Incubate Warehouse

Richmond, VA


By Jillian Abbene
(SugarBuzz Wash DC/Richmond)


I have a personal sentiment for Ugly Law. We had all been part of the early 80’s scene here in Richmond—which was a big deal back then...fresh and raw. In those days, Richmond was a town that proved they could hang with the big boys in Washington D.C., and collectively responsible for stringing the imaginary black thread from Richmond to D.C.’s scene-- only 2 hours south. Growing up together through our late teen years and reconnecting now as adults only proves how significantly unique our experience really was. Nowadays, we are all 40-somethings. Presently, we share what a great time we had and how lucky we are that punk rock emerged for a second time as if out from the grave. Claimed to be exciting just for its redeeming factor, I have never seen them live. Their last show was in 2005, along with them was my first since then. A nervous excitement came over me as they set up stage.

The crowd stood in bewilderment, not recognizing. However, quickly that was going to change. Andy, with bass in hand, donning a ‘Backstreet Boys’ t-shirt for laughs, exerts a serious expression on his face, steps up to the microphone and proceeds to bark and spit out the first versus to the astringently-coarse song, ‘Shovel.’ Naturally this trio effectively exudes that automatic raw element, only a three-piece band delivers. Heavy and quick bass pluckings, deep and elongated chords from guitarist, Scott with Bobby on the hard-solid drums, creates an intense bristle in the air that foils into concrete slabs of thrash.

Just before the 4th song, ‘Monkey Punch,’ Bobby removes his glasses, precursoring in the first strike that it was going to be a hard hit. Evidence of saturated yet peculiar four-chord sequences, the sound gear-shifts from full throttle to eased hair-pin slower measures, then kicking it into third gear again and finishing out the last stretch. In, ‘13’, nice grooves are predominant over Scott’s unusually choiced chords—as if giving extra care, while Andy is red-face from exertion proving from his sweat-spotted T shirt, that there are extra efforts in sustaining jumping vocal octaves. Most people don’t realize this is no easy feat. Lots of nodding from the audience as they examine and absorb their heavy sound. ‘Hit ‘em’, an angry-filled song that produces a collision of dense cymbal and drums only personifies the song.

The set ends in its name, ‘Ugly Law,’ a great sludge song with bullet-guitar and bass jointly bashing slightly under the drum radar, that doesn’t give warning when it halts to a sudden stop.


This band is about massive metal-thrash attacks that breeds a new culture of unconformity and contradiction. Deceiving the crowd with their long hair and beard, the burly lead vocalist, Steve, is expressionless but calculating. At first, I had inertia of dread that this set is going to expel bored, clichéd and unimaginable rhythms that will just kill the essence of the show. God, I was dead wrong! Although metal rungs are prevalently hooked in, this band cleverly entrenches signature elements of thrash.

Slicing into the first song, ‘Eye Of The Storm,’ driving chords of winding intricate metal harmonies, grips into thrash and splits it in two, breaking out a full-on rhythm that is nothing short of a listening whiplash. Best described as maniacally scolding, Steve’s vocals are rageful. Back-up vocals by Rob on bass, shouts and yips with and without the microphone, exhibiting his passion and witted spunk throughout the set. This only adds more meat to the pot. Together screaming extra dark oppositions of death, ware and politics, the audience is totally into it. Talk about heavy shit--with massive head banging, devil-horned hands and body pumping the energy swept the warehouse floor, placing the level of intensity up one notch.

"Limbless" has that cross breed of thrash-core, death metal, punk, and all things hardcore. Most of the mixes played are stuffed into a blender with streaming and lengthy jams that kick in and out pulsating in fast sounds like one solitary conjugal visit. Noticeably, after each song ends, the band slouches in stance, take a deep breathe, and drives again down into the deep.

The stand-out song, ‘Cut Off Of The Tongue,’ vessels a choke on clean rhythms from Jay and Steve to shoulder the weight. Hideously fast riffs, leaves the set exonerated like a curse.


Richmond’s own…tonight this band is about existing amidst beer, hardcore and strung up Christmas lights…and not necessarily in that order.

The lead vocalist, Ethan, at first appears handsomely manicured and contained—like some prep school homeboy…until he opens his mouth. Screaming with a permanent frown, his boyish discontentment builds and finally explodes into a guttural rage. As soon as he begins the first-versed bellows, he is already deep in the pit, writhing and twisting among the cluster of testosteroned filled onlookers. The mike chord entwines around his legs and arms which eventually wraps around his body. He is not afraid of being trampled, as he has fallen fast and hard, but among friends, is quickly yanked up onto his feet. Pulling the mike chord directly into the audience, nothing seems to slow him down. The rest of Parasytic are immersed in driving chords in, ‘Spiral.’ In the forefront, bass player Rob, from DisSystema, is passionately head banging on the sidelines, and a couple of girls are whirling about in the front audience, as scaling metal riffed arpeggios by Nick and Alex, mix the sound through a pocked M8 in the song. With a gang vocal chorus, Alex’s long dreds are flailing about, Erik the ‘Charles Manson’ on drums, bangs Black Sabbath temps through the song, ‘Madmen,’ mirroring just that—being madmen.

It is mid-set and lots of fucked-up aggressive shoving and slamming has Ethan screaming into the mike with one hand and flinging heavy body parts off of him with the other…as if demonstrating some kind of Kung Fu action. After the song has ended, the entire band takes a breath from the intensity; Ethan breathes through his nose, and then starts up the spurted screams to the next song, ‘Already Dead.’ A metal-based sound like a pendulum swing, the sound jumps into heaps of thrash that ends in a slower fuzz-grind swirling in the background.

At the end, there are lots of claps of appreciation. Still standing, there is anticipation for the headlining band which indicates it isn’t over.


The warehouse layout provides a perfect arena for chaos in addition to a bonus of possessing that half-empty garage sound—but even more vast. I knew it was going to be loud, it was going to be intense, and judging by the maturity of the band, the question of rocking out was not even of question.

Relaxed as he steps on stage, Kevin (KC) the lead singer, is not up for darting eyes or hyped up animated expressions. As the first bars strike in tight-thrash formation with all its maximum volume and maximum plodding chords, unleashed angst incited by mayhem breaks out. Leaning over in mid-hunch, Kevin shrieks anarchy-styled lyrics. In the first song, ‘Redshift, consequently, I realize half-way through why Double Negative’s sound is so distinct. Cushioned between the unusual raspy shouts are clean riffs scribbled within the hefty chords. Scott, the lead guitarist, does it right. ‘Rehumanization’ is about metal-grated guitar comps with declaring rasp and raw. It is obvious that the multiple slide riffs ads extra energy to its songs.

Closer towards the end, the crowd absorbs Double Negative’s impact through condensed beating rhythms, with hand-to-neck hook-pulls to the mike and a few audience members eventually hoisting KC overzealously onto their shoulders, all the while still belting out lyrics with the remainder of the band clamoring behind without separation. ‘Excited Bout Myself’ closes the set with an impaling doomed tune. Kevin is totally ripped at the seams at this point—throwing himself onto the cement floor, then kneeling, and finishing in a squinched up balled-mass like an angry gargoyle. Screaming into the floor while the rest of Double Negative is banging in hard-hitting beats, Kevin expresses his last bit of discontentment to end the show.

[Note: Double Negative will be playing at the No Way Fest at Alley Katz, June 24th]

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